On Monday night Tim Kaine immunized himself against any charge that he is a slick politician. While he was not terrible when he stuck to policy, for much of the debate he came off as an annoying jerk, making repeated interruptions as he hammered away on scripted talking points. Mike Pence is a slick politician who effectively parried Kaine's jabs by changing the subject or lying about statements by Trump that are well documented, public knowledge, nothing obscure about them.
Memo from the Editorial Desk: Nothing particularly insightful here. Just a few thoughts that floated through the consciousness of your oft humbled scribe in the days following Monday night's presidential debate. I think Hillary Clinton was most effective when she laid out policy positions, less so when she went directly after Trump. Not everyone saw it that way. David Brooks at PBS criticized her for getting too much down in the weeds. He believes the presenting voters with t
"Anxiety and trepidation" is not nearly as catchy as Hunter Thompson's "fear and loathing." Over at the editorial desk the fiends are reaching for their red pencils and flasks. The consensus among the cognoscenti is that the debate bar is low for Trump, high for Clinton. The presumption seems to be that Trump passes muster if he does not take the stage decked out in a Klan hood or ranting like the second coming of Il Duce. I indulge in hyperbole, but not all that much. Mara L
I failed to take up Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" bungle in yesterday's post about her recent rough stretch. The omission was inadvertent as I wrote in haste late in the day. Sometimes it's like I have an eggbeater for a brain. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people
Hillary Clinton did not enjoy the best of weeks. Her performance at the NBC Candidates Forum did not inspire confidence. Yes, NBC's Matt Lauer has been roundly and rightly criticized for badgering Clinton on the emails while tossing up softball questions for Trump and blithely ignoring outright lies. The Trump campaign went conventional with a tried and true conservative tactic that goes back come fifty years, and it worked again. Cry "liberal bias" loud and often enough and
I have nothing of my own this week, loathe to weigh in yet again on the presidential campaign, though the blockhead at the top of the Republican ticket provides a never-ending stream of, let's say, fodder for rant, invective, and screed. I am reminded of what they used to say about Curt Schilling when he played for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1990s. Every fifth day when it came his turn to pitch, Schilling was a horse. The rest of the time he was a horse's ass. For Trump
I was concerned going into the closing night of the Democratic Convention when Hillary Clinton would be called upon to address the delegates and the nation. She has not shown herself to be adept at this sort of thing. As she noted in her speech, the service part of public service comes more easily to her than the public part. Earlier in the week, on that same stage, Bill Clinton remarked that the details of the political process are hard work. Being up there on the stage talk
Last night's speakers will be a hard act to follow, even with Elizabeth Warren merely okay when I hoped for riveting. Glenn Thrush at Politico wrote that she is better in small groups or on the Senate floor than on a big stage. That may be the case. Even so, Corey Booker, Michelle Obama, Warren, Bernie Sanders. Last week the Republicans gave us Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, etc. Need more be said? Kudos for Al Franken and Sarah Silverman. Not so much for PBS NewsHour coverag
I am making a good faith effort to take in the Republican convention. For all the cynicism the political process merits, I nonetheless feel an obligation to inform myself as best I can on the issues, ideas, and positions of the various factions, and factions within factions, that make up the nation and affect the lives of us all. I take up the topic with hesitation. It is difficult to contemplate this dismal affair without falling prey to rage when a clear head and lucidity a
Land of the Blind
by Barbara Nadel
Headline Publishing Group, 403 pp.
Great Britain 2015 Land of the Blind is the seventeenth novel in Barbara Nadel's series featuring Istanbul police inspector Çetin İtmen, a chain-smoking free-thinker, not averse to alcohol, sixtyish at the time of this novel, a decent person doing his best in circumstances that are often difficult. The type is familiar to those of us who regularly turn to crime novels for diversion. What we look for, and
Far too much of my thought about the election campaign comes down to persuading myself that I should feel okay about supporting Hillary Clinton. Barring an indictment or a coup at the Republican convention, or something even more bizarrely unforeseen, our next president will be either Clinton or Donald Trump, although in this strange year 'twould be ill-advised to rule out anything. I cannot conceive that a greater good would be served by any course other than whatever seems
In the wake of killings of black men by police officers in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, and of five police officers, with seven more injured, in Dallas, one feels compelled to speak where words cannot possibly be adequate. Silence comes too near de facto complicity in something with which one does not wish to be complicit, while speech risks sound and fury signifying nothing. That race is a factor in police killings of blacks and Latinos is
It is rare, all but unheard of, for me to have occasion to applaud George Will. Last week the arch-conservative columnist broke with the Republican Party over the presumed nomination of Donald Trump. Trump, being Trump, twitted, "George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party.He's made many bad calls," whereupon Will responded, "He has an advantage on me, because he can say everything he knows about any subj
Initial impressions, reflections, provisional appraisals, focused more on the aftermath and responses to a terrible event than to the event itself... Much has been and continues to be reported, written, and speculated about the mass killing in Orlando last weekend. The community targeted, the scale, the presumed jihadist or terrorist link, whether plot or the act of a "self-radicalized lone wolf," and the insecurity and fear generated by the attack drive the media obsession.