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Saturday, November 15, 2008


Marc Ambinder has an excellent summary of Obama's "management secrets"

Here are clips from Obama's speech yesterday followed by clips from McCain's response. (vid)

McCain's Afghanistan policy: if a flip flops in the woods does it make a sound? (TPM vid)

okay, here's your New Yorker cartoon coverage that if you probably don't care about but here it is anyway:

another cartoonist who drew a cartoon that made the same point pinpoints the problem with this one:

it's actually less clear what the satirical intent of The New Yorker cartoon is. It just shows an America-hating, terrorist President Obama. Of course, I'm certain Blitt intended to make fun of people's paranoid perceptions of Obama, not how leftist/radical/Muslim Obama is. But that's because I've seen his cartoons before, and because I know what could or couldn't be the stance of The New Yorker. But if this same cartoon were created by Sean Delonas and published by The New York Post, I'd think it was satirizing Obama himself, and that's a very different (opposite) point -- it would be tasteless and offensive.

A cartoon shouldn't rely on the context of its creator and publisher in order to successfully make its point.

our local Village-Voice-type publication has the rejected New Yorker covers

Jon Stewart on the New Yorker cover (vid)

Obama on the New Yorker cover

OBAMA: Well, I know it was The New Yorker's attempt at satire. I don't think they were entirely successful with it. But you know what? It's a cartoon, Larry, and that's why we've got the First Amendment.

And I think the American people are probably spending a little more time worrying about what's happening with the banking system and the housing market, and what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, than a cartoon.

So I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it.

KING: But didn't it personally sting you?

OBAMA: No. You know, we've -- one of the things when you're running for president for almost two years is, you get a pretty thick skin.

And, you know, I've seen and heard worse.

I do think that, you know, in attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead.

later he added:
You know, this is actually an insult against Muslim-Americans, something that we don't spend a lot of time talking about. And sometimes I've been derelict in pointing that out.

You know, there are wonderful Muslim-Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult, or to raise suspicions about me, I think is unfortunate. And it's not what America's all about.

And now back to regularly scheduled programming:

M. Yglesias: Everything is Good News for McCain

TNR compares McCain to Nixon:

Nixon was a realist whose achievement as a statesman (as distinct from his failure as president) rested on his recognition of the limits of American power. He understood when he came to office that the United States could not hope to achieve victory in Vietnam but would have to settle for an imperfect compromise and, after backtracking, eventually did.

Nixon, who could get into a funk over domestic opponents, was capable of an eerie detachment when it came to evaluating foreign leaders. He could also appreciate the historic insecurities that led countries to distrust the United States and each other. He confined his apocalyptic warnings of a worldwide communist conspiracy to domestic politics. He understood that beneath the appearance of socialist solidarity lay growing hostility between Russia and China, which the United States could exploit.

By contrast, McCain is a radical idealist who wants to transform the world and is reluctant to acknowledge limits to this enterprise. He imagines a "democratic" Iraq opposed to Iran and occupied indefinitely by American troops. And McCain does not seem to possess Nixon's detachment when it comes to foreign affairs. He can't see what drove Putin and now his successor to distance themselves from the United States; or what--since the time of the pro-American Shah--has driven Iran, irrespective of Ahmadinejad, to seek a nuclear capability.

If anything, McCain brings the same readiness to anger to bear in foreign relations that marked his tenure in the Senate. But it's one thing to blow up at a colleague and quite another to do so at a foreign president. The former may lead to difficulties in getting a bill passed; the latter to protracted conflict and even war. If one insists upon identifying a nation with its leader and seeing that leader as either incurably wicked or deeply irrational, then that rules out diplomacy or deterrence. Regime change becomes the only way of addressing a foe's antagonism. That, of course, was the argument that McCain and others used to justify the invasion of Iraq, and he seems to be making the same argument about Russia and Iran. John McCain has certainly had moments of greatness as a man and a politician, but, as a statesman, he's no Richard Nixon.

Pundit Round-Up

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