What is at the core of Obama's appeal? Part of it is the eloquence and uplift of his speeches, combined with his personal grace and dignity. By all accounts, Obama is a well-grounded, decent, thoughtful man. He comes across, in his person and manner, as nonpartisan. He has an unsurpassed ability to (seemingly) transcend politics. Even when he disagrees with people, he doesn't seem disagreeable. "You know what charm is," Albert Camus wrote in "The Fall," "a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question." Obama has such charm, and its appeal is not restricted to Democrats. A second reason Republicans appreciate Obama is that he is pitted against a couple, the Clintons, whom many Republicans hold in contempt. Among the effects of the Obama-Clinton race is that it is forcing Democrats to come to grips with the mendacity and ruthlessness of the Clinton machine. Conservatives have long believed that the Clintons are an unprincipled pair who will destroy those who stand between them and power -- whether they are political opponents, women from Bill Clinton's past or independent counsels. When the Clintons were doing this in the 1990s, it was viewed by many Democrats as perfectly acceptable. Some even applauded them for their brass-knuckle tactics. But now that the Clintons are roughing up an inspiring young man who appears to represent the hope and future of the Democratic Party, the liberal establishment is reacting with outrage. "I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons," writes Jonathan Chait of the New Republic. Many conservatives respond: It's about time. A third reason for Obama's GOP appeal is that unlike Clinton and especially John Edwards, Obama has a message that, at its core, is about unity and hope rather than division and resentment. He stresses that "out of many we are one." And to his credit, Barack Obama is running a color-blind campaign. "I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina," Obama said in his victory speech last weekend. "I saw South Carolina." That evening, his crowd of supporters chanted as one, "Race doesn't matter." This was an electric moment. Obama's words are in the great tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. Obama, more than any figure in America, can help bind up the racial wounds of America. In addition, for the past eight years, one of the most prominent qualities of the American left has been anger, which has served it and the country very poorly. An Obama primary win would be a move away from the politics of rage.I'd say this sums it up nicely, but the last point in particular should be stressed. Every single conservative I've talked to since the South Carolina primary has mentioned the Clinton comparison between Obama and Jesse Jackson -- and it left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.
Ahead of Super Tuesday - the day when 24 US states decide on their preferred candidate for the Presidency - BBC World Service and Chicago Public Radio present a major debate on the big election issues live from Chicago on Saturday 2 February. Election 2008: America's Decision - Your Business comes from the Jim And Kay Mabie Performance Studio of Chicago Public Radio and can be listened to live on the BBC World Service website. Presented by the BBC's Claire Bolderson and Richard Steele from Chicago Public Radio, the debate will see four select studio guests and their audience focus on the global economy and foreign policy, internal debate in the US, and the impact on the rest of the world. The panellists are Tom Bevan, editor of the website RealClearPolitics; professor Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago; Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times; and professor Daniel Drezner of the Fletcher School at Tufts University.I believe you can listen to it online as well. Since I wrote my Newsweek column on this issue, there's been some straight news coverage on this from the New York Times, as well as Roger Cohen's recent op-ed. None of these stories cover Chinese perceptions of the campaign. Thank goodness for sexyBeijing.tv!!!: After seeing myriad YouTube clips of geographically illiterate Americans, I have to say it's refreshing to see a U.S. citizen displaying more positive traits. And for those wondering where the title of this post comes from.... well, see below:
Mr. Giuliani?s campaign was stumbling, even if it was not immediately evident. He leaned on friendly executives who would let him speak to employees in company cafeterias. Mr. Romney and Mr. McCain, by contrast, compiled lists of undecided Republican voters and invited them ? sometimes weeks in advance ? to town-hall-style meetings. ?Rudy Giuliani had a tremendous opportunity in New Hampshire that his campaign never embraced,? said Fergus Cullen, the state Republican chairman. ?They vacillated between being half committed and three-quarters committed, and that doesn?t work up here.? Mr. Giuliani also relied on a New York-style approach to photo-friendly crowds. ?Rudy went very heavy on Potemkin Village stops, working what I call ?hostage audiences,? ? Mr. Cullen said. ?It looked like he was campaigning, but he didn?t know who he was talking to.?.... In the end, Mr. Giuliani and his advisers treated supporters as if they were so many serried lines of troops. If they tell a pollster in November that they are going to vote for you, this indicates they are forever in your camp, their thinking went. But politics does not march to a military beat; it is a business of shifting loyalties. By Tuesday night, even those voters who rated terrorism as the most important issue were as likely to vote for Mr. Romney or Mr. McCain as for Mr. Giuliani.From the way he organized his campaign, it seems like Giuliani would have been a complete failure at any kind of governance that would have required, you know, politics or legislation or wonky stuff like that.
