Wait Til America Gets to Know JILL BIDEN

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JILL BIDEN TWN.jpg
I had the opportunity a few years ago to enjoy a rolling set of events with Senator Joe Biden, Wes Clark and other national notables.
My partner was with me and normally hates these kinds of things. But he bonded with Jill Biden. They are both educators — Jill in Delaware and my partner in Maryland.
It was such a pleasure getting to know folks without the pressure of deadlines and press frenzies and the need to maintain a certain “posture.” Joe Biden was awesome. . .and his wife Jill was even more impressive, for reasons I’ll share more down the road.
But we all had some pics together — and the next time I saw Joe Biden, he walked up to me at the Capital Hilton and stuffed some photos of us together in my pocket. “These are from Jill to Andrew,” he said. Biden and I agree a lot on policy issues, but we also disagree here and there.
But on the personal front — he had me hooked.
WAIT, strike that. She had me hooked.
I can’t wait til America gets to know Jill Biden. As down to earth and serious about education as they come. She’s a working mom like many others around the country.
Joe Biden is going to be Obama’s vice presidential running mate.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

28 comments on “Wait Til America Gets to Know JILL BIDEN

  1. mark says:

    If you want truly to understand something, try to change it http://h1.ripway.com/poojasharma/index.html
    Update above.
    Posted by Mr.Murder, Aug 31, 2:42PM August of the year, preceding Sept. 11th 2001* Sorry for the lag. Messenger announcements freeze my keys…… read more
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    Bush/McCain Not Even Good at Imperialism: China Gets Iraq’s First Foreign Oil Contract
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 1:07PM
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    (Iraq President Jalal Talabani walks with his China President Hu Jintao)
    George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and presidential hopeful John McCain (as well as his new internationally ignorant but charming vice presidential running mate) have been promulgating the need to stay in Iraq to protect American interests.
    Well. . .it seems we are also serving China’s interests. Some might say, “of course we are — given that China finances the largest share of America’s debt-burdened economy.”
    China National Petroleum and Iraq have just signed the first major oil deal between the occupied-by-America nation and a foreign oil company. The deal is valued up to $3 billion (or 21 billion Chinese yuan…better start learning about those yuan).
    A prominent international observer sent me this note this morning:
    The Bush administration is not even good at imperialism.
    Bush sacrifices American money and military lives to prop up a government allied with Iran in the hope of getting a few military bases and some oil contracts for its friends.
    Meanwhile the Maliki government steals them blind, gives the first oil contracts to China, and tells Washington to forget about those military bases.
    Oh, but thanks for taking care of the Baathists and the Sunnis for us!
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Sep 02, 2:25PM Carroll… “efforts”… you get an A for diplomacy.. and Sharon stirring up dissent by taking a group to the Temple Mount and scut… read more
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    Could-Be Commander in Chief Sarah Palin
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Friday, Aug 29 2008, 4:05PM
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    What was that TV show where Geena Davis was an unlikely female VP is thrust into the presidency after the tough national hero president she served under passed away while in office? That’s right: Commander in Chief.
    Well, life may be following fiction (again) — without the passing away part. . .
    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is going to be the one to debate Joe Biden in the VP debate. It will be a competition in folksiness.
    This was a shrewd move by McCain. He had a lot of other options that were low sizzle — but this choice, while perplexing, still makes a lot of sense.
    This from Timothy Egan:
    She hunts! She fishes! She eats moose burgers! She can gut a salmon as well as dispatch an incumbent governor! She’s a rural mother of five who clings to guns and religion — exuberantly!
    In choosing as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, two years removed from her only other political job as a small-town mayor, John McCain has certainly offered up a giant-killer — “Sarah Barracuda,” as she’s known in the Last Frontier State.
    Palin, who has more than a passing resemblance to Tina Fey, took on the kleptocracy of Alaska’s Republican politics and won.
    First, she ousted hated incumbent Frank Murkowski in a primary two years ago, and then promptly cleaned up his mess in Juneau, even selling his private jet on e-bay. Second, she rejected the “bridge to nowhere,” the famous earmark for a span from Ketchikan to an island of 50 people — further angering the politicians-for-life who have run Alaska for half as long as it’s been in the union.
    Like in the case of Obama, there was no perfect VP running mate for John McCain. But as I have suggested before — McCain needed an out-of-the-box running mate to motivate voters. Huckabee, Powell, Condi Rice, and even Joe Lieberman would have been interesting choices — though Lieberman would have motivated a lot of voters to organize even more strongly on behalf of Obama.
    Palin is an out-of-the-box choice and will draw a good number of female votes. It’s as much sizzle as McCain could generate on his 72nd birthday today — and Palin is a bold choice (though what about that whoppingly big experience deficit????)
    One problem though is that in the Dem VP contest, the public helped vet the final three or four candidates, but the public played no role in the GOP selection. There was huge interest in the nation in whether it would be Biden, Bayh, Kaine, Sibelius, or another candidate. Obama reaped the benefits of learning much more via public discussion about their reaction to Bayh, Biden, et. al. from the churning on the net — before his choice was finally announced.
    McCain did no such thing. And thus, it will be interesting to see whether something new and previously unknown appears about this Alaska governor who hunts, fishes, and who cracked down on corruption in Alaska during the tenure of Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski’s father.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Toronto condo, Mar 18, 2:08PM I just wanted to make it clear that I do not necessarily agree with all the Supreme Court decisions, but I think it is important … read more
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    Off to Boston
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Friday, Aug 29 2008, 9:53AM
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    Greetings friends. I have much to report and comment on regarding the spectacular Democratic National Convention in Denver. I couldn’t do the who’s doing what to whom style blogging in Denver; I may do that in Minneapolis/St. Paul — but was way overbooked in the mile high city.
    I’m about to board a plane to Boston where I will be attending the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association — and will write some posts and share some colorful vignettes that I write up on the plane.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 30, 10:02AM Linda…. in one of these threads you said speaking very clearly something about PUMA’s going away…it’s not easy to work on a ca… read more
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    STREAMING LIVE: John Kerry, Greg Craig, Joschka Fischer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Mel Levine, Walter Isaacson, Steve Coll, Rob Malley, Daniel Levy, James Zogby, Janice O’Connell Headline Dem Convention Middle East Forum
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Wednesday, Aug 27 2008, 9:44AM
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    Email addresses will not be stored Free video streaming by Ustream
    Watch with us live today from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon mountain time, which is 11:00 am – 2:00 pm EST.
    And I’m pleased to report that today is my 46th birthday.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 29, 1:36AM Hey Tony, perhaps I was unclear in my post above, but I think you misunderstood my comment. I mentioned the comment ABOVE YOURS… read more
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    STREAMING LIVE: Will the Next President Make the Middle East Irrelevant?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Wednesday, Aug 27 2008, 3:13AM
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    Wednesday morning, August 27, between 11 am and 1:30 pm EST or 9 am and 11:30 am mountain time, I’ll be chairing a New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force event in Denver at the Colorado History Museum.
    The keynotes are Senator JOHN KERRY (D-MA), Obama National Security Adviser GREG CRAIG, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School Dean ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, former Congressman and Obama Adviser MEL LEVINE, former German Foreign Minister JOSCHKA FISCHER, and Aspen Institute President (and former CNN Chairman and CEO and TIME Managing Editor) Walter Isaacson.
    Our panel will be former Israeli negotiator and New America Foundation Senior Fellow DANIEL LEVY, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee senior staff member and Stonebridge International Senior Adviser JANICE O’CONNOLL, International Crisis Group Middle East and North Africa Program Director and former Senior Adviser for the Middle East to President Clinton ROBERT MALLEY, Arab American Institute President JAMES ZOGBY, and New Yorker Washington correspondent and New America Foundation President STEVE COLL.
    I will be chairing and moderating the meeting. Please join us in Denver — or watch on line.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 30, 5:49AM texas dem, Pacific Time would be great. I saw some yellow leaves on a tree here in Bergen (Norway) this morning, and soon we`ll … read more
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    A (Potentially Premature) Defense of Clinton
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Wednesday, Aug 27 2008, 12:19AM
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    Tonight is the first night I’ve been able to see any of the Democratic convention. First things first: I really didn’t like the video tribute to Hillary Clinton that was aired tonight. It was all about Hillary Clinton, the woman candidate — which does Hillary Clinton, the brilliant policymaker and effective advocate, a great disservice. With due respect to the filmmakers and those who were legitimately moved by it (there are surely many), if the video had a tagline, it might read, “pretty good, for a girl.” It’s at odds with my feminist instincts and doesn’t appeal as strongly as it could to my admiration for Senator Clinton.
    I had two immediate reactions to Clinton’s speech. First, purely from the perspective of speechcraft and delivery, I’ve never seen her deliver a better one. Second, she said very few positive things about Barack Obama or his candidacy. She talked at great lengths about the need to support Obama given the state of the country, the challenges we face, the alternative of John McCain, and the importance of Democratic Party unity. But aside from one line of praise for the grassroots oriented, bottom-up nature of Obama’s campaign, she had precious little to say about the appeal of the candidate himself.
    But let’s remember — Clinton said precious little about the rationale behind her own candidacy until sometime early this year. Indeed, a chief weakness of her campaign may have been that her rhetoric focused so much on policy battles and not enough (and not early enough) on why she was the most qualified of 300 million people to lead.
    So no one should fault Clinton for failing to give Obama the plaudits that she never gave herself. Clinton is a Democratic partisan, for better or for worse. Her rhetoric has always been focused on winning political battles, not on the unique gifts of any individual political candidate. In that light, hers was a gracious and unifying speech — at least within the Democratic Party. It’s unfair to think, as I instinctively did, that she might talk at length Barack Obama or Joe Biden and their virtues. She’s not about to change her stripes. If there are others that had the same instinct, I hope they come around.
    If any of this seems nonsensical, you can chalk it up to the first wave of law school homework. And by the way, at this moment, I’m easily more afraid of seeing my writing style deteriorate into legalese and lifeless drivel than I am of not making sense.
    –Scott Paul
    Note: Clinton’s call for unity on access to healthcare for everyone was important. Given her disagreements with Obama on that issue, standing with him on it now will give some very important constituencies a kind of symbolic permission to vote for him. That was both big and selfless.
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Aug 29, 9:31PM “The Americans obviously didn`t get it, and voted for him again” I don’t think so. But Kenneth Blackwell ain’t talkin’…. read more
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    Greetings from Denver: A Video Salute to TWN Readers after Two Hours Sleep
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Tuesday, Aug 26 2008, 9:11PM
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    More soon. Off to meet some journalists interested in more on Joe Biden.
    I’m somewhat surprised that I’ve become a key source on Senator Biden given his long tenure in the Senate. He’s currently fourth in longevity in terms of years served in the US Senate but only 44th out of 100 in age.
    But I confirmed that he is now 100th out of 100 in terms of personal wealth in the Senate (i.e., he is worried about paying those bills like many Americans). He was 99th out of 100 in 2005 but slipped a notch since.
    Check out CNN’s American Morning tomorrow for some of my views about what Jill Biden will mean and might do for the country.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Bob Miller, Aug 27, 4:53PM Happy birthday, youngster! I hope the Dems plan to make good use of the 100th of 100 info…. read more
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    Anderson Cooper: Watch Out
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Tuesday, Aug 26 2008, 8:20PM
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    Greetings folks. Apologies for the thin reporting. I have been deeply embedded in the heart and major arteries of the Democratic National Convention and have been run ragged.
    James Glenos — above — has been a real pal here at the CNN Grill which has been great enough to keep me around as a semi-regular political commentator for CNN proper and CNN.com.
    I’ll be on CNN’s American Morning tomorrow morning in a segment profiling Jill Biden.
    But Glenos, who is an intern here for the Convention and is a student at Elon University in North Carolina, has a great blog — he’s got a fresh approach — and the enthusiasm of the interns here is great to see.
    Check out his blog.
    More soon.
    — Steve Clemons
    The Original “Change” Candidate
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Tuesday, Aug 26 2008, 5:40PM
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    Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper hosts a reception at his brewery in downtown Denver Monday night after the first day of the Democratic Convention.
    Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is a fitting host for the Democratic National Convention not only because of position but because of his identity as an independent, outsider/long-shot candidate who began with a message of “Change” and won a surprising victory when he ran for the office 2003.
    As a political neophyte with a limited budget, Hickenlooper needed an ad campaign that would break the traditional mold of forgettable, mainstream political ads with John Williams-like music that crescendoes against the steady stream of American flags and glib, warrantless claims boosting or attacking a candidate’s record.
