Jason Zengerle
Senior Editor

Is Obama Over?
August 23, 2009

I really hope Obama brought some books with him to Martha's Vineyard, because reading the newspaper is going to ruin his vacation. Over at Politico, M

Frances Townsend, Mind Reader
August 21, 2009

Frances Townsend, the former Homeland Security Adivser to the Bush administration, took to the airwaves this morning to dispute Tom Ridge's claim that some administration officials wanted to raise the terrorism threat level before the 2004 election for political reasons. Townsend: Not only do I not think that it – that politics played any part in it at all – it was never discussed.

Does the News Want To Be Free?
August 20, 2009

I don't agree with Paul Farhi's proposal that newspapers essentially shutter their websites and go print-only, but I don't think Ezra Klein makes the right critique of it when he writes: Farhi is saying that the media should make a decision to inform fewer people. To do its job -- if you understand its job as providing news rather making profits -- worse. But newspapers always, at some level, made the decision to inform fewer people--simply owing to the fact that, in order to read a newspaper, people had to plunk down some money for the privilege. Call it the original paywall.

Unintended Consequences
August 20, 2009

An interesting bit of legislative history in today's big Boston Globe scoop about Ted Kennedy's ongoing efforts to make sure that his seat doesn't remain vacant for any period of time should he be unable to complete his term: Massachusetts governors used to have the power to fill Senate vacancies, as happens in many other states, until the Legislature made the change five years ago. Democratic lawmakers, then as now in the majority, did not want to give Governor Mitt Romney the chance to fill Kerry’s seat with a Republican if Kerry won the presidency. I think there's a good lesson here abou

How Did Obama Get Caught Flat-footed?
August 19, 2009

A lot of the handwringing over Obama's bungling of health care reminds me of all the handwringing a year ago this time over his bungling of the campaign. In other words, I think it's overwrought if not completely wrong.

The Game
August 19, 2009

From the NY Observer Jason Horowitz's profile of a trio of New York Democratic consultants, one of whom is Josh Isay: Mr. Isay, a former chief of staff to Mr. Schumer, runs Knickerbocker SKD, which he founded in 2002 and made a fortune from after scoring Mr. Bloomberg as a client. They also have counted among their clients Mr. Stringer; District Attorney Robert Morgenthau; a handful of City Council candidates; and unions, including the powerful 1199 SEIU. Mr. Isay did campaign mail for Barack Obama in New Hampshire and North Carolina during the general election.

Our Dumb Country
August 19, 2009

Via Ben Smith, Public Policy Polling has a new poll out about Americans' opinions about whether or not Obama was born in the U.S. and discovers that it's actually a very difficult to get an accurate measure, since, as the pollsters write, there are at least some people who correctly believe that Obama was born in Hawaii, but who don't consider Hawaii to be part of the United States. You read that right- 6% of poll respondents think that Hawaii is not part of the country and 4% are unsure. --Jason Zengerle

Finally, An Appropriate Use of Twitter!
August 19, 2009

Tweets from a 28-year-old guy who lives with his 73-year-old dad and "just write[s] down shit that he says." Brilliant! (H/t E.H.)

The Trouble With Bipartisanship (cont'd)
August 18, 2009

This time as defined by Jon Kyl, who told reporters today that the co-op plan (which Kent Conrad came up with as a compromise to the public plan) is also a non-starter for Republicans: "On the co-op... as Democrats have said, it doesn't matter what you call it, they want it to accomplish something that Republicans are opposed to," Kyl told reporters. "That is the step towards government-run health care in the country. The president himself said you can imagine a cooperative meeting that definition of a public option." "It is [a public plan] by another name. It is a Trojan horse.

The Trouble With Bipartisanship
August 18, 2009

At least as Chuck Grassley defines it. From MSNBC's "First Read": Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley admitt[ed] that he probably wouldn’t vote for any type of bill -- even if he got everything he wanted in it. “I am negotiating for Republicans, and if I can’t get something that gets more than four Republicans, I am not a very good representative of my party,” he told one of us on MSNBC yesterday morning.