Jonathan Chait

Obama's New Message Takes Shape
August 22, 2011

A week ago, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration was divided over its strategy between advisers who wanted to emphasize accomplishments and those who wanted to emphasize pragmatic accomplishments and those who wanted to confront Congressional Republicans: Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact.

Eric Cantor's Chutzpah
August 22, 2011

Eric Cantor's op-ed laying out the Republican agenda is filled with the kind of distortions you'd expect, but this passage deserves special commendation. After decrying a National Labor Relations Board Ruling, he continues: Such behavior, coupled with the president’s insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation’s credit downgrade. So Cantor is arguing that S&P downgraded U.S. debt because of President Obama's future plans to increase the top tax rate.

The GOP Isn't Bluffing On Taxes
August 22, 2011

Steve Benen thinks Republicans want to extend the payroll tax cut, but plan to hold it hostage to tax cuts for the rich: If I had to guess, I’d say Republicans probably support an extension of the payroll tax cut, but just aren’t willing to say so. Why not? Because then they lose leverage — GOP officials know the White House wants this, and if they simply agree to pass the measure, they won’t get anything extra out of the deal. Hostage strategies have become an instinctual norm for Republicans. I really don't think that's right.

The Cult Of The Presidency In Action
August 22, 2011

Gene Healy has written about what he calls "The Cult of the Presidency," and I've written about his concept as well. It is a pervasive mentality that views the president as a kind of national father, responsible for everything that goes well or ill.

&c
August 19, 2011

-- How gross is the water from the air conditioner? -- If you need another WSJ editorial critique, here you go. -- The case for interracial athlete comparisons. -- What should a jobs agenda look like? -- Stimulus fact and fiction from ProPublica. -- “This paper examines the effects of deficits spending and work-creation on the Nazi recovery. Although deficits were substantial and full employment was reached within four years, archival data on public deficits suggest that their fiscal impulse was too small to account for the speed of recovery” 

Rick Perry's Desire To Tax The Poor
August 19, 2011

Laura Bassett makes a great point here: During his presidential campaign announcement speech last week, Texas Gov.

In Which I Try To Restrain My Nasty Impulses, With Limited Success
August 19, 2011

I have a bit of a weakness for insulting people's intelligence. I recognize this and try to restrain myself. When I read Stephen Moore's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, I thought that I would give restraint a try. There's simply no way to honestly analyze this piece without commenting on the author's intelligence. I suppose, to be charitable, I should refine that to mean Moore's analytic intelligence; there are many kinds of intelligence, and perhaps Moore is gifted with great social intelligence, or artistic intelligence.

The Meta-Commission Will Save Us
August 19, 2011

Okay, so the bipartisan commission led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson failed to come up with a mutually acceptable deficit reduction plan. This lead to the creation of the Gang of Six to give it another try, which also failed, because House Republicans won't accept any increase in revenue. This led to a deal to create yet another bipartisan commission -- the supercommission! -- which must cut the deficit or else trigger automatic cuts. But the supercommission is expected to deadlock as well for the same reason. It's pretty obvious what the situation calls for, isn't it?

A New Name At TNR
August 19, 2011

I've been admiring Alec MacGillis's work at the Washington Post for years. Now he's joining us, which is a huge coup for TNR and a treat for our readers. Alec is both an excellent reporter and a deeply incisive analyst. Look for his campaign coverage beginning this fall.

The Perry Panic And the Draft Ryan Movement
August 19, 2011

The first week of the Rick Perry presidential campaign has put the Republican establishment in a full panic. Perry has defined himself as a full right-wing stereotype, an over-the-top George W. Bush impersonator. Much of the tension between Perry and party elites in Washington has been portrayed as the continuation of a longstanding grudge between him and the Bush circle.

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