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Engaging the Muslim World

Engaging the Muslim World

By Juan Cole

more items


Tag: Debate

AP photo / M. Spencer Green

America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout

The methods used to attain what we want, we are told by reality television programs, business schools and self-help gurus, are irrelevant. Success, always defined in terms of money and power, is its own justification. Our moral collapse is as terrifying, and as dangerous, as our economic collapse.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE

For Competition Before They Were Against It

Republicans insist that “competition solves health care,” and tell us that government programs are worse than private health insurance. So, don’t they welcome a private-versus-public competition, believing that the former will trump the latter? Well ... uh ... no.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE

The Point of Pointing Fingers

Obama speaks disdainfully of “ideology,” but there comes a time when first principles need to be articulated. Conservatives have entered this fight with guns blazing while progressives have hidden behind a Maginot Line armed only with the word pragmatism.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE

Population Boom in the Freezer

Since the 1980s, more than a half-million children have been created through in vitro fertilization. There are also about a half-million leftover embryos.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE

Put Single-Payer on the Table

Obama promises health-care reform, but he has taken single-payer health care off the table. While single-payer reduces the administrative costs and removes the profit that insurance companies add to health-care delivery, such solutions get almost no space in the debate.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE

Rushing Toward Irrelevance

Once, conservatives liked to say that “ideas matter.” Although many of their theories later proved flimsy, they at least attempted to address real problems with fresh thinking. But ideas no longer matter—and in fact they’re dangerous, according to the maximum leader of the right.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE

Redistributionist, and That’s Just Fine

The well-off will pay more in taxes. And before the howling on the right gets too loud, consider that we have just gone through a long era involving a far less frank form of redistribution—upward.


Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE

A Road-Trip Presidency

After Obama began to campaign around the country for the stimulus, support for the package rose. Administration officials have taken notice. Count on this to be a road-trip presidency. 

Posted on Feb 22, 2009 READ MORE

The High Cost of Centrism

The Obama administration keeps having to learn that bland centrism is not pragmatic, it’s not helpful in resolving a big crisis, and it certainly doesn’t buy you any love.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE

Stronger, Please, Mr. President

Having allowed his Republican opponents to dominate the economic debate, Obama used his first news conference to rebut them—coolly and civilly, yet without leaving any doubt that he can strike back harder if necessary.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE

Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Slam the Door on Compromise

Bipartisanship is a cute idea, but with 600,000 Americans losing their jobs in one month, there simply isn’t time to be nice.

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 READ MORE

GOP Revs Up the Spin on Stimulus

Republicans have been winning the media wars over Obama’s central initiative. They have done so largely by defining the proposal by its least significant parts.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE

Stimulus Skeptics Wrong (Again)

Mythology is overshadowing history in the debate over Obama’s plan to stimulate the depressed economy. Excessive airtime is devoted to the prejudices of cable hosts and radio personalities who regurgitate ideas they barely understand.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE

Making Him Do It

Intragovernmental squabbling probably makes the conflict-averse Obama uncomfortable. But the “make him do it” dynamic could finally bring the center of Washington’s political debate closer to the progressive center of American public opinion.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE

Stimulus Brings on a Family Feud

President Obama’s visit with House and Senate Republicans this week was useful for setting a new tone and a refreshing break from the Bush administration’s habit of consulting almost no one. But it was a sideshow to the main battle over how to improve the economy, which is among Democrats.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE

Obama’s Stuck Playing the Same Lame Game

The president took his swing in the 25-year-old game of ideological pingpong known as the global gag rule, but he also made it clear he’d like everyone to put their paddles down.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE

Timothy Geithner
Wikimedia Commons / Presidencia de la Nación Argentina

Senate Sends Geithner to Treasury

Timothy Geithner may be a tax dodger who helped funnel taxpayer funds to his banking buddies, but we need that kind of cunning right now. That’s the thinking on Capitol Hill, anyway. The Senate confirmed President Obama’s pick to head Treasury on Monday, over the grumbles of 34 senators.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE

Should the Torturers Go on Trial?

