COVER: "The Party's Over" (p. 22). Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas writes
that President Bush has left the GOP in a precarious state. But the party's
candidates can learn much from his failures. "It is too late to reinvent
the party's core beliefs," writes Thomas. "But the GOP candidates can
embark on a more humble mission: to show, in effect, some humility. By
examining Bush's hubris, his almost willful disregard for annoying
counterarguments, the Republican candidates can demonstrate a greater level
of critical open- mindedness and self-awareness -- they can show that they
are not deluded by wishful thinking and Manichaean narratives." With White
House Correspondent Holly Bailey, National Correspondent Suzanne Smalley,
Washington Correspondent Pat Wingert and Correspondent Sarah Elkins.
LIVING POLITICS: "Homeward Bound" (p. 27). Senior Political Correspondent Howard Fineman writes that the presidential candidates blew through Las Vegas "like conventioneers" in search of the big score in the Nevada caucuses. But as "one of America's fastest growing metro areas, Las Vegas is now also the leader in mortgage foreclosures. A city built on faith in luck suddenly feels a little scared, as the dream of cheap loans for homes vanishes for the hotel employees who comprise the aspiring middle class," he writes. Yet, the question remains "who has the right cards to deal with it?"
POLITICS: "How My Party Lost Its Way" (p. 28). "A dispirited Republican Party struggles to find its post-Bush path," Michael Gerson, the former senior adviser to President Bush and speechwriter, writes in a guest essay. "In early 2008, by nearly every measure, the Republican Party is in trouble. The party "became closely identified with President Bush -- and President Bush became closely identified with Iraqi violence and chaos. The slow response to rising sectarian conflict in 2005 and 2006 left an impression of stubbornness in a losing cause," he writes. "Now the frustrations of the last two or three years-the resentments of every group that has felt ignored, marginalized, helpless, slighted or unfairly blamed-are being taken out on the Republican presidential candidates. As each one of them steps forward from the crowd, he is greeted by ideological sniping."
BOOK EXCERPT: "Fishing for a Way to Change the World" (p. 30). Newsweek excerpts the forthcoming book by Slate editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg "The Bush Tragedy." The book explores all the factors that contributed to President George W. Bush's downfall, from his family to his circle of political advisers.
FACING FACTS: "A Dispute Over the Dream" (p. 35). Contributing Editor Ellis Cose writes that "the angry tone of the campaigns reflected not just the tightening of the race, but also something considerably more emotional: the feeling by many supporters of both candidates [Clinton and Obama] that this campaign is about making history and that the other candidate stands in the way." Cose, however, adds that few people he has spoken to thought race or gender would be the determining factor.
POLITICS: "Careful What You Wish For" (p. 36). Newsweek's political team reports that for the 2008 presidential candidates, getting elected may be the easy part. With a sluggish economy, an ailing health-care system, an immigration mess, the environment and foreign policy, the next president's got issues. With Miami Bureau Chief Arian Campo-Flores, Research/Reporter Sarah Kliff, Senior Editor Michael Hirsh, Senior Editor Daniel Gross, Correspondent Jennifer Barrett, Correspondent Jamie Reno and Senior Editor Jerry Adler.
"Daring to Touch the Third Rail" (p. 39). National Correspondent Allison Samuels reports that, Michelle Obama -- known as "The Closer" -- hasn't backed away from discussing race, thus becoming the point person in her husband's campaign to reach the African-American vote. Understandably nervous about the safety of her husband, "I tell people something bad could happen, and I think about that. How could you not?" she tells Newsweek. "But something great could happen as well."
THE MONEY CULTURE: "To the Rich, From America" (p. 17). Senior Editor and Columnist Daniel Gross writes in a letter to America's wealthy, that despite tax breaks, cuts on the levies on dividends and capital gains, signs indicate that they are not doing their part to help the economy by spending in the U.S. "Just when the economy has started to take on water-and we don't know if we've just sprung a leak or we've hit an iceberg-it seems like the wealthy are piling into the lifeboats. So consider this a plea not to abandon us ... after all we've done for you, it's the least you can do," he writes.
IRAQ: "The Great Moqtada Makeover" (p. 44). Baghdad Bureau Chief Babak Dehghanpisheh reports that U.S. commanders are engaged in talks with Shiite militants for the first time since 2003 about "splitting the seams" within Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army-the Shiite militia-and working with moderates in the group to isolate the radicals, similar to the strategy adopted to tame the Sunni insurgency. Although Sadrists deny any dialogue with Americans, U.S. commanders hope they can turn Sadr's Shiite supporters the same way they have former Sunni insurgents.
HEALTH: "Birth, the American Way" (p. 46). Assistant Editor Jennie Yabroff reports on a graphic new documentary, "The Business of Being Born," executive produced by Ricki Lake, that questions why one third of American women have Caesareans instead of vaginal births. Some doctors say the increased rate of Caesareans is partially attributable to maternal demand. While others say it is because it increases profitability for hospitals.
CULTURE: "Finding Meaning In Each Mouthful" (p. 48). Senior Editor Jerry Adler reports that each morsel we lift to our lips dribbles symbolism, or so say two new high-profile books that urge us to eat more plants, for glamour or for good-in search of deeper meaning.
MOVIES: "There Will Be Oscars" (p. 51). Senior Editor Devin Gordon and Movie Critic David Ansen moderated Newsweek's 11th annual Oscar Roundtable with George Clooney -- the class clown, Daniel Day-Lewis, Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Marion Cotillard, the French star of "La Vie en Rose," and "Juno" star Ellen Page.
ENTERTAINMENT: "A Real Cliffhanger"(p. 58). Los Angeles Correspondent Jennifer Ordonez reports that due to the ongoing writer's strike, soap-operas, already suffering from a lack of viewers, will run out of scripts soon, creating panic amongst fans and producers. But, an end to the strike won't solve the genre's problems. Competition from cable TV and the Internet, and fewer women staying home, also contribute to the gradual decline of its audiences.
TIP SHEET: "The 'How To' of Leading a Happy Life" (p. 60). Correspondent Jennifer Barrett offers tips to increase one's happiness.
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