A Hagelian Dialectic

Via Shane Harris, on the resignation of defense secretary Chuck Hagel: “Hagel wasn’t brought in to tackle these crises, and some defense sources say he simply wasn’t up to it. The presumption at the beginning of his tenure was that he would be a drawdown defense secretary—something that world events ultimately wouldn’t allow.” These last…

New Column at The New Republic

Forgive me the hiatus in posting. I’ve been parenting (and writing a fair amount). Saw Tod (et al) at Leaguefest and he (et al) encouraged me to share links here to my work elsewhere, so…here goes! I’ve just published a column for The New Republic on how the Democratic Party is about to dramatically shift its…

Paul Wells on Keystone, Barack Obama and Stephen Harper

At Maclean’s, Paul Wells looks at President Obama’s talk about the Keystone pipeline, as well as Prime Minster Harper’s actions, to try to determine just what the hell the PM is up to. Over at Politico Pro — where you get the really clever analyses — they found two top expert experts who said that when the President of the…

Amirite?

Let’s say a man is working with a woman in a professional capacity. Let’s further say that, without necessarily wanting to pursue a romantic, sexual or any other sort of personal relationship with her, the man finds the woman physically attractive. It’s hard, after all, not to notice when someone else is attractive. Seems to me…

What Spurs the GOP’s Conservative Base

Andrew Kohut, former Pew Research Center president and founding director, has a big op-ed in WaPo arguing that while the GOP’s intransigent conservative base keeps it competitive at the Congressional level, it at the same time renders the White House out of reach. It’s not really a new argument, but Kohut’s a nonpartisan establishmentarian, so…

The State of the Union’s Quiet Radicalism

Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast’s response to the president’s fifth State of the Union address sounds much like my own. It was Obama’s second liberal stemwinder in a row; and if nothing else, the speech was a testament to the sincerity of the president’s oft-stated focus on the “long game” of politics: What is not…

The Grand Bargain, Revisited

Before describing himself as “agonizing” over whether to support it or not, Paul Krugman tries to distill the pro/con of the latest potential Grand Bargain: So is what Obama gets out of this — basically unemployment benefits and infrastructure — worth it? The hardship of the unemployed is important; on the other hand, the numbers here are…

About Today’s Fiscal Cliff Trial Balloon

Note: Such are things right now that writing about the fiscal cliff struck me as a welcome diversion. Ezra Klein is the White House’s favorite young journalist, so he’s been the guy when it comes to the post-election fiscal cliff negotiations — especially regarding trial balloons from a Democratic White House trying to find out how much it can…

We’re Going Over the Cliff

Another example — and they’re daily at this point — of why I think the US is about to take a dive: A group of House Republican conservatives – incensed by its leadership’s purge of dissenters from House committees and increasingly worried about talks with the White House – put Speaker John A. Boehner on notice Wednesday…

Election 2012 Wasn’t Close. Here’s Why It Matters.

Note: Here’s a post that I began some time ago and that is increasingly losing relevancy as post-election developments multiply. But it ended up being rather long and, frankly, the idea of having spent the time all for naught gives me a sad. So… enjoy? Following up on why the results of the 2012 election…

Sailing Away to Irrelevance, Part II

“But there is another kind of light; a light that fills even the darkest places.  For if this meat-light did not exist, how could darkness be seen? And so it is with the truth. There are some things which appear to be the truth, but which are not the real truth.  The real truth must…

Election 2012 Recap: Getting the Triumphalism Right

Democrats awoke today awash in the smug warmth that comes with electoral success. Rightly so, given last night’s results. Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill are still Senators? Tammy Baldwin will be the first openly gay American to grace the Senate floor? Obama didn’t just win a few of the swing states—he won (pending Florida) all…

What If It’s the OTHER Reality?

Though I’ve made my view of the electoral situation pretty clear, I’m well aware that Tuesday’s election will be damned close. I’m well aware that as encouraging as Nate Silver’s model/conclusions are, he still predicts that Romney would win one or two out of every ten elections (were we able to run the trial multiple times).…

Nate Silver Himself Is the Entity to Be Analyzed

I love Nate Silver. I love his steady analysis of staggering reams of data. I love his measured treatment of complicated electoral possibilities. I love that he talks in terms of probabilities instead of certainties. I love his (apparent) bewilderment at the rhetorical windstorm currently swirling around his work. Nonetheless, I still feel bad for…

Why has Conservatism inexplicably become our generation’s Hollywood Squares?

“On Monday morning, Romney’s local team in Dayton was eagerly preparing to host the candidate the following day. A high school gym had been reserved, a stage had been rented, and a pair of celebrity guests — country singer Randy Owen and NASCAR driver Richard Petty — had been booked.” “Cameras flashed nonstop when Lindsay…

The best political ad of the season is a celebrity-endorement satire from Joss Whedon

Political ads are like soft drink ads. They don’t have anything to do with facts or the inherent quality of a product,[1] they’re really just designed to make you feel an emotion that probably isn’t deserved about a can of water that’s had some sugar dumped into it. Which is why I find myself loving Buffyverse-creator and…

President Obama Reintroduces Himself

The night of October 16 was a good one for President Obama. After more than a month of sounding, looking, and acting like a tired man who resents being made to undergo the electioneering process, the Obama seen during the second presidential debate actually performed. He didn’t approach the debate like something it wasn’t (a genuine…

Health Care Is Not About Numbers

Romney made news today, at least in the left-of-center blogosphere, with the claim that, “[N]o one in this country dies because they don’t have health insurance” (an assertion I’d argue the former Governor of Massachusetts, a smart and informed man and the father of Romneycare, likely knows to be false). But I don’t think it…