The impending end of the Bush administration and the inauguration of Barack Obama pose the enormous and explosive question of what to do about those responsible for what are regarded by a significant part of the world as war crimes.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE

Navel-Gazing in the Grand Old Party

While Republicans are looking inward and focusing on appeals to the party’s activist base, Obama wants Democrats to concentrate their energies on recently acquired political terrain and the new converts who were central to his party’s sweep last year. 

Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE

book cover

James Blight on McGeorge Bundy

One of JFK’s “best and brightest” died wondering how the Vietnam War could have gone so wrong. Now, in an important new book, we have some answers.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE

Choice for Education Secretary Marks a New Path

  Because Arne Duncan gets along with teachers unions but is also seen as a reformer, his selection was interpreted as a politically shrewd, split-the-difference choice by Obama. But that is not the whole story.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE

Should She Be Sen. Kennedy?

In the culture of celebrity, the media have instantly deemed Caroline Kennedy a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate, much to the frustration of elected officials who feel they have earned a chance to win what she would merely take.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE

Caroline Kennedy

You Can Never Have Too Many Kennedys in the Senate

There is something refreshing in seeing a mother and public citizen auditioning for a second act. Beyond that, there is something tender and timely in seeing this particular woman coming home to the family business.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE

We Told You So

With the release of three new reports, there’s no debate anymore about who was correct and who wasn’t concerning the economic collapse and the Wall Street bailout. The studies prove that progressive critics were right and the Washington ideologues and the pundits were wrong.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE

The Beauty of Free Money

No, the federal government isn’t going to discover new billions under some rock in a national park. But with the economic downturn, the new president’s imperative will be to spend as fast as he can, to the tune of perhaps $500 billion, to keep the economy from going belly up.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE

Not a Team of Rivals at All

When the journalistic pack bites into a tasty cliché, they often refuse to let go, lazily chewing and regurgitating a phrase like “team of rivals” long after the flavor is gone.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE

Flickr / SteelCityHobbies

Class Bigotry Mars Auto Debate

The auto industry bailout would have no chance of passing without the muscle of the Big Three’s unionized work force. Yet you can’t turn around without hearing someone trash autoworkers for the terrible crime of trying to earn a decent living.

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE

Flashback: Obama Looks Forward to Clinton’s Advice

Barack Obama’s fondness for Clinton retreads and his choice of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state took many by surprise, but we might have seen it coming. This debate skirmish before last year’s Iowa caucuses has turned out to be remarkably prescient.

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE

AP file photo

Confronting the Terrorist Within

The world is far more complex than our childish vision of good and evil. We as a nation and a culture have no monopoly on virtue. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when viewed from the receiving end, are state-sponsored acts of terrorism.

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE

Mbeki width=
EPA / Jon Hrusa

AIDS Theory Runs Amok

In a glaring example of the importance of theory in practice, U.S. researchers have accused former South African President Thabo Mbeki of being responsible for more than 300,000 AIDS-related “avoidable deaths,” pointing to Mbeki’s siding with a theoretical camp that argues AIDS is caused by a collapsed immune system, not a viral infection. As a result, offers of free drugs and grant money for AIDS treatment were rejected.

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 READ MORE

Why Obama Can Keep Gates

If the prospect of appointing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state irritates the Obama base, what will they make of keeping the man who has executed President Bush’s policies at the Pentagon?

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE

Not a Scratch on That Glass Ceiling

It is time to stop kidding ourselves. This wasn’t a breakthrough year for American women in politics. It was a brutal one.

Posted on Nov 19, 2008 READ MORE

This Is What He’s Sorry About?

It was nothing Bush did—no decision he made, no policy he pursued, no faith that he placed in ideological dogma—that he finds regrettable. Bush told a cable network, “I regret saying some things I shouldn’t have said” over the course of eight tumultuous years.

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE

Some Blame Must Follow the Financial Collapse

“What am I going to tell the public,” one French official asked, “when there are 3 million people marching in the streets of Paris? That ‘we all made mistakes’? That no one was really responsible?”

