James Fallowsspotted something that everybody else seemed to have missed: Obama gave a speech last week (on health care, in this case), and didn't end it by saying, "God bless America." As Fallows explained earlier, America-hating crypto-commies like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and every president through Jimmy Carter (himself an evangelical Christian) somehow managed to make speeches without this coda.
Today's New York Times has a long op-ed by retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak arguing for keeping the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy in place, and it's an interesting document. McPeak isn't some Republican war-monger -- he opposed the Iraq War and endorsed Barack Obama during the 2008 primaries. But his argument here shows how hollow the defenses of DADT are growing.
I almost feel bad for Mitt Romney. He's obviously a smart guy, and when he was governor of Massachusetts he was pretty much the technocratic kind of governor the voters expected -- not pushing conservative social issues too far, creating a health-care reform that's a lot like what the Obama plan ended up looking like. But since he wants to be president, he has to get past a Republican primary electorate that really doesn't care about smarts and technocratic skill. Identity politics is king in the GOP, and Mitt just doesn't have an identity he can hang his hat on. As someone without any evident sense of self, he'll put on whatever identity he thinks will work.
Karl Rove's memoir will be coming out soon, and apparently, there's something he's genuinely contrite about: "The former White House political adviser blames himself for not pushing back against claims that President George W. Bush had taken the country to war under false pretenses, calling it one of the worst mistakes he made during the Bush presidency." Yes indeed, if there's one thing Rove and the Bush administration failed to do, it's criticize their opponents for not supporting the president's war policy.