The American Staff

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Up Front

Fat Chance Mike Huckabee, the genial former governor of Arkansas, is enjoying an improbable moment as a favorite dark-horse GOP presidential candidate among liberals. (He wants to raise taxes to help the poor! He supports arts education in the schools!) But he faces a few nettlesome hurdles en route to winning the actual GOP nod: his utter lack of funding, party support, name recognition, and voter enthusiasm. But all this pales before another weighty issue: the fraught subject of personal poundage. Huckabee tipped the scales at more than 280 pounds just a few years ago; since which, he's lost more than 100 of those, penned a diet book, and become a born-again exerciser and weight-loss advocate. But if there's one thing Americans hate, it's being lectured about their weight. Americans are fat, and red-state Americans are the fattest of all. Alas for Huckabee: The population that most enthusiastically supports state-led action on obesity is liberal Democrats, according to a public-...

Correspondence

From the Executive Editor For Democratic politicos, presidential candidates most especially, all roads lead to Robert Rubin. The former Clinton treasury secretary bestrides the summit of power and wisdom, commending those Democrats he considers fiscally sound to Wall Street's mega-donors, while commending his own Wall Street perspectives -- free trade and balanced budgets are his holies of holies -- to the Democrats. Problem is, as our founding co-editor Robert Kuttner documents in our cover story, what Rubin is selling is neither good politics nor good economics, nor even very disinterested. How, Kuttner wonders, has an Eisenhower Republican become the Democrats' economic guru? Elsewhere in this issue, Barry C. Lynn describes how giant corporate institutions such as Wal-Mart have all but banished the free market from much of our economy -- a staggering, epochal transformation that has, however, eluded the attention of economists, whose theories obstruct their observation of the...

Up Front

A Candidate in Every Pot Let's see, now: on the democratic side, there's Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Loose-Lips Joe Biden, with Wesley Clark and just maybe Al Gore waiting in the wings. For the Repub-licans, there's Sam Brownback, James Gilmore, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson, with Chuck Hagel and just maybe the Newtster himself waiting to pounce. Imagine, if you dare, the candidate debates coming up. If I remember my Greek architecture right, the reason the Parthenon had eight columns in front was that the Greeks had figured that no one could apprehend more than eight things in a row. Athens may have fallen, but the rule still goes. Giving 12 candidates equal time in a two-hour debate, allowing a scant 15 minutes for introductions, reading the rules, and posing questions, means allotting just eight minutes and 45 seconds to...

Correspondence

Vote for Klein I found Ezra Klein's article [" Strategic Two-Fers ," December 2006] to be an excellent, logical, and well-written article. However, under the paragraph heading "Voting Reform," one now proven reform was completely overlooked. I refer to the Oregon "all-vote-by-mail system." This is a cheaper system, it results in greater voter participation, it is devoid of fraud and abuse, it gives the voter more time to consult resources on each issue before making his/her ballot, and recounts are easily undertaken in contested cases. Electronic voting machines with no paper trail should be made illegal nationwide immediately. Improvements in our voting and voter registration procedures must be made before the next election in 2008! Gerald V. Mann Medford, OR Wes Hangs Tough I read with great interest and appreciation Matthew Yglesias' article, " Smears for Fears ," because I am both a supporter of Wes Clark for president, and a Jew who, like Yglesias, does not want the United States...

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