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…

Paul Ryan Was Right (I’m Serious)

As much as I’d love to revel in Ryan’s tax-evasion during last night’s Vice Presidential Debate, I have to—oh it hurts!—agree with him. I’ve written in the past about why exactly I loathe Paul Ryan. And whether you think my reasons are fair, or my analysis accurate, there’s certainly no question about whether or not…

The Campaign Is a Performance

I maintain that Barack Obama was terrible during last week’s debate and that many liberals — goaded on by a political media desperate for a new storyline and thrilled with the prospect that November’s election will indeed be too-close-to-call-cash-cow — are overreacting. There’s reason to believe the drop in unemployment announced on Friday was enough to…

What Happened to Barack Obama?

Perhaps the most commonly asked question in the wake of last night’s debate is, What the hell was wrong with Barack Obama? Some ideas are more plausible than others. My sense is that, to a significant degree, Romney capitalized on an almost structural flaw of Barack-Obama-as-candidate: his unwillingness (and I’d guess at this point inability)…

The Romney Rebound

The first thing that should be said before any estimation of tonight’s debate is that, historically, presidential debates are not the “game-changers” all of the hype would lead one to believe. That doesn’t mean they don’t matter — they do, as John Kerry can attest. But while the first debate often provides the challenger a…

While David Brooks Is Not Mitt Romney, He Very Much Remains David Brooks

Have you seen today’s David Brooks op-ed yet? It’s a little weird; but, then again, he’s been a little weird ever since the campaign began in earnest (and, not incidentally, Romney began losing). In this one, Brooks pretends to be Mitt Romney giving his opening statement during tomorrow’s debate. As a piece of writing, the…

Political Trolls: What the GOP Hath Sowed

Scott’s post last week attacking the Republican behavior before, during and after the health care debate generated quite the lively discussion in the comments thread.  Scott and many primarily left-of-center commenters argued that the Republican and conservative leadership need to own up to their responsibility in fomenting death threats because “the very participation of Republican…

In Praise of Jane Hamsher, et al: Redefining the Art of the Possible

Jane Hamsher has been taking a lot of flak in recent days for coming out against the Senate health care reform bill as well as for suggesting that “both the [progressive opponents] and the tea party activists are saying almost the exact same thing about the Senate bill” and that the “painfully obvious left/right transpartisan consensus…

Taking the Wrong Approach

I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that both sides of the “Did We Torture?” debate are doing themselves a big disservice in how they approach their arguments.  This perhaps isn’t surprising since I tend to think this is the case on most controversial hot-button topics. The pro-waterboarding side’s real argument isn’t that waterboarding, etc., aren’t…

Intellectual Insecurity

To follow-up briefly on the recent discussion regarding intramural conservative debate, there’s an odd tendency among certain mainstream conservatives to unduly concern themselves with enforcing intellectual orthodoxy. Case in point is this hysterical blog post from National Review’s Cesar Conda, which implores the Hoover Institute to kick Professor Diane Ravitch off the payroll for suggesting…

A Plea for Engagement

Via the American Conservative, I see that Sean Scallon’s challenging article on Jimmy Carter is getting some well-deserved attention. And for that, I’m glad – it’s an interesting take on a fascinating historical figure.  But you know who I’d really like to see respond to Scallon’s piece? How about a National Review symposium, or perhaps…