Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Stop Your Whining: Health Care Edition (corrected)
August 28, 2008

John Goodman* runs the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think-tank based in Dallas, Texas. So when Dallas Morning News reporter Jason Roberson was reporitng his story on the latest figures on America's uninsured, he decided to dial up Goodman and get a quick reaction. Here's what Roberson reported: ...the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen.

The Lines Everybody Was Waiting To Hear
August 27, 2008

Bill Clinton, speaking moments ago: Everything I learned in my eight years as President and in the work I’ve done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job. (Emphasis his.) ... Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.  --Jonathan Cohn 

Hillary--yes She Can
August 27, 2008

Hillary Clinton is not a great orator. She speaks with mechanical precision, clear and direct and but usually bereft of emotion. She varies her volume, never her pace or her tone. She can deliver a exquisitely detailed disquisition on virtually any topic of import. But she can’t deliver a rousing pep talk or sermon, any more than she can just chat. But sometimes a great speech doesn’t require great speaking. All it requires are the right words, delivered by the right person in the right setting. And that's what the Democratic convention got from Clinton tonight.

Clinton Sends Her Message, Loud And Clear
August 26, 2008

We'll all have more to say about Clinton's speech in the next few hours, but one quick note. It's about the closing line, which I took down as "That is our mission Democrats. Let us elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden." That was not in the prepared text. And while I don't know whether she ad-libbed it, I wouldn't be surprised if she did. Whether or not the endorsement of Obama was heartfelt, it certainly seemed heartfelt. The marching orders to her supporters could not be more clear.

And Then, On Msnbc, The Unthinkable Happened
August 26, 2008

Something remarkable just happened on MSNBC. Chris Matthews spent at least two minutes, maybe three, musing over the substantive argument in a convention speech. It happened right after former Virginia Governor Mark Warner finished his keynote address. Matthews seized on Warner's line about the importance of asking Americans to make sacrifices--and Bush's failure to make that request after 9/11.

More People Have Health Insurance. Thank Uncle Sam.
August 26, 2008

The Census Bureau just released the latest figures on income, poverty, and health insurance enrollment. And my very hasty take--based on a quick reading of the data and highlights, plus e-mail exchanges with some experts--is that overall the news is, for a change, good: The percentage of people without coverage actually declined in the last year, according to the figures, from 15.8 percent of the population to 15.3 of the population.  But before anybody gets the idea that we no longer need health care reform, take a closer look at the numbers.

The Urgency Of Ted Kennedy's Message
August 26, 2008

All through the summer, members of Ted Kennedy’s committee staff in Washington have been feverishly preparing for an all-out effort to enact universal health care next year. They’ve been meeting with counterparts on other committees and bringing in the key stakeholders--unions, insurers, employers, doctors--to get a sense where everybody stands. They’ve also been looking closely at how Massachusetts lawmakers passed health care reform for their state, on the theory that a similar strategy might work in the U.S. Congress. And, of course, they’ve been keeping their boss in the loop.

Playing Nice Is Ok--for Tonight
August 26, 2008

MSNBC's panel seems convinced, as I guess some of my colleagues are, that tonight was a missed opportunity: Democrats could have attacked McCain and didn't. I understand that reaction. I've been agitating for the Obama campaign to get tougher, too. But tonight's strategy seems sensible enough. The campaign had to introduce America to Michelle Obama and make swing voters--that is, older working- and middle-class white voters--were comfortable with her and the Obamas generally.

Looking Up At Michelle Obama. Literally.
August 25, 2008

Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, is on stage to introduce her. Seeing him reminds me of his background in basketball--as a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year and, later, a successful collegiate coach. As you might expect, he is a tall man--which, of course, reminds me that Michelle is tall, too. All of which prompts the following, deeply analytical question: I know height is good in a presidential candidate, but is it good in a potential First Lady? Feel free to ponder that fluff while I write something meaningful on Ted Kennedy and health care. P.S.

The Strange Silence On Biden's Signature Accomplishment
August 25, 2008

  If you’ve been reading the liberal blogosphere over the last two days, you’ve probably detected some ambivalence about Barack Obama’s decision to make Joe Biden his running mate. Although everybody realizes that Biden is a loyal, decent Democrat who brings energy and experience to the ticket, there’s also a palpable sense of disappointment. Biden supported the Iraq War and, more recently, the anti-consumer bankruptcy bill. He’s been in Washington forever. And so on.