    Hickenlooper hired Bill Hillsman — a media consultant who had run successful ad campaigns for Sen. Paul Wellstone, Gov. Jesse Ventura, and Green Party Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader (successful at least in impacting the outcome of the election). They ended producing a well-timed and humerous ad titled “Change.”
    Like the famous ads of the 2000 Presidential election camaign “Priceless” and “When I Grow Up”, Hillman’s ads were modeled on commercial advertising and very entertaining while still selling the candidate’s core message. As a result, these ads memorability and free media generated an echo most other political ads rarely receive, allowing shoestring capaigns to punch above their weight and successfully compete against better financed campaigns with bigger ad buys.
    Hillsman has been a relative outsider in the political advertising world, in part by his choosing and selectivity in working for candidates and in part because he’s been dismissed or sidelined by the East Coast politial/campaign elite. But the ideas he pioneered seem to have infiltrated the Obama campaign as it took viral media to the next level in the primary season — in part enabled by the demographics of their audience, the rise of the netroots community, and the support of celebrities like will.i.am whose inherent commercial appeal led to successful ventures like the “Yes We Can” video.
    But my guess is that those ads don’t seem to resonate with mainstream America the same degree as the Wellstone, Ventura, and Hickenlooper ad campaigns, which were credited with winning independents and tipping elections. In what is turning out to be a closer election than many had expected, to win over mountain state households as this convention’s selection of location was ostensibly set up to do, Barrack Obama would be wise to study the folksy mannerisms of Mayor Hickenlooper and bring on board the brains of Hillsman, who Slate once dubbed “the greatest political adman.” (Most of Hillsman’s ads can be viewed either here or here).
    — Sameer Lalwani
    More Good Stuff for the “Biden Brief”
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Monday, Aug 25 2008, 3:38PM
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    Joe Biden’s selection as Vice President doubles the chances that Senator Chuck Hagel will be selected as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, which this writer considers positively.
    Joe Biden was a key partner with many NGOs and this blog in stopping John Bolton’s confirmation as US Ambassador to the United Nations.
    When President Bush essentially threw the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group into the trash, Joe Biden embraced it and held numerous Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings to make sure that the core elements of the Study Group report were positioned well for public attention.
    Biden voted against the Kyl-Lieberman IRGC amendment that would have provided another “Iraq War Resolution-like” loophole for Iran.
    After President Bush’s provocative State of the Union and post-Iraq Study Group “Statement to the Nation” speeches in 2007, in which both the Wall Street Journal and I thought Bush was telegraphing that he had given permission for covert actions against Iran, the next morning, Biden pounded on Condoleezza Rice and said “the President has no authorization to invade or conduct covert operations against Iran.”
    Good stuff — and it belongs in the Biden brief.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 29, 4:33PM Sythe…wow…I hope your Mom isn’t counting on you for any appreciation or kindness…..make room for the brat generation…… read more
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    Little Tidbits from Denver
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Monday, Aug 25 2008, 11:46AM
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    Email addresses will not be stored The Liberal Lion Returns — Senator Kennedy, who turbo-charged Sen. Obama’s bid for the Democratic nomination with his endorsement in January, has been out of the public spotlight with a malignant brain tumor, is reportedly scheduled to speak on the opening night of the Democratic convention. For Massachusetts delegates and beyond, it might rank with Paul Pierce’s comeback in Game 1.
    The Loquacious Lion’s Past — Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden not only overcame innumerable struggles over the course of his life, the man who is now known to be be quite verbose, leading to the occassional political gaffe, has come a long way since his youth. From the Irish Times:
    Until his late teens, he suffered from a stutter so severe that he was excused from public speaking in school but, quoting Yeats and Emerson in front of the mirror for hours on end, he overcame it to become one of the most loquacious figures in American public life today.
    His addition to the ticket might also help with American Jewish voters
    Families Feud Again — The Obama and Clinton camps are warring again. Speaking assignments for Bill are part of the tension.
    And McCain is proactively capitalizing on this wedge with ads like this one. It goes:
    “I’m a proud Hillary Clinton Democrat,” says Debra Bartoshevich.
    “Now in a first for me, I’m supporting a Republican,” she says, replacing the Clinton sign she’s holding with a McCain sign. “I respect his maverick and independent streak. He’s the one with the experience and judgment.”
    “A lot of Democrats will vote McCain,” she concludes. “It’s OK, really.”
    Democrats Lament Georgia’s Plight — Yesterday at a National Democratic Institute Reception for Global Leaders, DNC Chairman Howard Dean and Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi both addressed the reception of some 500 international audience and made particular gestures to the Georgian delegation expressing their sympathy and support for their democratic aspirations, but pledging no material support other than investigative delegations and hearings. I’m sure the Georgians thought their words hollow but it was still the right move.
    — Sameer Lalwani
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 26, 4:56PM pauline…check out the last sentence…TidBits from the right… McCAIN TO PICK RONALD REAGAN AS VP By R J Shulman PHOENIX — … read more
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    Maliki’s Aproach to Sunni Militias — Politics as War By Other Means
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 24 2008, 2:51PM
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    DENVER — Despite optimistic forecasts with Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon in their latest Foreign Affairs piece, Stephen Biddle seems to be parting ways and concluding that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government has no intention of folding in the Sunni Awakening Councils into the Iraqi military. Yesterday’s LA Times reports:
    Amid fears that the Sunnis’ treatment could rekindle Iraq’s insurgency, the Americans are caught between their wish to support the fighters and their stronger ties to Maliki’s government, which has challenged the Sunni paramilitaries in recent months as it grows increasingly confident about its fledgling army.
    “We want to have our cake and eat it too, support Maliki and the Sons of Iraq. . . . Maliki wants to make that as hard for us as possible. He wants us to choose him,” said Stephen Biddle, a Council on Foreign Relations defense expert who has served as an advisor on strategy to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq. “What it looks like we are getting is a Maliki government that won’t behave itself and wants to crush the Sons of Iraq.”
    This is confirmed by a series of other reports filed on the ground including experts like Colin Kahl of CNAS who is also reconsidering his former optimism on the subject.
    “There’s even some evidence that [al-Maliki] wants to start a fight with the Sons of Iraq,” said Kahl. “Al-Maliki doesn’t believe he has to accommodate these people. He will only do it if we twist his arm to the breaking point.”
    Kahl — noting the slowdown in absorption of Sunni militia members into the Iraqi military and the assignment of humiliating jobs to those who were being incorporated into the central government’s payroll – stated:
    “The last time we humiliated thousands of these guys is back in 2003, and we got the insurgency.”
    Turns out those who have been warning that sectarian tensions still run deep (even if there’s a tactical pause in violence) and preclude the oft-discussed political reconciliation just might be right after all. Most analysts have missed this, looking to problematic barometers like body counts and the passage of central government legislation despite huge implementation gaps.
    This ignores crucial sources that are methodologically difficult to process and measure but still critical to fully understanding the bigger picture in Iraq. That is — what people are saying and through that, their intentions for the medium to long term. In this arena, the people seem to be more successful at gauging the temperature are those reporters on the ground able to penetrate the narrative beyond the green zone. More often than not, they are Arabic speakers able to infiltrate different interest groups or militias and get a more accurate read of the country — something I would proffer the O’Hanlons and Pollacks of DC, despite their travels to Iraq, have had a harder time doing. (In fact, Middle East correspondent for The Economist Max Rodenbeck’s scathing review of Ken Pollack’s latest book chastises him for “a lack of genuine intimacy with his subject.”)
    Returning to Maliki, poitical theorist Michel Foucault’s inversion of the famous Clausewitz credo — “politics is war by other means” — appropriately describes Malikis tactics. Consolidating power and perpetrating violence through legal means is always more difficult to halt than open violence because it is cloaked in legitimacy.
    The reason these revaluations matter is because if the gains over the past 18 months are only surface-level and unsustainable, it dramatically changes the calculus for “winnability” and whether its worth continuing to spend blood and treasure rather than cutting our losses and rebalancing our foreign policy portfolio away from Iraq as Steve Simon, Flynt Leverett, Gen. (Ret.) William Odom, and others have suggested.
    Though Sen. John McCain has made clear his policy preferences, there is a battle currently being waged in the Democratic party over the approach to Iraq and picking Sen. Joe Biden as a running mate shows Sen. Obama takes this debate very seriously. Some of these battles may play out over the course of this week as the Democratic policy elite and intelligentsia converge in Denver for a convention as riven over foreign policy as poltical camps.
    — Sameer Lalwani
    Posted by Sweetness, Aug 29, 10:40AM “Certainly, voting in another lying piece of shit, just because he is the lesser of two evils, does not serve our nation. And I, … read more
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    TRAVEL SCHEDULE for The Washington Note and New America Foundation Team
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 24 2008, 5:09AM
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    Email addresses will not be stored August 24 – 29 (Sunday-Friday)
    Denver — Democratic National Convention
    Steve Clemons, Sameer Lalwani, Brian Till, Daniel Levy, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, Steve Coll (only August 26-27)
    August 29 – September 1 (Friday – Monday)
    Boston — American Political Science Association Annual Meeting
    Steve Clemons
    September 1 – September 4 (Monday – Thursday)
    Minneapolis/St. Paul – Republican National Convention
    Steve Clemons, Brian Till, Daniel Levy, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, Reihan Salam
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 25, 9:51AM Not the old kind…they had to make him party Chair so he wouldn’t run again….and he was able to buck the trend and insist on th… read more
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    Netroots Rally Behind Obama-Biden and Go After Fournier
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 4:11PM
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    Email addresses will not be stored I have already commented about AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier’s edgy attack on the Obama-Biden ticket. I’m not going to add more at this point from my end.
    But from others a lot is stirring.
    Fournier’s article has helped Biden get an instant embrace from the netroots community who are lined up to defend him and call foul on Fournier who allegedly sought a position in the McCain campaign operation.
    One of the biggest headaches Fournier may now face is a possible conflict of interest in having a booking agent for speeches for which he may charge between $5-10k and an Associated Press ethics guideline statement that such booking relationships are prohibited.
    Lindsay Beyerstein pushed over that rock, and we’ll be watching to see what implications this revelation has.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 26, 5:16PM “one of their teachings is “Never complete a circle”….” Kathleen, I liked that one. And no, I don`t consider your arguments re… read more
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    Obama’s Biden Speech
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 3:00PM
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    Part of the social contract with both the Obama and McCain media teams is that we respect the embargo times on speeches and material they send our way.
    But damn, this is hurting me today. I’ve just read Obama’s speech about Joe Biden, the many adversities he’s overcome, his accomplishments, details about his wife Jill and the Biden family.
    It’s a terrific speech. Ted Sorensen’s former right hand aide, Adam Frankel, is a close Obama speechwriter, and I sense his hand in this. But this is also real Obama and real Joe Biden — and it pains me not to be able to share it until he delivers it.
    (I just learned that this excellent speech was “all Ben Rhodes” — who is a great writer as well — and who has been a blogger at “Across the Aisle”, the blog of Partnership for a Secure America.)
    But that will happen soon.
    — Steve Clemons
    Update: Here is the entire speech, a great speech about Joe Biden that says a great deal not only about Biden but also about Obama.
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 25, 12:50PM Questions, I ALWAYS just copy my post before submitting (takes one second), and if I get a new captcha, I paste it. You occasi… read more
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    All Those Houses. . .
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 2:12PM
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    I’ve not been all that excited about the McCain “I don’t know how many houses I’ve got” gaffe.
    I know others who aren’t tuned into such details and they’d make fine national leaders. One can be out of touch with a lot of things — numerous homes, paying bills on time, remembering to put gas in the car, knowing which drawer the kitchen utensils are in (that’s one of my regular screw-ups), and so on.
    But Rogue Columnist captures the beyond-home implications of the gaffe that we should be concerned about:
    President-elect McCain’s inability to recall how many houses he owns fits into a larger and more troubling pattern. The problem is not just that he is an out-of-touch rich guy.
    This is the candidate who repeatedly confused Shiite and Sunni — all the while trumpeting his expertise on the Middle East. At one point, his sock puppet Joe Lieberman had to whisper the facts in his ear. He couldn’t tell Sudan from Somalia. He kept talking about a nation that hasn’t existed for years. Iraq and Pakistan share a border, the senator wrongly said, and the Sunni awakening happened ‘after’ the surge (edited out by CBS). He said he didn’t know much about economics, then denied saying such a thing. He spoke of a withdrawal timetable one day, then denied saying it later. He volunteered Cindy for a topless contest. Then there was the stupendous dead space and mumbling when he was questioned about claiming Obama was playing the race card. He claimed he walked through Baghdad without body armor or protection, etc., etc. Most of this has been captured on tape.
