It might be politically convenient for Democrats if Florida Governor Charlie Crist, a possible John McCain running mate, were an environmentalist's nightmare. As of yesterday, alas, he appears not to be. Crist just announced the completion of a deal under which Florida would buy the U.S. Sugar Corporation--including its property in the Everglades swamp--at a cost of $1.75 billion. Why is that important? And what, if anything, does it say about Crist?
While I was hunting down video links for my item about vice presidential candidates and their great moments in campaign debates, I stumbled across the clip below, which is from the 1992 campaign. It doesn't feature the veep candidates, though. It showcases Bill Clinton going up against George H.W. Bush in what would become an iconic moment of that campaign. For those who don't remember, this was second of the three presidential debates that year. It was a town hall-style event, with audience members asking questions.
The prospect of making Hillary Clinton the vice presidential nominee remains politically problematic for several reasons, not least among them the distractions her husband might create both during and after the campaign. But "problematic" isn't the same as "unthinkable." And longtime Democratic operative Bob Beckel has a new article over at RealClearPolitics making some several arguments for why, on pure political grounds, Barack Obama should give her serious consideration.
Below, my colleague Jonathan Chait makes the case that John McCain just had a pretty good week. I agree--and would expand on one point in particular. Last week, when Barack Obama announced he was opting out of the public financing system for campaigns, a lot of pundits predicted it wouldn't have much resonance. After all, when was the last time voters thought about campaign finance reform when they were in the voting booth? But the significance of the decision was in what it said about Obama's character--or, at least, what people think it says about Obama's character.
Good columnists do more than offer short-term political and policy advice. Every now and then, they look at a political problem and ask whether, maybe, we should be thinking about it in a completely different way. Today Paul Krugman does that in his New York Times column. As he notes, just about everybody, whether Republican or Democrat, agrees with the proposition that we should increase homeownership. But is it a given that homeownership is really good for everybody?
Bloggers who write about politics, myself included, spend a lot of time criticizing the media's coverage of policy debates. And nothing draws our ire like coverage that reduces everything to an on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand equivalence, even when one side is clearly being more candid than the other. But if we're going to complain about bad coverage, I think we have an obligation to praise good coverage. And we have such an occasion today. Actually, it was Wednesday, in the form of a David Leonhardt column for the New York Times.
Finally, via the Onion, an argument against universal health care that's hard to dispute: Study Finds Most Children Not In Favor Of Children’s Healthcare (h/t Sam Boyd at TAPPED) --Jonathan Cohn
I didn't catch Michelle Obama's turn as guest-host on ABC's "The View" yesterday, but I gather from the reviews she was a big hit. She deftly answered questions about her husband's policy positions, like most-favored breakfast food. (Bacon.) She revealed her own feelings on other raging debates, like whether to wear pantyhose. (A polite but firm no: "I'm 5'11'' so I'm tall, nothing fits...Put 'em on, rip 'em..it's inconvenient.") And, most important, she met and exceeded expectations from the fashion pundits.
I heartily recommend this post from Megan Carpentier at Glamocracy, the news blog of Glamour magazine. In it, Carpentier makes the crucial--but frequently missed--distinction between raising taxes generally and raising taxes on you specifically. She notes, for example, that as a young woman living on a modest income, she'd benefit a lot from Barack Obama's tax plan but only a little from John McCain's. Her basis for this is a recent report by the highly respected Tax Policy Center. It's worth checking out if you haven't read it yet.
I'm here at a packed Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, where Governor Jennifer Granholm just introduced her two special guests: Al Gore and Barack Obama. I've attended more than my share of live sports events before. The roar was as deafening as any I've ever heard. One interesting note: When Granholm spoke about Senator Hillary Clinton, whom she'd supported during the primaries, the crowd gave a lusty boo and kept it up for about two minutes, completely drowning out Granholm's plea for unity.