This has proved a tough season for statewide pollsters even by historical standards. Mrs. Clinton eked out a win in New Hampshire even though most pollsters expected her to be buried by Mr. Obama. A recent analysis of polls in that state by Survey USA found that pollsters were off by an average of 10 percentage points in the days leading up to the election. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, where Mr. Obama routed Mrs. Clinton on Saturday, Survey USA found that prognosticators did even worse, chalking up average error rates of 17 percentage points.What's odd about this is that the bulk of Cooper and Chozick's article is about how Hillary Clinton has a built-in advantage come Super Tuesday... because of statewide polls showing her in the lead.
I haven't been impressed with very much of the chatter about Barack Obama's primary victory last night. Hillary didn't give a concession speech? Give me a break. Who cares? Turnout was up? Yes, but it's been an exciting and money-filled campaign and turnout has been up everywhere. Obama won the black vote and lost the white vote? Nothing new there. Obama won young people and Hillary won among the elderly? Again, no surprise.I'll maintain that South Carolina is another notch in an argument I made in Newsweek ten days ago:
In a pleasant surprise, negative campaigning has not worked. Part of the explanation for Huckabee's rise in the polls has been the relentlessly upbeat quality of the campaign and the man. Mitt Romney, in contrast, has not gained much from attacking either Huckabee or McCain. Obama's optimism on the campaign trail worked well for him, until women thought Hillary was being unfairly attacked and rallied behind her. In South Carolina, however, Clinton will likely pay a price for statements made by her, her husband, and her surrogates impugning Obama in particular and, in some instances, the civil rights movement in general.I think this thesis still holds up. Romney did well n Michigan because he
1) According to the New York Times' Michael Luo, all the other Republicans personally dislike Romney; 2) Paul Krugman's dislike of Barack Obama is a matter of public record; 3) Matthew Yglesias dislikes McCain; 4) Andrew Sullivan really loathes Bill and Hillary Clinton -- and clearly, he's not alone 5) Stephen Bainbridge dislikes everyone except Fred Thompson.This was just off the top of my head.
The Clintons play dirty when they feel threatened. But we knew that, didn't we? ....High-minded and self-important on the surface, smarmily duplicitous underneath, meanwhile jabbing hard to the groin area. They are a slippery pair and come as a package. The nation is at fair risk of getting them back in the White House for four more years. The thought makes me queasy.It's a multiple choice:
A) Jonah Goldberg B) William Greider C) Maureen Dowd D) Bob NovakFor the answer, cick here.
1) Sending me approximately 935 e-mail notifications about the new website will not put you in my good graces [C'mon, it was really close to 935?--ed. OK, it was closer to five, but I can confirm that these e-mails actually existed, and they clearly have the capability to send me 931 more. I had to act preemptively.] 2) Just to nitpick a little more, you aver that:Warm regards, Daniel DreznerBush and the top officials of his administration have so far largely avoided the harsh, sustained glare of formal scrutiny about their personal responsibility for the litany of repeated, false statements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. There has been no congressional investigation, for example, into what exactly was going on inside the Bush White House in that period. Congressional oversight has focused almost entirely on the quality of the U.S. government's pre-war intelligence ? not the judgment, public statements, or public accountability of its highest officials. And, of course, only four of the officials ? Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz ? have testified before Congress about Iraq.OK, except that the other four officials that you highlight in the report are "White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan," President Bush, and Vice President Cheney. The latter two ain't testifying, and do you really think that the first two would provide any value-added?
