During Bill Clinton's first administration, commentators began to condemn the "permanent campaign": Even after an election was over, officials continued to obsess over political positioning and media coverage instead of getting down to the hard business of governing. To see how the health-care reform that was passed earlier this year is talked about, you might think we've entered into a condition of permanent legislating, when even after a bill is signed into law, the battle goes on.
Not to harp too much on Dinesh D'Souza's incredible Forbescover article about how all of Barack Obama's presidency can be explained by the fact that his absent father injected him with an ideology of "Kenyan anti-colonialism" that to this day determines his every decision, but this bit of wingnuttery actually can be instructive for all of us as we think about the information and opinions we use to understand the political world on an ongoing basis.
Successful political leaders know how to read the prevailing winds and rush to the front of the parade that is passing by. And few people do this with more seriousness than Newt Gingrich, who somehow manages to remain a key Republican figure despite having left the speakership of the House in disgrace after scandals both personal and professional.
Today, the prevailing wind on the right is, well, crazy. The president is not simply wrong about this or that but is actually trying to destroy America. Our current conflicts are a sign of the End Times. If a Democratic agenda continues to be enacted, it will literally mean the end of freedom itself. And so on.
Lots of people noticed that in his speech in Cleveland earlier this week, President Obama mentioned House Minority Leader John Boehner eight times. This may or may not mean that turning Boehner into a villain is a key part of the White House's strategy going into the fall elections. But if it is, can it be successful?
Chances are you're reading this on a computer or smartphone made by an American company, like Dell or HP or Apple. And chances are also that the machine was actually constructed in China. That relationship came to broader attention recently when Foxconn, a Chinese company that puts together iPhones, Sony Playstations, and Dell computers, among other things, experienced a number of suicides, with its workers hurling themselves off buildings, purportedly out of despair at their low pay and shabby working conditions.