Nearly eight years after he denounced what he called a "dumb war" in Iraq and nearly two years after he won the White House promising to end it, President Obama on Monday plans to mark the formal end of the combat mission there.
The next shot at killing BP's well in the Gulf of Mexico could begin as early as Monday night, as engineers plan to pump heavy mud into the capped but still dangerous well and "bullhead" the rogue oil back down into its source rock 2 1/2 miles below the seafloor.
Good news of sorts?
There is growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care about the prospects of American workers — that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal.
Palin is Palin: if she runs, there’s going to be a constituency that would crawl on broken glass to vote for her, no matter how many soap operas cling to her. Huckabee, meanwhile, is a chronically underestimated figure who straddles two anti-establishment demographics (the Tea Parties and the Christian Right), and whose political savvy rivals that of his fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton.
Neither is exactly brimming over with gravitas. But either one might be able to beat the unloved Romney, his money and organizational muscle notwithstanding.
This prospect gives Republican insiders heartburn. In the salons and bars of conservative Washington, there’s an obvious appetite for a kind of intra-establishment coup, in which Romney is knocked from his perch as the safe, sober choice and a fresher figure takes his place.
The tea party's legacy may well include knocking off the strongest GOP candidate in 2012.
Viewing him as a rising star in the party, Republicans in Congress often talk up Rep. Paul Ryan as a potential governor, senator or House leader. The lanky, youthful-looking congressman from Wisconsin has begged off, citing his young children and limited desire to spend all his time raising campaign money.
Instead, Ryan is running a campaign of a different sort, one his party has so far refused to adopt: He is determined to persuade colleagues to get serious about eliminating the national debt, even if it means openly broaching overhauls of Medicare and Social Security.
For the past few months, we have heard powerful, passionate arguments about the need to cut America's massive budget deficit. Republican senators have claimed that we are in danger of permanently crippling the economy. Conservative economists and pundits warn of a Greece-like crisis in which America will be able to borrow only at exorbitant interest rates. So when an opportunity presents itself to cut those deficits by about a quarter -- more than $300 billion! -- permanently and relatively easily, you would think that these people would be leading the way. Far from it.
So a church in Florida wants to stage a book-burning party of the Quran. Big deal, right? After all, anti-American zealots in foreign countries are always staging flag burnings and toasting various effigies of our presidents, so whats wrong with a little tit-for-tat?