In the Arena

The Not-So-Great Debate

Rick Santorum had a pretty lousy night in Arizona, but his candidacy has raised some valuable social questions, as I argue in my latest print column (available to TIME subscribers). His candidacy also demonstrates the traditional problems that long-term members of Congress have when they attempt to run for President. Legislative …

Sheldon Adelson: All Israel, All the Time

I recently made a private vow not to use the term Israel Firster again, for two reasons: it’s derogatory (and it was, initially, my vituperative response to being called “anti-Israel” by assorted neoconservative blowhards) and it’s inaccurate — most of those who are, I believe, unduly aggressive about Israel’s national security think …

The Terrorists Who Couldn’t Bomb Straight

There has been some discussion in recent days of moral equivalence, or not, when it comes to the dueling sticky-bombers–the probable Israeli attempts to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists, which were successful; and the probable Iranian attempts to respond, which have failed. These arguments are irrelevant. Obviously, if Israel is …

Palestinian Detente Disaster

I’ve been traveling to the Middle East as a journalist for the past 30 years. During that time, Israel has grown into an ethnically diverse, economically successful country with a strong (internal) tradition of democracy, free speech and the rule of law–a tradition not always extended toward its Palestinian neighbors, especially when …

Romney’s ‘Poor’ Mouthing

Mitt Romney has crossed a small but significant threshold today, and no, it has nothing to do with setting a new land-speed record for rich-guy gaffes in a presidential campaign. For the first time, according to this Nevada poll, Romney (45%)  has more support going into a primary contest than his two traditional rivals, Gingrich (25%) …

Below Low

I wonder if all those neoconservatives and assorted heroes who also style themselves as American patriots will tolerate this sort of rhetoric from Newt Gingrich, who is clearly groveling for Sheldon Adelson’s continued support. It seems to me that accusing the President of the United States of clearing the way for a “second holocaust” …

Armageddon for Newt

One of the wonderful things about our bloated, endless, tedious, miraculous presidential campaigns is that sooner or later you find out just exactly who these pretenders are. Thursday night in Jacksonville, after 18 debates in which his bluster camouflaged a myriad of flaws, Newt Gingrich’s deficits–the sloppiness, the hyperbole, the …

The State of the Union (and the Presidency)

I have a new print column, which TIME subscribers can find here, about Barack Obama’s rousing and very effective State of the Union message. It was effective in three ways–as a policy response to the Republicans running for President, as a spiritual response to the Republican insinuations that he was not quite American and as a response …

Another Great Press Release

The Romney campaign has another very effective press release, excerpting an article that Elliott Abrams, the former Reagan Assistant Secretary of State For Trading Arms for Hostages, has written about Newt Gingrich’s criticisms of Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy. It will come as no great surprise that Gingrich was impatient with Reagan …

The Quiet Debate

The best performance in last night’s Republican debate was turned in by Brian Williams of NBC, who somehow managed to avoid having Newt Gingrich jump all over him. Deprived of his usual strawman–the stupid press–Gingrich had to direct his fire at his opponents, especially Mitt Romney, and, as in past debates, that fire was muted. It …

Santorum Blows It

I saw this on the evening news and couldn’t quite believe it. At a Santorum town meeting today a woman claims the President is an “avowed Muslim” and therefore ineligible to be President. Santorum doesn’t correct it. He says that he wants to get rid of Obama, too. Totally disgusting….But also, the woman: where does she get …

Mitt Attacks

Two new polls this morning–by Insider Advantage and Rasmussen–show Gingrich with a significant (8 or 9 point) lead over Mitt Romney. And Romney clearly knows he’s in trouble. He has a new ad–paid for by his campaign, not a Super Pac–slamming Gingrich.

The word of the day is: disgrace. As in Gingrich resigned from the Congress …

The Trouble With Private Equity

Mitt Romney is about to release a couple of years of tax returns. The numbers are sure to be enormous. Except for one: his marginal tax rate, an outrageous 15%, or thereabouts. James Surowiecki has a terrific column in the New Yorker that explains why the taxes Romney paid have always been low. It’s all about the so-called “carried …

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