Mrs. Clinton?s campaign this week in South Carolina is essentially running Mr. Clinton against Mr. Obama. The two have been engaged in a war of words, with Mr. Clinton accusing the Obama campaign of voter coercion in the Nevada caucuses, and Mr. Obama saying on Monday that Mr. Clinton had made comments that were ?not factually accurate? and that his advocacy for his wife had grown ?pretty troubling.?.... Mr. Clinton has drawn particular criticism for saying, just before Mrs. Clinton?s victory in the New Hampshire primary, that Mr. Obama?s depiction of his steady opposition to the Iraq war was ?a fairy tale,? given that Mr. Obama voted for a time for Iraq war financing and once indicated that he was not sure how he would have voted on authorizing military action in Iraq. At the Ebenezer congregation on Monday, an Obama supporter, Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, appeared to take a shot at Mr. Clinton over that comment as he sat a few feet away. ?In this beautiful, all-American morning,? Ms. Franklin said, ?we are at the cusp of turning the impossible into reality. Yes, this is reality, no fantasy or fairy tale.?Pundits are also chatting up Bill Clinton's advocacy. Which leads to my question to readers and reporters: it would seem that the obvious comparison to Bill Clinton's conduct in the 2008 campaign is George H.W. Bush's conduct during the 2000 campaign. To what extent has President Clinton's advocacy for his wife exceeded Bush's advocacy for his son? Combing through Google news archives during the primary phase of the campaign, it's tough to find much at all on Bush pere. There are a few mentions of Bush's father campaigning for his son, but frankly, there was less than I expected. I could not find anything about Bush attacking McCain, Forbes, or other primary candidates (which does not mean anything can't be found). Even more surprisingly, I can't find a story this month that has made this comparison (again, that does not mean anything can't be found). Question to readers: has Bill Clinton crossed the line in campaigning for his wife? Is there a line to cross?
[O]ne of the interesting bits of information to come out of the Iraq War so far has to do with why US intelligence was so off about Hussein?s possession of weapons of mass destruction. People who want to argue that intelligence was purely concocted for political purposes are too simplistic, people who want to reduce it all to the will of Dick Cheney or a few neocons are too simplistic, people who want to make it a sincere mistake are too simplistic. Some of what strikes me as actually involved includes: a. That very indirectly, almost ?culturally? or ideologically, actors inside the Bush Administration made it known that they, even more than their predecessors, would not welcome intelligence which blatantly contradicted beliefs or assumptions that they were inclined to make. No one ever sends an order down that says, ?Here?s the casus belli we need, please write it up! kthnx.? This kind of pressure gets exerted when someone like Cheney says in a conversation that includes key advisors and heads of executive departments that intelligence has been ?too timid? in the past, or is too dominated by experts who are unwilling to act. The thing is, Cheney (or various neocons) could believe that statement as a reaction to some factual understanding of the history of US intelligence, could say it as a reflection of a much more intuitive kind of personal, emotional orientation towards leadership (think John Bolton here), and so on?and could not entirely know themselves why they say it, or how that statement is likely to be received or interpreted. 2) Another thing at play: how the movement of information through institutions is rather like a game of telephone, that there is a kind of drift and transformation which has less to do with intentionality and more to do with processes of translation, reparsing, repackaging and repurposing as information travels from office to office, up and down hierarchies. So at one level of action and knowledge, you can get a very granular, nuanced understanding of the extremely limited value of a source like ?Curveball?, but a process rather like genetic drift starts to mutate that knowledge into something else by the time it reaches the layer where ultimate decisions are made.Now DeLong:
Tim Burke is both right and wrong. He is right: courts are the natural habitats of deceitful courtiers who tell the princes exactly what the princes want to hear, the people on the spot who control implementation matter in ways that the people around polished walnut tables in rooms with green silk walls do not, and the movement of information through bureaucracies does resemble a game of telephone with distortions amplified at every link. But. Those with sufficient virtu to become princes in this modern age are well aware of all these deficiencies of bureaucracies and courts.... by the time anyone (a) possesses sufficient virtu, (b) is forty-five or fifty-five or sixty-five, and (c) has seen the world, there is no excuse for not understanding that as a czar your cossacks respond to the incentives you set them, that you can change those incentives, and that you are responsible for the behavior that your