    What’s going on? Neither obvious answer is comforting. He’s either going senile as he nears 72, or he’s lying and unprepared on critical issues without realizing how easily this can be caught in a YouTube era. (Whether the duhs and ignos — those ‘undecided voters’ and angry Clintonites — will care, is another, depressing matter). Either one of these answers should disqualify him for the White House, particularly because so many of his misstatements, confusions and subsequent lies come about issues where he claims superior experience and judgment.
    I turn 46 on Wednesday next week — during the Democratic National Convention — so I’m feeling particularly vulnerable to age challenges. I don’t care if McCain is 72. I care whether he is functioning mentally, intellectually, and emotionally in full form.
    This is a candidate who has already decided that Russia is the dark villain and Georgia’s Saakashvili the white knight in the scrape-up between Russia and Georgia. In that case, did he talk with his advisers to make sure that he had his facts straight and intelligence right? Wait, one of his top national security advisers is a paid lobbyist for Georgia. . .so, let’s change that to “Did McCain ask his biased staff members to recuse themselves and then ask others to help him get his facts straight?’
    Or did he just decide what was what all on his own when he issued his condemnation of and not so veiled threats toward Russia?
    I don’t care if folks see the Georgia-Russia mess as a black and white situation or a problem with lots of gray, if McCain is making fast judgments but often has a poor grasp of detail. . .and let’s put some “emotional outbursts” on top of that. . .then that’s not a trivial problem.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Jinchi, Aug 26, 5:27PM Dr. Michael Roizen, developer of the ‘Real Age’ program, calculates John McCain’s biological age… Dr Roizen, who claims to real… read more
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    FireDogLake Book Salon with “The Dark Side” author Jane Mayer at 5 pm EST
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 1:10PM
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    I have the privilege of moderating a book salon forum today over at FireDogLake with New Yorker Washington correspondent Jane Mayer on her best selling book, The Dark Side: The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.
    This is an online forum. I did another of these at FireDogLake once with Jacob Heilbrunn on his book, They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons, and it was a fantastic discussion.
    If you would like to watch a previous meeting that I hosted with Jane Mayer, this is a pretty great interview:
    This is the preamble commentary that will run later on the FireDogLake site:
    New Yorker Washington correspondent Jane Mayer achieved a great first among serious Bush administration-watchers in putting a major spotlight on the deeds of David Addington, Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff and former national security advisor.
    She wrote her pivotal New Yorker profile piece of Addington called “The Hidden Power” in July 2006 – but even this great expose came years after some of Addington’s most serious and disconcerting achievements including the assertion of a war-time imperial presidency that ignored and had disdain for checks and balances in government.
    Addington helped construct the legal environment that
    Posted by pablo tani, Apr 08 2009, 7:49AM – Link
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    Nader Mousavizadeh, former special assistant to and speechwriter for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Goldman Sachs executive, just sent over his oped, “How to Navigate the New Global Archipelago,” which appeared in the Times of London on Friday, John McCain’s birthday.
    Mousavizadeh’s excellent analytical piece echoes a number of the themes I raised in this TWN essay on the Kosovo and broader geostrategic dimensions of the Georgia-Russia conflict.
    Essentially, Mousavizadeh advises Obama to resist the temptation to offer McCain-lite responses to high stakes global crises and flash points. He is absolutely right.
    I’ll have to add him to my growing list of those who should be high level picks for key positions in an Obama administration. I’d add him to a McCain list as well — but unfortunately — enlightened thinking on global affairs is not something that easily transfers politically at this point in our history.
    Read the entire piece, but I am enthusiastically compelled to provide a big chunk of this progressive/realist essay:
    As Russia decides where to draw its new boundary with Georgia a reckoning will be due – among the people of Georgia living amid the wreckage of a failed gamble, and among their Western allies suddenly confronted with diplomatic impotence. But for Barack Obama, a different kind of reckoning is taking place: what happens when the formidable political instincts of the probable next US president meet the limits of his experience in national security.
    From everything he has said and written, it is evident that Mr Obama, uniquely among leading US politicians, understands the new contours of global affairs – that the world won’t be divided into neat categories of democracies versus autocracies, nor will it converge toward a Western model.
    He knows instead, that a world of parts is emerging – of states drifting farther away from each other into a global archipelago of interests and values; and that in an archipelago world, appeals to freedom, democracy and human rights must compete with aims of stability, resource security and the projection of national power.
    And yet, as the Georgian conflict spirals into a global crisis, Mr Obama finds himself on the back foot. Initially hesitant in his response to Vladimir Putin’s expedition in South Ossetia, he has had to ratchet up his rhetoric in response to John McCain’s for-us-or-against-us stance.
    This is, as Obama the politician would know, a loser’s game, even if Obama the statesman is still finding his way. Trying to outmuscle Mr McCain will invite only contempt among his foes and bewilderment among the millions of his supporters yearning for a different kind of US engagement with the world.
    Georgia is only the most recent augury of a new era of zero-sum diplomacy for which the West is ill-prepared. The West’s surprise at Russia’s response was disconcerting enough. More troubling was the outdated assortment of threats with which it has tried to sound tough. Among the suggestions was a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics hosted by Russia, denying Russia membership of the World Trade Organisation and excluding it from G8 meetings. A common thread links all three: they are as difficult for the West to achieve as they are unlikely to alter Russia’s behaviour.
    Obtaining an Olympic boycott six years after the crisis in Georgia will be extremely challenging. Barring access to the WTO just after the collapse of the Doha talks may be less of a sanction than it sounds.
    The G8 threat is even less convincing, although it is telling evidence of a 20th-century mindset that is oblivious to international changes. Before Georgia it would have been hard to find anyone seriously arguing for the importance of G8 meetings (Canada and Italy are members; China is not); much less that being denied entrance could be construed as leverage with a great power.
    Far more important to the future of international diplomacy was a little-noticed meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia, last May. There, for the first time, foreign ministers from the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) met to advance their common agenda in a world hitherto defined by Western rules. The BRICs are expected to overtake the combined GDP of the G7 by 2035, and they laid down a marker that they will not wait for reform of the post-Second World War institutions to be heard.
    Does this mean that China or India will take Russia’s side against the West? Not necessarily, but it does suggest a more complex interplay of interests in future. Strategic leverage will have to be earned – crisis by crisis, interest by interest.
    I am going to have to ask Mousavizadeh to guest blog a piece for TWN.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Stephen K. Mack, Sep 02, 7:23PM Steve, Heard you on Ian Masters on Sunday on KPFK, out of L.A. Did not know about your site until then. Read your post and the Mou… read more
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    What Does It Mean When. . .James Steinberg Painted His House in March?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 31 2008, 8:29AM
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    In part, it means something I blogged yesterday was wrong. It happens now and then.
    Yesterday, I wrote a piece here at TWN that tried to share with readers how I got some insights into the Joe Biden VP selection story a bit earlier than the mainstream. I also shared a bit how friends of mine and I worked on learning that Mitt Romney had been told by McCain that he would not be the nominee.
    In the Biden case, I preferred his selection over Senator Evan Bayh, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. I could have lived with the other options, but Biden I thought would fill a significant gap in the Obama portfolio.
    But the jobs I tend to care about most on a President’s team are not ones that the public votes for. In a few of the cases, the U.S. Senate offers “advise and consent” to the President by considering nominations and voting on confirmations. But this role is limited — which is fine with me for the most part.
    But in positions like National Security Advisor, or NSC Middle East Advisor, or National Economic Advisor to the President, among other positions that lie directly in the Executive Office of the President, the President has a free hand. Civil society, including bloggers, social and political commentators, or even well connected gossips, can sometimes shape the environment in which the president chooses his or her personal team. They can offer a tilt. I try and do that now and then — sometimes not well — because I care very much that the U.S. have the best team possible advising a President on how to restore America’s national security position to a healthy, sensible, credible, interest-advancing posture.
    The National Security Advisor job is one of the key ones I think about in an Obama or McCain administration. At this point — still months from the election — I think that four of the frontrunners for that are UT Austin Dean James Steinberg, Brookings Senior Fellow and Obama campaign Senior Foreign Policy Adviser Susan Rice, attorney and Obama campaign senior national security advisor Gregory Craig, and former Washington Institute on Near East Policy staff member and Clinton Middle East envoy Dennis Ross.
    Of the four, if these four remain the options as the election develops, I prefer Steinberg, Rice, and Gregory Craig more than Dennis Ross. Ross has many talents, but I fear that his own approach to the Middle East mess we have today would look a lot like Condoleezza Rice’s approach — a lot of effort but zero results, a failure to see power and realities in the region as they are rather than how we’d prefer them to be.
    I have seen Susan Rice and Gregory Craig speak recently — both in programs of the New America Foundation — and they were outstanding. Rice is serious, informed, and a structured thinker with vision. She has an appreciation for 21st century threats of climate change refugees, transnational health problems, and failing state and governance realities in Africa that stands out above most. Former State Department Policy Planning Staff Director Gregory Craig gave a talk recently which I’ll share once I get the transcript that I thought was absolutely brilliant and helped clarify Barack Obama’s foreign policy approach much more clearly than I have heard in some time.
    But I’m also a big fan of James Steinberg. Yesterday, I wrote that some house repairs, painting, and tree removal that Steinberg was doing in Austin might just signal his decision to get more active with the campaign and to prepare for much hard work that will be required of an Obama national security team immediately after a November election.
    Steinberg recently went with Barack Obama on the Middle East portion of his recent international trip.
    The kind of house stuff I wrote about was pretty esoteric as one TWN reader called it — but it gave me an on-ramp to remark again on my own preference that Steinberg — who was the first senior level member of the Democratic Party’s “strategic class” to call for withdrawing from Iraq — be among the highest levels of those considered by Senator and perhaps President Obama as National Security Advisor or in some other very senior position.
    But some of the details that came to me about Steinberg’s house work from his friends were inaccurate.
    Yesterday, I wrote:
    James B. Steinberg — former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Clinton, former Brookings Institution Foreign Policy Division Czar, and UT Austin LBJ School Dean — is now removing a bunch of old oak trees that were destroyed in a storm a few years ago and is painting his house.
    Neighbors report that he hasn’t done much to his place or yard in the several years he has lived there, and now all of a sudden — his place is getting a major face-lift.
    Turns out that while all these things happened, the timing is wrong as well as the type of tree was inaccurate. Other sources familiar with Steinberg’s home improvements report to me:
    Jim Steinberg’s house was painted in February-March. The storm was in May 2008. The only tree removed was the one that had fallen on the roof of the house and smashed the chimney, and there are no oak trees on the property.
    Record corrected.
    But the bottom line is that people like myself are hungry for excellence again in the foreign policy/national security team advising the holder of the highest office in this land.
    I am distressed that I see patterns similar to the dysfunctional divide between pragmatic realists and militant idealists in the George W. Bush administration being replicated in the McCain for President campaign. There are some good folks in McCain land. I hesitate to mention their names in fear that they will go on some kind of purge list that Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan keep in their locked desk drawer.
    But around Obama, while I don’t prefer all of those who advise him on national security, the overall team thinks in more disciplined terms and in bolder, much needed ways than what I am seeing unfold on the McCain side.
    James Steinberg is not a household name and doesn’t want to be. For the record, he has made it clear to me he doesn’t like it much when I mention him on the blog — but the fact is that the clarity of his thinking stands out and is important to use as a benchmark when discussing the potential practitioners who will shape tomorrow’s policies. What I write here about Steinberg will not likely affect one way or another his chances of taking the helm of the National Security Council.
    A few have told me that they look at Steinberg as someone who shapes his policy positions to adapt to political currents he is trying to surf. I very much disagree.
    Steinberg has the experience, political acumen, and vision to help the nation’s national security bureaucracy and its president to move out of the destructive path where inertia and incrementalism are taking the nation. I have heard Steinberg many times in off the record conferences outline the steps America needed to take to jump into a different set of institutional relationships.
    Indeed, my own thinking about what America needs to do to develop a new global social contract with other international stakeholders has most been influenced by the private commentary of James Steinberg as well as the writing of G. John Ikenberry as well as a handful of other thinkers. We need Steinberg-types who have been through the post-Cold War currents and know that we need new frameworks for managing America’s engagement in interests in the world.
