Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

"yes We Can" Vs. "no We Can't"
May 06, 2008

Media analysis of Barack Obama's speech tonight will probably focus on what it means for the fight over the Democratic nomination. But maybe because the nomination no longer seems in doubt--like a lot of people, I think it's effectively over--I was more struck by what the speech said about Obama's prospects in the fall. And I think it boded pretty well for him. For the last few weeks, it's been all too easy to imagine how Obama might falter against John McCain in the general election.

Silliest Pro-obama Argument I've Heard
May 06, 2008

Barack Obama and his supporters frequently boast that he's won more delegates from the primaries and caucuses as well as more of the popular vote. You can argue (as I have) that one or the other measure is more meaningful, but both obviously have at least some significance. But I just heard Obama surrogate John Kerry repeating another argument I've heard from the campaign: That Obama has won more total contests than Hillary Clinton, 31 to her 15. I actually thought the figure was 27 to 18, but maybe there's some disagreement about the count. Whatever.

It's The Economy, Stupid. Seriously!
May 06, 2008

More exit polls via MSNBC: More than 60 percent of respondents in both Indiana and North Carolina cited the economy as their top concern. That's apparently higher than in any contest so far. The war finished a distant second. And more than half of respondents say they are personally experiencing hard economic times. (I didn't catch the exact wording of the question.) No predictions here on how that affects the final outcome.

A Simple Reminder Of What's At Stake
May 05, 2008

My friend Harold Pollack, who is a professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, spent some of his personal time organizing for Barack Obama over the weekend. He writes this short dispatch: I spent today canvassing in Schererville, Indiana, with my 11-year-old. We were trolling neighborhood garage sales talking with people as we went door to door.

Once Upon A Time, Clinton Thought Experts Mattered
May 04, 2008

I assume Hillary Clinton wouldn't be pounding the gax tax issue if she (and her advisers) didn't feel it helped them politically. And they may well be right. Even if voters realize that it won't make much difference, it reinforces the class polarization of the primary campaign.

Mccain: U.s. Health Care Is Just Dandy
April 30, 2008

John McCain's new health care advertisements states--not once but twice--that the problem with American health care isn't the quality. The problem, he says, its its high cost--and how that high cost frequently makes it inaccessible. You can see the ad here, via Marc Ambinder. He'll get no argument from me on the second part: Cost and access are indeed huge problems. If only he dealt with them adequately! (For more on this, see Ezra.) But quality is a huge problem, too.

The Folly of McCain-Care
April 29, 2008

A few months ago, when John McCain decided to address the public’s anxiety about unaffordable medical care, he gave the sort of speech we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from Republicans over the years.  Let’s encourage people to drop their employer insurance and shop for coverage on their own, he said, since that will create a vibrant market in which people can find better bargains.

How Not To Inform The Public, By The New York Times
April 27, 2008

Everybody knows that poilticians like to fudge budget numbers. Specifcially, they use optimistic projections and intellectual sleight of hands to make their initiatives look better. Whether it's tax cuts or new spending programs, they offer all kinds of benefits and yet, magically, manage not to cost that much money. Still, some politicians are more honest than others. A lot more. To take one easy example, Bill Clinton and his advisers may have over-estimated the savings the administration's ill-fated health care plan might have yielded.

Stern To Congress: Don't Chicken Out On Health Care.
April 24, 2008

Everybody who follows health care policy is talking about an article in the latest edition of The Hill: "Dems Hedge on Health Care." The article, written by Manu Raju, has on-the-record quotes from two Democratic Senators--Max Baucus and Jay Rockefeller--seriously lowering expectations for what Congress might be able to accomplish next year, no matter who is in the White House come January 2009.  For the last year, momentum for universal health care has been buildilng.

So The Race Goes On. Don't Have A Conniption.
April 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton's candidacy lives to see another day. And, I'm guessing, Barack Obama's supporters are depressed. They think Obama is all but certain to win the nomination anyway. The longer this campaign continues, they figure, the more damaged for the fall election he will be. I agree that Obama will probably be the nominee. But I'm less convinced this long race will damage his November prospects. Why the dash of optimism?

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