March 03, 2011
On a Tuesday in early February, a Tea Party event at the National Press Club set off miniature waves of excitement over a rather unlikely guest: Orrin Hatch. Hardly a favorite of the movement, Utah’s longest-serving senator and elder statesman surprised just about everyone by showing up alongside Representative Michele Bachmann and Senator Rand Paul and proceeding to address the assembled activists like a patriarch reunited with his loyal disciples. “I’ve been watching what the Tea Party does. I’m very impressed,” Hatch said.
How the Tea Party Is Wrecking Republican Foreign Policy
December 04, 2010
Now that the midterm elections are over and voices of the Tea Party will soon be established in Congress, the movement’s views on foreign policy will come under closer scrutiny, and the results may prove surprising, not least to the Tea Partiers themselves. Those views are far from Republican orthodoxy. On some issues, the Tea Partiers will predictably line up with the Republican leadership, but on others they may find they have more in common with Democrats. They may even provide Barack Obama with unexpected support.
Why Tea Party Candidates Are Such Bad Orators (With Marco Rubio Being the Glaring, Terrifying Exception)
November 03, 2010
If there is one thing that remains untarnished in the Obama legacy thus far, it is that the man has raised the bar for public speaking in American political culture. Until a couple of years ago, this was a country where the last time anyone had made a speech worthy of anthologizing was Mario Cuomo in his “City on a Hill” speech way back in 1984.
Why Tea Party Candidates Are Such Poor Orators (With Marco Rubio Being the Glaring, Terrifying Exception)
November 03, 2010
Also, somewhere along the line, the Tea Party stars appear to have been taught that effective speechmaking requires regular incantation of swaggery little jabs of a “Make My Day” redolence. Presumably Ronald Reagan is the model, reinforced by Sarah Palin’s fondness for lines about pit bulls and reloading. But this works best when there is a certain “there” there to back it up; call it star quality, which all will admit even Palin has. Poor Ms. O’Donnell does not.
Sarah Palin Talks Trains, and Rand Paul Makes Me Feel Extreme Pain
November 02, 2010
Sarah Palin in the house on Fox! She just gave her thoughts (or "thoughts"), and she chose to run (ride?) a train-based metaphor to help explain to us, the lay viewers, what's going on in terms we can understand. (A snide person would say this is a strange choice on her part, given that an America run by Palin probably wouldn't have any trains at all, trains being a rather brazen example of the redistribution of transportation resources to those unable to afford cars.) What we're seeing out there in Real America, Palin explained, is that "the train's leaving the station.
The Most Despicable Ad of the Year
October 19, 2010
There are still two weeks left until the midterm elections, but it’s not too early to declare a winner in the contest for the most despicable political ad of this campaign season. On Friday night, Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, released a 30-second spot questioning the Christian faith of his Republican opponent Rand Paul. Conway’s ad focused on two episodes from Paul’s days as a college student in the early 1980s.
Answering Jack Conway's Defenders
October 18, 2010
I've seen a couple liberals dissenting from my condemnation of Jack Conway's religious-based attack on Rand Paul. First, here's Matthew Yglesias: This ad has the virtue—not that common in politics—of being accurate. It also has the virtue of raising actual policy issues about the consequences of Paul’s position on tax reform. It’s true that the implication that unorthodox religious belief should disqualify one from office is ugly, but it’s an implication that I think is extremely common in American politics.
Rand Paul And Jack Conway Race To The Bottom
October 18, 2010
There's a certain noir quality to the Kentucky Senate race. Republican nominee Rand Paul is a longtime devotee of devote atheist Ayn Rand, and has a history of youthful irreligious hijinks. Democrat Jack Conway has attacked Rand with a grotoesque ad that seems to suggest that failure to accept Christianity is a disqualification for office. Rand replies that he does too love Jesus: This is so depressing. The data points cited by Conway are true; what's gross is the insinuation that if you're not Christian there's something wrong with you.
Sympathy For Rand Paul
October 18, 2010
The ugliest, most illiberal political ad of the year may be this one, from Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway: I actually don't doubt the implication of the ad, namely that Rand Paul harbors a private contempt for Christianity. He's a devotee of Ayn Rand, who is a fundamentally anti-Christian thinker.
Rand Paul, Ayn Rand
October 13, 2010
Greg Sargent has obtained Rand Paul's college-era letters to the editor.