    Steinberg and others like him could be the next era’s Dean Acheson — and that is why I believe that writing about those Obama chooses to surround himself with (McCain too) is a vital role of bloggers and political and policy analysts. We need to find the shapers of America’s and the world’s “next” institutions.
    Thus, while I was able to sort through esoteric data and see that Obama was going to select Biden and McCain not take on Romney, my assessment about James Steinberg and some others who are around Obama should not be tied to esoteric data about home chores. I care less about the implications of what they are doing to their own homes than what they could to fix up America.
    Steinberg, Rice, and Gregory Craig look better to me every day, particularly in contrast to some that John McCain has brought into and expelled from his circle — and I hope that the Obama national security team expands to consider other excellent talents like James Dobbins, R. Nicholas Burns, Wendy Sherman, Antony Blinken, Derek Chollet, Kurt Campbell, Flynt Leverett, Michele Flournoy, Joe Cirincione, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Robert Malley (who Obama should reacquire) and others like them.
    There are so many others to mention who are also superb — Denis McDonough, Dan Shapiro, Gayle Smith, Samantha Power. . .but they are already high on the Obama list.
    More on them later — but probably won’t be giving updates on whether Flynt Leverett has painted his house or not.
    More soon.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by GL, Oct 29, 3:40PM Hi Steve, I run into your blog and find it interesting. But: 1) I don’t think Jim can paint his “house”, which is a historical on… read more
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    Country First? More like “Country Last”
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 6:00PM
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    John McCain’s decision to choose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run with him on the GOP ticket can be about many things — wanting to bring in someone genuinely from the outside, wanting to embrace the reality that women can serve in all capacities and in all levels of government and the military, wanting to lure part of the female vote that might have supported Hillary Rodham Clinton towards John McCain.
    But the national-security dripping “Country First” sloganeering that McCain has been doing just does not fit with Sara Palin.
    This was a “Country Last” decision. If McCain had something happen to him, I just don’t know what the country would do.
    We would be faced with a scary situation in which many major institutions in our nation — and you probably know at least part of what I’m talking about — might not support her ascension to the presidency. We have to consider the implications of that.
    I can’t prove that the government would divide if she were to move from VP to the presidency, but I know that there would be enormous tension. I think we’d see mass resignations.
    Sarah Palin is not Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is not Condoleezza Rice. She isn’t Kathleen Sibelius or Olympia Snowe or Janet Napolitano. She’s not Susan Eisenhower or Dianne Feinstein.
    Alaskans typically devour their governors. They usually serve a single term before the tectonics of state politics undermine their state leader. But she hasn’t even served two years as governor.
    What does she think about Cuba? Does she know the difference between America’s relations with Brazil and Venezuela? Does she know what a balancing act we are walking in Asia between Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, North Korea, Russia and more? Does she know anything about nuclear weapons and our defense posture?
    What books has she read? Who are her inspirations as thought leaders? Has she written any serious articles or published anything we might see to get a sense of who she is?
    What would she do with Iran? Can she name even five nations on the continent of Africa?
    She better study up. Because as she begins to have her national coming out — forget the reporters. . .regular people are going to kick her tires about this stuff.
    And no one I know thinks she is ready for a serious challenge like this — and certainly not ready to manage the crises that might come if she tripped into the presidency.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Tahoe Editor, Sep 04, 2:50PM Exactly. There’s no pol more fearsome than someone you haven’t “met in the CNN green room a dozen times.” I think the Chicken Lit… read more
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    Is Wasserman Shultz Strangling Miami Dem Candidate Joe Garcia — or Hugging Him?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 5:29PM
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    Jake Colvin, a fellow blogger over at The Havana Note, captured this pic at the BIG TENT at the Democratic National Convention.
    Debbie Wasserman Schultz has apparently finally signed on to help Dem candidate Joe Garcia challenge one of her other monomaniacal anti-Cuba pals, Republican Mario Diaz-Balart. I think Garcia is a big step forward on US-Cuba policy and for better representation for Miami citizens.
    But she still is holding out in opposing her close friend, the anti-Cuba terrorist-celebrating Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Mr.Murder, Aug 31, 2:26PM How about the background of SCI, the company that lost Katrina bodies and even wrongly interred remains at Jewish cemeteries in Fl… read more
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    The View on the Road
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 5:04PM
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    This just in from Open Left’s Matt Stoller — the “hot beef sundae” in Lincoln, Nebraska.
    — Steve Clemons
    Baghdad Lessons? Police Raiding Homes in St. Paul
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 4:27PM
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    Heavily armed police teams in groups of 20 or 30 are raiding private homes in St. Paul. According to one woman who spoke to FireDogLake’s Lindsay Beyerstein, asking to see a warrant gets one immediately “detained.”
    Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald dropped in on a raided St. Paul home shortly after the cops descended.
    This is not the Republican Party my family — dispersed around Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas — supported. This has become an Orwellian Big Brother party.
    Spying, illegal search and seizure, the indiscriminate suspension of personal rights and civil liberties — this is what the Republicans always feared that the Dems would do in building ever larger governments whose power would become unmanageable and unstoppable.
    But the Republicans have built and animated the party that they once feared and used to rail against.
    I’ll have to see if I get detained for the stuff I write here. I know I won’t actually — but the high fear tilt is clearly moving in an even worse direction.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Jim Bowie Knife, Aug 31, 9:29AM Hey John Wayne, lets discuss this in the manner that you think a real John Wayne alias Marion Michael Morrison would choose! From … read more
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    Pat Buchanan’s Obama Embrace
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 3:29PM
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    I’ve known Pat Buchanan for a long time, from a comfortable arm’s lenth – met him first in 1987.
    His comments in this clip are an important benchmark of Obama’s ability to reach beyond lines that seemed impenetrable.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by arthurdecco, Sep 04, 11:21PM Tahoe Editor said: “The only thing more tiresome than name-dropping is whining about it.” My gawd! A thought from TE that I agree… read more
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    James Steinberg Paints House: What Can it Mean?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 1:40PM
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    (Obama foreign policy team members Ben Rhodes, Denis McDonough, and UT Austin LBJ School Dean Jim Steinberg arriving in Amman, Jordan 21 July 21. 2008)
    To some degree, I could tell in the upbeat voices of Joe Biden staffers I was calling frequently a week and a half ago — and in the day and a half long/cut short family friendly trip that Senate Foreign Relations Commitee Antony Blinken made to Hawaii at Biden’s encouragement before turning around and racing home without tan — that Biden was going to be announced as Obama’s running mate.
    I still chuckle at the comment from Blinken that I ought not to read anything into his quick return.
    I had other indications too. But watching what key staffers are doing tells a lot.
    One senior level Republican friend told me for instance that John McCain called Mitt Romney Thursday morning this past week. My friend did not know whether McCain was calling to say “You’re it!” or “You were it — but you aren’t anymore!” or “You aren’t it and never were!”
    So, we tracked down the people closest to Mitt Romney. I can’t go into details as it gets into personal lives, but we knew for certain that none of his closest aides were making any plans to move with Romney to meet up with McCain. So, we knew then that McCain’s choice was not the former Massachusetts Governor — who, like John McCain, used to be for a lot of cool things before he was against them.
    Like much of the public, I thought that McCain was then going to go with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. I didn’t quite agree with a thoughtful Dem writer I know that “even though Pawlenty cut off his mullet, he’s still a guy who had a mullet.” Pawlenty had some strengths that could have impressed voters — so too Romney. In fact, many Republican realists were big Romney supporters, and McCain could have helped seal a serious rift in the national security community by taking on Romney.
    On another front, senior McCain aides often laughed themselves silly about how hard Florida Governor Charlie Christ was supplicating before McCain and doing everything he possibly could to get the VP nod — and one could tell in the tone of their voices that McCain would simply never select Christ.
    I always thought from a Machiavellian/almost Rovian point of view that the right choices for McCain to build out his campaign would have either been Mike Huckabee or Senator Sam Brownback. Huckabee is an incredible chameleon. Many of my most liberal friends — gays, enviros, and peace activists — were moved by Huckabee at one time or another. They thought he was folksy and had overcome many personal challenges — a theme that would have helped balance Biden.
    And then of course, Huckabee was loved by social conservatives and evangelicals — which have been the backbone of amazing voter turnout machines in many past national elections.
    But, McCain in a surprise move settled on Sarah Palin. I’m glad that a woman is on one of the tickets — but clearly Governor Palin is the wrong one.
    But more importantly, James B. Steinberg — former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Clinton, former Brookings Institution Foreign Policy Division Czar, and UT Austin LBJ School Dean — is now removing a bunch of old oak trees that were destroyed in a storm a few years ago and is painting his house.
    Neighbors report that he hasn’t done much to his place or yard in the several years he has lived there, and now all of a sudden — his place is getting a major face-lift.
    My hunch suggests that Jim Steinberg, a solid choice to possibly serve as Barack Obama’s national security adviser in the White House, is about to go on the road.
    I know I’m going to get an email from him telling to “stop it.” But Steinberg is great — and we are watching for signs that he’s going to move to be one of the key co-helmspeople of Obama’s national security/foreign policy machine in the next few months.
    Why else would someone paint his house in the Texan hot August heat?
    — Steve Clemons
    For More: See Update above.
    Posted by Mr.Murder, Aug 31, 2:42PM August of the year, preceding Sept. 11th 2001* Sorry for the lag. Messenger announcements freeze my keys…… read more
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    Bush/McCain Not Even Good at Imperialism: China Gets Iraq’s First Foreign Oil Contract
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 1:07PM
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    (Iraq President Jalal Talabani walks with his China President Hu Jintao)
    George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and presidential hopeful John McCain (as well as his new internationally ignorant but charming vice presidential running mate) have been promulgating the need to stay in Iraq to protect American interests.
    Well. . .it seems we are also serving China’s interests. Some might say, “of course we are — given that China finances the largest share of America’s debt-burdened economy.”
    China National Petroleum and Iraq have just signed the first major oil deal between the occupied-by-America nation and a foreign oil company. The deal is valued up to $3 billion (or 21 billion Chinese yuan…better start learning about those yuan).
    A prominent international observer sent me this note this morning:
    The Bush administration is not even good at imperialism.
    Bush sacrifices American money and military lives to prop up a government allied with Iran in the hope of getting a few military bases and some oil contracts for its friends.
    Meanwhile the Maliki government steals them blind, gives the first oil contracts to China, and tells Washington to forget about those military bases.
    Oh, but thanks for taking care of the Baathists and the Sunnis for us!
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Sep 02, 2:25PM Carroll… “efforts”… you get an A for diplomacy.. and Sharon stirring up dissent by taking a group to the Temple Mount and scut… read more
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    Could-Be Commander in Chief Sarah Palin
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Friday, Aug 29 2008, 4:05PM
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    What was that TV show where Geena Davis was an unlikely female VP is thrust into the presidency after the tough national hero president she served under passed away while in office? That’s right: Commander in Chief.
    Well, life may be following fiction (again) — without the passing away part. . .
    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is going to be the one to debate Joe Biden in the VP debate. It will be a competition in folksiness.
    This was a shrewd move by McCain. He had a lot of other options that were low sizzle — but this choice, while perplexing, still makes a lot of sense.
    This from Timothy Egan:
    She hunts! She fishes! She eats moose burgers! She can gut a salmon as well as dispatch an incumbent governor! She’s a rural mother of five who clings to guns and religion — exuberantly!
    In choosing as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, two years removed from her only other political job as a small-town mayor, John McCain has certainly offered up a giant-killer — “Sarah Barracuda,” as she’s known in the Last Frontier State.
    Palin, who has more than a passing resemblance to Tina Fey, took on the kleptocracy of Alaska’s Republican politics and won.
    First, she ousted hated incumbent Frank Murkowski in a primary two years ago, and then promptly cleaned up his mess in Juneau, even selling his private jet on e-bay. Second, she rejected the “bridge to nowhere,” the famous earmark for a span from Ketchikan to an island of 50 people — further angering the politicians-for-life who have run Alaska for half as long as it’s been in the union.
    Like in the case of Obama, there was no perfect VP running mate for John McCain. But as I have suggested before — McCain needed an out-of-the-box running mate to motivate voters. Huckabee, Powell, Condi Rice, and even Joe Lieberman would have been interesting choices — though Lieberman would have motivated a lot of voters to organize even more strongly on behalf of Obama.
    Palin is an out-of-the-box choice and will draw a good number of female votes. It’s as much sizzle

