Archive

  • HONESTY.

    HONESTY. Almost all of the state reporting on the Maryland Senate contest has focused on race. Given that Republican Michael Steele is black and Democrat Ben Cardin is white in a state with one of the largest and some of the most affluent African-American populations, a certain degree of focus on the subject is surely warranted. And finally, one of the candidates has uttered something noteworthy on the issue. Steele was asked earlier this week by The Washington Times if he thought race was a factor in the election. After talking about his chances with black voters, the Republican nominee turned the focus onto his own partisans (which is to say, mostly whites), and said : Will [race] be a factor in this race? Absolutely it will. You have to go into this race with your eyes wide open. You can't sit back and pretend that everybody is going to love you just because you are a member of their party or you hold their values. There's no other way to read it: Steele is saying there are certain...
  • THE GOODS ON BROOKS.

    THE GOODS ON BROOKS. JPod is, it must be said, genuinely and intentionally amusing here , mocking Andrew Sullivan 's verbose blog responses to David Brooks 's review of his new book. But amidst those posts on Sullivan's site is this email from a reader that seems to have the goods on Brooks's ultra-condescending schtick: Reading David Brooks' review of your new book yesterday, I found myself focusing on the same passage that you highlighted in your response: "When a writer uses quotations from Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and the Left Behind series to capture the religious and political currents in modern America, then I know I can put that piece of writing down because the author either doesn't know what he is talking about or is arguing in bad faith." Something about the passage struck a chord in the memory. It only took about ten minutes of googling to find the following passage from a column he wrote for The Atlantic in December of 2001: "We in the coastal metro Blue areas read...
  • WOMEN IN JOURNALISM....

    WOMEN IN JOURNALISM. I certainly suggest folks read my friend Dana Goldstein 's article on why Gail Collins , the retiring editor of The New York Times op-ed page, didn't do more for women in punditry. Dana takes the moment to meditate on the sorry state of women in political journalism. As she knows all too well from hanging out with the DC punditry set, to suggest our profession lacks gender equity is sort of akin to noting the vegetarian entrees at a steakhouse. Dana's argument is, in effect, to push the spotlight away from magazine staffs and towards elections: Journalism is essentially an observational profession, and it makes sense that many women writers feel detached from a political world that not only showcases very few women, but also relegates �women�s issues� (these days, anything domestic in both senses of the word, whether public education, health care, issues of work-life balance, or student debt) to second-class status. Indeed, we remind ourselves far too infrequently...
  • A LIGHT IS FLICKERING.

    A LIGHT IS FLICKERING. Twelve to eighteen months now, and they can stand up and we can stand down. Maybe. General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad promised that within that timeframe, the Iraqi government will a) disarm the militias, b) quell the insurgency, and c) reach political compromise on the sectarian divisions that have torn the country apart. No word yet, of course, on whether it will also give every Iraqi a pony. The Bush administration has proven itself very good at meeting its deadlines in Iraq. The June 30, 2004 handover of "sovereignty" took place ahead of schedule; the January 2005 election went off as planned; so too did the October 15, 2005 constitutional referendum and the December 15, 2005 election of a permanent government. What got lost in the mix was the meaning of these dates -- that is, in order to meet every benchmark, and thereby demonstrate "success" in Iraq for a news cycle or two, the administration joyfully overlooked the fact that each of these...
  • CENTER OF GRAVITY.

    CENTER OF GRAVITY. The consensus is that Baghdad is the center of gravity for the conflict in Iraq. The military has tried to spin this in a positive way; the battle of Baghdad is where the insurgency can be defeated. But this isn't really what's going on. Baghdad is a center of gravity, but not for the insurgency. Carl Von Clausewitz introduced the "center of gravity" concept in On War . More or less, it refers to the source of a combatants' strength, which, if captured or destroyed, would deprive an enemy of the means to continue. It can represent anything from a battlefleet to a province to more nebulous concepts like morale and legitimacy. Were the battle of Baghdad successful, the insurgency would be deprived of Baghdad as a base of operations and presumably as a target, but it wouldn't be destroyed. Most insurgencies don't expect to slug it out on the streets of the national capital, preferring to operate in areas where central authority is weak. Baghdad can't be the center of...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: IT'S THE POLITICS, STUPID.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: IT'S THE POLITICS, STUPID. Dana Goldstein assesses Gail Collins ' tenure as New York Times editorial page editor and weighs in on the ongoing debate over women's underrepresentation in political punditry. The lack of female pundits isn't the real problem, she says; it's the lack of female politicians. --The Editors
  • EXPERIENCE MATTERS. ...

    EXPERIENCE MATTERS. This warning from John Judis is, I think, an apt one for a Democratic Party that may be willing to trample its own better instincts to recapture power: I wouldn't say that winning a presidential primary contest, or even the general election, is adequate preparation for being president. I'm skeptical about senators without significant foreign policy experience and governors from small states with little national experience or from large states who had little responsibility in office. John Kennedy was a two term senator, but he spent much of his two terms campaigning for president, and when he became president, made two very serious errors in foreign policy in his first year--sanctioning the Bay of Pigs invasion and appearing weak to Khrushchev in Vienna. Lyndon Johnson knew how to get domestic policy passed, but had little experience in foreign affairs, and it showed immediately in his decision to escalate the war in Vietnam. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W...
  • THE GREAT RISK SHIFT DEBATE.

    THE GREAT RISK SHIFT DEBATE. Sam hasn't done it yet, so allow me to recommend Matt 's rejoinder to Jacob Hacker 's Great Risk Shift argument . You're already hearing a ton about Hacker's book, but so far, most of the reviews and rundowns I've seen have either been uncritically laudatory or hackishly off-base. Matt's criticism , that Hacker's book marks a perpetuation of the "Third Way" unwillingness to discuss inequality, is the second most perceptive critique I've read of Hacker. The most perceptive critique is mine, but that won't go up until later today. So for now, read Matt . --Ezra Klein
  • MOLTO MARIO.

    MOLTO MARIO. God bless you, Mario Loyola of National Review . During these dark times, who will stand up to defend the Iraqi experiment in democracy? You will! To wit : But as bad as the security situation is, I think Americans would feel differently if they knew the tenor of the political debate in Iraq -- how effectively every major issue is getting debated in the legislature, in the government, and in the press. Amidst all the violence, the democratic debate continues, and it is already sinking deep roots into the Iraqi psyche. Damn right! The Iraqi democratic process has yielded such prominent successes as the federalism bill, which a Shiite-dominated parliament pushed through over the strenuous objections of the Sunni minority. The Sunnis not-unreasonably see federalism as a means to deny them the resource wealth from Iraqi oil, and tried -- with help from Moqtada Sadr -- to stop the bill through a failed effort at preventing a quorum. Leading Sunni politician Adnan Dulaimi...
  • YOU'VE DONE NOTHING BUT CAUSE HARM.

    YOU'VE DONE NOTHING BUT CAUSE HARM. Matt had Clash-blogging; I'll have Avail -blogging. The latest Mason-Dixon poll has George Allen slightly ahead of Jim Webb , albeit still within the margin of error. No one knows how the race will end up, but one group that had Allen's number way, way before Macaca-gate was the brilliant 1990s Richmond-based punk band Avail. Back on their classic 1996 album 4 a.m. Friday , they penned an anthem, "Governor," about then-Gov. Allen: so don't talk to me about all you're gonna do and who you represent and how you'll see it thru i'm not buying who you're selling you're selling you and it just doesn't seem right you've done nothing but cause harm and you want praise and i'm not gonna take it easy We shouldn't, either. --Spencer Ackerman

Pages