incentives elicit. By the time you are forty-five or fifty-five or sixty-five, you know very well that when you say that "intelligence has been 'too timid' in the past," what they hear you saying is "don't tell me what you think, tell me what I want to hear." George W. Bush--the feckless and virtu-less hereditary prince--may well not have clued in to the fact that Condi Rice had decided that if she told him what he needed to hear she might get fired, while if she told him what he wanted to hear she would get promoted. But Colin Powell knew damned well what the flow of "intelligence" from George Tenet to him was worth unverified, and knew damned well that taking care not to try to verify it was a way of preserving his own options for the future. And Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld knew damned well--unless they are much farther into their dotage than I believe--that their confidence in Saddam Hussein's WMD program was based not on intelligence but on their judgment that they would have active WMD programs if they were Saddam Hussein. The frictions and distortions of the bureaucracy and the court exist. They are, however, counterbalanced by the intelligence, the sophistication, and the energy of the principals at the top. If the czar wishes, the cossacks do work for him. And if the czar doesn't want to take the time to make the cossacks work for him--well, that is his decision and what happens is his will just as well.And now Henry:
I?m with Brad on this, but I want to go one step further. The very fact of ambiguous motivations and uncertainty about what the people at the top really want can be a crucial source of strategic power for those people. By combining ambiguous information about the motivations of those in power with implicit incentives to please them, powerful people can strategically shape the things that underlings do and do not do, without ever specifically demanding that they do anything.... More generally, the problem of ambiguity, reflects, as Brad says, to a very considerable degree the desires of those at the top. Moreover, it may be a crucial source of power for them. It allows them to blur lines of accountability and responsibility, by making underlings guess what they want, while never having the comfort of explicit instructions. Hence decisions by underlings over torture, to destroy tapes, to skew intelligence in the one way rather than another, that are based on well grounded inferences about the preferences of those above, but which don?t allow others later to reconstruct clear chains of causation and responsibility that lead from those at top to those who want to implement their wishes. That motivations may not be unambiguously discernible from context doesn?t mean that their motivations don?t exist, or that beliefs about those motivations aren?t important. Moreover, precisely that ambiguity over motivations allows for all sorts of strategic actions that wouldn?t be possible otherwise.My take: there are cross-cutting effects in the relationship between bureaucracies and "courts" as Brad puts it. No doubt, bureaucrats will want to please their superiors, and that can affect the kinds of information that they receive. On the other hand, there is an large and robust literature in political science on the fact that bureaucracies can also resist, evade, or sabotage the policy preferences of their political superiors. Indeed, this came up earlier this week in the Nevada debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (NOTE: if anyone can find a shorter YouTube clip that only encompasses the first 7 minutes, post it in the comments): Hillary Clinton's concern with bureaucratic evasion mirrors the Bush administration's utter and complete conviction, when they came to power in 2001, that they faced a hostile and ideologically biased bureaucracy. Being embedded in said bureaucracy at the time, I think the Bushies were about 15% correct and 85% incorrect, and this led to some horrible policymaking processes. An interesting question going forward is whether Clinton would display the same kind of organizational pathologies. To be clear, Brad and Henry are correct to say that leaders should be wary of eager-to-please courtiers, and should be willing to pulse the system in order to get alternative sources of information. The irony of the Bush administration, however, is that in the case of intelligence gathering, Cheney and Rumsfeld did precisely this very thing. In their case, however, it was because they thought the intelligence apparatus' inherent risk aversion was preventing them from drawing the conclusions that they had already drawn about Saddam Hussein. And, as Hillary Clinton's statements suggest, this is hardly a GOP phenomenon. One last quick thought: I don't really buy Farrell's strategic ambiguity argument -- or, at least, it was at best a minor key in this administration. George W. Bush is a lot of things, but "ambiguous" ain't one of them. And it's Bush's decisions that, in the end, set the tone for the administration. One of the biggest problems with liberal critiques of the Bush administration has been the assumption that Bush has been from the nose by Cheney, Rumsfeld, neocons, etc. Bull s**t. The president has been the decider.
