Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • A Question of Leadership

    What if John McCain's "amazing gambit"--suspending his campaign, calling off Friday's debate and inviting Barack Obama to return to Washington with him to work on the economic crisis--ends not with a bang but a whimper? That's the way it's looking right now. When McCain delivered his surprise announcement here in New York yesterday afternoon, both he and the Democratic Party were quick to say that the Treasury's $700 billion bailout bill was in grave danger of collapsing. For McCain, "it ha[d] become clear that no consensus ha[d] developed to support the Administration's proposal" and that the nation was "running out of time." For the Dems, McCain's return to Washington "risk[ed] injecting presidential politics into this process" and delaying the legislation. Of course, this was pure political posturing. McCain wanted to appear as if he were rescuing America from a dire situation. The Democrats wanted it to appear as if he were creating one. But the truth is, the legislation itsel...
  • The Filter: Sept. 25, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.CHANGE ELECTION TURNS OUT CONVENTIONAL...
  • What's the Proper Role of Politics?

    [youtube:zHGs4535W_o] The McCain campaign wants you to see today's "suspension" as McCain sacrificing politics in the service of a higher cause--namely, getting the nation's economy back on track. The Obama campaign wants you to see it as McCain pretending to sacrifice politics for his own political gain. The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder makes the latter case in the sort of language you're not going to hear from Chicago, but that probably reflects how the campaign feels about the proper role of politics in the face of the current crisis:This is the time when politics matters the most, not the least. When the philosophical differences that each party organizes around are put to the test of reality. When conflict builds consensus, not by ignoring conflict. When the public craves answers and debate from their politicians. When the stakes of the presidential election could not be more acute. Comparative...
  • The Tricky Politics of McCain's Maneuver

    (AP Photo / Gerald Herbert) In a statement delivered this afternoon in New York City, John McCain announced that he will temporarily suspend his presidential campaign Thursday morning and return to Washington to address the financial crisis. As a result, he requested that Friday's foreign-policy debate in Oxford, Miss., be delayed and urged rival Barack Obama to join him in the capital for a summit with top congressional leaders. "I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself," McCain said. "It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem." The announcement comes a day after this blog noted the remarkable similarities between McCain and Barack Obama's lists of recommended "improvements" for the mammoth $700 billion Treasury bailout bill--and criticized both candidates for continuing to "us[e] the bailout to bludgeon each other daily on the campaign trail," suggest...
  • The First 'Postmodern' Presidency?

    In his new article on Team McCain's willingness to say something misleading and then, when challenged, suggest that the truth or falsity of their statements doesn't actually matter--Obama commits the first sin, but not the second--the New Republic's Jonathan Chait highlights a fascinating poly-sci study that I, for one, had never heard of: Last February, political scientists Brendan Nyhan of Duke and Jason...
  • The Expectations Game, Vol. I

    For months, the presidential contenders savage each other on the stump and in the press. They attack their opponent's policies. They question their rival's character. They hurl all manner of insults, accusations and calumnies in the general direction of the only other life form crazy enough to want to be leader of the free world. But every year in late September each White House hopeful suddenly discovers that there's one thing he actually admires about the other guy: his debating ability. So they and their advisers spend the days leading up to the first presidential clash fawning over their enemy's supposedly spectacular skills. Let the Expectations Game begin. An age-old campaign ritual, it involves lowering your own bar for success--inhale, exhale, don't drool--while simultaneously claiming that your foe is the greatest orator since Cicero. Nowadays, no one takes this spin-a-riffic charade seriously--least of all political reporters. But the campaigns continue to indulge. With ...
  • The Filter: Sept. 24, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.ECONOMIC FEARS GIVE OBAMA CLEAR LEAD OVER MCCAIN IN POLL(Dan Balz and Jon Coen, Washington Post)More voters trust Obama to deal with the economy, and he currently has...
  • Gerson vs. Harris: Is Palin Prepared for the Presidency?