Posted on Nov 11, 2008 READ MORE

A New Era of Hope

With Obama’s victory, it’s time to hope that the era of racial backlash and wedge politics is over. Time to imagine that the patriotism of dissenters will no longer be questioned and that the world will no longer be divided between “values voters” and those without a moral compass.

Posted on Nov 4, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / Jose Luis Magana

Only Nader Is Right on the Issues

Tomorrow I will go to a polling station in Princeton, N.J., and vote for Ralph Nader. I know the tired arguments against a Nader vote. But there is little disagreement among liberals and progressives about the Nader and Obama campaign issues. Nader would win among us in a landslide if this was based on issues.

Posted on Nov 3, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / LM Otero

The Obama Standard

A good politician triumphs by adapting to the times and taking advantage of opportunities as they come. A great politician anticipates openings others don’t see and creates possibilities that were not there before.

Posted on Nov 3, 2008 READ MORE

Wikimedia Commons / edited for effect

Populism Arising—but Will It Be the Killer Kind?

The old assumptions and paradigms about capitalism and free markets are dead. A new, virulent populism, still inchoate, is slowly and painfully rising to take their place. This populism will determine the future of the country. It is as likely to be right-wing as left-wing.

Posted on Oct 26, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / Madalyn Ruggiero

‘Joe the Plumber’ in 2010?

Life took an unexpected turn for Joe Wurzelbacher, or “Joe the Plumber,” when he became a kind of human talking point for John McCain and Barack Obama during their last debate, and now Wurzelbacher has apparently taken a shine to politics.

Posted on Oct 25, 2008 READ MORE

McCain and Obama

McCain’s Oil-Talk Addiction

This week’s Mosaic Intelligence Reports investigates John “Drill, Baby, Drill!” McCain’s claims about “good” and “bad” oil, energy independence and whether he played a little fast and loose with the oil talk during the final presidential debate,

Posted on Oct 18, 2008 READ MORE

Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Looking Down the Final Stretch

No more presidential debates (at least for a couple months or so)! Who won the last one, Barack Obama or John McCain? Tony Blankley, Matt Miller and Truthdig’s own Robert Scheer size up the candidates and their campaigns and discuss the latest developments in the economic arena on this week’s “Left, Right & Center.”

Posted on Oct 17, 2008 READ MORE

Stuck in the Primary

John McCain’s debate performance almost certainly did him good among those whose votes he already has: very conservative Republicans who share Joe the Plumber’s view that Obama is some kind of socialist.

Posted on Oct 17, 2008 READ MORE

McCain Sounds Worse Than He Looks

Grouchiness, twitchiness and haughtiness didn’t help John McCain in Wednesday’s debate, but what he said hurt him more than how he said it.

Posted on Oct 17, 2008 READ MORE


McCain’s Scare Quotes

The term “health of the mother” is a coded term used by extreme pro-abortionists to mislead the public about their nefarious intentions, as John McCain suggested during Wednesday’s presidential debate. Or it could just mean “health of the mother.”

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE

The HBO Debate

Here’s one way to liven up the political process.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE


‘Colbert Report’: Getting Off at the NSA

Warrantless wiretapping makes for a rollicking good time at the National Security Agency, according to moral crusader Stephen Colbert, who’s not above a little dramatic re-enactment of his own biblically inspired carnal fantasies (for illustrative purposes only).

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE

McCain in Ohio
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Another Round of Dirty Tricks in Ohio

After Wednesday’s big debate, McCain-Palin volunteers celebrated what they considered a big victory for their presidential candidate. But the real action was taking place in courts miles away.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / Madalyn Ruggiero

Joe, the Plumber Who Wasn’t

Things really aren’t going well for John McCain, but then he has only himself to blame. Take Joe the Plumber, whom McCain mentioned more than 20 times in Wednesday’s debate. For the record, Joe’s name is Sam, and he’s not a plumber.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE

AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Obama 3, McCain 0

Although the pundits were impressed with John McCain’s debate performance, the polls showed another win for Barack Obama, who once again kept his cool against an angry, negative opponent.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE

Endangering Choice

While gay marriage is losing its stigma, abortion is once again retreating to the closet.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE

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