    Reply

  2. tim says:

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    Who Chose Sarah Palin?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 31 2008, 11:42AM
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    Rumors are swirling that Tim Pawlenty is furious – that he was on the edge of McCain announcing he was the GOP VP running mate – but that at the last moment, that course was rejected in favor of a person McCain met once, six months ago, and did not interview again.
    Huckabee is not pleased that he wasn’t even vetted – and he’s letting his followers know.
    But it may be that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wasn’t vetted either!
    How did Palin get the job?
    This piece by Tristan Snell at Open Left is worth taking a look at:
    Who chose Palin?
    Well, it certainly wasn’t John McCain.
    McCain only met Palin once, six months ago. Unlike every other major party VP nominee in recent memory, Palin did not meet McCain for a final interview before her selection.
    A few weeks ago, she wasn’t in the running at all. The scandals and unorthodoxies involving Palin — she flip-flopped on the Bridge to Nowhere and even raised sales taxes on her small town to pay for an overpriced boondoggle — show that the McCain campaign didn’t vet her.
    The McCains and Palins looked visibly awkward together, not even speaking as they went their separate ways on a brief shopping trip in Ohio yesterday.
    McCain is on record as saying he wanted a running mate with whom he had a strong personal relationship — and who was ready to be president.
    This was clearly not his pick. So again: Who chose Palin?
    Was it Dick Cheney? Or Karl Rove? Or maybe James Dobson?
    Read the rest here.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Thomas W, Sep 21, 9:03PM Glib and incompetent.. just another Bush/ Rove nominee. This one wears lipstick. … read more
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    Blogger Poll: Right of Center Bloggers Think Palin is a Plus
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 31 2008, 11:17AM
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    I’ve been participating in an interesting daily blogger poll organized by Tom Madigan at National Journal.
    Today, he reports that right of center bloggers think Sarah Palin is a big plus for the McCain ticket. Left of Center bloggers are not convinced, but it is ultimately what the right (and the undeclared and independent) thinks of Palin that is going to matter.
    For the record, I had TWN listed as right of center for the Democratic Convention — and as left of center for the Republican Convention.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Tahoe Editor, Sep 05, 4:23PM McCain & Palin have spent more time on the other side of the aisle than The Barack Obama Show even pretends to. Blaming Bristol… read more
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    Obama Should Offer More than McCain-Lite Strategy On Russia-Georgia and Other High Stakes Global Conflicts
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 31 2008, 10:42AM
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    Nader Mousavizadeh, former special assistant to and speechwriter for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Goldman Sachs executive, just sent over his oped, “How to Navigate the New Global Archipelago,” which appeared in the Times of London on Friday, John McCain’s birthday.
    Mousavizadeh’s excellent analytical piece echoes a number of the themes I raised in this TWN essay on the Kosovo and broader geostrategic dimensions of the Georgia-Russia conflict.
    Essentially, Mousavizadeh advises Obama to resist the temptation to offer McCain-lite responses to high stakes global crises and flash points. He is absolutely right.
    I’ll have to add him to my growing list of those who should be high level picks for key positions in an Obama administration. I’d add him to a McCain list as well — but unfortunately — enlightened thinking on global affairs is not something that easily transfers politically at this point in our history.
    Read the entire piece, but I am enthusiastically compelled to provide a big chunk of this progressive/realist essay:
    As Russia decides where to draw its new boundary with Georgia a reckoning will be due – among the people of Georgia living amid the wreckage of a failed gamble, and among their Western allies suddenly confronted with diplomatic impotence. But for Barack Obama, a different kind of reckoning is taking place: what happens when the formidable political instincts of the probable next US president meet the limits of his experience in national security.
    From everything he has said and written, it is evident that Mr Obama, uniquely among leading US politicians, understands the new contours of global affairs – that the world won’t be divided into neat categories of democracies versus autocracies, nor will it converge toward a Western model.
    He knows instead, that a world of parts is emerging – of states drifting farther away from each other into a global archipelago of interests and values; and that in an archipelago world, appeals to freedom, democracy and human rights must compete with aims of stability, resource security and the projection of national power.
    And yet, as the Georgian conflict spirals into a global crisis, Mr Obama finds himself on the back foot. Initially hesitant in his response to Vladimir Putin’s expedition in South Ossetia, he has had to ratchet up his rhetoric in response to John McCain’s for-us-or-against-us stance.
    This is, as Obama the politician would know, a loser’s game, even if Obama the statesman is still finding his way. Trying to outmuscle Mr McCain will invite only contempt among his foes and bewilderment among the millions of his supporters yearning for a different kind of US engagement with the world.
    Georgia is only the most recent augury of a new era of zero-sum diplomacy for which the West is ill-prepared. The West’s surprise at Russia’s response was disconcerting enough. More troubling was the outdated assortment of threats with which it has tried to sound tough. Among the suggestions was a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics hosted by Russia, denying Russia membership of the World Trade Organisation and excluding it from G8 meetings. A common thread links all three: they are as difficult for the West to achieve as they are unlikely to alter Russia’s behaviour.
    Obtaining an Olympic boycott six years after the crisis in Georgia will be extremely challenging. Barring access to the WTO just after the collapse of the Doha talks may be less of a sanction than it sounds.
    The G8 threat is even less convincing, although it is telling evidence of a 20th-century mindset that is oblivious to international changes. Before Georgia it would have been hard to find anyone seriously arguing for the importance of G8 meetings (Canada and Italy are members; China is not); much less that being denied entrance could be construed as leverage with a great power.
    Far more important to the future of international diplomacy was a little-noticed meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia, last May. There, for the first time, foreign ministers from the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) met to advance their common agenda in a world hitherto defined by Western rules. The BRICs are expected to overtake the combined GDP of the G7 by 2035, and they laid down a marker that they will not wait for reform of the post-Second World War institutions to be heard.
    Does this mean that China or India will take Russia’s side against the West? Not necessarily, but it does suggest a more complex interplay of interests in future. Strategic leverage will have to be earned – crisis by crisis, interest by interest.
    I am going to have to ask Mousavizadeh to guest blog a piece for TWN.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Stephen K. Mack, Sep 02, 7:23PM Steve, Heard you on Ian Masters on Sunday on KPFK, out of L.A. Did not know about your site until then. Read your post and the Mou… read more
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    What Does It Mean When. . .James Steinberg Painted His House in March?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 31 2008, 8:29AM
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    In part, it means something I blogged yesterday was wrong. It happens now and then.
    Yesterday, I wrote a piece here at TWN that tried to share with readers how I got some insights into the Joe Biden VP selection story a bit earlier than the mainstream. I also shared a bit how friends of mine and I worked on learning that Mitt Romney had been told by McCain that he would not be the nominee.
    In the Biden case, I preferred his selection over Senator Evan Bayh, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. I could have lived with the other options, but Biden I thought would fill a significant gap in the Obama portfolio.
    But the jobs I tend to care about most on a President’s team are not ones that the public votes for. In a few of the cases, the U.S. Senate offers “advise and consent” to the President by considering nominations and voting on confirmations. But this role is limited — which is fine with me for the most part.
    But in positions like National Security Advisor, or NSC Middle East Advisor, or National Economic Advisor to the President, among other positions that lie directly in the Executive Office of the President, the President has a free hand. Civil society, including bloggers, social and political commentators, or even well connected gossips, can sometimes shape the environment in which the president chooses his or her personal team. They can offer a tilt. I try and do that now and then — sometimes not well — because I care very much that the U.S. have the best team possible advising a President on how to restore America’s national security position to a healthy, sensible, credible, interest-advancing posture.
    The National Security Advisor job is one of the key ones I think about in an Obama or McCain administration. At this point — still months from the election — I think that four of the frontrunners for that are UT Austin Dean James Steinberg, Brookings Senior Fellow and Obama campaign Senior Foreign Policy Adviser Susan Rice, attorney and Obama campaign senior national security advisor Gregory Craig, and former Washington Institute on Near East Policy staff member and Clinton Middle East envoy Dennis Ross.
    Of the four, if these four remain the options as the election develops, I prefer Steinberg, Rice, and Gregory Craig more than Dennis Ross. Ross has many talents, but I fear that his own approach to the Middle East mess we have today would look a lot like Condoleezza Rice’s approach — a lot of effort but zero results, a failure to see power and realities in the region as they are rather than how we’d prefer them to be.
    I have seen Susan Rice and Gregory Craig speak recently — both in programs of the New America Foundation — and they were outstanding. Rice is serious, informed, and a structured thinker with vision. She has an appreciation for 21st century threats of climate change refugees, transnational health problems, and failing state and governance realities in Africa that stands out above most. Former State Department Policy Planning Staff Director Gregory Craig gave a talk recently which I’ll share once I get the transcript that I thought was absolutely brilliant and helped clarify Barack Obama’s foreign policy approach much more clearly than I have heard in some time.
    But I’m also a big fan of James Steinberg. Yesterday, I wrote that some house repairs, painting, and tree removal that Steinberg was doing in Austin might just signal his decision to get more active with the campaign and to prepare for much hard work that will be required of an Obama national security team immediately after a November election.
    Steinberg recently went with Barack Obama on the Middle East portion of his recent international trip.
    The kind of house stuff I wrote about was pretty esoteric as one TWN reader called it — but it gave me an on-ramp to remark again on my own preference that Steinberg — who was the first senior level member of the Democratic Party’s “strategic class” to call for withdrawing from Iraq — be among the highest levels of those considered by Senator and perhaps President Obama as National Security Advisor or in some other very senior position.
    But some of the details that came to me about Steinberg’s house work from his friends were inaccurate.
    Yesterday, I wrote:
    James B. Steinberg — former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Clinton, former Brookings Institution Foreign Policy Division Czar, and UT Austin LBJ School Dean — is now removing a bunch of old oak trees that were destroyed in a storm a few years ago and is painting his house.
    Neighbors report that he hasn’t done much to his place or yard in the several years he has lived there, and now all of a sudden — his place is getting a major face-lift.
    Turns out that while all these things happened, the timing is wrong as well as the type of tree was inaccurate. Other sources familiar with Steinberg’s home improvements report to me:
    Jim Steinberg’s house was painted in February-March. The storm was in May 2008. The only tree removed was the one that had fallen on the roof of the house and smashed the chimney, and there are no oak trees on the property.
    Record corrected.
    But the bottom line is that people like myself are hungry for excellence again in the foreign policy/national security team advising the holder of the highest office in this land.
    I am distressed that I see patterns similar to the dysfunctional divide between pragmatic realists and militant idealists in the George W. Bush administration being replicated in the McCain for President campaign. There are some good folks in McCain land. I hesitate to mention their names in fear that they will go on some kind of purge list that Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan keep in their locked desk drawer.
    But around Obama, while I don’t prefer all of those who advise him on national security, the overall team thinks in more disciplined terms and in bolder, much needed ways than what I am seeing unfold on the McCain side.
    James Steinberg is not a household name and doesn’t want to be. For the record, he has made it clear to me he doesn’t like it much when I mention him on the blog — but the fact is that the clarity of his thinking stands out and is important to use as a benchmark when discussing the potential practitioners who will shape tomorrow’s policies. What I write here about Steinberg will not likely affect one way or another his chances of taking the helm of the National Security Council.
    A few have told me that they look at Steinberg as someone who shapes his policy positions to adapt to political currents he is trying to surf. I very much disagree.
    Steinberg has the experience, political acumen, and vision to help the nation’s national security bureaucracy and its president to move out of the destructive path where inertia and incrementalism are taking the nation. I have heard Steinberg many times in off the record conferences outline the steps America needed to take to jump into a different set of institutional relationships.
    Indeed, my own thinking about what America needs to do to develop a new global social contract with other international stakeholders has most been influenced by the private commentary of James Steinberg as well as the writing of G. John Ikenberry as well as a handful of other thinkers. We need Steinberg-types who have been through the post-Cold War currents and know that we need new frameworks for managing America’s engagement in interests in the world.
    Steinberg and others like him could be the next era’s Dean Acheson — and that is why I believe that writing about those Obama chooses to surround himself with (McCain too) is a vital role of bloggers and political and policy analysts. We need to find the shapers of America’s and the world’s “next” institutions.
    Thus, while I was able to sort through esoteric data and see that Obama was going to select Biden and McCain not take on Romney, my assessment about James Steinberg and some others who are around Obama should not be tied to esoteric data about home chores. I care less about the implications of what they are doing to their own homes than what they could to fix up America.
    Steinberg, Rice, and Gregory Craig look better to me every day, particularly in contrast to some that John McCain has brought into and expelled from his circle — and I hope that the Obama national security team expands to consider other excellent talents like James Dobbins, R. Nicholas Burns, Wendy Sherman, Antony Blinken, Derek Chollet, Kurt Campbell, Flynt Leverett, Michele Flournoy, Joe Cirincione, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Robert Malley (who Obama should reacquire) and others like them.
    There are so many others to mention who are also superb — Denis McDonough, Dan Shapiro, Gayle Smith, Samantha Power. . .but they are already high on the Obama list.
    More on them later — but probably won’t be giving updates on whether Flynt Leverett has painted his house or not.
    More soon.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by GL, Oct 29, 3:40PM Hi Steve, I run into your blog and find it interesting. But: 1) I don’t think Jim can paint his “house”, which is a historical on… read more
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    Country First? More like “Country Last”
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 6:00PM
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    John McCain’s decision to choose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run with him on the GOP ticket can be about many things — wanting to bring in someone genuinely from the outside, wanting to embrace the reality that women can serve in all capacities and in all levels of government and the military, wanting to lure part of the female vote that might have supported Hillary Rodham Clinton towards John McCain.
    But the national-security dripping “Country First” sloganeering that McCain has been doing just does not fit with Sara Palin.
    This was a “Country Last” decision. If McCain had something happen to him, I just don’t know what the country would do.
    We would be faced with a scary situation in which many major institutions in our nation — and you probably know at least part of what I’m talking about — might not support her ascension to the presidency. We have to consider the implications of that.
    I can’t prove that the government would divide if she were to move from VP to the presidency, but I know that there would be enormous tension. I think we’d see mass resignations.
    Sarah Palin is not Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is not Condoleezza Rice. She isn’t Kathleen Sibelius or Olympia Snowe or Janet Napolitano. She’s not Susan Eisenhower or Dianne Feinstein.
    Alaskans typically devour their governors. They usually serve a single term before the tectonics of state politics undermine their state leader. But she hasn’t even served two years as governor.
    What does she think about Cuba? Does she know the difference between America’s relations with Brazil and Venezuela? Does she know what a balancing act we are walking in Asia between Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, North Korea, Russia and more? Does she know anything about nuclear weapons and our defense posture?
    What books has she read? Who are her inspirations as thought leaders? Has she written any serious articles or published anything we might see to get a sense of who she is?
    What would she do with Iran? Can she name even five nations on the continent of Africa?
    She better study up. Because as she begins to have her national coming out — forget the reporters. . .regular people are going to kick her tires about this stuff.
    And no one I know thinks she is ready for a serious challenge like this — and certainly not ready to manage the crises that might come if she tripped into the presidency.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Tahoe Editor, Sep 04, 2:50PM Exactly. There’s no pol more fearsome than someone you haven’t “met in the CNN green room a dozen times.” I think the Chicken Lit… read more
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    Is Wasserman Shultz Strangling Miami Dem Candidate Joe Garcia — or Hugging Him?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 5:29PM
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    Jake Colvin, a fellow blogger over at The Havana Note, captured this pic at the BIG TENT at the Democratic National Convention.
    Debbie Wasserman Schultz has apparently finally signed on to help Dem candidate Joe Garcia challenge one of her other monomaniacal anti-Cuba pals, Republican Mario Diaz-Balart. I think Garcia is a big step forward on US-Cuba policy and for better representation for Miami citizens.
