Archive

  • REAL RAGE. Far...

    REAL RAGE. Far be it from me -- very far be it from me, Moons Of Freaking Neptune be it from me -- to be perceived as defending NewsMax, but I think Ezra's a little glib in dismissing the story about John McCain 's temper. It is a very real, and very startling, and very important part of his personality and, unless the campaign press corps spends more time in the tank than Shamu, it's going to be an ongoing story in the 2008 campaign. In 1998, I wrote a long profile on the senator for Esquire , and his volatility was very much an issue ever then, particularly with people back in Arizona. More than a few local journalists -- most notably, Ed Montini of the Arizona Republic -- have written about being on the receiving end of tirades from the senator that were considerably out of proportion to whatever perceived slight prompted them. People have treated the matter gingerly, in large part because nobody wants to contribute to the baseless old Rovian smear about McCain's stability. Let us...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GROVER. On June 23, Grover Norquist met with a bunch of liberals for a Prospect -sponsored breakfast here in Washington. Grover expounded on the structure of the two major political coalitions in America; the politics of Iraq, gay marriage, and immigration; the philosophical link between the inheritance tax and Jim Crow; anti-Mormonism and Big Love ; the complete innocence of Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform in this whole Abramoff -Indian tribes brouhaha; and much more. Here he is handicapping the Democratic presidential contenders for 2008: My assumption is that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. I believe the debates will be Hillary Clinton and seven guys sitting around a table, her chair will be four inches taller than everybody else�s, and Biden will say things like, �I was thinking today how clever and brilliant and witty Hillary was, which reminded me that Evan Bayh is an idiot.� And so, they�ll kick each...
  • MCCAIN'S TEMPER. ...

    MCCAIN'S TEMPER. For an interesting preview of the coming smear job on John McCain , check out Newsmax's article questioning whether McCain has the temperament to be President. It warns that, "to insiders who know him, McCain has an irrational, explosive side that make many of them question whether he is fit to serve as president and be commander in chief." Ooh -- scandal! The article mostly charges the maverick with liberal usage of the F-bomb and claims that McCain has poor working relations with the other senators, who he occasionally lambastes. The richest part of the piece, though, surely is the bit comparing his anger management problems to infidelity, an issue Newsmax wasn't exactly known for dodging during the Clinton years. "The favored treatment," writes Newsmax, "is reminiscent of the way the press turned a blind eye to John F. Kennedy's dalliances � except that voters have far more need to know about evidence of instability than presidential infidelities." Ah yes, I...
  • ON ITS FACE!...

    ON ITS FACE! Remember two weeks ago? Those were the days. The Boston Globe offers a recap of Jason Zengerle versus the blogs (without mentioning, though, the hilarious "blogofascism" interlude) in which Zengerle observes, "I mean, what do they call us, 'The Joe Lieberman Weekly,' stuff like that. That is kind of ridiculous on its face." On its face, I would say people call them that because they ran an unsigned editorial arguing that . . . Joe Lieberman should be President of the United States and put it on the cover of the magazine. One might also note in this regard TNR 's unsigned editorial of November 13, 2000 stating, "This magazine has made no secret of its admiration for Joseph Lieberman. For over a decade, few Democrats have better embodied the principles we hoped would one day define the party as a whole." Or their August 12, 2000 editorial observing of Lieberman's nomination for the Vice Presidency: "Gore's epochal decision appears to have been greeted by almost nothing but...
  • THERE SHE GOES...

    THERE SHE GOES AGAIN. My eagle eyes are always scouring the Web for mentions of unlikely reformer Queen Nour , absolute monarch of Jordan, who seems to be in Aspen : Secretary Albright was to discuss "The Changing Middle East" with the Jordanian, Egyptian, and Israeli ambassadors to the United States, with Queen Noor sitting beside the Jordanian ambassador. Dov Zakheim, the former CFO and Under Secretary of Defense, moderated. That's right -- American and Israeli officials plan to bring reform to the Middle East in partnership with the dictators of the two local American client states who, in exchange for American cash, have agreed to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel. Frankly, I'm baffled as to why so many Arabs view U.S. foreign policy as imperialist. Someone tell the public diplomacy office! Note that, as per Secretary Albright 's high-profile role in this particular farce, removing the Bush administration from office is unlikely to fundamentally alter the dynamic here. --...
  • THE POLITICS OF...

