The M-word

Utah's Deseret Morning News reports that Mitt Romney is preparing a major speech explaining his Mormonism, as Damon Linker predicted in the latest TNR that he likely would. Linker's cover story on Romney and his religion, meanwhile, has been drawing some fire. Here's a discussion of it by Chris Matthews and David Gergen on last night's "Hardball": MATTHEWS: On another front in the Republican Party, Mitt Romney is about to announce an exploratory committee tomorrow.

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Lost And Found

Ben Smith is a fine reporter and I heartily congratulate him on his boffo scoop: a "lost" copy of Rudy Giuliani's potential 2008 White House game plan. The particulars are interesting--but given that this black book is a whopping 140 pages, it actually sounds like somewhat of a letdown: Did we really need a secret binder to tell us, for instance, that Rudy's camp is worried about his reputation with social conservatives? And no mention of any new skeletons his operatives might be trying to hide? This reminds me of an episode from when I was a TNR intern in the early Clinton years.

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Great Danes

"If you want a lower standard of living," conservative policy experts Grace-Marie Turner and Robert Moffit wrote in an op-ed last week, "the Europeans have the right prescription." The topic of discussion was universal health care, but it just as easily might have been government-sponsored child care or generous unemployment benefits.

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War Corps

“Even if you sent a million soldiers to Darfur, that would not solve the problem," a Sudanese minister recently taunted Western governments. The West could probably prove him wrong with a mere 20,000 troops, but, unfortunately, that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. It has now been four months since the United Nations authorized the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur to stop the killing and destruction that has so far claimed 400,000 lives. During that time, the genocide has, by most accounts, accelerated.

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by Richard Stern Saddam and Gerry The buzzard never says it is to blame. The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean. When the piranha strikes it feels no shame. If snakes had hands, they'd feel their hands were clean... On this third planet of the sun Among the signs of bestiality A clear conscience is Number One.     Wislawa Szymborska, "In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself" In the Anteroom of the Eternal sit two former heads of state.

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Saddam's Final Moments

The New York Times's Marc Santora has a riveting account of Saddam Hussein's final minutes, including this exchange between the late dictator and two guards:   The room was quiet as everyone began to pray, including Mr. Hussein. "Peace be upon Mohammed and his holy family." Two guards added, "Supporting his son Moktada, Moktada, Moktada.? Mr.

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The Mourning Of A Tyrant

Eve Fairbanks' tough-minded Plank post expects too much of the race: "While Saddam won't be laid to rest with the mixed feelings that accompanied Pinochet's death..." Alas, there will be more mixed feelings than Eve anticipates. More important, there will also be--there already is--enormous sorrow and wailing for the probably the cruelest tyrant in the postwar world, barring (but only possibly) Pol Pot. Much of the Arab world actually took Saddam to its heart, in Jordan, for example, where the late and noble King Hussein somehow felt he had to be in the dictator's court.

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The Politics Of Iraq

Two New York Times stories today give a nice glimpse into where the Iraq debate stands, politically speaking. The first is a rather positive profile of Oregon Senator Gordon Smith.

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In October 1935, Fascist Italy invaded Abyssinia and, not surprisingly, subdued it within six months. There was resistance of at least as many Ethiopians as there were Italian invaders. But the Italians had modern arms and also mustard gas while most of the locals fought with guns from the previous century and with spears. At the same time, the Fascist army massacred the locals almost casually. The conquest of the oldest Christian polity (save for Armenia) in the world by a tyranny with the imperial delusions of Rome did not cause a great fuss in the world. The Pope welcomed it. Big surprise.

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I like Tony Blair. I like his domestic policies for Britain, and I like his foreign policy, certainly better than I do Jacques Chirac's or Vladimir Putin's. But there is also something about him that gives me the willies. It's not that he looks like Hugh Grant, although he sort of does. But Blair certainly can't dance like Grant, who played him in "Love Actually". What actually gives me the creeps is that Blair reminds me more and more of Bill Clinton. And this has nothing to do with looks. It has to do with character.

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