Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Krugman V. Homeownership...go Krugman!
June 23, 2008

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?

See, This Is How You Should Write About Policy
June 20, 2008

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.

Universal Health Care? Yuck!
June 19, 2008

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

Michelle Obama Plays Nice; I Hope She Doesn't Mean It
June 19, 2008

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 ''s inconvenient.") And, most important, she met and exceeded expectations from the fashion pundits.

Taxes--or Taxes?
June 17, 2008

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.

Live From's The Gore-obama Show
June 16, 2008

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.

Webb Or Sebelius As Vp Sounds Exciting. Is That Good?
June 13, 2008

Political insiders and pundits continue to talk up Kathleen Sebelius and James Webb as ideal running mates for Barack Obama. And I understand why. Unlike most of the other names that get tossed around--Joe Biden, Ed Rendell, and, of course, Hillary Clinton--both Sebelius and Webb are fresh faces. Quite apart from their apparent abilities to win over more conservative voters, they would--by their mere presence on the ticket--underscore Obama's message of change. The slogan practically writes itself: New Leaders for a New Era, or something like that.

Jason Furman Is Not The Problem
June 12, 2008

I'm all in favor of unions and other voices of the left making themselves heard when it comes to the substantive priorities of the Obama campaign and someday (should things go well in November) the Obama administration. But making a fuss over the appointment of economist Jason Furman, because of his association with centrist Democratic economics, seems not the best excuse to do it.

Mark Halperin On How They'll Choose Their Veeps
June 09, 2008

Who told Mark Halperin it's Veep Week at TNR?! OK, so Halperin might have been writing about vice presidential selections anyway. Whatever. Today over at Time's The Page, he weighs in on the most underrated--and overrated--criteria for picking a candidate. Haplerin's underrated qualities tend to be those that reflect on ability to perform successfully both as a political surrogate (i.e., "someone who can go after the opposition with a stiletto and a smile") and a leader ("someone who is ready to be president from Day One").

That Trivial Matter Of Whether The War Was A Mistake
June 08, 2008

Bill Kristol thinks everybody is being too critical of John McCain's now-infamous speech Tuesday night. Maybe McCain didn't sound particularly inspiring, Kristol explains in his latest New York Times column, but McCain did have an important, positive message to deliver about his candidacy. While Obama is promising "change we can believe in," Kristol says, McCain is "a leader we can believe in." It's a message, needless to say, Kristol finds convincing: Let Obama be about belief.