My Column

Hating Kennedy – The Daily Beast

This week, America was fixated on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Grief nourishes myth and a new CNN poll registers JFK as our most admired ex-president from the past half century.

His brief 1,000 days in the Oval Office loom large in American memory because of his abrupt loss; a psychic wound that shaped a generation, symbolizing a collective loss of innocence.

Perhaps inevitably, we buy into the idea that President Kennedy was as beloved in life as he has been in death. Of course, this was not the case. Read More…

The Gonzo Life of Mayor McCrack – The Daily Beast

Gather round, children, and you will hear the strange true tale of Mayor McCrack.

Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford seemed simply obese, unwise, and shady until earlier this week, when he confessed to smoking crack cocaine in what he casually described as “one of my drunken stupors.”

Ford seemed surprised when this outburst of honesty after months of denials did not result in a healing reset with the media. Instead, the admission opened international attention to the serial embarrassment lurking inside Toronto’s City Hall. Read More…

Christie’s Reelection Triumph Is a Revenge of the RINOs – The Daily Beast

Chris Christie’s landslide reelection in a state President Obama won by 17 points offers the GOP a memo on how to win in 2016, if it wants one.

Don’t just fixate on the top-line numbers. They obscure the real story. Look instead at Christie’s initial exit poll margins among women, independent voters, moderates, the middle class, Hispanics, and African-Americans. In those cross-tab stats, you see the outlines of a candidate who can dig the GOP out of the demographic trap it’s facing. Read More…

What GOP Can Learn from Cuccinelli’s Tanking Bid in Virginia – CNN

Virginia is a cautionary tale for conservatives this year. And those Republicans who always argue that their party wins when it moves further to the right are going to have a lot of explaining to do after Election Day.

Polls show that “teavangelist” Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is going down to a decisive defeat in the governor’s race against an exceptionally flawed Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and Clinton fund-raiser.

The reason is simple: Cuccinelli is too extreme for swing voters in Virginia — and that neatly symbolizes the GOP’s problem as it looks to the congressional midterms of 2014 and the presidential campaign of 2016. Read More…

Paralyzed by Polarization – The Daily Beast

After 12 days of stalemate, conversations – if not negotiations – have started.

But House Republicans remain deadlocked with the White House, its leadership constrained by their own far-Right-wing caucus, announcing to members in a closed-door session this morning that any deal would have to come from the Senate, where Mitch McConnell, the GOP minority leader, declared: “I’m willing to work with the government we have, not the one I wish we had.” This is a significant concession to reality.

Washington is engaged in a war of attrition – not just between Republicans and Democrats, but an increasingly vicious civil war within the GOP between the Tea Party and what remains of the responsible centre-Right. Read More…