Archive

  • MYTHS ABOUT HILLARY.

    MYTHS ABOUT HILLARY. The new Washington Post -ABC News poll on the '08 contenders busts a couple of developing myths on the Democratic side. Myth 1: Hillary Clinton can't rely on support from women because women are ambivalent about her due to her marriage and because women, more generally, are just awful to each other. In fact : Clinton receives significantly higher support among women than men (49 percent to 29 percent). A twenty-point gap does not strike me as explainable on any other grounds than that women want a female president. A lot of what one sees in these early polls is name recognition, but name recognition can't account for a 20-point pro-Hillary gap in enthusiasm on the part of women surveyed. The easiest explanation is that there is actually some gender solidarity going on. Myth 2: Clinton is a moderate who people think of as a liberal, while Barack Obama is a liberal who is perceived as a moderate, and thus more electable in a nation that's afraid of liberals. People...
  • CURIOUSLY STRONG. ...

    CURIOUSLY STRONG. As Badler notes , John Edwards continues to demonstrate surprising strength in polls, beating John McCain in head-to-head match-ups even as McCain outruns both Obama and Clinton . Add in Edwards' astonishing lead in Iowa, the union support which should help him out in Nevada, and the hometown connection with South Carolina, and the genial Southerner can probably afford to wait out the Obama boomlet. In a weird way, Obama and Edwards occupy similar slots: They're both charismatic, eloquent, "electable," and young. But, in 2008, they'll be running precisely opposite campaigns. Edwards is staking his claim on a politics of populism: Ferociously pro-union, fiercely critical of Wal-Mart economy, profoundly engaged with problems of poverty, and so on. Obama, by contrast, looks to be positioning himself towards a politics of moral uplift, one everyone from David Brooks to Rosa Brooks can get behind. In other words, Edwards will be hoping his sharply carved out positions win...
  • STUDY THIS. ...

    STUDY THIS. It's been a rather bizarre week for the Iraq Study Group's report. A mere few days ago, all of Washington was buzzing about the politically irresistible proclamation that the Bush administration must bring in Iran and Syria while committing itself to a gradual drawdown of US troops. The outcome? The Bush administration has firmly rejected talks with Iran and Syria and is inching towards a build-up of troops. In other words: screw off, James Baker . At this point, however, shouldn't the media be freaking out? Bush has contravened the bipartisan sanctity of the ISG, ruled out the treasured solutions of every pundit whose paychecks aren't signed by Murdoch , and promised to do precisely what the American people overwhelmingly voted against in November. The obstinance of this crew has emerged an almost transcendent quality -- and yet you still have Tom Friedman begging Bush to become an environmentalist, David Ignatius suggesting he talk to Syria. When will the media realize...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: FINAL FANTASY. Apropos of Tom 's post , AEI's Fred Kagan unveiled a new Iraq plan yesterday called "Choosing Victory," which calls for, among other things, a significant infusion of new troops. In a new article , Spencer is a bit skeptical: Kagan, in his writings for The Weekly Standard , has been a vociferous critic of outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the senior military leadership, whom he believes have jeopardized America's fortunes in Iraq through their insistence on both a relatively light military footprint and a rapid handover of security responsibilities to Iraqis. That makes it all the more painfully ironic that his plan is so Rumsfeldian: it seeks to essentially re-fight the invasion of Iraq; it substitutes wishful thinking for sound military strategy; it presumes that American military resources are both omnipotent and inexhaustible; and it's agnostic to the point of indifferent about what political settlement is to follow military...
  • DOUBLING DOWN.

    DOUBLING DOWN. So Charles Krauthammer , after denigrating the members of the Iraq Study Group and their findings, says he wants us to "'double down' our military effort" in Iraq? ("This means a surge in American troops...") The thought that anyone in the administration listens to this guy is frightening. The time for sending sufficient troops has long since passed. Even though I thought this war was a bad idea, once there, as late as autumn 2004 I still argued for more troops because it was clear that George W. Bush had violated every tenet of the Powell Doctrine , including the most important one: overwhelming force. Later, when I read Paul Bremer 's book , I wondered how it is that somebody like me -- with no security clearance and no security adviser -- could figure out from my professor's perch in Baltimore that we had sent an underwhelming force (not in the quality of the troops, but their number). Bremer confirms that the first week he arrived in Baghdad, he was handed a...
  • MORAL CLARITY.

    MORAL CLARITY. Via Drum , I see that in his new LA Times column ("Iraq Needs a Pinochet ") Jonah Goldberg argues that you can't make an omelet without throwing a few people out of planes, and that the baseline for measuring the quality of a country's leadership should be Fidel Castro . (This must have been the grading curve his colleague John Podhoretz was using when he called George W. Bush a "great leader.") Of course, if one was inclined to be charitable -- and when it comes to people who supported this disastrous war for many years, I'm not -- it could be pointed out that the current situation in Iraq proves that pretty much any state is better than having no effective state, which is true enough. But consider how much is being conceded here. Evidently, it was never plausible to think that Iraq was magically going to turn into a stable, pro-American democracy after the invasion, which means that the immense cost in lives and resources was going to be expended in a war in which the...
  • EDWARDS' STRENGTH

    EDWARDS' STRENGTH : John Nichols of The Nation highlights a poll that shows John Edwards is the only Democrat to beat John McCain in a head-to-head matchup. Nichols ascribes Edwards' advantage over Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to his position "as the far more progressive candidate in the race." A more cynical progressive might point instead to the facts that Edwards is the only one to have ever been on a national ticket, that he has looks and charisma, or the that unlike Clinton and Obama, he is a white man. Nichols also seems to take Edwards stronger positions against the war and Bush's Supreme Court nominations at face value, when they may be largely explained by the fact that being out of office gives him more leeway. Even so, Nichols is probably right to point to Edwards' "concern about the growing gap between rich and poor in what he describes as 'two Americas,'" as one reason for his appeal. I know a few people at this magazine trumpeting the return of populism who would...
  • THE COMING BLOG...

    THE COMING BLOG PEAK. Via the BBC comes the prediction that worldwide blogging activity will peak next year, then level out at about 100 million. And also this not totally surprising news : The firm has said that 200 million people have already stopped writing their blogs... "A lot of people have been in and out of this thing," Mr Plummer said. "Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it." Indeed. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • LORDY.

    LORDY. Good to see Eason Jordan , of all people, legitimizing an absurd right-wing mau mau campaign against the press. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT.

    QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT. For our DC readers, Tom will be at Olsson's in Dupont Circle tonight at 7:00 PM discussing Whistling Past Dixie -- all are welcome and Tom's eager to say hi. --Sam Rosenfeld

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