The Spectacle Blog

Racial Politics and Tennessee

By on 10.26.06 | 12:49PM

Along with other liberals, Josh Marshall is in a tizzy over an RNC ad against Harold Ford Jr. that he calls the "uppity negro ad." But after watching it several times, it's hard to see what he sees. The one part of the ad that has drawn criticism from liberals when a bimbo says she met Ford at a Playboy party and at the end of the ad winks and says, "Harold, call me." The bit is just one part of the ad that also criticizes his positions on wiretapping, gun control and estate taxes. However, to Marshall:

 If you watch the ad closely it is clear that the racist appeal -- about Harold Ford having sex with white women -- is the centerpiece, the entire point of the ad.

Al Qaeda and Iraq

By on 10.26.06 | 12:12PM

Al Qaeda expert Peter Bergen argues in today's New York Times that a U.S. pullout from Iraq would be exactly what Al Qaeda wants, because it would enable the terrorist group to establish a permanent base in Western Iraq so that it can regroup. It would also confirm bin Laden's view of America as a paper tiger, which traces back to Ronald Reagan's pullout from Lebanon in 1984 (in hindsight, probably the biggest mistake of his presidency) and Bill Clinton's pullout from Somalia in 1993. As far as Iraq is concerned, Bergen argues for abandoning our desire to create a democracy or halting civil war, and focus on making sure Al Qaeda doesn't gain control of Western Iraq.

NJ Supreme Court, Continued

By on 10.25.06 | 5:01PM

I don't see this opinion causing the kind of backlash that would single-handedly save the GOP at the polls, as Mickey Kaus has suggested a ruling in favor of gay marriage might; opposition to civil unions isn't nearly as broad as opposition to gay "marriage" by that name. (It's not hard to see why -- civil unions aren't a sacrament.) In granting marriage rights but leaving the semantics to the elected branches of New Jersey's government, the Court showed the sort of political savvy here that perhaps judges shouldn't have.

Shocking Headline? Nope.

By on 10.25.06 | 3:49PM

From a Zogby press release this afternoon:

Arab American Voters in MI, OH, FL and PA Give Dems Strong Nod in Key Races: Voting Bloc Stands to Play Pivotal Role in Tight Races.

Similar trends have recently been reported with the old "security moms" voting bloc.

NJ Supreme Court Splits The Difference

By on 10.25.06 | 3:37PM

Here's the ruling in Lewis v. Harris, as paraphrased in the Clerk's syllabus:

Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.
In other words, gay couples in New Jersey are entitled to more recognition than they now get under New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act, indeed to every right that comes with straight marriage-- but the state is not compelled to refer to gay unions as "marriage."

The Dems Make a Major Mistake

By on 10.25.06 | 3:00PM

At first blush, I think the Michael J. Fox ads on stem cell research scare people on the right. Here we have an actor who is very well liked and sympathetic in his plight making a call for political help.

Don't worry. I'm pretty sure this is going to end up helping the GOP quite a bit. Two related reasons:

1. The Democrats have so far succeeded by existing almost entirely as a protest to the Iraq war which has been costly and semi- (dare I say it?) quagmire-ish. Putting the stem cell issue out on the table is a stupid diversion from a good strategy. Instead of "We're not Bush," they are now saying, "And we want to start pushing the envelope on bio-ethical issues just like we have been on questions of sex."

It's a big reminder of the life issue and whether you believe it or not, that one is becoming a big loser for the left. Pro-life will eventually be what anti-racism became.

Re: The Bush Doctrine And Iraq

By on 10.25.06 | 2:23PM

Not only that, Philip. Contra Ackerman, the case for democracy promotion is not limited to the narrow question of what kind of states directly sponsor terrorism. It also extends to the American interest in reform of the sorts of repressive political environments where radicalism is likely to arise.

By the way, it's quite odd that Ackerman thinks it's really signficant that Kaplan's piece doesn't contain the word "al-Qaeda." Kaplan's reference to democracies' "thin history of exporting terrorism" very obviously does allude to al-Qaeda and similar groups.

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