New Republic, June 11
A cover piece suggests that as majority leader, Tom Daschle will likely have to watch as Democratic-sponsored Senate initiatives fall prey to the GOP-controlled House. The solution? Just that—pass popular bills and force the Republicans to kill them, then halt Bush’s legislative agenda in the Senate and “win with gridlock.”… The lead editorial applauds the Democrats’ obstructionist strategy. Faced with the Bush administration’s idea of bipartisanship—i.e., marching in lockstep with the president—“doing nothing is a worthy goal.”…“TRB”compares two congressional archetypes: Rep. Joe Moakley, D-Mass., who died this week, was the consummate party man; Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., was a “prodigal wayfarer” who bucked the GOP at every turn and then left the party altogether. The author thinks both are overrated. Congress really needs more pols like John McCain, “party men who [know] when to take the party with them and when reluctantly to leave it behind.”—B.C.
New York Times Magazine, June 3
The cover story assesses Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “the most powerful woman in America.” From abortion rights to Bush v. Gore, O’Connor has positioned herself as the court’s crucial swing vote. She rarely commits to broad rules or principles in her opinions, instead constructing a narrow schema that is impossible to apply to future cases. Thus, O’Connor can move easily between the conservative and liberal majorities (she only wrote one dissenting opinion last year) and has cultivated friends from both camps. If she has a firm principle, it’s her belief in judicial primacy: “[S]he views the court in general, and herself in particular, as the proper forum to decide every political and constitutional question in the land.” And that, suggests the author, may be the most unsavory thing about her.—B.C
Time and Newsweek, June 4
Time’s cover package dubs Sen. Jim Jeffords “a one-man earthquake” for the GOP. Now the balance of power is, according to the new Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, “probably more in keeping with what the American people intended.” The mag’s poll supports Daschle’s claim: 45 percent say we’re better off with a Democrat-majority Senate, compared with 36 percent who’ll miss GOP dominance. Newsweek puts the Jeffords party-switch on the cover as well.
A Time article explains that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide if groups like the Child Evangelism Fellowship can continue to meet in public schools. A typical after-school meeting might feature Jesus dolls, candy, or questions like, “Would anyone like to accept Jesus as his Saviour?” …Newsweek describes British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s leadership style as “half Alan Greenspan, half Oprah Winfrey” and ventures that his “sanctimonious, postpartisan approach … may be the key to his popularity.”—A.F.
U.S. News & World Report, June 4
The cover package predicts “zoomers” (retired baby boomers) will bring soccer-mom style to retirement, take tai chi classes in their 90s, and start second careers at 60. Some won’t have a choice about working in old age: A fourth of those 50 and older have a median income of $10,000. … An article claims that profiting online isn’t an oxymoron for some businesses—like Winesby.com and DietSmart—that use bricks-and-mortar frugality to grow their online profits. … The mag profiles speed dating. Thirty dollars buys an evening of musical-chairs-style seat-swapping for a few minutes across the table from several potential soul mates.—A.F.
The New Yorker, June 4 An article evaluates the state of cancer research. “Major breakthroughs” in the war against the disease pop up every few years. Unfortunately, few produce sufficient clinical results to justify the hype. A real breakthrough, doctors suggest, would be to wrest cancer research from government bureaucrats and put it in the hands of independent investigators. … A letter from London previews the British election. Without the threat of serious opposition, Prime Minister Tony Blair has run a banal campaign—one shaped by American political consultants who want the PM to say as little of interest as possible. Lost in all the boredom is Blair’s very real innovation: privatizing the bureaucracy to an extent not seen in Britain or, for that matter, America. (Read more on the election in this“International Papers.”—B.C.