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Oct. 21 2008 4:44 PM

Red Europe vs. Blue Europe

The Weekly Standard on the other continental divide.

Weekly Standard, Oct. 27
The New Republic, Nov. 5
Newsweek, Oct. 27
The New Yorker, Oct. 27
New York, Oct. 27

Weekly Standard, Oct. 27 An article casts Obama-loving, effete, money-concerned Western Europe as Blue America's soul mate and hardy, McCain-supporting Eastern Europe as Red America's trans-Atlantic twin. Germany wants to sustain the Russian peace and the flow of Russian energy while the former Eastern bloc distrusts its newly resurgent foe. The two Europes' divergent worldviews, the author says, explain their U.S. presidential preferences.... A dispatch from North Carolina chronicles Sen. Elizabeth Dole's shockingly, yes, "doleful" re-election prospects. Democratic nominee Kay Hagan has fashioned a dead-heat race in this once-reliably Republican state the same way Barack Obama has—by subtly raising questions about her opponent's age (Dole is one month older than John McCain) and not-so-subtly invoking the economy. In other words, these politics are not local. "I'm not really running against Kay," Dole says. "I'm running against Chuck [Schumer]." The New Republic, Nov. 5 A profile of "mustachioed, disheveled" Obama political guru David Axelrod is hardly the first. But its focus on Axelrod's method of getting black Democrats elected—emphasize biography, take pains to avoid seeming angry—offers fresh insight into his current client's success. Axelrod is a big believer in what he calls "third-party authenticators"—credible, independent figures whose vocal support gives whites license to vote for a black man. Colin Powell, who endorsed Obama a few days after this piece went to print, may be the strongest example yet, even though "authenticators" are usually white.... Speaking of third-party authenticators, literary editor Leon Wieseltier endorses Obama, saying the candidate is "smart ... decent ... [and] undangerous," if also inexperienced in foreign policy. McCain essentially forfeited Wieseltier's support with the tone of his campaign. "And when he picked Sarah Palin," Wieseltier adds, "he told the United States of America to go fuck itself." Newsweek, Oct. 27 Editor Jon Meacham's cover story, "America the Conservative," asserts, "We are at heart a right-leaning country skeptical of government once a crisis that requires government has passed." The current financial meltdown is just such a crisis, he writes. Some suggest that the American system of government—not the American people—encourages center-right policies. There is a "perennial reality" of conservative presidents enacting whatever policies they want, and liberal presidents having to move rightward.... A rebuttal takes a cyclical view of ideologies: First came the New Deal, then the Reagan Revolution, and now another liberal go-round.... A fascinating profile follows psychologist Steven Reisner as he agitates for the American Psychological Association to bar participation in the United States' "enhanced interrogations" of suspected terrorists, which many say amount to torture. The New Yorker, Oct. 27 An article paints Sarah Palin as one savvy hockey mom who hired a top PR firm to sell herself to the East Coast establishment. During two Juneau get-togethers, Palin won over Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, Dick Morris, and other top conservative thinkers with her poise, knowledge of missile defense, and pre-meal prayer. ("I told a girlfriend afterwards, 'That was some grace!' " says one attendee.) The piece also confirms that McCain wanted to pick Sen. Joe Lieberman but was "scared off" by fears of a backbench revolt. "They took it away from him," one adviser says.... A piece argues that rising income inequality is why most plumbers, unlike their colleague Joe, will not have their taxes raised by a President Obama (although neither will Joe). The author bemoans the right's slandering of progressive taxation, which even Adam Smith supported. "Smith's notion of reasonableness did not anticipate the Fox News Channel." New York, Oct. 27 A profile of top Hillary operative-cum-Fox News talking head Howard Wolfson explores D.C.'s "permanent political class," whose ideological enemies "are more alike than they are different." Wolfson, who now defends Obama from some of the very talking points he himself first constructed during the primary, has no qualms about working for Fox: "Look, I am not the guy playing the Harlem Globetrotters." (The article also mentions Wolfson's indie-rock blog, Gotham Acme.)... A superb piece reports on the simmering intra-Republican feud—sure to reach full boil should McCain lose—over the party's future. Palin, in particular, has been a wedge between conservative "fundamentalists" and those who think the party needs a new, "post-Reagan" vision. The article mentions several alternatives, including populist "Sam's Club" conservatism and the reinvigorated British Tories' emphasis on "civil society."

Marc Tracy is a writer living in New York.