Bitter Rivals
October 17, 2006

In Stamford, Connecticut yesterday, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, and what's-his-name debated in what The New York Times characterized as "a stilted and at times awkward exchange punctuated by sarcastic swipes from the candidates." The dispatch did not quote very much that I thought notably sarcastic.

Edward Said's Legacy
October 16, 2006

Edward Said died three years ago, and some people are in mourning still. But his star in the academy is dimming, although there is still a 15-year backlog of underemployed graduate students who were trained in his flashy glaze. How far can one really go with endless versions of "Imperialism and Demasculinization in the Sahara"? There is something quite desperate in the effort to perpetuate this gloss, as when you try to revive scarred pine floors with polyurethane. In Wednesday's Times there was a review by Jeannette Catsoulis of two documentaries about Said.

Lieberman Leads Lamont
October 12, 2006

The blogosphere of the left was a bit giddy when Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary. It is strangely silent now. So why? Well, one salient fact is that Lieberman is leading in the polls. According to a Hartford Courant/Center for Survey Research poll, reported in the Courant, "Lieberman leads Lamont among likely voters 48-40 percent." Monika McDermott, who supervised the poll, said Lieberman had met all of his challenges so far. Especially Iraq.

From Bolshevism To Radicalism
October 06, 2006

Maybe this Spine should have been posted on the Open University blog. Or perhaps I should note on this one that this posting will primarily interest those who were, at least at some point in their lives, pre-occupied by the American left, pro or con. It was very rare to find people in the middle or neutral. Actually, I grew up despising communism and pitying communists. Which is also an expression of pre-occupation. I now know why I felt as I did about the doctrine and the doctrinaires, especially the Jewish doctrinaires. You see, I knew I was a Zionist when I was ten.

War And The Historical Profession
October 05, 2006

David A. Bell Having just written a book called The First Total War (pre-orderable here), the problem that David Greenberg raises is one I've thought about quite a bit. In a sense National Review's Miller, and the many "operational" military historians who have complained about the disappearance of their subject from the universities, are right to complain about liberal bias. What they don't realize, though, is that this bias--or rather, propensity--goes much deeper than they think, and is also, in an important sense, intellectually justifiable.

War Thoughts At School
October 05, 2006

by Eric Rauchway Further to David's point below, war doesn't just inflect American history, it runs all through it and often informs discussion of the nature of the American republic. An example: If it's October, it must be the 1860s, at least in my lecture hall. Each year around this time we get to the factors that hastened Redemption, or the end of Reconstruction in the South: southern white resistance, including the Klan; national Republican weakness and division; and the Supreme Court.

A Friend Writes In Response To My Last Post
October 04, 2006

by Richard Stern Who says Bush et al want to 'win their War on TERRORRRRR' or their war against Iraq? I think that they would prefer the latter to be at a lower level, just to justify the permanent US bases astride the oil supplies but not so intense as to give traction to the bleeding-heart liberals and the traitorous wing of the Protestant clergy.

Right-wing, Imperialistic Warmongers?
October 04, 2006

by David Greenberg Are military historians victims of political correctness? Via History News Network, I came across this piece by John J.

I.f. Stone Redivivus
October 02, 2006

There are three or four living political intellectuals by whose ideas I test my own. I blame none of them for what others may think my excesses. But I am always both eager and nervous to find out what they think. Paul Berman is one of these by whom I judge myself. Maybe it is solipsistic to introduce a third person by what he means to me. But probably you have read him in TNR many times (here, here, and here) and elsewhere, too. He is one of our contributing editors and, therefore, one of our gang. When Paul writes in others' pages, I immediately feel a kind of sullen envy.

Condoleezza's Future
October 01, 2006

by Richard Stern What a medley the least complex of us is. When the medley is exhibited on the large screen of public life, the discrepant elements can become components of tragedy or farce. Take the enormously gifted and attractive person who serves as our secretary of state. The child and grandchild of high-minded, accomplished people of exceptional dignity--grandfather and father Presbyterian ministers, mother a teacher of science, music, and oratory--she grew up in Birmingham exceptionally alert to the racial fires from which her parents could not protect her.