This paper analyzes the large and often well organized markets for betting on presidential elections that operated between 1868 and 1940. Over $165 million (in 2002 dollars) was wagered in one election, and betting activity at times dominated transactions in the stock exchanges on Wall Street. Drawing on an investigation of several thousand newspaper articles, we develop and analyze data on betting volumes and prices to address four main points. First, we show that the market did a remarkable job forecasting elections in an era before scientific polling. In only one case did the candidate clearly favored in the betting a month before Election Day lose, and even state-specific forecasts were quite accurate. This performance compares favorably with that of the Iowa Electronic Market (currently the only legal venue for election betting in the U.S.). Second, the market was fairly efficient, despite the limited information of participants and attempts to manipulate the odds by political parties and newspapers. Third, we argue political betting markets disappeared largely because of the rise of scientific polls and the increasing availability of other forms of gambling. Finally, we discuss lessons this experience provides for the present.... The extent of activity in the presidential betting markets of this time was astonishingly large. For brief periods, betting on political outcomes at the Curb Exchange in New York would exceed trading in stocks and bonds. Crowds formed in the financial district ? on the Curb or in the lobby of the New York Stock Exchange? and brokers would call out bid and ask odds as if trading securities. In presidential races such as 1896, 1900, 1904, 1916, and 1924, the New York Times, Sun, and World provided nearly daily quotes from early October until Election Day.... In the 15 elections between 1884 and 1940, the mid-October betting favorite won 11 times (73 percent) and the underdog won only once (when in 1916 Wilson upset Hughes on the West Coast). In the remaining three contests (1884-92), the odds were essentially even throughout and the races very close. The capacity of the betting markets to aggregate information is all the more remarkable given the absence of scientific polls before the mid-1930s. The betting odds possessed much better predictive power than other generally available information. Moreover, the betting market was not succeeding by just picking one party or by picking incumbents. Over this period, Republicans won eight of the elections in the Electoral College and Democrats seven; the party in power won eight, the opposition seven.Hat tip: The Monkey Cage's John Sides.
We?re heading into a recession (ignore what I've said before -- this time I'm sure). The Republicans are blinkered. Everything is Alan Greenspan?s fault. I luuuuuv John Edwards. Barack Obama is not a real progressive.Repeat twice a week until about, I'd say, mid-August.
"Experience is not defined by years spent in Washington but by instinct and judgment and wisdom,? Mr Kerry told a crowd of about 2,000 at a college in Charleston, South Carolina.I can sort of see judgment and wisdom emanating from experience... but instinct? Isn't that pretty much the opposite of experience? Doesn't that almost sound like Stephen Colbert said it? I was wondering what his writers were doing during the strike. UPDATE: Marc Ambinder has more.
[W]hoever actually wrote them, the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul's name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him--and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing--but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.Read the whole thing -- it's pretty devastating. Ron Paul's response is here, and includes this passage:
When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.Note to self: reconsider outsourcing blog to nice man from Nigeria who promises to transfer 1 million pounds to my bank account. UPDATE: At one point, Kirchick writes that Paul's supporters are "are nothing like the urbane libertarians who staff the Cato Institute or the libertines at Reason magazine." Does this mean there are no libertines at Catoand no urbane libertarians at Reason? Of course, Kirchick also forgot the final clause in his sentence: "or the complete geeks at the Institute for Humane Studies."
1) Hillary Clinton genuinely thinks the country needs change, and that she has the capacity, as president, to make the country a better place; 2) Hillary Clinton genuinely thinks that no one else but her possesses that capacity, and that it is insulting to suggest otherwise.On foreign policy matters -- and that's the primary issue area I care about in this election -- there are ways in which I trust Clinton's experience more than Obama's. That second point, however, scares the ever-living crap out of me. That kind of belief bears a strong resemblance to the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvaia Avenue. Screw the politics of fear and, frankly, screw the politics of hope. I want the politics of doubt. I want a president who, in these complex times, has the capacity to admit error before all is lost. I get absolutely no whiff of that from Hillary Rodham Clinton. UPDATE: I'm fascinated by the comment thread to this post. To clarify a few matters:
1) I'm fully aware that "the politics of doubt" is not a winning platform, and that all candidates must project confidence and reassurance in their campaigns. I have no illusions that my preference matches those of others (interestingly, I feel the same way about doctors visits. Doctors tend to project authority because patients feel better if they are completely sure of their diagnosis/course of action. Growing up with a doctor, I much prefer having my physician give a more probabilistic assessment of whatever is ailing me). 2) There's something else I didn't quite nail about Clinton's video sequences -- her sense of entitlement. Put it this way -- while Obama has taken some shots at Hillary's "experience," I haven't heard him say imply that she's unfit for the office. On the other hand, everything in those two video snippets suggests that Clinton has internalized the belief that no one else is remotely deserving of the Oval Office. 3) I'm not endorsing Obama -- not even close. I am paying more attention to the Democratic primary than the Republican one because I'm 80% sure that whoever gets the donkey nomination will be the next president.
