December 30, 2009
It’s been a tough first year for President Obama, as critics throughout the body politic bemoan that Mr. Change-We-Can-Believe-In is looking more and more like Mr. Politics-As-Usual. With the coming new year, however, POTUS has a prime opportunity to regroup, reload, and revamp his image. He could start by ditching golf. Seriously. Its venerable White House history notwithstanding, golf is a dubious pastime for any decent, sane person, much less for this particular president.
Today at TNR (December 8, 2009)
December 08, 2009
Everything You Know About American Involvement in Iran Is Wrong by Abbas Milani Will You End Up Paying More for Health Insurance Under the Current Senate Bill? by Jonathan Cohn Why Clausewitz Would Not Be Happy With Obama’s New Afghanistan Strategy by William R. Gruver Is Expanding Medicare the Best Alternative to the Public Option? by Jonathan Cohn Decoding the Bible by Understanding Its Poetry by Adam Kirsch Exploding Taxis, Police Beatings, and Boiled Sheep Heads: How Will Johannesburg Host the World Cup Next Year?
The Great Satan Myth
December 08, 2009
The Iranian regime has never found itself more vulnerable. And, with this vulnerability, it has never leaned more heavily on its own narrative of history.
December 06, 2009
Strangest comment of the day (from Bob Woodward, on Meet the Press): Woodward: I think the lives of the average Afghan come into play here. How are they living? What's going on with them? And we are sending our military to protect them. You know what, I mean, that--this isn't an abstraction, it is about our military forces going in, eating goat with them... Gregory: Mm-hmm. Woodward: ...smoking bad cigarettes, using the same toilet.
Against Common Sense
November 30, 2009
Conservatives would have us believe that they hold a monopoly on common sense. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and many other right-wing rabble-rousers regularly portray themselves as defenders of the good, old-fashioned common sense of average Americans against an out-of-touch liberal elite.
Anti-Statism in America
November 11, 2009
Anyone who has followed closely the debate over national health insurance has probably noticed some peculiar inconsistencies in Americans’ attitudes toward the legislation. A Pew Poll released on October 8 found “steady support” for specific elements of the health care plan, including the public alternative to private insurance, the employer mandate, and the requirement that everyone have insurance. Nonetheless, popular support for the plan itself was declining, with 34 percent “generally [in] favor” and 47 percent “generally opposed.” What accounts for this disparity?
October 26, 2009
California is a mess, but I love it all the same--especially the Bay Area, where I lived for 15 years. I went to Berkeley in 1962--a refugee from Amherst College, which at that time was dominated by frat boys with high SAT scores. I didn't go to Berkeley to go to school, but to be a bus ride away from North Beach and the Jazz Workshop. In a broader sense, I went to California for the same reason that other émigrés had been going since the 1840s. I was knocking on the Golden Door. Immigrants from Europe had come to America seeking happiness and a break with their unhappy pasts.
Pungent Pundit of Pugnacity
September 29, 2009
William Safire, pungent pundit of pugnacity, impish impresario of impudence, limpid lookout for lexicography, knew his p.r. Just shy of his 30th birthday, in 1959, he gave a huge boost to one of his clients, the Florida manufacturer of a model home on exhibit at a Moscow trade fair, when he contrived to usher Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev into the kitchen showroom.
Party Is Such Sweet Sorrow
September 04, 2009
Even before Ted Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer late last month, Republicans were suggesting that health care reform had suffered in his absence--not because Kennedy was so devoted to the cause, but because he would have cut a deal with the Republicans. “In every case, he fought as hard as he could . . .
August 12, 2009
On the evening of Saturday, June 13, a day after the Iranian presidential election, Vice President Joe Biden was preparing for an appearance the next morning on NBC's "Meet the Press." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian incumbent, was already claiming a preposterously large margin of victory, and reformist protesters were clashing with basiij thugs in Tehran. The Obama administration faced a delicate and fluid situation, and it was far from clear what Biden should say. In circumstances like these, the vice president--especially this vice president--could not simply wing it.