Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Opinionator

August 15, 2007, 5:53 pm
Lessons From the Master
By Chris Suellentrop
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Is Hillary Clinton Slytherin’s heir? Mark Kleiman, a U.C.L.A. public policy professor who writes at the academic group blog The Reality-Based Community, says Clinton’s campaign is “Rove’s disciple” for its attacks on Barack Obama.

“The Clinton campaign, both the candidate and the surrogates, have been going after Barack Obama hard and personally,” Kleiman writes. “He’s ‘naive” and ‘irresponsible,’ too inexperienced to trust as Commander in Chief.”

Now the Clinton campaign is “accusing Obama of ‘attack politics’ ” for his counterstrike. Kleiman objects, “The lie, and the projection, are transparent. But that’s not to say that those tactics won’t work. After all, they elected George W. Bush, didn’t they?”

In the Democratic field, Kleiman says, “it’s not hard to figure out which campaign carries the DNA of Karl Rove.”

On the other hand, David Frum wrote on The Times op-ed page on Tuesday that “much of the Democratic party, and especially its activist netroots, has decided that the way to beat Rove Republicanism is by emulating it.” If the Democratic base admires Rove, then criticisms like Kleiman’s might make Democratic partisans like Senator Clinton more, not less.

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August 15, 2007, 3:17 pm
Turned Off by Giuliani’s Foreign Policy
By Chris Suellentrop
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Foreign Affairs has published Rudy Giuliani’s foreign policy manifesto, “Toward a Realistic Peace.” (The magazine has published similar essays by Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and John Edwards, with more to come from “the top U.S. presidential candidates.”)

Conservative blogger James Joyner, writing at Outside the Beltway, calls Giuliani’s essay “dangerously stupid”: “It is not particularly realistic — let alone Realist — and certainly does not contemplate peace.” He adds, “Indeed, it seems he intentionally picked out the worst parts of the foreign policies of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.” Joyner, a onetime Giuliani fan, also writes:

For a time, Giuliani was my favorite of the 2008 candidates. He’s got serious executive experience, is a charismatic leader, and sufficiently moderate on the social issues that I thought he had the chance to put together a 60 percent coalition to break the polarization that has so poisoned American politics in recent years. While I disagree with him on abortion and some other issues, I was able to put that aside for a variety of practical reasons.

Unfortunately, the more I learn about Giuliani, the less I like him. His chief advantage, the sense that he’s a grown-up who will take a pragmatic but aggressive role in fighting the Islamist terrorists, is undermined by his unserious pandering.

The alarm first sounded for me with his politically astute but disingenuous attack on Ron Paul for his suggestion that al Qaeda hates our foreign policy, not just our freedom. I chalked that up to the necessities of politics rather than a lack of understanding of the most important national security issue of our time. The more I hear and read, though, the more I think Giuliani is either a charlatan or a simpleton. Either he’s lying to us and we therefore have no idea what his foreign policy will be or, worse, this is what he really thinks. Either way, it’s not good.
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August 15, 2007, 9:52 am
Carville on Rove
By Chris Suellentrop
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Writing in The Financial Times, former Clinton strategist James Carville analyzes Karl Rove’s career: “There is no doubt that Mr Rove won elections. He has perhaps one of the most remarkable win-percentages in modern American politics.” At the same time, however, “He has lost an entire generation for the Republican party,” Carville writes. He continues:

A late July poll for Democracy Corps, a non-profit polling company, shows that a generic Democratic presidential candidate now wins voters under 30 years old by 32 percentage points. The Republican lead among younger white non-college-educated men, who supported President George W. Bush by a margin of 19 percentage points three years ago, has shrunk to 2 percentage points. Ideological divisions between the Republican party and young voters are growing. Young voters generally favour larger government providing more services, 68 per cent to 28 percent. On every issue, from the budget to national security, young voters responded overwhelmingly that Democrats would do a better job in government.

Democracy Corps is more than “a non-profit polling company”: Carville co-founded Democracy Corps in 1999 with Stanley Greenberg and Bob Shrum.

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