    But she still is holding out in opposing her close friend, the anti-Cuba terrorist-celebrating Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Mr.Murder, Aug 31, 2:26PM How about the background of SCI, the company that lost Katrina bodies and even wrongly interred remains at Jewish cemeteries in Fl… read more
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    The View on the Road
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 5:04PM
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    This just in from Open Left’s Matt Stoller — the “hot beef sundae” in Lincoln, Nebraska.
    — Steve Clemons
    Baghdad Lessons? Police Raiding Homes in St. Paul
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 4:27PM
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    Heavily armed police teams in groups of 20 or 30 are raiding private homes in St. Paul. According to one woman who spoke to FireDogLake’s Lindsay Beyerstein, asking to see a warrant gets one immediately “detained.”
    Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald dropped in on a raided St. Paul home shortly after the cops descended.
    This is not the Republican Party my family — dispersed around Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas — supported. This has become an Orwellian Big Brother party.
    Spying, illegal search and seizure, the indiscriminate suspension of personal rights and civil liberties — this is what the Republicans always feared that the Dems would do in building ever larger governments whose power would become unmanageable and unstoppable.
    But the Republicans have built and animated the party that they once feared and used to rail against.
    I’ll have to see if I get detained for the stuff I write here. I know I won’t actually — but the high fear tilt is clearly moving in an even worse direction.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Jim Bowie Knife, Aug 31, 9:29AM Hey John Wayne, lets discuss this in the manner that you think a real John Wayne alias Marion Michael Morrison would choose! From … read more
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    Pat Buchanan’s Obama Embrace
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 3:29PM
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    I’ve known Pat Buchanan for a long time, from a comfortable arm’s lenth – met him first in 1987.
    His comments in this clip are an important benchmark of Obama’s ability to reach beyond lines that seemed impenetrable.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by arthurdecco, Sep 04, 11:21PM Tahoe Editor said: “The only thing more tiresome than name-dropping is whining about it.” My gawd! A thought from TE that I agree… read more
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    James Steinberg Paints House: What Can it Mean?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 1:40PM
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    (Obama foreign policy team members Ben Rhodes, Denis McDonough, and UT Austin LBJ School Dean Jim Steinberg arriving in Amman, Jordan 21 July 21. 2008)
    To some degree, I could tell in the upbeat voices of Joe Biden staffers I was calling frequently a week and a half ago — and in the day and a half long/cut short family friendly trip that Senate Foreign Relations Commitee Antony Blinken made to Hawaii at Biden’s encouragement before turning around and racing home without tan — that Biden was going to be announced as Obama’s running mate.
    I still chuckle at the comment from Blinken that I ought not to read anything into his quick return.
    I had other indications too. But watching what key staffers are doing tells a lot.
    One senior level Republican friend told me for instance that John McCain called Mitt Romney Thursday morning this past week. My friend did not know whether McCain was calling to say “You’re it!” or “You were it — but you aren’t anymore!” or “You aren’t it and never were!”
    So, we tracked down the people closest to Mitt Romney. I can’t go into details as it gets into personal lives, but we knew for certain that none of his closest aides were making any plans to move with Romney to meet up with McCain. So, we knew then that McCain’s choice was not the former Massachusetts Governor — who, like John McCain, used to be for a lot of cool things before he was against them.
    Like much of the public, I thought that McCain was then going to go with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. I didn’t quite agree with a thoughtful Dem writer I know that “even though Pawlenty cut off his mullet, he’s still a guy who had a mullet.” Pawlenty had some strengths that could have impressed voters — so too Romney. In fact, many Republican realists were big Romney supporters, and McCain could have helped seal a serious rift in the national security community by taking on Romney.
    On another front, senior McCain aides often laughed themselves silly about how hard Florida Governor Charlie Christ was supplicating before McCain and doing everything he possibly could to get the VP nod — and one could tell in the tone of their voices that McCain would simply never select Christ.
    I always thought from a Machiavellian/almost Rovian point of view that the right choices for McCain to build out his campaign would have either been Mike Huckabee or Senator Sam Brownback. Huckabee is an incredible chameleon. Many of my most liberal friends — gays, enviros, and peace activists — were moved by Huckabee at one time or another. They thought he was folksy and had overcome many personal challenges — a theme that would have helped balance Biden.
    And then of course, Huckabee was loved by social conservatives and evangelicals — which have been the backbone of amazing voter turnout machines in many past national elections.
    But, McCain in a surprise move settled on Sarah Palin. I’m glad that a woman is on one of the tickets — but clearly Governor Palin is the wrong one.
    But more importantly, James B. Steinberg — former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Clinton, former Brookings Institution Foreign Policy Division Czar, and UT Austin LBJ School Dean — is now removing a bunch of old oak trees that were destroyed in a storm a few years ago and is painting his house.
    Neighbors report that he hasn’t done much to his place or yard in the several years he has lived there, and now all of a sudden — his place is getting a major face-lift.
    My hunch suggests that Jim Steinberg, a solid choice to possibly serve as Barack Obama’s national security adviser in the White House, is about to go on the road.
    I know I’m going to get an email from him telling to “stop it.” But Steinberg is great — and we are watching for signs that he’s going to move to be one of the key co-helmspeople of Obama’s national security/foreign policy machine in the next few months.
    Why else would someone paint his house in the Texan hot August heat?
    — Steve Clemons
    For More: See Update above.
    Posted by Mr.Murder, Aug 31, 2:42PM August of the year, preceding Sept. 11th 2001* Sorry for the lag. Messenger announcements freeze my keys…… read more
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    Bush/McCain Not Even Good at Imperialism: China Gets Iraq’s First Foreign Oil Contract
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 30 2008, 1:07PM
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    (Iraq President Jalal Talabani walks with his China President Hu Jintao)
    George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and presidential hopeful John McCain (as well as his new internationally ignorant but charming vice presidential running mate) have been promulgating the need to stay in Iraq to protect American interests.
    Well. . .it seems we are also serving China’s interests. Some might say, “of course we are — given that China finances the largest share of America’s debt-burdened economy.”
    China National Petroleum and Iraq have just signed the first major oil deal between the occupied-by-America nation and a foreign oil company. The deal is valued up to $3 billion (or 21 billion Chinese yuan…better start learning about those yuan).
    A prominent international observer sent me this note this morning:
    The Bush administration is not even good at imperialism.
    Bush sacrifices American money and military lives to prop up a government allied with Iran in the hope of getting a few military bases and some oil contracts for its friends.
    Meanwhile the Maliki government steals them blind, gives the first oil contracts to China, and tells Washington to forget about those military bases.
    Oh, but thanks for taking care of the Baathists and the Sunnis for us!
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Sep 02, 2:25PM Carroll… “efforts”… you get an A for diplomacy.. and Sharon stirring up dissent by taking a group to the Temple Mount and scut… read more
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    Could-Be Commander in Chief Sarah Palin
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Friday, Aug 29 2008, 4:05PM
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    What was that TV show where Geena Davis was an unlikely female VP is thrust into the presidency after the tough national hero president she served under passed away while in office? That’s right: Commander in Chief.
    Well, life may be following fiction (again) — without the passing away part. . .
    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is going to be the one to debate Joe Biden in the VP debate. It will be a competition in folksiness.
    This was a shrewd move by McCain. He had a lot of other options that were low sizzle — but this choice, while perplexing, still makes a lot of sense.
    This from Timothy Egan:
    She hunts! She fishes! She eats moose burgers! She can gut a salmon as well as dispatch an incumbent governor! She’s a rural mother of five who clings to guns and religion — exuberantly!
    In choosing as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, two years removed from her only other political job as a small-town mayor, John McCain has certainly offered up a giant-killer — “Sarah Barracuda,” as she’s known in the Last Frontier State.
    Palin, who has more than a passing resemblance to Tina Fey, took on the kleptocracy of Alaska’s Republican politics and won.
    First, she ousted hated incumbent Frank Murkowski in a primary two years ago, and then promptly cleaned up his mess in Juneau, even selling his private jet on e-bay. Second, she rejected the “bridge to nowhere,” the famous earmark for a span from Ketchikan to an island of 50 people — further angering the politicians-for-life who have run Alaska for half as long as it’s been in the union.
    Like in the case of Obama, there was no perfect VP running mate for John McCain. But as I have suggested before — McCain needed an out-of-the-box running mate to motivate voters. Huckabee, Powell, Condi Rice, and even Joe Lieberman would have been interesting choices — though Lieberman would have motivated a lot of voters to organize even more strongly on behalf of Obama.
    Palin is an out-of-the-box choice and will draw a good number of female votes. It’s as much sizzle as McCain could generate on his 72nd birthday today — and Palin is a bold choice (though what about that whoppingly big experience deficit????)
    One problem though is that in the Dem VP contest, the public helped vet the final three or four candidates, but the public played no role in the GOP selection. There was huge interest in the nation in whether it would be Biden, Bayh, Kaine, Sibelius, or another candidate. Obama reaped the benefits of learning much more via public discussion about their reaction to Bayh, Biden, et. al. from the churning on the net — before his choice was finally announced.
    McCain did no such thing. And thus, it will be interesting to see whether something new and previously unknown appears about this Alaska governor who hunts, fishes, and who cracked down on corruption in Alaska during the tenure of Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski’s father.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Toronto condo, Mar 18, 2:08PM I just wanted to make it clear that I do not necessarily agree with all the Supreme Court decisions, but I think it is important … read more
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    Off to Boston
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Friday, Aug 29 2008, 9:53AM
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    Greetings friends. I have much to report and comment on regarding the spectacular Democratic National Convention in Denver. I couldn’t do the who’s doing what to whom style blogging in Denver; I may do that in Minneapolis/St. Paul — but was way overbooked in the mile high city.
    I’m about to board a plane to Boston where I will be attending the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association — and will write some posts and share some colorful vignettes that I write up on the plane.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 30, 10:02AM Linda…. in one of these threads you said speaking very clearly something about PUMA’s going away…it’s not easy to work on a ca… read more
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    STREAMING LIVE: John Kerry, Greg Craig, Joschka Fischer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Mel Levine, Walter Isaacson, Steve Coll, Rob Malley, Daniel Levy, James Zogby, Janice O’Connell Headline Dem Convention Middle East Forum
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Wednesday, Aug 27 2008, 9:44AM
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    Email addresses will not be stored Free video streaming by Ustream
    Watch with us live today from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon mountain time, which is 11:00 am – 2:00 pm EST.
    And I’m pleased to report that today is my 46th birthday.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 29, 1:36AM Hey Tony, perhaps I was unclear in my post above, but I think you misunderstood my comment. I mentioned the comment ABOVE YOURS… read more
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    STREAMING LIVE: Will the Next President Make the Middle East Irrelevant?
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Wednesday, Aug 27 2008, 3:13AM
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    Wednesday morning, August 27, between 11 am and 1:30 pm EST or 9 am and 11:30 am mountain time, I’ll be chairing a New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force event in Denver at the Colorado History Museum.
    The keynotes are Senator JOHN KERRY (D-MA), Obama National Security Adviser GREG CRAIG, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School Dean ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, former Congressman and Obama Adviser MEL LEVINE, former German Foreign Minister JOSCHKA FISCHER, and Aspen Institute President (and former CNN Chairman and CEO and TIME Managing Editor) Walter Isaacson.
    Our panel will be former Israeli negotiator and New America Foundation Senior Fellow DANIEL LEVY, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee senior staff member and Stonebridge International Senior Adviser JANICE O’CONNOLL, International Crisis Group Middle East and North Africa Program Director and former Senior Adviser for the Middle East to President Clinton ROBERT MALLEY, Arab American Institute President JAMES ZOGBY, and New Yorker Washington correspondent and New America Foundation President STEVE COLL.
    I will be chairing and moderating the meeting. Please join us in Denver — or watch on line.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 30, 5:49AM texas dem, Pacific Time would be great. I saw some yellow leaves on a tree here in Bergen (Norway) this morning, and soon we`ll … read more
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    A (Potentially Premature) Defense of Clinton
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Wednesday, Aug 27 2008, 12:19AM
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    Tonight is the first night I’ve been able to see any of the Democratic convention. First things first: I really didn’t like the video tribute to Hillary Clinton that was aired tonight. It was all about Hillary Clinton, the woman candidate — which does Hillary Clinton, the brilliant policymaker and effective advocate, a great disservice. With due respect to the filmmakers and those who were legitimately moved by it (there are surely many), if the video had a tagline, it might read, “pretty good, for a girl.” It’s at odds with my feminist instincts and doesn’t appeal as strongly as it could to my admiration for Senator Clinton.
    I had two immediate reactions to Clinton’s speech. First, purely from the perspective of speechcraft and delivery, I’ve never seen her deliver a better one. Second, she said very few positive things about Barack Obama or his candidacy. She talked at great lengths about the need to support Obama given the state of the country, the challenges we face, the alternative of John McCain, and the importance of Democratic Party unity. But aside from one line of praise for the grassroots oriented, bottom-up nature of Obama’s campaign, she had precious little to say about the appeal of the candidate himself.
    But let’s remember — Clinton said precious little about the rationale behind her own candidacy until sometime early this year. Indeed, a chief weakness of her campaign may have been that her rhetoric focused so much on policy battles and not enough (and not early enough) on why she was the most qualified of 300 million people to lead.
    So no one should fault Clinton for failing to give Obama the plaudits that she never gave herself. Clinton is a Democratic partisan, for better or for worse. Her rhetoric has always been focused on winning political battles, not on the unique gifts of any individual political candidate. In that light, hers was a gracious and unifying speech — at least within the Democratic Party. It’s unfair to think, as I instinctively did, that she might talk at length Barack Obama or Joe Biden and their virtues. She’s not about to change her stripes. If there are others that had the same instinct, I hope they come around.
    If any of this seems nonsensical, you can chalk it up to the first wave of law school homework. And by the way, at this moment, I’m easily more afraid of seeing my writing style deteriorate into legalese and lifeless drivel than I am of not making sense.
    –Scott Paul
    Note: Clinton’s call for unity on access to healthcare for everyone was important. Given her disagreements with Obama on that issue, standing with him on it now will give some very important constituencies a kind of symbolic permission to vote for him. That was both big and selfless.
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Aug 29, 9:31PM “The Americans obviously didn`t get it, and voted for him again” I don’t think so. But Kenneth Blackwell ain’t talkin’…. read more
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    Greetings from Denver: A Video Salute to TWN Readers after Two Hours Sleep
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Tuesday, Aug 26 2008, 9:11PM
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    More soon. Off to meet some journalists interested in more on Joe Biden.
    I’m somewhat surprised that I’ve become a key source on Senator Biden given his long tenure in the Senate. He’s currently fourth in longevity in terms of years served in the US Senate but only 44th out of 100 in age.
    But I confirmed that he is now 100th out of 100 in terms of personal wealth in the Senate (i.e., he is worried about paying those bills like many Americans). He was 99th out of 100 in 2005 but slipped a notch since.
    Check out CNN’s American Morning tomorrow for some of my views about what Jill Biden will mean and might do for the country.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Bob Miller, Aug 27, 4:53PM Happy birthday, youngster! I hope the Dems plan to make good use of the 100th of 100 info…. read more
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    Anderson Cooper: Watch Out
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Tuesday, Aug 26 2008, 8:20PM
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    Greetings folks. Apologies for the thin reporting. I have been deeply embedded in the heart and major arteries of the Democratic National Convention and have been run ragged.
    James Glenos — above — has been a real pal here at the CNN Grill which has been great enough to keep me around as a semi-regular political commentator for CNN proper and CNN.com.
    I’ll be on CNN’s American Morning tomorrow morning in a segment profiling Jill Biden.
    But Glenos, who is an intern here for the Convention and is a student at Elon University in North Carolina, has a great blog — he’s got a fresh approach — and the enthusiasm of the interns here is great to see.
