Why the Stimulus Was Smaller Than It Looked
April 30, 2012
The Washington Post had a nice piece out Monday on the way state spending cuts have crimped the economy these past few years, and on the difficulties Obama encountered trying to mitigate that problem. As the piece reports: Obama had tried to address the problem in the 2009 stimulus bill by including more than $150 billion in aid to state and local governments to fill budget gaps. But as his second year began, economic advisers told the president that state and local governments were still poised to lay off huge numbers of workers, posing one of the biggest threats to the burgeoning economic r
The Case for Queasiness on the Economy
April 27, 2012
There are two fair conclusions to draw from the recent run of middling economic data, culminating with Friday’s disappointing GDP number. First, contra Mitt Romney, this is not an administration with a failed economic record, at least not as we sit here today. In almost every way—job growth, housing, GDP—Obama has presided over a vast improvement in the economic situation he inherited.
Team Obama's Devious Bank Shot
April 23, 2012
So, according to the new CW, Team Obama is no longer portraying Mitt Romney as a convictionless panderer but as a Goldwater-esque extremist instead. As I noted in my own take on this question, that’s clearly the way to go here—Bill Clinton’s success with the strategy in 1996 speaks for itself. But I’d submit an added selling point that the coverage has so far ignored. The first-order benefit of the 1996 strategy is obvious: The right-wing views Romney has adopted will turn off women, independents, and Latinos, all of them key voting blocs.
Will Obama’s New Ruthlessness Backfire?
April 20, 2012
It’s a question I raise in today’s piece about the ways the 2012 vintage Obama campaign is a bit harder-edged than the 2008 version, but which I didn’t have the space to resolve. The concern, as I say, is that running a traditional war room operation could dent Obama’s reputation for being above conventional politics. Should Team Obama worry about that? I don’t think so.
From Hope to Hardball
April 20, 2012
Though it was obvious to almost no one at the time, Thursday, April 5, may have certified a momentous change in contemporary politics. It was that day when Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus was quoted saying that the Republican “war on women,” a favorite liberal talking point, was a creation of Democrats and the media—no more reality-based than a Republican “war on caterpillars.” It probably wasn’t the most outlandish comment a GOP operative uttered that hour.
Against the Rick Santorum Renaissance
April 10, 2012
The news accounts of Rick Santorum’s exit from the presidential race are rife with testimonials about how the former Pennsylvania senator departs the campaign a much larger figure than when he entered it. “It was an impressive performance and it leaves him with an elevated status and a prominent role as a leader for evangelicals and conservatives,” Ralph Reed told The New York Times. “No one can know what the future holds, but my guess is we haven’t heard the last from Rick Santorum.” Er, I’m not so sure.
Team Rove's Latest Trick?
April 10, 2012
Jon Chait read the following in yesterday's New York Times and concluded that Rove Inc. is worried: Mr. Law [the director of the super PAC Rove created] said, Crossroads research suggests that Mr. Obama’s campaign has started to gain traction among critical swing voters by arguing that Republicans, including Mr.
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.