Phoebe Connelly

Phoebe Connelly is a former web editor of the Prospect. Previously, she was managing editor of In These Times. She writes on political culture, human rights and feminism.

Recent Articles

AD ANALYSIS: SUPER TUESDAY.

If you live in a Super Tuesday state, and you happen to be one of the unfortunately deprived Americans yet to be blessed with the most extraordinary invention of the last quarter-century – Tivo – you have already probably seen some of the presidential candidates’ latest television ads. While there were some last-minute ad buys from Mitt Romney and John McCain, the real action is on the Democratic side, and they’re coming fast and furious – in fact, there are far too many to cover all of them. So we’ll examine the more interesting ones, starting with the dueling Kennedys. Here’s Barack Obama’s, featuring John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline, who with her uncle Ted just endorsed Obama: Hillary Clinton counters with her own Kennedy, Robert Jr.: These ads seem almost identical: the Kennedy child testifies that his/her favored candidate is for all intents and purposes the reincarnation of his/her father. But Obama’s works better for a couple of reasons. First, the visuals in the Obama ad do...

AD ANALYSIS: IT'S THE ECONOMY, GENIUS.

Politicians always say they don’t pay attention to polls, but wouldn’t you know it, now that the economy shows up as the number one issue concerning voters, all the presidential candidates have come out with ads stressing their concern about the economy. As usual, it’s a collection of hits, near misses, and comical whiffs. Let’s start with the Republicans, beginning with he of square jaw and fat bank account, Mitt Romney: This ad unveils a new visual trope, the Rotating Tube of Praise. This is actually pretty clever -- if a viewer is left wondering, “What’s with the tubes?”, that means their eye was grabbed and they might even have read what was on them. But the end of the ad is curious. The announcer says, “We vote for Mitt Romney,” but if you aren’t squinting closely, you won’t realize that he’s reading from the National Review ’s endorsement. What you’re more likely seeing as you hear the words is the photographs on the screen, which show Romney amongst voters. So who are the “we”...

GETTING IRAQ WRONG . . . AGAIN.

This has got to be embarrassing for the Washington Post . Or it would be, if their editorial board had the capacity for shame. Three days ago, WaPo ran a big Sunday op-ed on Iraq by three of the biggest supporters -- Michael O'Hanlon , Fred Kagan , and Gen. Jack Keane -- of the "surge," a piece whose opening sentence touted the success of the troop buildup by citing the recent de-Baathification law as "an important step toward political reconciliation." Today, however, a front page WaPo story reports what many of us said from the beginning : the law is not an indication of political compromise, but rather a misleadingly-named Shia effort to further sideline an already outraged Sunni populace. The article reports, "Approved by parliament this month under pressure from U.S. officials, the law was heralded by President Bush and Iraqi leaders as a way to soothe the deep anger of many ex-Baathists -- primarily Sunnis but also many Shiites such as Awadi -- toward the Shiite-led government...

AD ANALYSIS: THE NEVERENDING RACE.

This week’s ad analysis comes at a time when both the Republican and Democratic races are tighter than anyone thought they would be. By now it was supposed to be all but decided, the fields whittled down and one candidate poised to put his or her opponents away for good. But much to the pleasure of political junkies everywhere, both races are truly up in the air. So let’s see what delicious new morsels the candidates are sending our way. We’ll start with Barack Obama: It might seem a little late to be running a one-minute biography ad of the kind most campaigns usually begin with, but the Obama campaign seems to have surmised (probably correctly) that plenty of voters still aren’t all that familiar with him. And for Obama, his identity is his message. Even though some of the images and interviews in this ad have been used in previous spots, there are some subtle alterations in the arguments being made. Obama is now “fighting,” and his organizing work in Chicago is described as “...

STAYING VIGILANT ON THE INTELLIGENCE PROCESS.

This doesn't happen very often, but I think Ezra seriously misreads this WSJ article on the process behind the Iran NIE, from which he extrapolates that "the career intelligence experts in the government recaptured some degree of autonomy and insulation in recent years." The victory of reality-based analysis over blind ideological interpretation with the NIE is significant, but the very shock it engendered from government officials and pundits alike shows just how perverted the intelligence process has become -- and continues to be -- under the current administration. The reason the Iran NIE told the truth was not because of some recent takeover of upstanding individuals over the poisoned intel process, but because, as the article states plainly, "Hundreds of officials were involved and thousands of documents were drawn upon in this report, according to the DNI, making it impossible for any official to overly sway it." Again: "making it impossible for any official to overly sway it."...

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