Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd is a former assistant web editor at the Prospect

Recent Articles

JAPANESE POLITICS: STILL...

JAPANESE POLITICS: STILL WACKY When Republicans lose elections, they often blame some issue they see as tangential to their actual policies -- corruption, for instance -- nstead of admitting the unpopularity of their leaders. They could learn a thing or two from Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe , himself a conservative, who recently responded to calls for his resignation (his party suffered a crushing defeat in elections last weekend) by arguing that, far from desiring his departure, the vote reflected "the people's wish to have us reflect on the things we should reflect on and to refresh our minds." So problem solved then. Republicans could learn a thing or two from this guy. Then again, this may be a level of weirdness that's reserved for Japanese politics where one party is stuck with a horribly unpopular PM it can't get rid of, while the other is quite popular but can't seem to find a candidate to replace him. In other weirdness, as Matt Yglesias pointed out , the third party,...

POLICIES? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' POLICIES!

POLICIES? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' POLICIES! The last two months or so have seen a great deal of debate over the policy differences, or lack thereof, between the major Democratic candidates. We've had learned analysis of the various Democrats' health care plans, poverty strategies, and, most recently, approaches to terrorism. Only now are the major media outlets starting to admit the democrats have concrete ideas. For example, Obama , we're told , only recently started to show some substance. Yet, by this standard, every major Republican candidate is about as substantial as tissue paper in a tornado. I'm not the first to notice this , but I was still taken aback by just how little Republicans seem to care about even appearing as if they have any ideas when I started poking around their websites. Start with foreign policy, the subject of recent nuanced debate between major Democratic candidates. Mitt Romney does not mention the word "Iraq" anywhere on his issues page. A search of his...

BARACK OBAMA WILL...

BARACK OBAMA WILL PERSONALLY TRACK DOWN OSAMA BIN LADEN AND KILL HIM WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Not really, but that's the impression you get from the glowing coverage of Obama 's speech today. It was, indeed, very good and there's a good chance it will be remembered as the moment he finally dispelled worries about his foreign policy experience. Substantively, it contains pretty much everything you could ask for -- withdrawal from Iraq, non-proliferation, greater involvement in Afghanistan and so on. The most ballyhooed part is the suggestion that Obama might invade tribal areas just across the border from Afghanistan in Pakistan to root out Al Qaeda and even use US troops. Is this a good idea? I don't know, but the most likely criticism--that it would destabilize Musharraf--is likely not helpful because, the way things are going in Pakistan, we have no idea what the balance of power will be in 2009 or even who will be running the country. Ezra wonders whether we'd be able to convince...

ETHICS!

ETHICS! In yet another rebuttal to claims the current Democratic congress isn't accomplishing anything the House today passed an ethics reform bill that closes a variety of loopholes in current law. It isn't revolutionary but it's progress. The Senate is expected to pass the bill by the end of the week. We should be concerned, however, because six of the eight nay's were Democrats, including John Murtha (full roll call here ). --Sam Boyd

WHAT TO DO...

WHAT TO DO IN WAZIRISTAN? Dana and Ezra 's posts earlier today about David Igantius 's column are both pretty skeptical about the actual plan he describes. Dana is right that we should be extremely skeptical of any military intervention run by this administration, but Ignatius is right that the overthrow of the government of Afghanistan went pretty well and thus it isn't quite right to say that " all Bush administration military interventions are ill-planned and heavy-handed." So, what should we think of Ignatius's plan? As Ezra pointed out there is a real problem that it would be very good to be able to address -- al-Qaeda now has a safe base of operations and a reliable source of funding (Iraq) and Bin Laden is still at large. Ignatius's plan (designed by a CIA officer involved in the Afghan war) is modeled on the approach used to overthrow the Taliban. The plan relies on the cooperation of local leaders who, allegedly, are hostile towards al-Qaeda. Is this true? When we overthrew...

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