The Week: Most Recent Politics Posts recent posts.en-usMon, 01 Sep 2014 07:00:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Politics Posts from THE WEEKMon, 01 Sep 2014 07:00:00 -0400The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics<img src="" /></P><p>Like it or not, this truism is very true: Being president in the modern era requires a certain "It Factor."</p><div class="im"><p>You don't need star power to make it to the U.S. Senate, or to rise in its leadership. (Looking at you, Senators Reid and McConnell.) You don't need an almost celebrity-like sexiness to succeed in the House. (Who among us would describe Steny Hoyer or Steve Scalise in such terms?) But when we're talking about the presidency, it's not enough these days to be a highly intelligent lawmaker with a history of policy expertise and success. You've got to have charisma. You've got to have charm...</p></div> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:00:00 -0400The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney<img src="" /></P><p>When Mitt Romney was trounced by President Obama in the 2012 election, it seemed as if the former governor of Massachusetts was a political corpse. Romney "appears well on the way to disappearing," wrote <em>The Washington Post</em> in a merciless campaign autopsy, "with a not-so-gentle shove from his own party." The <em>Post</em>, citing critical remarks from people across the Republican spectrum, said Romney was "a political amalgam with no natural constituency beyond the business community" and that he was "unlikely to play a significant role in rebuilding his party."</p><p>Less than two years later, Romney has miraculously...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:11:00 -0400On torture, the CIA says to trust the CIA<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">As we await the release of a Senate report on the CIA's torture practices during the Bush years, a public relations campaign is unfolding in the media. The latest salvo is from former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who wrote an op-ed arguing that anti-torture activists &mdash; such as Human Rights First, which is supported by a group of retired military leaders &mdash; are smearing the CIA before they have even had a chance to read the report.</p><p >Some are trying to get you to accept their bottom line on a report neither they nor you have read. And I am trying to get you, before you make up your mind...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryan-cooper" ><span class="byline">Ryan Cooper</span></a>Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:08:00 -0400Barack Obama's futile attempt to be a modern-day George Washington<img src="" /></P><p>Barack Obama's problem is that he's too much like George Washington.</p><p>That's what ran through my head earlier this week as I pondered the president's sinking approval rating &mdash; along with the constant (often ridiculous) sniping about his penchant for golfing his way through international crises. As I reflected on Obama's woes, I was reminded of Jeffrey K. Tulis's <em>The Rhetorical Presidency</em>, a 1987 book that has deeply shaped my understanding of presidential power &mdash; and weakness.</p><p>Tulis argues that from the nation's first president all the way down to Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:06:00 -04006 constitutional amendments that just missed the cut<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Since 1789, Congress has approved 33 constitutional amendments. Twenty-seven of those amendments were eventually ratified and became part of the Constitution. Six failed after being sent to the states. Here's the scoop on those six that didn't make the grade.</p><h4>1. House Size</h4><p>"Article the First" may sound a bit Yoda-esque, but it was actually the first provision in the original proposal for the Bill of Rights. The amendment, which the first Congress approved in September 1789, basically provided a way to regulate the expansion of the House of Representatives as the country grew. Among other provisions...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Ethan TrexThu, 28 Aug 2014 11:38:00 -0400Here's one more reason to block the Keystone XL pipeline<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">The policy debate over the Keystone XL pipeline (as opposed to the political one) in many ways boil down to railroads. Supporters of Keystone say there's no point in blocking the construction of massive pipeline that will traverse the United States, since the projected 510,000 barrels of oil the pipeline would transport could just be moved around on trains. Either way, they say, the oil is coming out of the ground and it's going to be burned.</p><p dir="ltr">However, there is reason to think that transporting a monstrous influx of new oil by rail would be a lot more difficult than many imagine.</p><p dir="ltr">It's not because...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryan-cooper" ><span class="byline">Ryan Cooper</span></a>Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:09:00 -0400The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue<img src="" /></P><p>The world is<em> en fuego,</em> with American interests at peril and President Obama's foreign policy failing to stem the chaos. The mood may be as brittle as it was in 2002, the first elections after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, but even though the country is definitely paying more attention to the world's problems as the economy improves at home, the midterm elections in America are just not being fought over foreign policy. This is unusual, but it isn't surprising: Neither party has a clue on foreign policy.</p><p>Democrats are divided about Obama's response to the Syrian civil war, the sudden...</p> <a href="">More</a>Marc AmbinderWed, 27 Aug 2014 11:08:00 -0400In defense of Obama's golfing<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Earlier this month, when the military-equipped local cops in Ferguson, Missouri, first began launching tear gas canisters at protesters enraged over the shooting by a white officer of an unarmed black teenager, social media lit up with anger at President Obama for attending a party. It's a familiar refrain &mdash; though one that usually focuses not on Obama's party-going or vacationing, but his golfing.</p><p class="p1">Obama's critics have long derided him for golfing while Putin rolls into Ukraine, or while ISIS does all the evil things they do. Some ding him for golfing when he could be speaking up for Senate...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/michael-brendan-dougherty" ><span class="byline">Michael Brendan Dougherty</span></a>Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:15:00 -0400How Democrats might goad the GOP into shutting down the government<img src="" /></P><p>President Obama is expected to announce by mid-September whether he will circumvent a recalcitrant Congress and press ahead with immigration reform on his own terms. "Executive action," as it's come to be known, could be as robust and consequential as providing de-facto earned amnesty for millions of undocumented immigrants now living in the shadows. That decision would reverberate widely. Democrats have usually been afraid that if Obama decided to showcase the apogee of presidential power, the counter-reaction among conservatives and revanchists would cost Democrats an intolerably high political...</p> <a href="">More</a>Marc AmbinderWed, 27 Aug 2014 09:25:00 -0400After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race<img src="" /></P><p>The prolonged spasm of fury that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African-American, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., appears to have subsided. The actions of the Ferguson police department &mdash; allowing Brown's body to remain in the street for four hours after his death, withholding for days the name of the officer accused of shooting him, deploying military weaponry and strong-arm tactics against protesters and journalists &mdash; helped to keep the unrest at a rolling boil for nearly two weeks.</p><p>But the protests were initially sparked by outrage at...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:31:00 -0400