THE COSMOPOLITANS. So many things are amazing about the emerging field of presidential candidates, but here's one that hasn't gotten much attention -- just how many of the candidates are from no fixed address. Most presidents, like most Americans, are clearly the products of a single particular place, and understanding that place -- Bill Clinton's Arkansas, Nixon's Southern California, LBJ's Texas -- is a big part of understanding them.
But this year we have:
Obviously, Barack Obama of Hawaii, Indonesia, and Chicago, with roots in Kansas and Kenya and stops in California and Cambridge.
But also, Hillary Clinton, of suburban Illinois, Arkansas, and New York.
Our long national nightmare has just begun. There is now little doubt that the next three years will bring one revelation after another about the magnitude of congressional corruption. Democrats will relish this prospect, and “reform” will be an inevitable theme of the next two election cycles. But some political scandals lead to change, while others dominate the headlines for a year and leave no trace. Why? Some of it has to do with managing the media, but it also involves offering credible solutions. Scandals without solutions simply stoke public cynicism. And it is in just such cynical soil that the seed of corrupt big-government “conservatism” was planted.
DAVID BROOKS: THE VOICE OF YOUNG AMERICA. I like Ben Adler's headline, "David Brooks Does Andy Rooney..." It captures the most annoying undertone of Brooks' column on "hipster parents" (which was not totally unfunny -- let's be honest, there are parents who go too far in trying to make their kids into replicas of their own hipper selves; I confess I might have played some role in the fact that my 5-yr-old declares her favorite type of music to be "post-punk"). But when someone harrumphs like this --
HEY JOE: DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT. Here is my plea to Senator Joe Lieberman, a politician I've admired since I was seven years old: Please switch parties. We're tired of the game where you keep dancing ever close to the edge, hoping someone will pay attention to you. Just switch. The issue of our moment is the Iraq war, the pro-war side is the Republican Party. That's your side. Don't do Harry Reid any favors -- he'll manage just fine without you.
MIDDLE CLASS, OR SWING VOTERS? To much fanfare, including a glowing column from David Brooks, the new report from the "strategy center for progressives" known as Third Way has arrived: The New Rules Economy: A Policy Framework for the 21st Century." expands the argument that Third Way has made elsewhere, which is mostly that the middle class is doing fine, and Democrats should stop trying to sell pessimism, and instead adopt the inspiring philosophy they call "progressive realism."