Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

So Maybe That Long Primary Race Wasn't So Bad
June 30, 2008

As the primaries dragged on--and on and on and on--many pundits worried that it was damaging Barack Obama's chances to win the presidency. (And, just to be clear, by the last few primaries I was agreeing with them.) As the theory went, Hillary Clinton was giving the Republicans arguments they would use against Obama in the general election. In addition, it was widely said, she was forcing him to fight what was, in effect, a two-front war, fending off attacks from Clinton and John McCain simultaneously.

Call It The Xx Markup
June 26, 2008

As if it weren't bad enough that women still end up getting stuck with more of the housework, now it turns out they're also getting stuck with higher health insurance bills. That's the news out of California, where the state's Blue Shield insurance plan recently announced new rates for people purchasing coverage individually, rather than through an employer or other large group. Blue Shield unveiled the new rates in a recent letter that contained a chart. And if you examined the chart closely--as David Lazarus did for his Sunday Los Angeles Times column--a gender differential comes into view.

Republican Makes Good On The Environment. No, Really.
June 25, 2008

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?

Flashback: When Bill Clinton Was A Populist
June 25, 2008

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.

Clinton As Veep--maybe Not So Ridiculous?
June 25, 2008

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.

Mccain's Good Week, Continued
June 23, 2008

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.

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.