Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

When Nerdy Journalists Think They Are Indiana Jones
February 25, 2009

In 1925, the legendary explorer Percy Fawcett set off into the Amazon jungle, on a quest to find the mythical city of El Dorado. He never returned. In the years that followed, dozens followed in his footsteps to figure out what happened--and to see whether the Amazon's hidden civilization really existed, as Fawcett believed. Many of these explorers died, or simply disappeared as Fawcett had. None ever solved the mystery. Today, few people would seem less likely to attempt such a journey than David Grann, my former TNR colleague who now writes for the New Yorker.

"i Think It's Insane."
February 25, 2009

That's David Brooks describing the Republican rebuttal by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, which my colleague Greg Veis discusses in more detail in the item below. As Greg notes, the rebuttal speech is notoriously difficult to give. Jindal is, by all accounts, an exceptionally bright young politician; he'll have better days, I'm sure. The problem here is the philosophy Jindal espouses, which very much remains dominant in the Republican Party. But don't take my word for it. Just listen to Brooks: --Jonathan Cohn

Hope Is Good; Action Is Better
February 24, 2009

There's been a lot of chatter lately about hope and President Obama's alleged failure to provide it. Tonight's speech included at least a few lines designed, perhaps, to answer that criticism.

When Free Enterprise Needs Government
February 24, 2009

Here's your synopsis of the Obama domestic agenda: I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves; that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity. For history tells a different story.  History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas.  In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another that spurred commerce and industry.  From the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution came a system of public high schools that prepar

Game On
February 24, 2009

Obama on health care, moments ago: ...there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to achieve reform, and that is why I'm bringing together businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans to begin work on this issue next week. I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough.

Health Care Reform: Game On
February 24, 2009

Obama on health care, moments ago: ...there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to achieve reform, and that is why I'm bringing together businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans to begin work on this issue next week. I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough.

Selling The Bank Bailout
February 24, 2009

Obama on the bank bailout: I want to speak plainly and candidly about this issue tonight, because every American should know that it directly affects you and your family’s well-being. ... The concern is that if we do not re-start lending in this country, our recovery will be choked off before it even begins. ... while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.

The Mandate Debate, Revisited.
February 24, 2009

"It will cover everybody. And I don't see how you cover everybody without an individual mandate." That's a senior administration official talking about Obama's vision for health care reform, as quoted by Ezra Klein over at his blog. And it's an important statement to get into print.

Last Word (today) On Fiscal Responsibility
February 23, 2009

Just now at the fiscal responsibility summit, budget director Peter Orszag reiterated President Obama's commitment to reforming health care this year. America faces as an entitlements problem, but, Orszag reminded everybody, "Health care reform is entitlement reform." This was after an introduction by Bob Greenstein, longtime director of the Center for Budget and Policy and Priorities, who made the same essential point. And, yes, Senator John McCain was among the many conservatives in attendance.

One More Time: The Budget Crisis Is A Health Care Crisis
February 23, 2009

Still worried today's fiscal responsibility summit means there's a secret plan to cut Social Security? Then pay attention to Peter Orszag, Obama's budget director and bona fide fiscal conservative, who said this on CNN this morning: "Health care is clearly the key to our fiscal future, so we need to get health care costs under control and we want to do that this year." It's all about health care. And this administration knows it.  Update: Paul Krugman has a wonderfully simple explanation of why this is the case.  --Jonathan Cohn 

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