Who Can Beat Hillary In '08?
December 10, 2006

Probably you don't read the newspapers that carry the political column of Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. But I do read the New York Post, because I grew up with it when Max Lerner, Murray Kempton, Rose Franzblau, and James Wechsler were its very brainy columnists. (Now I also read the New York Daily News, because my friend Mort Zuckerman owns it.) But back to Dick Morris and Eileen McGann.

Ancient War
December 08, 2006

A post-script thought: The Shia and Sunnis of Iraq are slaughtering each other daily in bombings, suicide bombings, shootouts, executions, mutilations, decapitations. Now, Thursday's New York Times had no report of such incidents the day before. But please don't believe that these killings have passed into history. It's just that the Times and other elite media were so giddy about James Baker's 79 ideas for how to end the war that maybe they forgot that the combatants and their clerical commanders really don't care a fig what the commissioners think.

What's New In The Baker-hamilton Report?
December 06, 2006

by Richard Stern The long-awaited Baker-Hamilton report is out, all 160 pages of it. It was introduced by a news conference presided over by James Baker with his familiar mix of witty condescension ("we has-beens") and aristo impatience (telling a reporter he could answer his question but "as it's answered in the Report it would be a waste of time"). Baker's co-chair, Lee Hamilton, the icon of gravitas, came close to the brink of pompous, if not senile garrulity.

Bad Analogies
December 05, 2006

It's fun, if predictable, when pundits make bad analogies between current political trends and historical circumstances. But White House stenographer Fred Barnes's book review in the new Weekly Standard sets a high (low?) water mark. The book under discussion is Jennifer Weber's history of slavery-friendly Northern Democrats who opposed Lincoln's war policy, known as Copperheads. Here's Barnes:   They undermined the war wherever they could. ... More broadly, the antiwar faction's vituperative opposition hurt the ability of the Union army to carry out the war effectively. ...

The Wisdom Of Robert Gates
December 05, 2006

During his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing today, one of Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates' most telling exchanges was with Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. In it, Gates came very close to endorsing the view of Iraq war critics that the Bush administration should have focused on Osama Bin Laden rather than Saddam Hussein. He also expressed extreme reluctance about going to war with Iran, or for that matter, Syria.

Where Does Bush Rank?
December 04, 2006

The Washington Post's Outlook section this week devotes considerable space to famous historians' assessments of where Bush will place on the list of our country's greatest presidents. Unsurprisingly, the consensus is that Bush 43 will rank, well, close to 43rd.

Trouble In Mccainland?
December 04, 2006

Newsweek: Privately, some McCain supporters have begun to worry that the senator's hard line on the war may turn off the moderate, independent-minded voters who've long formed the bedrock of his primary support. "We lost independents," says one campaign adviser, who asked for anonymity discussing the politics of national security.

The Militant Grass Roots
December 03, 2006

Thanassis Cambanis is a journalist whose attention to detail is so sharp and fine that reading one of his articles will put you in touch, really deeply in touch, with a whole other world.

The N-word, Further
November 28, 2006

by Eric Rauchway True confession, following Dan's post: I, myself, a white guy, have used the N-word in front of dozens of students--when quoting white racists, in my U.S. history lectures. Which I regard as legitimate, but I didn't reach that conclusion lightly: It still gives me pause, and I could be argued out of it. As I've pointed out elsewhere, one of the few pleasures of studying the history of American racism before the Civil Rights Movement is the ease of finding evidence: American racists used to be unashamed and frank about their racism.

Civil War In Iraq
November 25, 2006

This is the headline over an AP dispatch from Baghdad: "Iraq: Civil war feared after bombers kill 215." Does not calling it a civil war keep it from being a civil war? The death rates are worse than those in the Spanish Civil War and much worse than those in Bosnia. Why the hesitancy, both official and from others? Let's face it. There is a civil war going on in Iraq, and it has been going on for months and months. No one in the country really identifies himself as an Iraqi.