April 3, 2014 |
Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason's evident dismay over New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy's audacious decision to take a few days off early in the season to spend time with his wife and newborn child is yet more proof that pro sports today is as much about eye-rolling "color" commentary as it is the brief spurts of athleticism on the field. Baseball games are only a few hours long, leaving hours upon hours of airtime available for paid talkers to produce cringe-worthy commentary.
October 25, 2012 |
My favorite moment of the 2012 presidential debates came at the beginning of the final confrontation Monday night. The moderator, Bob Schieffer, invited both candidates to "give your thoughts" on the Middle East. Republican nominee Mitt Romney went first and began with a typical stumbling attempt to be charming, almost successful in its very failure: Something about an earlier "humorous event" (it was the annual Al Smith dinner for the archdiocese of New York, at which politicians tell jokes)
October 23, 2012 |
I'm writing this before Monday night's presidential debate, on the assumption that neither candidate changed the dynamic of the race too dramatically. But what if one did? What if Barack Obama announced in a fit of pique that "America doesn't deserve a president as awesome as me. " Or what if Mitt Romney pulled open a panel in his chest revealing that he is, in fact, an android? And he was made in China! Or the game-changer could be something more plausible. The point is, what if something was said or done that caused large numbers of voters to change their minds?
April 10, 2012 |
In his Wisconsin victory speech last Tuesday, Mitt Romney said, "Washington has to become an ally of business, not the opposition of business. " This to me is a more worrisome statement than his communications advisor's gaffe about Etch-A-Sketches or Romney's shout-out to NASCAR team owners. Over the last few years, the country has been subjected to a tutorial about the role of government. Thanks to the efforts of the tea parties and, of course, the teaching by example of the Obama administration, a lot more Americans understand the problems with corporatism, crony capitalism and industrial policy.
November 13, 2012 |
The conservative Gotterdammerung is finally here. "Like dazed survivors in a ravaged city, America's conservatives are wailing and beating their collective breasts," opines the Economist's "Lexington" columnist. "A leading conservative thinker," asked by the Economist to "list today's conservative ideas, laughs bitterly and replies, 'Are there any?'" Former Reaganite Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) laments in the conservative journal Policy Review, "I have never been so concerned about the future of conservative ideas.
May 20, 2012 |
The Supreme Court is about to toss a judicial bomb into the middle of the presidential campaign, and nobody knows what impact it will have. The bomb, of course, is the court's ruling on President Obama's healthcare law, which is expected next month. At first glance, the political implications might look simple. If the court upholds the law, Obama's biggest legislative achievement, the president wins; if the court declares the law unconstitutional, he loses. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012 But as with many things in politics, it may not be that simple at all. If the court upholds the law, Obama will hail the decision as proof that he was right all along.
October 16, 2012 |
Apparently, Paul Ryan and Joe Biden are both theocrats willing, nay eager, to use state power to impose their religious views on the rest of us. In last week's vice presidential debate, moderator Martha Raddatz asked the two Roman Catholic politicians "to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. " "I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith," confessed Ryan. "Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.
September 5, 2012 |
There's something delicious about Bill Clinton being asked to serve as the chief character witness for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. Clinton, let's recall, was a very messy president. His meetings didn't start on time; his speeches didn't end on time. His biggest legislative project, healthcare reform, never passed (unlike Obama's). He made compromises with Republicans; he made Democratic liberals furious. He even got impeached (and ultimately acquitted) over sexual peccadilloes, though nobody seems to remember the details now. But Obama isn't asking Clinton to testify about his personal character.
September 8, 2012 |
Attending two political conventions back to back is like visiting two parallel universes: one conservative, one liberal; one overwhelmingly white, the other emphatically multiculti; and each one strangely confident that its candidate is on a steady course to victory. In Tampa, Fla., Republican strategists insisted their faith was grounded in arithmetical determinism: the math of the sluggish economy. No president has ever been reelected when unemployment was stuck as high as 8%, they pointed out. Democratic strategists put their faith in a different branch of political mathematics: the arcana of the electoral college.
January 9, 2013 |
No political party enjoys losing an election, but a healthy party reacts to defeat - after a suitable period of grieving - by trying to figure out what went wrong. That's what Democrats did in the late 1980s after a string of failed presidential campaigns, and the process led to the election of Bill Clinton, a moderate Southern governor. And that's what many Republicans are trying to do now, after the defeat of Mitt Romney in November. They're pondering what went wrong and how the party needs to change.