    THE POLITICS OF PERSONALITY. There's a fascinating new Gallup poll out today parsing the public's views of Hillary Rodham Clinton . Surprise finding: Only 3 percent of Democrats dislike Clinton on account of her views on the Iraq War. The main reasons Democrats do object to Clinton are, instead, a perception that she's wishy-washy or changes her mind on issues; is overly aggressive or overbearing; and that they "simply don't like her," for unspecified reasons. Republicans who dislike Clinton, meanwhile, do so primarily for substantive reasons (e.g., a disagreement with her "political views in general") as well as for personal reasons (e.g., seeing her as "wishy-washy" and simply not trusting her). There's a gender gap in terms of verbalizing dislike for Clinton, too, with 15 percent more men being able to point to something they don't like about her, and men of both parties holding significantly more negative views of her than women. The good news for Clinton, though, is that 62...
  • WHOA. This seems...

    WHOA. This seems worthy of some MSM attention. Says Abu Aardvark : Al-Quds al-Arabi and al-Masry al-Youm are reporting today that Abu Ayoub al-Masri, the man named by the United States as the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, has actually been in an Egyptian prison for the last seven years. According to Mamdouh Ismail, a lawyer for the Gamaa Islamiya, Sharif Hazaa (the real name of the man believed to be Abu Ayoub al-Masri) has been in the Tarah prison south of Cairo the whole time. Ismail claims to have seen him there just two days ago while he was visiting other prisoners. For what it's worth, bin Laden named Abu Hamza al-Muhajir as the successor to Zarqawi in his July 1 tape (al-Muhajir has been posed as an alias for al-Masri). Analysts have been arguing about al-Muhajir's identity since his name first surfaced, and Montasser Zayat had previously cast doubt that al-Masri could be the person in question. Al-Masry al-Youm interprets this as evidence of the weakness of American...
  • WHITE FLIGHT? ...

    WHITE FLIGHT? I'm not really sure what to make of this data showing that the deterioration in the President's poll numbers is largely due to "white flight," with non-Hispanic white support for Bush dropping by about 20 points since June 2004. That tracks pretty closely with the accelerating rise in gas prices, but it's hard to disaggregate concerns over fuel costs from the war in Iraq, Bush's mishandling of Katrina, and all the other sundry scandals and failures that have marked this administration's second term. This may also be a reflection of the so-called " Affordability Crisis ," which is pummeling middle-class whites pretty hard, but I'd need to see the data sliced by income bracket to reach any solid conclusions there. --Ezra Klein
  • WHY OBJECTIVITY NEEDS...

    WHY OBJECTIVITY NEEDS DEFENDERS. To follow up on something we were discussing last week, via ThinkProgress comes word of this shift on the part of the U.S. military: Rod Nordland, a former Baghdad bureau chief for Newsweek, says the U.S. military �has started censoring many [embedded reporting] arrangements.� �They want to know your slant on a story - they use the word slant - what you intend to write, and what you have written from embed trips before. If they don�t like what you have done before, they refuse to take you.� Now, it's hardly news that the military is interested in controlling the flow of information about the course of a war -- this certainly wouldn't be the first time it's happened -- but it is in the American public's interest to get an accurate picture of what's happening on the ground in Iraq. The idea that the military has, in Nordland's word, "blacklisted" reporters whose work it does not like should be anathema to us as Americans. This is not a political campaign...
  • BLOGS AND GROUPS....

    BLOGS AND GROUPS. Noam Scheiber , in this whale of a post , teases out some of the implications of the interactions between netroots types and traditional liberal interest groups that Garance wrote about yesterday. I think the macro-level impact of the rise of netroots influence should actually be pretty easy to summarize -- ceteris paribus it will make the party less liberal on the issues that are really, really important to key interest groups and more liberal on the other issues. And I think that's generally what you've been seeing: somewhat more flexibility on, say, abortion but for the first time serious efforts to counter the influence of the business lobby over formerly obscure issues like bankruptcy reform and telecommunications regulations. And, of course, questions of war and peace, where Democrats have traditionally felt totally free to spurn the sentiments of liberal voters, counting on loyalty to the key liberal interest groups (none of whom care about any non-trade...

Pages