Speed Reading 'the War Within': Heck Of A Job, Casey
September 08, 2008

The first thing you notice out in the early pages of Bob Woodward's The War Within are the showy indictments of President Bush, who leans on poor General George Casey, Jr. like a fraternity pledge-master disappointed with his charge. Casey, who's something of an academic (he studied IR at Georgetown and the University of Denver, and he'd never been in combat) accuses Bush of focusing on body counts, an attitude that Casey identifies with the "Kill the bastards!

A Connection Made?
September 03, 2008

Alan Brinkley--who is the provost and a professor of history at Columbia University, as well as a National Book Award-winning author--will be writing for us throughout the Republican convention.  One more thought from yesterday's convention in St. Paul: The most powerful speech came from Fred Thompson--an energy-less candidate in the primaries who finally seemed to summon some passion last night.

Goodnight Saigon
August 28, 2008

Yesterday, Anthony Swofford, a Marine Corps veteran and the author of Jarhead and Exit A, previewed the Democrats' plans to honor veterans at the convention. How'd the Dems do? Here's Swofford's response: I think they might have done it. With a post-Vietnam roster of veterans speaking from the dais, the Obama campaign presented a youthful, vigorous, and engaged voting block of former warriors last night at the DNC.

Made Man
August 20, 2008

ON SATURDAY, MAY 17, 1980, Cindy Lou Hensley married Navy Captain John McCain at the First United Methodist Church on Central Avenue in Phoenix, not far from the bride’s childhood home. After the ceremony, the wedding entourage headed nearly three miles east to the Arizona Biltmore resort, a sprawling gray oasis designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright protégé in the 1920s. Guests fêted the couple in the resort’s Aztec Room, an elegant, twelve-sided banquet hall with a vaulted, gold-leaf ceiling. The 25-year-old bride seemed impervious to the desert heat.

Dead Left
July 30, 2008

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism By Naomi Klein (Metropolitan Books, 576 pp., $28) It seems like a very long time—though in truth only a few years have passed—since the most sinister force on the planet that the left could imagine was Nike. In 2001, Time proclaimed that the anti-globalization movement had become the “defining cause” of a new generation, and that the spokesperson for the cause was the Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein.

What Did Vietnam Teach John Mccain?
July 01, 2008

People are rushing to denounce Wesley Clark for asking whether McCain's POW experience taught him what he needs to know as Commander-in-Chief. That's fine from a political standpoint, but as a voter, I think this should actually be a legitimate line of inquiry. McCain's POW experience is clearly central to his worldview. We should be asking what lessons he draws from that experience, and whether they're appropriate to managing the current situation our country faces. It is possible to learn the wrong lessons from one's personal experience in war.

That Which Must Not Be Said
April 04, 2008

Barack Obama is a liberal. Hillary Clinton wants you to know this now; if Obama gets the nomination, John McCain assuredly will, too. “Liberal” has had bad connotations ever since the Vietnam era, when conservatives successfully branded their opponents with the “amnesty, abortion, and acid” label. Now, the word “liberal”--or librul, in its nastiest form--has been cast to the bottom of the linguistic heap, to be avoided at all costs.

Bank Shot
February 13, 2008

In the long narrative of central banking, there are few bursts of color. That’s why Federal Reserve Chairman William McChesney Martin’s journey to Lyndon Johnson’s ranch in 1965 leaps from the history books. Johnson extended an invite to Martin because he didn’t much like the tight monetary policy that the Fed had imposed—a war on inflation that placed severe constraints on Johnson’s wars (both on poverty and the Viet Cong). Down on the ranch, Martin received the full LBJ treatment.

Republicans At The Values Voter Summit, Part I
October 19, 2007

Friday, Republican candidates Fred Thompson, John McCain, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter tried to woo restive evangelicals at the Family Research Council's 2007 Values Voter Summit. Here's a look at how each appealed to the flock. Fred Thompson explained his shifting stance on abortion: "I can only say that after, for the first time in my life, seeing a sonogram of my own child, I will never think the same exactly again. I guess, more appropriately stated, I will never feel exactly the same again, because my heart now is fully engaged with my head.

Multiple Choice Mitt

Massachusetts Democrats have a new site up,, which catalogs some of the former governor's most egregious instances of flip-flopping. The site's tacky design notwithstanding, there's some interesting new material there. One of the more amusing flip-flops concerns military service--not whether Romney actually served in Vietnam, mind you, but whether he wanted to: Massachusetts Mitt: "I was not planning on signing up for the military.