In response to a post I wrote called "Barack Obama: philosophical pragmatist or left-wing ideologue?" Stanley Kurtz, whose terrific book Radical-in-Chief helped me address the question, argues that it's entirely possible to say "both." Jonah Goldberg adds that "it is not only entirely possible, it is quite common, even consistent" to be a Marxist and a pragmatist.
I milled around for about an hour this afternoon with the crowd at Jon Stewart's rally here in Washington. It was enormous. I can't really compare it to the size of the crowd at Glenn Beck's rally because the venue was different, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were comparable in terms of attendance.
The Washington Post ran an article today about Newt Gingrich called "Out of the Wilderness and into the Mix for 2012." The writer, Karen Tumulty, seems confident that Gingrich is interested in running for president, and I have no reason to doubt that he is. I also agree with Tumulty's suggestion that if Sarah Palin decides not to run, Gingrich's prospects for gaining the Republican nomination might be pretty good.
An outfit called Alaskans Standing Together has released a poll taken by an outfit called Hellenthal and Associates. It purports to show Lisa Murkowski leading Joe Miller by 43.5 to 29. Democrat Scott McAdams trails with 23 percent. As I said yesterday, I don't believe the Hays poll that had Murkowski 11 points up on Miller. Similarly, I don't believe the Hellenthal poll that has Murkowski up by more than 14. I do believe, based on what I've heard about internal polling, that Murkowski was probably ahead of Miller at the time these polls were taken.
In a profile of John Boehner, the Washington Post reports that the likely Speaker to-be is committed to allowing Democrats greater freedom to have their say on the House floor and to letting them bring their proposals to a vote. I hope so. I also hope that he will end the practice of dumping massive pieces of legislation in Representatives' laps and holding votes before they can read, analyze and digest the proposals. This practice takes the minority party -- and many members of the majority -- out of the process and, of course, tends to promote defective legislation.
Kloppenberg has written a forthcoming book called Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition, which purports to be an intellectual history of the Great Man. Kloppenberg considers Obama to be a true intellectual -- a kind of philosopher president, that rare breed found only a handful of times in American history. The only other examples, he says, are John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Woodrow Wilson.