The American Staff

Recent Articles

Devil in the Details

Loyal to Rumsfeld -- or the Constitution? A remarkable ceremony took place in the Pentagon last month. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld swore in the civilians who will be reviewing the judgments reached by military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Here is their oath of office: “Does each one of you swear that you will faithfully and impartially perform, according to your conscience and the rules applicable to the review filed by a military commission, all the duties incumbent upon you as a member of the review panel, so help you God?” Not a mention of the Constitution. The secretary's appointments swear to recognize no higher authority, under God, than the secretary himself. This oath violates the clear commands of Congress. The first statute ever enacted into law -- on June 1, 1789 -- imposed a constitutional oath on all officials, and current law expressly requires everyone appointed “to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services” to swear that he...

Purple People Watch

Florida. Trailing narrowly in most state polls, John Kerry is breaking out liberal bête noir Joe Lieberman to help solidify support among south Florida Jews. Lieberman spent Wednesday in town-hall meetings in Miami and West Palm Beach touting Kerry's positions on Medicare and Israel while reminding voters of his own failed bid for the vice presidency in 2000. Lieberman's communications director, Matt Gobush, meanwhile, is on loan to the Democratic effort in Florida (he's been assigned to Fort Myers). And Teresa Heinz Kerry spent Tuesday in the Fort Lauderdale area pitching her husband's virtues to Native Americans. She said John Kerry would ensure increased funding for social programs directed at Indians and instill a greater respect for tribal sovereignty. Kerry himself has been working on the African American vote, making an appearance at Friends Missionary Baptist Church in Miami, where the minister referred to Kerry's opponents as "liars and demons." The Reverends Jesse Jackson...

On Big Issues

Wooing women Finally. Finally. Finally. Seven months after he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination and less than three weeks before the election, John Kerry on Wednesday night finally turned his attention to what must be his largest constituency: women. Time and again during his final debate with George W. Bush, Kerry slipped in references to women and the issues they care about: health care, jobs, equal pay, poverty, the environment, after-school programs. Following a campaign in which he frittered away his party's traditional edge among women and a second debate in which he offered up a virtually incomprehensible defense of abortion rights, Kerry at last talked directly to and about women in a way that is likely to win him some needed support. “I believe that choice -- a woman's choice -- is between a woman, God, and her doctor,” Kerry declared Wednesday. “And that's why I support that. Now I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has...

Purple People Watch

Missouri. The last poll, taken two weeks ago by the firm Research 2000, showed Democratic state auditor Claire McCaskill and Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt running neck and neck, with 46 percent for McCaskill, 45 for Blunt, and 9 undecided. Little has happened in the race itself in these last two weeks to indicate a shift in the dynamic one way or another. But the dynamic of the presidential race could be significant in this campaign, and that might not be good news for McCaskill. John Kerry's campaign hasn't run ads in Missouri for a few months, so last week's news that the Democratic National Committee's multi-million dollar TV campaign would (for the moment) be coming to an end seemed to confirm suspicions that the Dems are ceding the state. If true, that would obviously be bad news for Dems up and down the Missouri ticket. But political scientist David Robertson of the University of Missouri-St. Louis cautions against sounding any death knells for the Democrats. He doesn...

Purple People Watch

Alaska. This soap opera of a race will likely hang in the balance until November 2. Too bad it has to end then, though, because the campaign ads just keep getting funnier -- and dirtier -- up in The Last Frontier. The back story: In 2001, Republican Senator Frank Murkowski ended a 20-year Senate career midterm to run for governor. He succeeded popular Democrat Tony Knowles, who was prevented from running by term limits. Murkowski won that race, and in a rare bit of imperialist nepotism, he appointed two-term state Representative -- and daughter -- Lisa Murkowski as his successor. (Knowles vetoed the new law that made this appointment possible; as governor on election day, he should have made the appointment, not Murkowski. But no dice.) Today, Senator Lisa Murkowski is waging a fierce battle to keep her seat. Her opponent? Wait for it … … Tony Knowles. A KTUU-TV poll taken August 24 showed Knowles barely ahead of Murkowski. But that was in the direct aftermath of the late Republican...

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