Category Archives: The New Yorker

A recent New Yorker profile of Spitzer

Down he goes.  So sad.  He was supposed to be the real crusader for justice!  And he was quite successful prosecuting insurance and financial industry fraud.  Not that I care what he does in his personal time, but what is the deal with these people who have to pay so much for sex?  Is it THAT difficult to find someone to have some fun with when you’re the governor of New York?   Here’s the interesting profile I’d read about him in The New Yorker, just a few months ago.  So much promise. 


Hillary or Obama? What’s the difference?



The Clinton-Obama battle reveals two very different ideas of the Presidency.

by George PackerJANUARY 28, 2008

Here’s an excellent article that goes into detail about the difference between Hillary and Obama. 

Reversing the “Bradley Effect” – Gender Style

A new explanation for Hillary’s Iowa loss & New Hampshire win

[NOTE: Most often I post other people’s articles, but here’s an editorial of my own.] 

We’ve all heard the chatter that has erupted regarding why polling failed to accurately predict Hillary Clinton’s win last week in New Hampshire.  We all know it had something to do with women – lots of them – turning out in support of her. 

Simultaneously though, many leading political analysts, including, respectably, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, have cross-examined the possibility that it was less a Hillary win and more of an Obama loss thanks to the so-called “Bradley Effect” – the term used for the theoretical phenomenon where some voters will publicly tell pollsters that they’ll vote for a black candidate but actually won’t do so once they are ensconced in the privacy of the voting booth.  Ultimately, most analysts have concluded that the “Bradley Effect” was, probably, not in play last week.  End of story.

Is it though?  What no one is considering, Lizza included, is that a related phenomenon – shall we dub it the “Hillary Effect”? – may be in play, wherein some voters may not be willing to publicly say to pollsters that they’ll vote for Hillary, but once in the privacy of the voting booth, they actually will vote for her.  It’s a gender-based version of the “Bradley Effect” – reversed.

This explains both her Iowa loss and her New Hampshire win, where Iowa’s caucuses are almost embarrassingly public carnivals compared to New Hampshire’s quiet and tidy private primary voting booths.

It is not unthinkable that this new phenomenon – the “Hillary Effect” – may be introduced in this election season.  Why?  The complexities of gender combined with a vocal and public hatred that borders on the irrational.  The press regularly informs us that Hillary has high negative ratings.  We all know she’s a lightening rod for impassioned hatred (though some, including me, are not exactly sure why).  The knowledge that so many voters supposedly dislike her may make some of us less willing to admit publicly that we will vote for her.  Many Republican women (and Republican men, for that matter – heck, even regular Democrats) may be supporting her in secret, afraid to reveal their feelings.  In other words, if they do support her, they don’t support her enough to speak up about it for fear of having to cross swords with those supposed loudmouths proclaiming so publicly that they really really hate her.  Faced with voices screaming a chorus of Hillary hatred, her supporters may just keep their support secretly to themselves.

Perhaps, come November, should Hillary be the Democratic Party’s nominee, the first woman to be President of the United States will win in a historic landslide that the pollsters could not possibly have predicted.

— — — —

[NOTE: You can read my editorial about Kerry’s 2004 loss that was printed in the Boston Sunday Globe on November 14, 2004.]


If I voted with my mind and my heart, I’d have to vote for Obama…

The Political Scene
The Relaunch
Can Barack Obama catch Hillary Clinton?
by Ryan Lizza November 26, 2007

How could my favorite candidate for president end up with a name that sounds like Osama (Obama), a middle name, Hussein, shared with Saddam, and a charisma, intelligence, rationalness, and integrity that historically in our society ends up tragically in assassination (RFK, MLK, JFK, etc.)? We can hope otherwise. I always guess that I’m voting for Hillary because I assume when general election comes around that she will be the choice. But I’m never sure WHY I’m voting for Hillary. This article gives an insight into the person I’d rather vote for, but I won’t be in the states for the primaries anyway to vote for him. The author of this article, Ryan Lizza, is a great writer, too.

Will foreign governments be buying American companies?

The Financial Page
Sovereign Wealth World
by James Surowiecki

Another excellent essay from Surowiecki (link above). Living in Sweden, it is always fascinating to me that the “Kingdom of Sweden” owns some 250 for-profit companies, including Absolut Vodka, one of the top 10 spirits brands in the world in sales; it is remarkably efficiently run, and while the government is speculating on selling it to convert it to cash and ease the government into owning fewer assets, the truth is that despite Absolut being a government-owned company, it has defied the free market cynics and performed phenomenally — perhaps better than it might have were it publicly traded or privately held. When I asked the Chairman whether he would recommend selling the company now as the government intends to, were it not now owned by the government, he speculated that it would be unwise to sell. Basically, the company performs so well and generates so much cash flow that it has no strategic reason to sell, and it is possible that the highest bidder out there will not be paying what the company is really worth. Ironic, or simply a vindication for the free market cynics, that Absolut will likely be sold for political, rather than sound business reasons, at a price less than it might have been worth were it not owned by the government? A red herring of mine, as this article is about the implications of foreign governments buying private or publicly traded American companies . . .

Hillary’s biggest problem? Hendrik Hertzberg in this week’s “The New Yorker” reviews the history of dynastic families in American politics . . .

Dynastic Voyage
by Hendrik Hertzberg
October 29, 2007

Great conclusion:
“Bush’s failure to learn much of anything for the past six years suggests a deficit of character, not of experience; his unwillingness to employ his father’s skills and advice on behalf of the nation shows a disrespectful disregard for a dynast’s biggest advantage. He has given both freshness and family a bad name.”

Hertzberg is a frequent columnist for The New Yorker’s ‘Talk of the Town’ section.

Reality check: reasons why withdrawing from Iraq isn’t going to happen unless the US is literally defeated and forced to . . .

A Reporter at Large
Planning for Defeat
How should we withdraw from Iraq?
by George Packer
The New Yorker, September 17, 2007

“The problems created by the war will require solutions that don’t belong to a single political party or President: the rise of Iranian power, the emergence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the radicalization of populations, the huge refugee crisis, the damage to a new generation of Iraqis who are growing up amid the unimaginable.”