Monthly Archives: November 2009

Remembering Our National Perverseness

In October 1863, with his country mired in civil war, President Lincoln directed Americans to set aside the last Thursday in November as a day to give thanks for their “bounties.” Turkey was not mentioned, nor was one pardoned. Wal-Mart Black Friday sales, including Vizio HDTVs for as little as $349, still lay in America’s magnificent […]

Unprecedented Self-Promotion

Politico’s designated Obama-speech watcher/reader Carol Lee is up today with another analysis of the president’s verbal tics. Turns out President Obama may have an inflated sense of his own place in history. I know! I was floored, too. Here’s Lee: Perhaps it was a sign when President Barack Obama sat down in January to record […]

David Obey Gets It Right

Kudos to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (hold on a sec … waiting to see if my head explodes … nope, good) for seeing the war in Afghanistan as something we should all pay for. According to ABC News, the Wisconsin Democrat, who opposes deepening our involvement in Afghanistan, said that if we’re going […]

Joe Biden Sets the Bar Low

Politico’s Mike Allen offers a blurb from Vice President Biden’s speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner – the annual Democratic campaign gala – in Des Moines, Iowa. One part caught my eye. “We will not measure our success on the growth of the GDP, though its growth is necessary. We will judge our success on […]

Carl Levin Leads the Tax Brigade

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin has shown an uncanny ability to be wrong about almost every issue involving Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade. This weekend, he’s come up with another doozy. According to Bloomberg, the Michigan Democrat is proposing a tax on higher earners – say it with me now, individuals […]

Did Goldman’s Apology Backfire?

In a speech Tuesday night, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein reportedly apologized for his company’s role in the financial markets crisis, saying, “We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret.” Apologies are always tricky business for people or organizations under siege in the media. Sometimes they can be helpful. When […]

Updates on Climate, Burma

We don’t generally do up-to-the-minute news here, but I thought it worth following up on two points I raised yesterday regarding President Obama’s trip to Asia. First, it appears that even with George Bush out of the way, international leaders are still having trouble reaching agreement on a climate change accord with teeth. Consensus is […]

Future UN Secretary General Jabs Bush … Again

Ten months into his own term as US president, Barack Obama continues to conjure the ghost of George W. Bush to help define himself in international circles. Of course, it’s not really the ghost of George W. Bush. It’s the ghost of the caricature of George W. Bush. Kicking off his Asian trip with remarks […]

A Bolshevik and a Dinosaur

It was impossible not to wonder what was going through the mind of former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev as he joined the throngs in Berlin this week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Two Americans that have long been close to Gorbachev are Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies […]

Tear Down This Wall

The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall has prompted a number of articles and reflections about President Reagan’s historic 1987 speech.  Needless to say, Clark is the true expert on the issue — but I wanted to link Tony Dolan’s recent piece from the Wall Street Journal, reminiscing about the speechwriters’ full […]

Goldman CEO Gets Impish, Gets Burned

Does Goldman Sachs have a God problem? A God complex? An ungodly headache? Goldman, once a venerable institution known for keeping close counsel, is now a lightning rod for populist criticism of the financial sector. And its latest public relations efforts don’t seem to be helping. The bank’s very success – turning a profit in […]

John Mashek: Gentleman Reporter

John Mashek, who has died at age 77, set himself apart from the journalistic pack by taking a deep and deliberative approach to the White House beat at U.S. News & World Report. I first encountered him as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, where John gave talks that, with dry humor, […]

How to Lose an Ally in Ten Months

The latest in the General Motors saga appears to be a case of either embarrassingly bungled communications or wretched diplomacy by the Obama Administration. In brief: GM had announced plans to sell Opel, the German car manufacturer. The German government spent months brokering a deal with a Canadian-Russian venture to buy Opel and preserve jobs […]

Ruth Marcus: Under the Volcano

  Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post argues that the New Jersey and Virginia elections predict nothing for President Obama and the Democratic Congress. Her case is superficially convincing.  She does a good job of showing how these two races, historically, have not been good predictors of how the next election will turn out.  Two things […]

Voters to Obama: “We should see other people.”

Time for President Obama to move the smiley face upside down after the only two governorships up for grabs yesterday – both currently held by Democrats – went over to the dark side. Chris Christie, proving that only Republicans named Christie can win in New Jersey, knocked off both incumbent governor Jon Corzine and an […]