Jeff Bingaman: Great US Senator Leaves Void

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Senator Jeff Bingaman is retiring after thirty years of shunning the spotlight and just getting great policy work done. I think he was a combination of Jimmy Stewart ala Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. — one of the nation’s wisest legal minds….ever. I think he is one of the greatest legislators I’ve ever known — particularly his tendency to forfeit credit and let others more media-needy have the accolades in order to get things accomplished. …

Holiday Pic from Anderson & Low

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Anderson & Low Just received this wonderful holiday pic from London-based, turbo-talented photographers Jonathan Anderson & Edwin Low, called just “Anderson & Low” by their friends. I love stopping in at the National Portrait Gallery in London — and discovering photos there that they took. Kate Middleton enjoys their work also.  Check out their great, often provocative and edgy material. Happy holidays to all from Claremont, California — where the Starbucks in the Village is buzzing with happy people at…

Best Books Read by Atlantic Editors in 2012

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Editors at The Atlantic shared notes about the best books they read during the past year. These books did not need to be published in 2012 — but read during the last twelve months. My selection was Adam Goodheart’s 1861: The Civil War Awakening. Terrific book — and a great holiday gift that goes well with a slice of Spielberg’s and Daniel Day Lewis’ Lincoln. The clips from The Atlantic editors runs here — and my bit is slide 24….

The Chuck Hagel I Know: A Staunch Defender of Gay Rights

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Senator Chuck Hagel hasn’t  spent much time at Human Rights Campaign dinners. I wish he had gone — or better yet, had been invited by the organization to speak and share his views on gays in American life. But the HRC has not invited him to speak and to my knowledge has made little effort to inquire about what his views about LGBT rights are, either of him or of gays who know him (like yours truly). Hagel is a…

Chuck Hagel Voted in Favor of AIPAC-Supported John Bolton

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Chuck Hagel voted in favor of John Bolton’s nomination before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations.  This is important history as many attempting to sabotage Hagel’s potential nomination as Secretary of Defense are hyping his reticence about unilateral sanctions against rogue nations and his refusal to jump on a couple of hug-Israel resolutions.  The Bolton nomination was important because it was a high priority “get” by the hawkish wing of the hug-Israel-tightly…

Mohammed Morsi: Abe Lincoln in Disguise? Or Another Mubarak?

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Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters “I am the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, clothed in immense power!” one can imagine Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi thinking after his jaw-dropping power grab these last few days. Of course this is parody of the words roared by President Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg’s stunning film, Lincoln, as the 16th American President ground down by a four-year, bloody civil war spent the entirety of his political capital procuring Constitutionally-based freedom for millions…

The Strategic Choice at the Ballot Box Today

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Three years ago, I wrote a piece for The American Interest grading President Barack Obama’s foreign policy performance after one year. I gave him a poor mark as I believed then that in assessing Obama, only Iran mattered and not much constructive had happened on that track. Stanford University realist and former George W. Bush administration State Department Policy Planning Director Stephen Krasner wrote much the same. Today, I feel differently about Iran and Obama. When he entered office, Afghanistan…

GOP Presidents Worst Contributors to Federal Debt

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Phil McCarten/Reuters In terms of total increase in “federal debt to GDP” under U.S. presidents in the post-World War II era, Republican presidents during their terms have contributed far more to the debt load of the nation than Democrats. Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush all added to the federal debt significantly on a percent of GDP basis. On the Democratic side, President Obama — who inherited the worst financial crisis in this era from…

Mitt Romney, George Marshall, and Israel-Palestine

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During a major foreign policy address earlier today at the Virginia Military Institute, GOP presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney paid tribute to one of the school’s most distinguished graduates, former Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State as well as Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall. Romney said of Marshall that he “helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe’s rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences…

Hickenlooper Plus on the State of American Dreaming About Future

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In a short bit, I’ll be interviewing Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in one of the Allstate-National Journal-Atlantic Heartland Monitor forums that Ron Brownstein has pulled together before the debates. The schedule is pasted below. My bit with Hickenlooper, the first brewpub master since Sam Adams to become governor of a state, starts at 10 a.m. Central/12:00 noon EST. The Opportunity Debate: Upward Mobility and the American DreamAllstate – National Journal – The AtlanticHeartland Monitor Poll on American AttitudesWednesday, 3 October…