Two polls that had the race within a few points before the Iowa caucuses have the race tied in New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses. In today's CNN/WMUR New Hampshire poll, Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama are tied at 33 percent - their last two polls had Hillary up 4 points and before that had Hillary down 2 points, so there is no statistically significant change in their numbers before and after the Iowa caucuses. And the Concord Monitor is out as well today with a poll showing the race at 33 percent for Hillary Clinton, 34 percent for Barack Obama and 23 percent for John Edwards ? exactly the same margin as before Iowa. Contrast that with the 17 points John Kerry gained in 2004 in the Boston Globe poll, which catapulted him from a 17-point deficit to a 20-point lead in New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses. Or with the 7 points Al Gore gained in 2000 in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, increasing his lead in New Hampshire from 5 points to 18 points. New Hampshire voters are fiercely independent. They will make their own decisions about who to support.According to Reuters, the fiercely independent New Hampshire voters are beginning to make their decision:
Democrat Barack Obama rocketed to a 10-point lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire one day before their showdown in the state's presidential primary, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Monday. This is the first of the rolling New Hampshire polls taken entirely after last week's caucuses in Iowa, where Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee scored breakthrough wins that left Clinton and Romney reeling. Obama, an Illinois senator bidding to make history as the first black U.S. president, gained 11 points on Clinton to lead the one-time Democratic front-runner 39 percent to 29 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was third with 19 percent. "This is a breathtaking movement in Obama's direction," said pollster John Zogby. "It's a surge for Obama and movement away from Clinton."To be fair to Penn, not all of the tracking polls are showing this big a lead. Still, there's something about the initial press release that suggests that karmic payback is coming.
The Obama who gets panned in Paul Krugman columns and sundry blog posts -- the one who just wants to make nice with Republicans and doesn't care about progressive values -- doesn't seem to be on the podium tonight.Now, I have no doubt that this is what Matt saw when he heard the speech -- but compelling political speeches are often like Rohshach tests -- you see what you want to see. The speech I heard was one where Obama certainly touched on a lot of progressive themes, but one in which he also took pains to speak in very nonpartisan terms:
You have done what America can do in this New Year, 2008. In lines that stretched around schools and churches; in small towns and big cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come. You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that's consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that's been all about division and instead make it about addition ? to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. Because that's how we'll win in November, and that's how we'll finally meet the challenges that we face as a nation. We are choosing hope over fear. We're choosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America.... Hope?hope?is what led me here today ? with a father from Kenya; a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be. That is what we started here in Iowa, and that is the message we can now carry to New Hampshire and beyond; the same message we had when we were up and when we were down; the one that can change this country brick by brick, block by block, calloused hand by calloused hand ? that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things; because we are not a collection of Red States and Blue States, we are the United States of America; and at this moment, in this election, we are ready to believe again.Now I'm not saying Matt is wrong and I'm right. What I'm saying is that a politician who can make different people hear what they want to hear -- or just be compelled to actively listen -- is not someone who is going to be brought low easily. Or maybe it's me. Watch for yourself and post your reaction:
1) The presidential nominee for the Democratic Party; 2) The presidential nominee for the Republican Party; 3) The winner of the 2008 presidential election 4) The Academy Award Best Picture winner for 2008 (not who should win, but who will win) 5) The winner of the 2008 World Series 6) The winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace PrizeMy submission is below the fold....