    In the latest print edition of NEWSWEEK, atheist author Sam Harris and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson duke it out over the question of whether Sarah Palin is experienced enough to be president. I weighed in on the topic earlier this month, writing that "when it comes to...
  • The Filter: Sept. 23, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.THE DEATH OF POLICY(Michael Gerson, via Politico Playbook)[I]t is President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, by proposing the massive government purchase of bad debt, who have assumed the mantle of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is John McCain and Barack Obama who are playing the role of Roosevelt's more timid, forgotten foils, ‘Martin, Barton and Fish.’ Having last week criticized the role of the Federal Reserve in bailouts -- demonstrating a tin ear of elephantine proportions -- McCain now calls for a bipartisan oversight board to review the government's rescue attempt. Mankind perishes. The world grows dark. McCain calls for a review board. Obama has been no better, responding with his usual mix of caution and blame. … The 2008 presidential campaign has become notable for its vacuity … It did not begin this way. Early in the campaign, McCain talked about his un-Republican environmental views and undertook a national poverty tour...
  • DARMAN: Here They Go Again

    As my NEWSWEEK colleague Jonathan Darman writes in the latest dead-tree mag, Rovean tactics alone do not win the Republican Party elections. This is...
  • The Filter: Sept. 22, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories. (FYI: I'm on the road right now, so I'll be getting a slightly later start on posting than usual. Thanks for reading, Andrew)POLICIES SOUND THE SAME, BUT GOALS ARE DIFFERENT...
  • The Filter: Sept. 19, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.WHY IT'S GETTING MEANPeggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal: ...
  • Palin's Favorability Rating? Still Slipping...

    Going down? On Tuesday, I reported that Sarah Palin's favorability ratings, which peaked shortly after the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, were starting to slip. Between Sept....
  • Spain: Did McCain Know What He Was Talking About?

     ¡Ay, caramba! All of a sudden, John McCain has a problem with Spain. In an interview Monday with Radio Caracol WSUA 1260AM, a Spanish-language station from Miami, the Republican presidential nominee was asked whether he would "be willing to invite President Jose Luis Zapatero to the White House." This should have been an easy question for McCain to answer--because he's answered it before. Speaking to a reporter from the Spanish newspaper El Pais back in early April, McCain said, "this is the moment to leave behind discrepancies with Spain." (President Bush has yet to hold a formal bilateral meeting with the center-left Zapatero, who withdrew troops from Iraq shortly after taking office in 2004.) "I would like for [President Zapatero] to visit the United States," McCain added. "I am very interested not only in normalizing relations with Spain but in obtaining good and productive relations with the goal of addressing many issues and challenges that we have to confront togeth...
  • Why I'm Glad I'm Not Traveling with Joe Biden Today

    (AP Photo / Gerald Herbert)From the pool report by Perry Bacon, Jr., of the Washington Post on Joe Biden's visit this morning to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: [Biden] then approached the print pooler and said, “you look liked you played some, man.” As the print pooler was saying ‘no I didn’t,” the candidate moved closer, tapped his upper chest and said “you need to work on your pecs.” Stumper hereby nominates Joe Biden as America's first Frat Boy in Chief. What's next? Beer pong in the Lincoln Bedroom? Free Abercrombie and Fitch cargo shorts for visiting heads of state? A Chris Farley National Monument? We can only imagine what Biden would've said about Stumper's feeble T. Rex arms...
  • The Filter: Sept. 18, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.CAMPAIGN TRAIL REPORTERS SIDELINED...
  • The Obama-Biden Mind Meld?

    [youtube:VRZVKE0cnK8] As regular Stumper readers probably know by now, I'm totally addicted to "Bidenisms." By that I don't mean the stupid stuff that seems to slip from the Delaware senator's mouth as at semiregular intervals--like when he said that Barack Obama was "clean and articulate" last February. I'm talking about a different (and more frequent) verbal tic: the need to preface everything he says with a word or phrase meant to emphasize his own honesty. To date, I've collected about a dozen of these "I'm Being Candid" catchphrases. They include "literally" (often repeated several times in a row); "this is factual"; "I'm not making this up"; "I mean this sincerely"; "I'm serious"; "I'm not joking"; "this is not hyperbole"; "this is the God's honest truth" and "I mean it." The only thing that matters more to Biden than speaking his mind, it seems, is letting you know that he's speaking his mind....
  • McCain and Palin Pull Back the Curtain... A Little

    It was a moment of earth-shattering import--a brief, blinding instant when everything we ever thought we knew about the nature of the universe was suddenly thrown out the proverbial window. This morning as Alaska Governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin ducked into Karl's Restaurant and Deli in Cleveland, Ohio to greet a group of patrons, the press pool that's followed her every move for the past three weeks requested a reaction to the AIG bailout. And Palin--gasp!--actually responded. “Disappointed that taxpayers are called upon to bailout another one,”...