Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

August 13, 2008

Earlier this summer, when the Obama campaign announced that Jason Furman was joining its staff as director of economic policy, the storyline seemed to write itself: Centrist adviser will pull Obama to the right. Furman had first made a name for himself as a wonky twentysomething wunderkind in the later years of the Clinton administration--a period when, to the consternation of many liberals, Clinton emphasized balanced budgets, free trade, and welfare reform.

Veep Veep: Evan Not Almighty
August 13, 2008

Barack Obama could surely do worse than to tap Evan Bayh as his running mate. He is an honorable and highly experienced public official, having served both as governor and U.S. senator from his home state of indiana. And, as my colleague Nate Silver has noted, his voting record suggests he's actually a bit more progressive than his centrist image suggests. But does that make Bayh the best choice for the job?

The New Obama Ad: Fun, Yes. Effective? Um...
August 11, 2008

Does this new new ad for Barack Obama, which his campaign calls "embrace," work?  The crisply produced spot certainly does a nice job of tying John McCain to Bush, with snapshot after snapshot of the two embracing. (Thus, the title.) It also exposes the hypocrisy inherent McCain's ads, which mock Obama for his celebrity. Whatever McCain's relationship with the press today, he has a long history as a media darling. And that history has played no small role in his career trajectory. On the other hand, I wonder whether showing McCain on Leno, Letterman, etc., is all that damaging.

Veep Veep: Hey, What About This Guy?
August 07, 2008

By all accounts, Barack Obama is quite far along in his deliberations over a running mate. If he hasn't already made his choice, it's down to a tiny handfull of people. The time for suggesting new names, in other words, has long since passed. But with Michigan and its pivotal role in the election on my mind, I can't help but throw out another possibility, one so seemingly ideal I'm surprised we haven't heard more about him already: Senator Carl Levin. What woud Levin bring to the ticket?

Legal Trouble For Kilpatrick, Political Trouble For Obama?
August 07, 2008

"Mayor Kilpatrick Ordered to Jail." The only thing surprising about that headline, which refers to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, is the timing. Kilpatrick is presently awaiting trial for perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office, and several other charges--all of them stemming from an alleged affair with his former chief-of-staff and an alleged effort to hide it. It's a tawdry tale that you can read about here and here.

Politics: Still A Man's Game
August 07, 2008

Because I don't have anything better to do with my day than waste my time on stupid Internet gimmicks, this morning I clicked over to "Mike on Ads" to see whether my web surfing reflects my gender. If you haven't heard or read about this little toy yet, it basically looks at your browser history to see what sites you've visited. Then, using data on which genders are more likely to use each site, it guesses whether you are male or female and assigns a probability to it. Ezra Klein and Jeff Goldberg both tested out at 97 percent male.

This Just In: Obama Is A Secret Agent From The U.n.!
August 05, 2008

In case the McCain campaign's theme, "Country First," was too subtle, the Republican National Committee just sent out a fundraising pitch called "Good for America--or Good for Obama?" Here are the highlights: It seems the Democrats’ would-be president of the United States of America really believes that the rest of the world’s problems, and approval, trump the interests of Americans when it comes to how we live our lives and where our money is spent.While stumping for the support of his party’s leftist base, Obama proclaimed, "we can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our hom

Bayh? Bah.
August 05, 2008

My colleague Josh Patashnik and quasi-colleague Nate Silver have done a public service by placing Senator Evan Bayh in a proper ideological context. Notwithstanding Bayh's image as a squishy moderate and occasional crusader against the left, his voting record turns out to be relatively progressive. And that goes a long way to making liberals like me feel more comfortable with the possibility of Bayh becoming Barack Obama's running mate. But ideology isn't the only reason some of us are wary of Bayh. Another is his history of accomplishment--or relative lack thereof.

July 30, 2008

If you are one of those people who believes the government, rather than for-profit corporations, should provide all Americans with health insurance, then you haven't had much trouble finding evidence to support your view. "Single-payer" systems, as these schemes are known, don't fritter money away on marketing, profits, and the constant efforts insurers make to enroll only healthy, cheap-to-insure customers. Single-payer systems also offer free choice of doctor and hospital, a privilege your typical managed-care enrollee covets.