His range of interests as a senator has been remarkable, extending from immigration to business regulation. He knows as much about foreign affairs and military issues as anybody in public life. Or take judgment. True, he has a reputation as a hothead. But he's a hothead who cools down. He does not nurse grudges or agonise about vast conspiracies like some of his colleagues in the Senate. He has also been right about some big issues. He was the first senior Republican to criticise George Bush for invading Iraq with too few troops, and the first to call for Donald Rumsfeld's sacking. He is one of the few Republicans to propose sensible policies on immigration and global warming.Today, the Boston Globe's Sasha Issenberg writes about McCain's views on executive power -- and after eight years of the unitary theory of the executive branch, it's very refreshing:
McCain is not much of a sentimentalist, but over a series of scattered remarks in recent speeches and informal interviews he has begun to lay out a vision for a presidency that would feature the trappings of a much simpler time. Besides cutting back his Secret Service coverage so he could move around Washington in a single car instead of a full motorcade, the Republican presidential hopeful says he would like to host weekly press conferences and even subject himself to a congressional version of the rhetorical brawl that Britons know as Prime Minister's Question Time. To undo what he calls the "lack of credibility in government official statements" on Iraq, McCain says he would hold a separate weekly war briefing to delve into military and political specifics. "I don't know if a lot of Americans want to pay close attention, but at least you're giving them an opportunity to get details," he said in an interview. The McCain administration he describes would stand as a stylistic riposte to the modern imperial presidency, and especially to President Bush, whose White House is described by specialists as one of the least accessible in recent history.Read the whole thing. I'm not sure how much of this will actually happen if McCain were elected -- but the fact that his instinct is to push in this direction is a major bonus for me. I'm a foreign policy wonk, which means that my natural tendency is to sympathize with the executive branch. But even I think the imperial presidency needs to be scaled back a fair degree. So one of the things I'll be asking myself during this endorsement debate is: which candidates will cement the Bush position of executive authority, and which will not?
In McCain's conversations with voters, I'm struck by the contrast between him and Barack Obama. I have covered Barack Obama more than John McCain this campaign. Obama tells audiences he's going to tell them uncomfortable truths, but he barely does it. McCain, on the other hand, seems to go out of his way to tell people things they don't like, on issues from immigration to global warming.Read the rest of the piece for an example.
[W]hat happens if Mr. Obama is the nominee? He will probably win ? but not as big as a candidate who ran on a more populist platform. Let?s be blunt: pundits who say that what voters really want is a candidate who makes them feel good, that they want an end to harsh partisanship, are projecting their own desires onto the public. And nothing Mr. Obama has said suggests that he appreciates the bitterness of the battles he will have to fight if he does become president, and tries to get anything done. (emphasis added)Let's stipulate that Krugman is not necessarily wrong in the bolded passage. Maybe, just maybe, however, pundits who imply that what voters want is a full-throated, partisan, populist candidate are also projecting their own desires onto the public. UPDATE: Matt Yglesias thinks that the Obama campaign is "poor[ly] handling... its relationship with the country's highest-profile liberal columnist," but I have to wonder if Obama is calculating that the long-term benefits outweigh any short-term costs. As Krugman acknowledges at the beginning of his column, "Broadly speaking, the serious contenders for the Democratic nomination are offering similar policy proposals." Therefore, he's going to broadly support whichever Dem is nominated. Obama, on the other hand, is not going to be hurt in the general election from a pissing match with Paul Krugman. Indeed, dust-ups like this provide Obama with the kind of perceived independence that plays well with... er... independents.
1) A 30 second response to an answer? Gimme a f@#$ing break -- at best you can talk in vague generalities, at worst you sound like.... this person. 2) Hey, Alan Keyes is running for president again??!! Why, yes, apparently he is. Who knew? Keyes, remember, ran against Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate seat in 2004. That went really well. 3) Maybe my expectations are low, but Romney's doing a better job than I expected. He doesn't sound "genuine," but he does sound reasonably coherent. 4) Same with Giuliani -- better than expected. I still won't vote for him, but now I can understand why he's managed to remain the titular frontrunner for much longer than bloggers predicted. Compared to a lot of the people on the stage, his demeanor is... reassuring, for lack of a better word. Part of me wonders if the Giuliani campaign is surreptitiously funding Tancredo, Paul, Hunter, and Keyes just so he can look sane by comparison. 5) Did Duncan Hunter really just bash the United States as turning into a "polyglot boarding house"???!!! 6) I believe if Ron Paul were asked how he would cure cancer, he would answer, "eliminate the inflation tax." 7) I don't know if Fred Thompson would make a great president, but he was the only one who gave an answer to any question that had any whiff of brutal candor to it. [Maybe he's just the best actor--ed. No, this was real!] 8) Man, after listening to that for more than an hour, I need a stiff drink.UPDATE: Debate transcript here.
[T]the bloggers? questions were more substantive by a long shot.... Everyone knows the media is shallow, horse-race obsessed, blah blah blah ... but in many cases, bloggers really are the ones driving discussion of the issues.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.