Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

The Last Word (hopefully) On Mandates
January 31, 2008

For those missed the first few minutes of the debate, an early question from Jeanne Cummings went to Barack Obama: Why, she wanted to know, was his plan superior to hers if estimates suggest that 15 million people would remain uninsured? Readers of this space have heard about this debate aplenty.  Most of those who care to form an opinion on it have; those who don't have moved on.  And that's just fine.  Personally, I'd be happy to say nothing more about it. But I've just received a press release from the Obama campaign suggesting that 15 million figure isn't reliable.  It cites articles notin

Medical History
January 30, 2008

Barack Obama's promise to move beyond partisan bickering has obviously given a lot of people hope. But, for those of us watching from the left, it's also been a source of concern. Oh, sure, it's nice when everybody in Washington gets along. But Obama's determination to embrace would-be adversaries sounds just a little naive, given the scorched-earth strategy Republicans and their lobbyist friends have waged against liberals in the last 15 years. Serious environmental regulation? Closing corporate tax loopholes? Major ethics reforms?

Why John Edwards Won
January 30, 2008

John Edwards ends his presidential candidacy today. This is not surprising news: He finished third in every single contest except for Iowa, where he narrowly beat Hillary Clinton. Going forward, he doesn't have the money or the organization to compete with either her or Barack Obama. And, most important, Democratic voters seem content with choosing between the two front-runners—as, in fact, they should. Both Clinton and Obama are capable of running formidable campaigns and, if elected, both could lead successfully. This is hardly a knock on Edwards's political talents.

Why Kennedy's Endorsement Matters
January 28, 2008

How will Ted Kennedy's endorsement affect the presidential race? The debate is already well underway. Skeptics note that endorsements don't have the same weight they did a few decades ago, when more voters took their cues from party leaders. Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean four years ago certainly didn't deliver the nomination. But Kennedy's progressive record on economic issues, not to mention his family name, might give him unusual clout with older, working-class white voters -- ones who, until now, have strongly preferred Hillary Clinton.

Was This Obama's Best Speech Yet? Maybe.
January 26, 2008

I'll leave the sophisticated electoral analysis to my more sophisticated colleagues, Noam and Mike.  But I have to say something about Obama's speech, which is the best I've seen him give in a while, if not the entire campaign. That's a high standard, I know, but I think it's true. Tonight's address was every bit as lyrical as the speech Obama gave in Iowa. And it touched on many of the same themes, about healing division and building a movement of voters seeking change. But those themes weren't as front-and-center as they were earlier in the month.

A Kennedy Endorses Obama
January 26, 2008

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, as in daughter of the former president, endorses Barack Obama in an op-ed that will run in tomorrow's New York Times -- and is available online here.. Headline says it all: "A President Like My Father." --Jonathan Cohn

Maybe Romney Should Stay In The Private Sector
January 24, 2008

A new Mitt Romney ad running in Florida offers yet more proof of how he's retooled his campaign around the economy -- and how it plays to his strengths as a candidate:   While the ad briefly mentions tax cuts and "conservative change," the primary focus is Romney's biography.  As he says, "I know how America works because I spent my life in the real economy.

Good Insurance Companies--an Oxymoron?
January 23, 2008

Continuing the discussion on health care -- and the lessons of 1994 -- Matthew Yglesias wonders why progressives keep talking about beating up on the insurance companies: In reality, the main measures by which people are proposing to achieve universality -- forcing people to purchase health insurance and providing government subsidies to help people buy insurance -- aren't contrary to the interests of insurance companies at all. ...

Some History--and Hope--on Health Care
January 23, 2008

If Americans decide to elect not just a Democratic president but also an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate this year, then universal health insurance will happen. But since the latter remains an unlikely possibility, at least for now, many very smart people assume that the short-term prospects for passing universal coverage are slim to none.

Obama To Liberals: Trust Me
January 21, 2008

I just watched the insta-reaction from CNN's focus group.  It seems the audience really liked Clinton's determination to push for universal health care (as do I).  By contrast, they were decidedly annoyed when Obama went after Clinton -- as they were when Obama defended his record. Personally, I didn't mind the sparring.  It's a debate, not a dinner party -- aren't they supposed to argue with one another?

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