Newsweek November 19, 2012

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United States
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The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
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Weekly
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2
wins & fails

CHRIS CHRISTIE Hurricane Sandy established New Jersey’s largerthan-life Republican governor as a truthtelling grown-up who’s well positioned for a White House run. BILL CLINTON Obama’s “Secretary of ’Splainin’ Stuf ” enhanced his already-robust postpresidential popularity as No. 44’s most effective surrogate. Now, if only he can do as good a job for Hillary! MORMONS Romney’s candidacy threw a spotlight on the little-understood Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and finally pulled the historically persecuted minority religion into the mainstream. MARTHA RADDATZ After Jim Lehrer’s feeble performance in the first presidential debate, ABC’s polite but firm senior foreign-afairs correspondent, moderating the Biden-Ryan clash, showed us how it’s done. POTHEADS Light up, and don’t worry about the law. Voters from Washington and Colorado, um, blazed a trail by legalizing recreational use of marijuana. Local snack purveyors are psyched. MOTHER JONES The paleoliberal…

5
we are the world

MOSCOW MULE A day after the Russian Central Election Commission warned darkly that the U.S. presidential elections would be neither free nor fair, that the vote would fall woefully short of “international election principles,” and that Barack Obama would wrest a win by recourse to violations of democratic norms, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appeared to welcome Obama’s reelection in a post on his Facebook page. In language that was not entirely gushing, but which, in the current context of U.S.-Russian relations, should qualify as entirely cordial, Medvedev wrote that “Barack Obama is an understandable and predictable partner for us.” Continuing his inelegant compliment, one that was both strained and repetitive, the Russian prime minister explained that “predictability is the most important quality for politics. In this respect, Barack Obama is a…

7
lies, damn lies

AT HIS final rally, Barack Obama stood before 20,000 adoring Iowans, just yards from the Des Moines headquarters where his 2008 Children’s Crusade began. Something happened. Something we have rarely seen: Obama wept. A few elegant tears slowly descended from his left eye, perhaps in appreciation of the enormity—and the improbability—of what he was about to accomplish. Within 24 hours those tears had turned into dancing. The reelected president was more exuberant, more ideal is tic, even, than the sober, somber young president-elect of Grant Park 2008. And for good reason. The economic current against President Obama this year was more like a typhoon than a tide. To put it into perspective, from Truman-era 1948 to Bush-era 2008, America experienced a total of 39 months during which the unemployment rate sat…

5
michelle obama vs ann romney

STRENGTH As first ladies so often do, Michelle Obama blazed into this reelection campaign vastly more popular than her husband. Forget the unsteady, occasionally impolitic naïf of the 2008 race; Michelle has spent the past four years learning the ropes. She picked important but not terribly controversial issues to champion: fighting fat and supporting military families. She made use of nontraditional media outlets like kids’ shows and reality TV. She kept her head down, raised her daughters, rarely responded to criticism, and managed to become a style icon without seeming shallow or overly concerned with appearances. Four years in, Michelle still seems down-to-earth, fiery, and irreverent—all characteristics Americans wish her cool-cat, professorial husband would display more often. Her job now is to drag Barack down of that mountaintop to mingle with…

3
welcome to the twilight zone

PARTISAN POLITICS is starting to look like a cult, and after this presidential election, Republicans will need some serious deprogramming. The overheated anti-Obama echo chamber on the far right led to a fact-free fanaticism, inspiring otherwise educated folks to ignore most polls in favor of feelgood tall tales about “Mitt-mentum” going into Election Day. Among those caught up in the fever swamp was the architect of George W. Bush’s two White House wins, Karl Rove, seen awkwardly on air arguing with Fox News’s own pollsters about whether the election was over. The respected co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone, predicted a Romney landslide, as did the poet laureate of conservative columnists, George Will. And these were the adults at the conservative table. Conspiracy entrepreneurs always peddle special knowledge, and just…

3
the losing habit

DEFEAT CAN be habit-forming. Ask any Democrat. They lost three presidential elections in a row in the 1920s and 1980s, four in a row between 1896 and 1908, and a record six in a row between 1860 and 1880. Only in one period in modern American history have Republicans suffered such a string of defeats: between 1932 and 1948, when Franklin Roosevelt won four and Harry Truman made it five. I know what it feels like. The British Tories were out of power for 13 years between 1997 and 2010. Last night was my second defeat since I moved to the United States in 2002 and became a Republican supporter. (Actually, it was my third, since I endorsed John Kerry in 2004 in a fit of frustration about the Bush administration’s…