Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

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?

Hard Truths And Half Truths On Health Care
January 21, 2008

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards haven't had much trouble convincing experts that their health care plans will reach more people -- and come closer to truly universal coverage -- than Barack Obama's. That's because Clinton and Edwards would require everybody to obtain health insurance and Obama wouldn't. (If you've been sleeping under a rock and haven't heard this debate, read here and here.) But Clinton and Edwards haven't had such an easy time convincing voters about this, because – quite frankly – it's not that easy a proposition to defend.

Is This Debate Too Ugly?
January 21, 2008

Eve, Yes, it did get ugly. But my standards are low. We weren't talking about idiotic process stuff. It was about how they voted on specific measures, their respective approaches to change, and so on. I can live with that. Right now, John Edwards is talking about poverty. And that alone is reason to be thankful he's on the stage, even now.  From the day this campaign began, he's driven the policy agenda--not just by embracing ambitious policy initiatives but also by focussing everybody's attention on people who, frankly, don't get enough explicit attention in politics. --Jonathan Cohn

Sparks Flying In South Carolina
January 21, 2008

Folks, if you're not watching the South Carolina debate, you really should tune in. I can't take notes quickly enough to keep up, so here's a paraphrased run-down of what's just transpired on the second question... OBAMA: Hillary Clinton has been distorting my record -- including what I said about Ronald Reagan in an editorial board meeting, suggesting I praised Republican ideas. CLINTON:  I'm just going by what you've said.  You said the Republicans were the party of ideas and that you admired them for it.

Is Romney Really The Ideal Opponent?
January 21, 2008

It's conventional wisdom that Democrats would have an easier time defeating Mitt Romney than John McCain.  Among the reasons: Romney is a transparent panderer, doesn't excite evangelicals, can't claim more experience on national security, and is simply not that likeable a figure.  Most of the time, I think that's right.  But yesterday, as I watched Romney on "Fox News Sunday," I had one of these fleeting moments when I began to wonder whether Romney wasn't a better candidate than McCain.  It wasn't because he changed any of the above conditions.  It was because he could speak credibly on the

Is That Hillary Clinton Talking? Or Grover Norquist?
January 17, 2008

Barack Obama has taken a lot of grief for appropriating right-wing talking points.  And rightly so.  Consider health care.  When he has argued against "forcing" people to buy insurance, as Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have proposed to do, he undermined the case for an individual mandate -- something virtually every expert agrees is necessary to achieve truly universal coverage.  But look who's talking like a conservative now.

Motown Mitt
January 15, 2008

Livonia, Michigan--John Hillman, 63, is a veteran car salesman for a Ford dealership here in suburban Detroit. And it's just not just any dealership. It's one that claims to have the most Ford sales of any in the nation. But lately business hasn't been so good. Hillman figures it's about half, maybe two-thirds of what it was at its peak, many years ago. And, he knows, those good times may not be returning anytime soon, now that the economy is widely believed to be slowing down.

Obama Pulls Up To The Kitchen Table
January 15, 2008

A lot of people were watching the first segment in tonight's Democratic debate to see how the candidates would talk about race.  But it was an early reference to another subject entirely that caught my attention.

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