Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Msnbc Calls It For Clinton
January 08, 2008

That sound you hear is the sound of conventional wisdom slamming into the wall. --Jonathan Cohn 

Early Call Is...
January 08, 2008

MSNBC: Dems too close to call, McCain ahead but GOP too early to call. Going to be an interesting night. Olbermann and Matthews already debating expectations.   We're into serious meta- territory, and the polls have been closed for all of three minutes. --Jonathan Cohn 

Is It The Economy, Stupid?
January 08, 2008

Over at MSNBC, Norah O'Donnell just reviewed the early exit polls.  No, she didn't tell us who was in front.  She did, however, tell what issues Democratic voters found most important.  As with Iowa, it was the economy, health care, and the Iraq war -- although this time the economy was first by a healthy margin.  (Last week, the economy and war were tied for first.) I, for one, am glad.  We all know Barack Obama can run an inspiring campaign and build a movement.  And, lord knows, that's important.  As I've said, movements are the ultimate source of political power.  (That's even more true in

Could Clinton's Problem Be...clinton?
January 06, 2008

Over at the Huffington Post, our friend Tom Edsall has a terrific article, laying out in detail the Clinton campaign's strategy for what he calls "trench warfare" -- a drawn-out fight focussing on later primaries and caucuses, when the bulk of the party's nominating delegates will be at stake. The hope, apparently, is to capitalize on Clinton's lingering support among the Democratic base, given the fact that many (though by no means all) of the upcoming contests exclude the sorts of independent voters so pivotal to Obama's rise.

Debate Blogging, Cont'd: Shortchanging The Change Debate
January 05, 2008

Bill Richardson just chastised his colleagues for "bickering" about their different visions of change.  Shame on him.  This is not bickering.  It's the one of the most important -- if not the most important -- differences among the leading candidates and is critically important to those of us who want to enact progressive policies.  Obama's vision focuses more on creating consensus and reaching out to win over critics; Edwards' vision focuses more on simply overwhelming the opposition through raw political strength.  (Clinton's version -- I thnk it's safe to say -- is closer to Edwards', alth

Debate Blogging, Cont'd: Two Views On Clinton's Moment
January 05, 2008

I was about to write an item suggesting that Hillary Clinton's angry response to John Edwards was going to become "the moment" of this debate, because the media -- which, regrettably, always focuses on theatrics more than substance -- would deem it evidence that she had lost control of her temper.  Sure enough, Ana Marie Cox at Swampland made that very point.  Then I heard from two people who thought she looked terrific and that it was Edwards who looked awful -- which, I now see, is what my friend Ezra Klein thinks, too. I have no idea who's right.  (I still kinda think I am.)  But it reminds

Gop Attacks On Obama -- Sneak Preview!
January 05, 2008

Towards the end of the Republican debate tonight, we got a nice preview of how the Republicans will go after Barack Obama if he's the nominee.  Mitt Romney attacked Obama as a hopeless liberal, because -- among other things -- he would spend billions of dollars on a new health care program.  (For why that's a good idea, see my item below.)  The rest -- save one -- went after Obama as dangerously inexperienced, particularly on issues of foreign policy.  I thought it interesting that when Giuliani made his version of the argument, he read off a list of candidates who did have the requisite expe

In Which I Feel Sorry For Romney (sort Of)
January 05, 2008

One irony of this campaign is the fact that Mitt Romney's critics have generally said more nice things about his Massachusetts health care plan than he has.  When I saw Romney on the campaign trail, early in the campaign, he'd mention it among his accomplishments but seemed determined to avoid any discussion of the details -- most likely, because it wouldn't play so well with the Republican base.  But the health care discussion in tonight's debate forced Romney to talk about details -- and, to his credit, he finally did, explaining why it was important to have an "individual mandate" requirin

Romney Goes Negative ... But On Whom?
January 04, 2008

Just in from the Mitt Romney campaign, here's the transcript of a new radio ad they are airing in New Hampshire: ANNOUNCER:  "Remember?  Last time John McCain attacked President Bush's integrity." JOHN MCCAIN:  "His ad twists the truth like Clinton.  We're all pretty tired of that." ANNOUNCER:  "Comparing Bush to Clinton?  He was wrong then, and he’s wrong about Mitt Romney now. "The truth?  'McCain is not as conservative as Romney.' "'He voted against the Bush tax cuts.' "On immigration, McCain supported this year's amnesty bill. "Higher taxes, amnesty for illegals. "That's straight talk for

Why This Is No Ordinary Win
January 04, 2008

I'll leave the strategic implications of tonight's outcome to the professional speculators on television. But, as a supporter of progressive causes, I'm struck by how different this feels from the 2004 Iowa race -- when the late implosion of the front-runner (Howard Dean) handed the contest to a candidate (John Kerry) whom almost everybody understood to be a severely limited politician and about whom almost nobody was actually enthusiastic. You can't say that about what just transpired.