The American Staff

Recent Articles

About Last Night

The World According to George In the current issue of The National Interest , distinguished neoconservative scholar Francis Fukuyama offered a critical assessment of a recent address given by neoconservative psychologist-turned-hack Charles Krauthammer. The speech, wrote Fukuyama, was “strangely disconnected from reality. Reading Krauthammer, one gets the impression that the Iraq War -- the archetypical application of American unipolarity -- had been an unqualified success, with all of the assumptions and expectations on which the war had been based fully vindicated. There is not the slightest nod towards the new empirical facts that have emerged in the last year or so: the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the virulent and steadily mounting anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East, the growing insurgency in Iraq, the fact that no strong democratic leadership had emerged there, the enormous financial and growing human cost of the war, the failure to leverage the...

Purple People Watch

Florida. Florida is dead even at 48 percent to 48 percent, according to Monday's Zogby poll, an improvement from John Kerry's showing last week, and there are signs that the Democrats' strategy of trying to appeal to younger Cuban Americans is paying dividends. According to a summer poll released by the New Democrat Network, which has launched a massive Latino outreach program, George W. Bush leads among Cuban Americans by a margin of 70 percent to 19 percent, with 11 percent undecided. That sounds pretty good for the incumbent, but it's significantly less than the 82 percent of the vote he captured in 2000. Contrary to popular myth, the Cuban American bloc in Florida isn't the only voting body in the state -- casting just 450,000 votes out of nearly 6 million in 2000 -- but in the ultra-competitive Sunshine State, small gains matter. This week will see the first series of visits by Kerry and John Edwards to Florida in more than a month, as a repeated wave of hurricanes has thrown...

Devil in the Details

Minimal Monitors Thorough election monitoring is a staple in countries recovering from long periods of civil strife. In post-conflict zones such as Bosnia, East Timor, and Haiti, large numbers of foreign experts and trained local monitors have been instrumental in granting legitimacy to the election results, thereby helping those nations' transition to democracy. But not in Afghanistan. On October 9, as Afghans take to the polls in their country's first presidential election since the Taliban's ouster in 2001, not a single foreign monitoring body will have a significant presence in the country. The European Union and other intergovernmental organizations with experience monitoring elections in post-conflict areas once had high hopes for robust monitoring in Afghanistan. Increasing violence and attacks on foreign aid workers, however, have since forced the EU and others to scale back their commitments. In fact, as of mid-September, the only nationwide election monitoring is to be...

Purple People Watch

Florida. Bad news for Floridians this week as yet another storm pounds the erstwhile Sunshine State. Bad news, too, for John Kerry as the Republican chief of the state's Division of Elections announced that Hurricane Ivan could be used as a pretext for putting Ralph Nader on the presidential ballot despite a court order to keep him off. In other bad news, a September 14 Survey USA poll is giving George W. Bush a pretty substantial 51 percent to 45 percent lead. Last but not least, the president seems to have found yet another way to pander to hard-line anti-Castro Cuban exiles: going soft on terrorism. The precipitating factor was Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso's decision to pardon four imprisoned Cuban exiles, including Guillermo Novo, who once fired a bazooka at the United Nations building, for playing a role in a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro during a 2000 international summit in Panama City. After getting out of the slammer, three of the four (all U.S.-passport holders)...

Purple People Watch

INDIANA. This is a race worth watching, thanks in part to a quirky cast of characters and the Hoosiers' unpredictable voting patterns. Will they keep a Democratic governor and vote for a Republican president? That's what happened in 2000. That governor, Frank O'Bannon, suffered a massive stroke and died last September while visiting Chicago. His popular lieutenant governor, Joe Kernan, had already decided to leave politics; at the time, there was talk of him buying a minor league baseball team in his hometown of South Bend. But O'Bannon's death changed all that, and Kernan eventually changed his mind and announced his candidacy for the Democratic ticket. Enter “The Blade.” Mitch Daniels earned his, er, sharp nickname as the Bush administration's director of the Office of Management and Budget. Daniels is the man behind the Bush tax cuts -- as well as the man who watched a $236 billion annual surplus turn into a $400 billion deficit during his 29-month tenure with the administration...

Pages