    Check out his blog.
    More soon.
    — Steve Clemons
    The Original “Change” Candidate
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Tuesday, Aug 26 2008, 5:40PM
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    Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper hosts a reception at his brewery in downtown Denver Monday night after the first day of the Democratic Convention.
    Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is a fitting host for the Democratic National Convention not only because of position but because of his identity as an independent, outsider/long-shot candidate who began with a message of “Change” and won a surprising victory when he ran for the office 2003.
    As a political neophyte with a limited budget, Hickenlooper needed an ad campaign that would break the traditional mold of forgettable, mainstream political ads with John Williams-like music that crescendoes against the steady stream of American flags and glib, warrantless claims boosting or attacking a candidate’s record.
    Hickenlooper hired Bill Hillsman — a media consultant who had run successful ad campaigns for Sen. Paul Wellstone, Gov. Jesse Ventura, and Green Party Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader (successful at least in impacting the outcome of the election). They ended producing a well-timed and humerous ad titled “Change.”
    Like the famous ads of the 2000 Presidential election camaign “Priceless” and “When I Grow Up”, Hillman’s ads were modeled on commercial advertising and very entertaining while still selling the candidate’s core message. As a result, these ads memorability and free media generated an echo most other political ads rarely receive, allowing shoestring capaigns to punch above their weight and successfully compete against better financed campaigns with bigger ad buys.
    Hillsman has been a relative outsider in the political advertising world, in part by his choosing and selectivity in working for candidates and in part because he’s been dismissed or sidelined by the East Coast politial/campaign elite. But the ideas he pioneered seem to have infiltrated the Obama campaign as it took viral media to the next level in the primary season — in part enabled by the demographics of their audience, the rise of the netroots community, and the support of celebrities like will.i.am whose inherent commercial appeal led to successful ventures like the “Yes We Can” video.
    But my guess is that those ads don’t seem to resonate with mainstream America the same degree as the Wellstone, Ventura, and Hickenlooper ad campaigns, which were credited with winning independents and tipping elections. In what is turning out to be a closer election than many had expected, to win over mountain state households as this convention’s selection of location was ostensibly set up to do, Barrack Obama would be wise to study the folksy mannerisms of Mayor Hickenlooper and bring on board the brains of Hillsman, who Slate once dubbed “the greatest political adman.” (Most of Hillsman’s ads can be viewed either here or here).
    — Sameer Lalwani
    More Good Stuff for the “Biden Brief”
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Monday, Aug 25 2008, 3:38PM
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    Joe Biden’s selection as Vice President doubles the chances that Senator Chuck Hagel will be selected as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, which this writer considers positively.
    Joe Biden was a key partner with many NGOs and this blog in stopping John Bolton’s confirmation as US Ambassador to the United Nations.
    When President Bush essentially threw the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group into the trash, Joe Biden embraced it and held numerous Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings to make sure that the core elements of the Study Group report were positioned well for public attention.
    Biden voted against the Kyl-Lieberman IRGC amendment that would have provided another “Iraq War Resolution-like” loophole for Iran.
    After President Bush’s provocative State of the Union and post-Iraq Study Group “Statement to the Nation” speeches in 2007, in which both the Wall Street Journal and I thought Bush was telegraphing that he had given permission for covert actions against Iran, the next morning, Biden pounded on Condoleezza Rice and said “the President has no authorization to invade or conduct covert operations against Iran.”
    Good stuff — and it belongs in the Biden brief.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 29, 4:33PM Sythe…wow…I hope your Mom isn’t counting on you for any appreciation or kindness…..make room for the brat generation…… read more
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    Little Tidbits from Denver
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Monday, Aug 25 2008, 11:46AM
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    Email addresses will not be stored The Liberal Lion Returns — Senator Kennedy, who turbo-charged Sen. Obama’s bid for the Democratic nomination with his endorsement in January, has been out of the public spotlight with a malignant brain tumor, is reportedly scheduled to speak on the opening night of the Democratic convention. For Massachusetts delegates and beyond, it might rank with Paul Pierce’s comeback in Game 1.
    The Loquacious Lion’s Past — Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden not only overcame innumerable struggles over the course of his life, the man who is now known to be be quite verbose, leading to the occassional political gaffe, has come a long way since his youth. From the Irish Times:
    Until his late teens, he suffered from a stutter so severe that he was excused from public speaking in school but, quoting Yeats and Emerson in front of the mirror for hours on end, he overcame it to become one of the most loquacious figures in American public life today.
    His addition to the ticket might also help with American Jewish voters
    Families Feud Again — The Obama and Clinton camps are warring again. Speaking assignments for Bill are part of the tension.
    And McCain is proactively capitalizing on this wedge with ads like this one. It goes:
    “I’m a proud Hillary Clinton Democrat,” says Debra Bartoshevich.
    “Now in a first for me, I’m supporting a Republican,” she says, replacing the Clinton sign she’s holding with a McCain sign. “I respect his maverick and independent streak. He’s the one with the experience and judgment.”
    “A lot of Democrats will vote McCain,” she concludes. “It’s OK, really.”
    Democrats Lament Georgia’s Plight — Yesterday at a National Democratic Institute Reception for Global Leaders, DNC Chairman Howard Dean and Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi both addressed the reception of some 500 international audience and made particular gestures to the Georgian delegation expressing their sympathy and support for their democratic aspirations, but pledging no material support other than investigative delegations and hearings. I’m sure the Georgians thought their words hollow but it was still the right move.
    — Sameer Lalwani
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 26, 4:56PM pauline…check out the last sentence…TidBits from the right… McCAIN TO PICK RONALD REAGAN AS VP By R J Shulman PHOENIX — … read more
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    Maliki’s Aproach to Sunni Militias — Politics as War By Other Means
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 24 2008, 2:51PM
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    DENVER — Despite optimistic forecasts with Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon in their latest Foreign Affairs piece, Stephen Biddle seems to be parting ways and concluding that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government has no intention of folding in the Sunni Awakening Councils into the Iraqi military. Yesterday’s LA Times reports:
    Amid fears that the Sunnis’ treatment could rekindle Iraq’s insurgency, the Americans are caught between their wish to support the fighters and their stronger ties to Maliki’s government, which has challenged the Sunni paramilitaries in recent months as it grows increasingly confident about its fledgling army.
    “We want to have our cake and eat it too, support Maliki and the Sons of Iraq. . . . Maliki wants to make that as hard for us as possible. He wants us to choose him,” said Stephen Biddle, a Council on Foreign Relations defense expert who has served as an advisor on strategy to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq. “What it looks like we are getting is a Maliki government that won’t behave itself and wants to crush the Sons of Iraq.”
    This is confirmed by a series of other reports filed on the ground including experts like Colin Kahl of CNAS who is also reconsidering his former optimism on the subject.
    “There’s even some evidence that [al-Maliki] wants to start a fight with the Sons of Iraq,” said Kahl. “Al-Maliki doesn’t believe he has to accommodate these people. He will only do it if we twist his arm to the breaking point.”
    Kahl — noting the slowdown in absorption of Sunni militia members into the Iraqi military and the assignment of humiliating jobs to those who were being incorporated into the central government’s payroll – stated:
    “The last time we humiliated thousands of these guys is back in 2003, and we got the insurgency.”
    Turns out those who have been warning that sectarian tensions still run deep (even if there’s a tactical pause in violence) and preclude the oft-discussed political reconciliation just might be right after all. Most analysts have missed this, looking to problematic barometers like body counts and the passage of central government legislation despite huge implementation gaps.
    This ignores crucial sources that are methodologically difficult to process and measure but still critical to fully understanding the bigger picture in Iraq. That is — what people are saying and through that, their intentions for the medium to long term. In this arena, the people seem to be more successful at gauging the temperature are those reporters on the ground able to penetrate the narrative beyond the green zone. More often than not, they are Arabic speakers able to infiltrate different interest groups or militias and get a more accurate read of the country — something I would proffer the O’Hanlons and Pollacks of DC, despite their travels to Iraq, have had a harder time doing. (In fact, Middle East correspondent for The Economist Max Rodenbeck’s scathing review of Ken Pollack’s latest book chastises him for “a lack of genuine intimacy with his subject.”)
    Returning to Maliki, poitical theorist Michel Foucault’s inversion of the famous Clausewitz credo — “politics is war by other means” — appropriately describes Malikis tactics. Consolidating power and perpetrating violence through legal means is always more difficult to halt than open violence because it is cloaked in legitimacy.
    The reason these revaluations matter is because if the gains over the past 18 months are only surface-level and unsustainable, it dramatically changes the calculus for “winnability” and whether its worth continuing to spend blood and treasure rather than cutting our losses and rebalancing our foreign policy portfolio away from Iraq as Steve Simon, Flynt Leverett, Gen. (Ret.) William Odom, and others have suggested.
    Though Sen. John McCain has made clear his policy preferences, there is a battle currently being waged in the Democratic party over the approach to Iraq and picking Sen. Joe Biden as a running mate shows Sen. Obama takes this debate very seriously. Some of these battles may play out over the course of this week as the Democratic policy elite and intelligentsia converge in Denver for a convention as riven over foreign policy as poltical camps.
    — Sameer Lalwani
    Posted by Sweetness, Aug 29, 10:40AM “Certainly, voting in another lying piece of shit, just because he is the lesser of two evils, does not serve our nation. And I, … read more
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    TRAVEL SCHEDULE for The Washington Note and New America Foundation Team
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Sunday, Aug 24 2008, 5:09AM
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    Email addresses will not be stored August 24 – 29 (Sunday-Friday)
    Denver — Democratic National Convention
    Steve Clemons, Sameer Lalwani, Brian Till, Daniel Levy, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, Steve Coll (only August 26-27)
    August 29 – September 1 (Friday – Monday)
    Boston — American Political Science Association Annual Meeting
    Steve Clemons
    September 1 – September 4 (Monday – Thursday)
    Minneapolis/St. Paul – Republican National Convention
    Steve Clemons, Brian Till, Daniel Levy, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, Reihan Salam
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Kathleen, Aug 25, 9:51AM Not the old kind…they had to make him party Chair so he wouldn’t run again….and he was able to buck the trend and insist on th… read more
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    Netroots Rally Behind Obama-Biden and Go After Fournier
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 4:11PM
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    Email addresses will not be stored I have already commented about AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier’s edgy attack on the Obama-Biden ticket. I’m not going to add more at this point from my end.
    But from others a lot is stirring.
    Fournier’s article has helped Biden get an instant embrace from the netroots community who are lined up to defend him and call foul on Fournier who allegedly sought a position in the McCain campaign operation.
    One of the biggest headaches Fournier may now face is a possible conflict of interest in having a booking agent for speeches for which he may charge between $5-10k and an Associated Press ethics guideline statement that such booking relationships are prohibited.
    Lindsay Beyerstein pushed over that rock, and we’ll be watching to see what implications this revelation has.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 26, 5:16PM “one of their teachings is “Never complete a circle”….” Kathleen, I liked that one. And no, I don`t consider your arguments re… read more
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    Obama’s Biden Speech
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 3:00PM
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    Part of the social contract with both the Obama and McCain media teams is that we respect the embargo times on speeches and material they send our way.
    But damn, this is hurting me today. I’ve just read Obama’s speech about Joe Biden, the many adversities he’s overcome, his accomplishments, details about his wife Jill and the Biden family.
    It’s a terrific speech. Ted Sorensen’s former right hand aide, Adam Frankel, is a close Obama speechwriter, and I sense his hand in this. But this is also real Obama and real Joe Biden — and it pains me not to be able to share it until he delivers it.
    (I just learned that this excellent speech was “all Ben Rhodes” — who is a great writer as well — and who has been a blogger at “Across the Aisle”, the blog of Partnership for a Secure America.)
    But that will happen soon.
    — Steve Clemons
    Update: Here is the entire speech, a great speech about Joe Biden that says a great deal not only about Biden but also about Obama.
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Aug 25, 12:50PM Questions, I ALWAYS just copy my post before submitting (takes one second), and if I get a new captcha, I paste it. You occasi… read more
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    All Those Houses. . .
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 2:12PM
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    I’ve not been all that excited about the McCain “I don’t know how many houses I’ve got” gaffe.
    I know others who aren’t tuned into such details and they’d make fine national leaders. One can be out of touch with a lot of things — numerous homes, paying bills on time, remembering to put gas in the car, knowing which drawer the kitchen utensils are in (that’s one of my regular screw-ups), and so on.
    But Rogue Columnist captures the beyond-home implications of the gaffe that we should be concerned about:
    President-elect McCain’s inability to recall how many houses he owns fits into a larger and more troubling pattern. The problem is not just that he is an out-of-touch rich guy.
    This is the candidate who repeatedly confused Shiite and Sunni — all the while trumpeting his expertise on the Middle East. At one point, his sock puppet Joe Lieberman had to whisper the facts in his ear. He couldn’t tell Sudan from Somalia. He kept talking about a nation that hasn’t existed for years. Iraq and Pakistan share a border, the senator wrongly said, and the Sunni awakening happened ‘after’ the surge (edited out by CBS). He said he didn’t know much about economics, then denied saying such a thing. He spoke of a withdrawal timetable one day, then denied saying it later. He volunteered Cindy for a topless contest. Then there was the stupendous dead space and mumbling when he was questioned about claiming Obama was playing the race card. He claimed he walked through Baghdad without body armor or protection, etc., etc. Most of this has been captured on tape.
    What’s going on? Neither obvious answer is comforting. He’s either going senile as he nears 72, or he’s lying and unprepared on critical issues without realizing how easily this can be caught in a YouTube era. (Whether the duhs and ignos — those ‘undecided voters’ and angry Clintonites — will care, is another, depressing matter). Either one of these answers should disqualify him for the White House, particularly because so many of his misstatements, confusions and subsequent lies come about issues where he claims superior experience and judgment.
    I turn 46 on Wednesday next week — during the Democratic National Convention — so I’m feeling particularly vulnerable to age challenges. I don’t care if McCain is 72. I care whether he is functioning mentally, intellectually, and emotionally in full form.
    This is a candidate who has already decided that Russia is the dark villain and Georgia’s Saakashvili the white knight in the scrape-up between Russia and Georgia. In that case, did he talk with his advisers to make sure that he had his facts straight and intelligence right? Wait, one of his top national security advisers is a paid lobbyist for Georgia. . .so, let’s change that to “Did McCain ask his biased staff members to recuse themselves and then ask others to help him get his facts straight?’
    Or did he just decide what was what all on his own when he issued his condemnation of and not so veiled threats toward Russia?
    I don’t care if folks see the Georgia-Russia mess as a black and white situation or a problem with lots of gray, if McCain is making fast judgments but often has a poor grasp of detail. . .and let’s put some “emotional outbursts” on top of that. . .then that’s not a trivial problem.
    — Steve Clemons
    Posted by Jinchi, Aug 26, 5:27PM Dr. Michael Roizen, developer of the ‘Real Age’ program, calculates John McCain’s biological age… Dr Roizen, who claims to real… read more
    Read all Comments (19) – Post a Comment
    FireDogLake Book Salon with “The Dark Side” author Jane Mayer at 5 pm EST
    Share / Recommend – Comment – Permanent Link – Print – Saturday, Aug 23 2008, 1:10PM
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    I have the privilege of moderating a book salon forum today over at FireDogLake with New Yorker Washington correspondent Jane Mayer on her best selling book, The Dark Side: The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.
    This is an online forum. I did another of these at FireDogLake once with Jacob Heilbrunn on his book, They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons, and it was a fantastic discussion.
    If you would like to watch a previous meeting that I hosted with Jane Mayer, this is a pretty great interview:
    This is the preamble commentary that will run later on the FireDogLake site:
    New Yorker Washington correspondent Jane Mayer achieved a great first among serious Bush administration-watchers in putting a major spotlight on the deeds of David Addington, Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff and former national security advisor.
    She wrote her pivotal New Yorker profile piece of Addington called “The Hidden Power” in July 2006 – but even this great expose came years after some of Addington’s most serious and disconcerting achievements including the assertion of a war-time imperial presidency that ignored and had disdain for checks and balances in government.
    Addington helped construct the legal environment that

