Politics

January 03, 2008

What's Your Problem?
12:00 AM

Should Al Gore have been Man of the Year?   Peter Beinart is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg

Fully Devoted
12:00 AM

I missed Mike Huckabee’s press conference on Monday--the one where he spiked his own attack ad, then promptly screened it for the national media. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to catch a Joe Biden event instead. (I’d been to half a dozen Huckabee pressers already. What more was there to see?) So, as penance, I skipped the nap I’d been planning and caught Huckabee’s New Year’s event at Des Moines’ Wakonda Club instead. When I arrived, a local talk radio host named Steve Deace was hard at work on a microphone.

That Harman Letter
12:00 AM

Via Marty Lederman, the CIA has declassified the letter (pdf) Jane Harman said she wrote to the agency in 2003 upon being informed of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" the agency was using. (CIA's response here, also pdf.) Essentially, Harman asked the CIA, "Are you sure we should be doing this?", and the CIA responded, "Hey, John Yoo and Jay Bybee say it's OK!", and that was the end of it.

Closing Messages--and Closing Doubts
12:00 AM

Overnight all three of the leading Democratic presidential contenders began airing “closing messages” to the caucus-goers of Iowa. All three spots are quite good--a reminder, I think, of just how strong this field of candidates is. But I was struck by how perfectly the advertisements captured the essence of each campaign, warts and all. . Start with Clinton's spot. It's the least lyrical of the three. You'll hear no memorable phrases, detect no compelling narrative.

In Defense Of "Citizen/Soldier"

Over the holiday break, you may have seen the National Guard's newest recruiting tool--a three minute long music video featuring post-grunge alt rock band 3 Doors Down. "The longest and arguably most cinematically advanced ad in the movie theater genre" intersperses close-ups of lead singer Brad Arnold making love to the microphone with shots of soldiers reconstructing blasted landscapes, carrying injured children, and dodging bullets--then asks you to join the National Guard.

January 02, 2008

Young and in Love
12:00 AM

I get to Ron Paul's headquarters in Des Moines just as an army of student volunteers is surging out of the doors, yelling and clutching signs. "This is the herd we can't contain!" one staffer laughs. ABC's Jake Tapper is taping a live segment in front of Mike Huckabee's neighboring headquarters, and it's time to make some mischief. The volunteers conform to a Washington reporter's expectations about Ron Paul youth--almost all boys, rowdy, eager to disrupt--until they don't.

The TNR Q&A
12:00 AM

An exclusive interview with former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, who dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination on December 20, conducted on the eve of the Iowa Caucuses. The New Republic: What do you miss about being out here, in the mix? Representative Tom Tancredo: I don’t miss it. There’s absolutely nothing appealing about it from the standpoint of the effort that goes into it, especially while [Congress was] in session. I was so jealous when Democrats did a debate and the moderator asked them which of them flew their own planes out here.

The Failed Policy That Won't Die
12:00 AM

Normally known for his grandiose statements and public flourishes, two weeks ago Fidel Castro made a momentous announcement relatively quietly. In a letter read on state media, Fidel, who in the summer of 2006 had handed caretaker power to his brother Raul while battling a serious (and still not fully identified) illness, wrote that “my basic duty is not to cling to office, and even less to obstruct the path of younger people.” For many longtime Cuba-watchers, this was Fidel’s final admission that he would never return to power. “This is it.

What's Your Problem?
12:00 AM

What's the problem with Time naming Vladimir Putin its Man of the Year?   Peter Beinart is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg

Iowa Ads, Reviewed
12:00 AM

If you’re like most citizens, then personal impressions mean more to you when deciding whom to vote for than, say, a good campaign platform. So, short of having the presidential candidates over for dinner, you just might glean an ounce or two of insight from the latest crop of TV ad campaigns.

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