Today, Bradley Manning was found guilty of violating the Espionage Act by releasing hundreds of thousands of documents from the military and the State Department to WikiLeaks in 2011. Though Manning had already pled guilty to some charges, the government wanted to convict him not only of violating classification rules, but of something far more serious, and on that, they failed. And a good thing, too.
During the dog days of summer, most peoples' lazier impulses take over, even more so in Washington, a muggy city built ill-advisedly on top of a swamp. President Obama, however, seems immune to the soporific effects of the heat and is filling up the days with speech after speech of ambitious agenda-making. Last week saw the kick-off of a new five-point economic plan. A few weeks before that, in a speech mostly forgotten by the amnesiatic chattering class (but not so far away as his national security speech, which seems so long ago to be nearly nonexistent), Obama laid out his administration's plan for the environment, a distillation of his views on climate change heard before only in soundbites.
There are a number of divisions within the GOP today, many of which are more about strategy than substance. For instance, Karl Rove is trying to get the party to avoid nominating more people like Todd "legitimate rape" Akin for office, not because he has any particular disagreement with what those people would advocate if elected, but because he thinks they tend to lose. Other forces within the conservative movement believe that the best thing is always to support the most conservative candidate, and now regard Rove as a squish who has betrayed their cause.
Ever since President Obama and other Democrats began working on the Affordable Care Act back in 2009, there was a simple hearts-and-minds fight between them and their opponents over the law. Democrats said, "This is going to be great!" while Republicans said, "This is going to be terrible!" As a citizen, you could believe either one of them, or neither, or a little of both. This coming October, however, enrollment will begin in the new insurance exchanges established by the law, with coverage taking effect on January 1st. At that point, in addition to trying to influence the public's opinions, the administration will be trying to affect their behavior.
Susannah Shakow's first impression of Tristana Giunta was that the high school junior was awkward. "Like couldn’t look you in the eye kind of awkward," Shakow says. Giunta was attending the first Young Women's Political Leadership conference—the flagship program offered by Running Start, the organization that Shakow, a lawyer with experience pushing women into politics, started in 2007 to get girls excited about governing; excited enough to run for office.