Friday, September 12, 2003

Electronic Nation. The Nation joins the other political weeklies -- the New Republic and the Weekly Standard -- in making all of its content available online to subscribers.

Unlike its ideological competitors, the Nation does not appear to offer the option of downloading the entire issue as a PDF file. In other words, you can't take your laptop to the bathroom unless you've got WiFi. I also don't see an option to buy an online-only subscription, as you can with TNR and the Standard, but maybe I haven't looked closely enough.

The new cover story (subscribers only), by John Nichols, befits the Nation's political stance. At a moment when most pundits are asking if Howard Dean is too liberal to defeat George W. Bush, the Nation asks instead whether he's far enough to the left to warrant progressives' supporting him over Dennis Kucinich. Writes Nichols:

It is Kucinich who has fought the hard fights against the Bush Administration in Congress -- frequently going against the party leadership in exactly the manner Dean backers say Democrats should. As co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, Kucinich has led challenges to the Bush Administration not just on the war but on nuclear disarmament, military spending and the Patriot Act. Even now, while Dean supports keeping US troops in Iraq, Kucinich calls for bringing them home. While Dean says he represents Paul Wellstone's "democratic wing of the Democratic Party," there are few issues on which Kucinich cannot claim to be a truer heir to Wellstone's progressive populist mantle.

Well, okay. Of course, this doesn't answer the question, "So just how badly do you want to lose, anyway?"

Not that Nichols is any sort of advocate for Kucinich. His bottom line, sensibly, is that it is Dean who has energized the Democratic base, and though he might not represent the fulfillment of every left-wing dream, he is a man of progressive, populist instincts who continues to grow.

Whatever happened to Craig Unger? The former Boston magazine editor answers that question with a major piece in the new Vanity Fair on the unseemly favors that the Bush White House did for the bin Laden family (and other well-connected Saudis) to help get them out of the US in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

The article isn't online, but according to National Journal media columnist William Powers, Unger "breathes new life into an old story," and "dramatically raise[s] the temperature around this touchy issue, with enough suggestive material to make any reasonably curious soul want to know more."

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