Corn has broken stories on presidents, politicians, and other Washington players. He's written for numerous publications and is a talk show regular. His best-selling books include Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War.
John McCain, in defeat, isn't retreating.
On Monday, he sent out a fundraising appeal, noting that he is running for reelection to the US Senate in 2010, when he will be 74 years old.
The short fundraiser, which was signed by McCain, was notable in one regard: he blasts congressional Democrats and says nothing negative about President Barack Obama:
A decade ago, Nevada's congressional delegation won a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to fund drinking-water improvements in rural areas of the state. The aim was to ensure the water supply in these locales was free of dangerous levels of various chemicals, including the rocket-fuel additive perchlorate, a potential health hazard. The amount of money was modest—$12.5 million—but that didn't stop the state's federal legislators from crowing about their accomplishment. Richard Bryan, one of Nevada's two Democratic senators at the time, proudly declared that Nevadans had a right "to safe, clean drinking water."
Ten years later, Bryan was a lobbyist for manufacturers of perchlorate.
When the chief political correspondent of Ha'aretz says that the Israeli elections have produced a "big mess," you know there's trouble. And that's how Akiva Eldar put it during an interview conducted shortly after exit polls indicated that Tzipi Livni and her centrist Kadima party won 28 Knesset seats to the 26 won by Likud, led by hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu. (Likud ended up winning 27 seats.) You can hear the interview here.
Eldar said he was "confused" by the results, which place tipping-point power in the hands of ultra-hardliner Avigdor Lieberman's radical right/rabid nationalist party, Yisrael Belteinu, which won 15 seats. (Labor finished fourth with 13 seats.) But Eldar did note that these results had a slightly positive element, given that Netanyahu and Likud had been predicted to place first: "The good news is that Tzipi Livni [who supports negotiating toward a two-state solution]...ended up with a couple of more Knesset seats than Netanyahu. That's a big surprise." But it seems unlikely she will be able to form a government. One possible--probable?--outcome is a government dominated by Netanyahu, who will owe plenty to Lieberman and his fanatics. "The next government," Eldar noted, "will have to include the...radical right party [and] that will paralyze it." Translation: there will be no peace process.
But Eldar saw another small--make that, very small--bit of good news in that.
On Monday night, at his first presidential press conference, Barack Obama repeatedly referred to his trip earlier in the day to Elkhart, Indiana, the RV-making capital of the country, where unemployment has more than tripled from 4.7 percent to 15.3 percent in the past year. It was as if--after weeks of being bogged down in Washington sausage-making--he was saying, "Hey, there is a real world out there." By leaving town, if only for a few hours, he had attempted to position himself as the voice of the hurting common American. The point: to highlight the problem in poignant details so that the solution he is pushing--the stimulus bill--receives a little more political lift. The bill had received a boost shortly before he appeared before the White House press corps, when the Senate voted to clear the way for its version to be approved on Tuesday. But the House and the Senate versions still have to be reconciled and the final version approved by both chambers. Which means that Obama still needs to exert political muscle.
At the press conference, Obama stuck to his message with discipline and eloquence. He contended over and over that the stimulus bill, while not perfect, needed to pass immediately. Otherwise, a worsening situation could worsen more quickly. Doing nothing, he noted, would "create a negative spiral." Think of Japan in the 1990s, he added. His basic argument was, don't get lost in the weeds of the stimulus bill, when there's a fire in the forest. It's an argument he presents with confidence and justification. He has a knack for conveying the gravity of the situation without appearing gloomy. At one point, he declared, "The party now is over." Has any president ever said those words?