Noam Scheiber

Senior Editor

On Monday I wrote a piece saying we’re headed for a government shutdown when this year’s funding runs out on September 30. The piece hinged on three assumptions. The first was that, unlike previous confrontations with Republicans over government funding, the White House and Democrats have little interest in avoiding a shutdown because polls overwhelmingly show Republicans would take the blame, and because the economy is strong enough to withstand it.


There were plenty of reasons to oppose Larry Summers’s nomination to the Fed, which had seemed inevitable for much of the past few months, before Summers abruptly withdrew from consideration on Sunday. There’s Summers’s famously polarizing intellectual style, which made him a lousy fit for the consensus-driven (and hyper-transparent) Fed.


This Time There Really Will Be a Government Shutdown

And that's not all bad

Suffice it to say, it’s hard to do a deal when the only thing the other guy wants is the one thing you can’t give him. This null set scenario is, unfortunately, precisely where we find ourselves in the debate over funding the government beyond September 30th. House Republicans are insisting that any funding measure simultaneously de-fund Obamacare, while Democrats have rightly proclaimed this idea preposterous. And there appears to be no wiggle room in the GOP position.


Obama Has a Foreign Policy Doctrine—And He's Ignoring It

Explaining why that speech was so muddy

Obama’s Syria speech Tuesday night was strange for a variety of reasons, not least the odd spectacle of hearing a case for military action (the first half of the speech) punctuated by a plea for diplomacy (the second half). As my colleague John Judis put it, “The speech did not have the structure of an argument, but of a television drama in which the viewer’s anxiety is finally relieved by the promise of peaceful resolution.”


Does Race Explain Cory Booker's Political Identity?

There are only so many ways for a black pol to win statewide

Criticize Cory Booker from the left and you’re likely to get two legitimate forms of pushback: The first is that, despite his close ties to big business, Booker has spent too much of his life fighting for (even living among) the poor to fit the profile of a corporate lackey. The second is that the critique doesn’t take into account the way African-American Democrats must position themselves if they want to be viable candidates for statewide office.


Great for Newark, Not Great for D.C.

What to expect from Senator Cory Booker

It’s more Paul Ryan than Paul Wellstone.


My Reluctant Opposition to the Syria Campaign

I'm pro-intervention in principle, but Obama hasn't sold me on it

I’m not remotely an expert on foreign policy in general or Syria in particular. At best I’d call myself a semi-informed lay-person.


Obama Must Insist on Total Victory Over the GOP

There's no other way when you're dealing with loons

When you’re dealing with loons, you have to throw out the book on negotiating and suppress your conciliatory impulses (ahem, Mr. President). The lunatics will somehow manage to rationalize as victory anything short of total defeat. And so total defeat is what you have to give them.



The Most Compelling Details From My Last Two Weeks of Reading

*/ Global warming has unleashed a moose holocaust in New Hampshire, where winter has grown too mild to kill off feasting ticks. The moose are so harassed by the pests that they scratch off their fur and stop eating. —The Washington Post Sports broadcasting rights have become so precious they now comprise the majority of all TV programming costs. This trend has allowed espn to hit up cable subscribers for more than four times the monthly fee of its nearest competitor, TNT—which broadcasts NBA games.


Watch Obama Botch the Debt Negotiations. Again.

There's an easy way to best the GOP. The White House isn't using it.

There's an easy way for Obama to best the GOP in this fall's fight over the debt-ceiling and the budget. Unfortunately, the White House isn't using it.