Noam Scheiber
Senior Editor

Romney's Airplane Jitters
April 09, 2012

I've been offline most of the day on a cross-country flight (fittingly enough), so apologies if the point has already been made. But this detail from this weekend's Times profile of Romney's body-man, Garrett Jackson, struck me as not-at-all flattering to the presumed nominee. I'm frankly shocked that Jackson confirmed it:   Mr. Jackson, a University of Mississippi graduate and a licensed pilot, was applying to the Air Force’s officer training school when he took the job with Mr. Romney. Mr. Jackson once acted as co-pilot for a flight Mr.

Why Romney Is Too Moderate to Beat Obama
April 05, 2012

For the last three months, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been repeating the same argument against Mitt Romney: He’s a moderate, and a moderate Republican can’t win the White House. Naturally, given Gingrich’s stature as a historian, the critique dredges up memories of campaigns past. “We tried a moderate in 1996, and he couldn’t debate Bill Clinton effectively,” Gingrich said in January. “We tried a moderate in 2008. He couldn’t debate Barack Obama effectively and lost.” Santorum, too, has invoked the gruesome specters of Bob Dole and John McCain.

A Real Sign of Progress for Romney?
April 04, 2012

You may recall that I suggested Rick Santorum had a shot of exceeding expectations in Wisconsin by doing well in the Milwaukee suburbs, which looked on paper like they were solid Romney country but had a reputation for being more conservative than other Midwestern suburbs.  Well, as it happens, Romney beat Santorum by more than 2:1 in Waukesha County, one of the most closely watched of these suburbs, which certainly surprised me. What explains the trouncing? Did the pundits who assumed Waukesha is a pretty conservative place just completely whiff?  Not necessarily.

Romney Cleaned Up; It's Still Gonna Cost Him
April 03, 2012

The good news for Mitt Romney is that he comes out of Tuesday night with a boatload of delegates and a symbolically important win in Wisconsin, where it was once tempting to imagine Rick Santorum pulling off an upset.

Santorum's One Hope for a Wisconsin Upset
April 03, 2012

By this point in the primary season, everyone has his or her preferred metric for predicting the outcome of a given contest. We’ve all noticed that Mitt Romney tends to perform well in states with small evangelical and rural populations, and in states with large numbers of college grads and affluent voters, while the opposite is generally true for Rick Santorum.  Since Wisconsin’s smallish evangelical population cuts the opposite way of its large-ish rural population, let’s keep things simple and take the final two demographic factors. According to the U.S.

George HW Bush's Romney Endorsement, Seriously
March 30, 2012

Don't get me wrong, I see the appeal of nailing down George HW Bush's endorsement. It signals to the GOP establishment and the media that the nomination is effectively over, probably helps Romney raise some money, and maybe gets a few more fence-sitting Republican elites on board. Still, I'm not entirely sure that outweighs the negatives in Romney's case. After all, Romney is doing fine in the GHW Bush wing of the Republican Party.

Outtakes from the Bush Romney Endorsement
March 30, 2012

There was something slightly poignant, slightly comical about George H.W. Bush's endorsement of Romney yesterday. This sequence in particular (via Mike Allen's replay of the pool report): As your pool was being ushered out, Romney pointed to a portrait, of the two presidents Bush staring off into a distance, that hung in the far corner of the office. ‘I love that picture over there of the two presidents,’ he said. ‘Father and son. That’s quite a, that’s quite a legacy.’ Bush pointed to the same wall, where a blue flag was encased in glass.

How Obama Could Have Avoided His Mandate Quagmire
March 29, 2012

Reid Cherlin, a former Obama White House spokesman whose portfolio included health care, had an interesting post up at yesterday about why the Affordable Care Act is so damn hard to sell. The gist: It would have been easy for Verrilli—or any of us—to explain single-payer health care. "Look," we could have said, "the government is paying for everyone to have coverage." End of story. But single-payer is not what our brilliant, world-leading political system gave us.

Jim Kim and the Problem of Excess Humility
March 28, 2012

After reading this Rolling Stone piece about Dartmouth (via Felix Salmon), I now see why the school's president, Jim Yong Kim, who Obama just tapped to head the World Bank, made such a good impression on Tim Geithner: They have very similar views on cultural humility--by which I mean how much you can impose your own values on a foreign culture.

Matt Bai's Excellent Piece...Shows 2011 Was Pointless
March 28, 2012

Matt Bai’s long-awaited, 10,000-word opus on the rise and fall of last summer’s deficit grand-bargain is finally out and very much worth a read. Bai adds a lot of new detail affirming what we thought we knew—which is that Obama was ready to do a deal and Boehner wasn’t—but which got much hazier in recent weeks amid Team Boehner’s furious spin.  Still, for my money, Bai puts too little emphasis on the much deeper problem looming over the whole exercise, which is that it didn’t actually matter whether Boehner was willing to strike a deal.