    Reply

  3. Rev.Davidson Chinnam says:

    Dear beloved brother in Christ,
    I am Rev.Davidson Chinnam, India. Somebody included in your website about my ministry matter without my permission. I request you kindly remove this matter from your website (webpage). We hope that you would do as early as possible.
    Thanking you,
    In Christ,
    Rev.Davidson Chinnam
    Compassionate Heart Ministries.

    Reply

  4. Pastor Davidson Chinnam says:

    Dear beloved sister Jill Biden,
    Greetings to you in His precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
    I would like to introduce that the Compassionate Heart Ministries in India is working to demonstrate the Love of Christ to the people those who are need and to bring people in to the fold of Jesus Christ. Most of the people in rural areas belongs to Hindu community and worship several Gods and Goddesses and offer different types of sacrifices to pacify their wrath and please them to get their blessings. To avoid superstitions and vain practices among the people we have conducted Gospel meetings and family visits.
    We have 5 pastors to proclaim the word of God among them. This work has been going on by faith and self support basis. We are spending the money especially to spread the word of God for the ministry, and we are going to bringing the people by the word of God, and those who were attacked HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis diseases and were going to die by suicide by the evil spirits power. By the grace of God some people are accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour in this way our ministry is going on. In this connection some pastors in my team were facing many problems like financial and children education due to poverty. Humbly I request you, kindly pray for our ministry. We are praying that you may enjoy good health, and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. Looking forward for your kind reply.
    May God bless you.
    Yours in Christ,
    (Pastor Davidson Chinnam)
    Compassionate Heart Ministries,
    D.No.2-91,Etheru-522 310
    Bapatla, Guntur District,
    Andhra Pradesh, INDIA.

    Reply

  5. Natalie Schwartz says:

    I am quite taken by the appearance and demeanor of Jill Biden. Her professional background is impressive. I have just learned that she grew up in Willow Grove which is very near where I live. I see that her maiden name was Jacobs, which is often a Jewish name. Were her parents Jewish? Was she raised Jewish? Being Jewish myself I would be proud to know that she is of my faith.

    Reply

  6. Natalie Schwartz says:

    I am quite taken by the appearance and demeanor of Jill Biden. Her professional background is impressive. I have just learned that she grew up in Willow Grove which is very near where I live. I see that her maiden name was Jacobs, which is often a Jewish name. Were her parents Jewish? Was she raised Jewish? Being Jewish myself I would be proud to know that she is of my faith.
    j3z947

    Reply

  7. Mr Jimmie says:

    I am an Independent who supports Hillary, but she lost and has only herself and Bill to blame. I will vote for Obama not because I like him, rather because John Mcbush promised to appoint supreme court judges in the mold of Alito and Roberts. If you would like not just a ONE party government but a ONE branch government go ahead and vote Mcbush then four years from now you can lament the mess that we will be in.

    Reply

  8. Kathleen says:

    Linda.. a lot more goes on at a convention than nominating….changing party rules from caucuses to primaries requires some clout on the floor with which to bargain…it’s the way it happens…without the pressure it won’t happen….if Hillary supporters go home with something significant, they’ll feel like they accomplished something. I happen to think opening the nominating process is a good thing…
    Hillary got more votes than Obama..she lost for the same reason Gore lost, the electoral/delegate formula.

    Reply

  9. Linda says:

    Let me speak very slowly so you can understand. All you PUMA people need to get over yourselves. Hillary lost! Get it??? She lost because most people don’t like her. Obama won. Obama is the nominee. You don’t like it? Withdraw from the Democratic party. No one will miss you!

    Reply

  10. charles sullivan says:

    i like the post. i like steve’s overview. i am a community college english professor of forty years so i am perhaps prejudiced. she seems a-ok.

    Reply

  11. Kathleen says:

    Fools are people who keep doing the same thing, falling into line, and expecting change….if it weren’t for the extreme left, pulling the center from the right, and people like Nader, Demz would be goosetepping to Denver…

    Reply

  12. brit says:

    hi
    this is to Haley…sounds like the same argument fools used to justify voting for Nader….and look what happenned: we elected the worst president in US history…..now our country is in shambles and you are in essence encouraging people to vote McCain in for a Bush 3rd term ?didn’t you see the polls showing that over 50% of this country dilikes and mistrusts Hillary ? Do you really like the idea of the same two families competing for the white house every four years ? Stop being a sore loser and look at the big picture: at best, Obama could live up to the dreams he paints; at worst, he hasn’t been around long enough to piss off as many people as Hilary, and therefore has a greater chance of getting elected and, in this event, actually accomplishing something useful.

    Reply

  13. Kathleen says:

    Candace…don’t throw your vote away…at least vote for Nader or McKinney….

    Reply

  14. Candace says:

    I am sick and tired of the “fellows” leading while the women are
    sent to the back of the bus. Obama had my vote until he selected
    Biden, a man whose record is spotty on women’s issues. I think
    that Obama has taken the votes of women and gays for granted
    and I for one plan to sit this one out now.

    Reply

  15. Kathleen says:

    grandmmadoll… Hillary supporters protesting may not bring her back, but it will provide leverage for changing the party rules to eliminate caucuses which do not afford every voter with equal opportunity to participate in the nominating process….opening up the nominating process is a very significant contribution, but it won’t come easy…the party bosses have used Iowa to close out a populist candidate, like Howard Dean, so they can keep the process in their hands. When McCarthy supporters managed to get the party rules changed, it wasn’t by being meek little team players… it was hard fought, but well worth it… time to complete the job now…..if Hillary had held out with her support instead of being such a good little team player, BO would have had to EARN her support and that of her supporters….because she was so conciliatory, he stepped on her face….I’m not a Hillary supporter, but I’m not going to let that slide….

    Reply

  16. grammadoll says:

    for HALEY~~~~
    Please.All your bad-mouthing of the DNC, Hilary losing, ad nauseum, is not going to bring her back
    into the picture. She wasn;t cheated out of anything–the people voted, we spoke, she is NOT “it.”, okay?
    Now, on another topic: LET’S ALL of us who want a change in our GOVERNMENT give Barack and Joe our full support. We can NOT go on with a REPUBLICAN heading the White House, nor the politically challenged ideas and idiocy of a country run on sick promises and lies. Let’s give The BARACK/BIDEN team a CHANCE to make whats wrong with this country-RIGHT. No, they do not see eye to eye, but that is a GOOD thing, in my opinion.
    LEAD On fellows, lead ON!!!

    Reply

  17. Oldbabs says:

    ^Haley… LOL… right…
    that is a ridiculous statement. Get another hobby.
    GO OBAMA/BIDEN!!

    Reply

  18. Haley says:

    Fellow Democrats: Don’t be tricked by Obama and the DNC! Hillary was cheated out of the nomination during the spring. All of Hillary’s votes were note counted. We are protesting the 2008 Presidential election because we refuse to support a nominee who was selected by the leadership rather than elected by the voters.
    Now, Obama has backslapped Hillary in the face by not being gracious enough to make her even VP. Join PUMA today! We are protesting Obama’s illegitimate nomination!
    Go Hillary 2012. Our goal: HIllary’s votes must be counted! She is the REAL nominee!
    http://www.pumapac.org

    Reply

  19. Valerie says:

    ”Real educators have passion, they’re vivacious, and they’re creative.”
    What? lol How many ”educators” do you know who are the above?
    And, frankly, First Lady, is, well, about being First Lady, not educating anyone in particular.

    Reply

  20. Ted says:

    Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

    Reply

  21. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Sweet Jeebuz, I hope you’re right.
    As for Ms Biden… it would be nice to have a REAL educator
    around the center of power in this nation. I know quite a few
    school librarians, and maybe it’s only the folks that I happen to
    know… but no one seems to make heads or tails of Laura Bush.
    Real educators have passion, they’re vivacious, and they’re
    creative. Haven’t seen any of those traits in Mrs Laura Bush.
    Would be nice to see a REAL educator in D.C.
    For this and other reasons, I certainly hope that you are prescient.

    Reply

  22. Carroll says:

    Hummm….do I detect a personal preference for VP here?
    Jill Biden seems smart and charming so I will give Joe A + on his wife. She has a very gentle, appealing appearence too, maybe a good fit for Michele Obama’s more out there personality.
    But I remain against Biden’s Iraq, Russia, Israel and most every other foreign policy position.

    Reply

  23. susan says:

    In addition to being veep, “Windy” Joe could put a turbine in his office and keep the District of Columbia in electricity for years.

    Reply

  24. teacherken says:

    not only is Jill an educator, but Joe’s sister, Valerie, IIRC, was head
    of the History department at Wilmington Friends School

    Reply

  25. Julia says:

    I hope so.

    Reply

  26. Adam says:

    Nice. Cheeky. Is it inside info from another one of Steve’s secret contacts? Is it just an audacious, educated guess?
    Gotta love the way the O Camp has us working ourselves into a white hot lather over the veep choice like preteen girls handicapping America’s Next Top Model. Seems like an announcement bump is inevitable–maybe 4 points?

    Reply

  27. George says:

    Steve:
    So announce already then…I like Joe…but the longer Obama keeps waiting, it makes me think that he is going to send out a 3am text and it will be Hillary…kinda clever..no?

    Reply

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