Thomas Mann

David Brooks’s Awful Advice to Obama
October 28, 2011

In his continuing, illusive quest for the Grand Bargain, New York Times columnist David Brooks has now offered some free campaign advice to President Obama: Drop the angry and divisive populist talk; link your reelection to the Congressional supercommittee to tackle the deficit; lower the ideological temperature. Political independents now recoil from big government, Brooks argues, so Obama should be blurring, not highlighting, the differences between the two parties over the role of government. Obama should say thanks, but no thanks for the advice.

What Failure Would Cost the Democrats
March 15, 2010

Disgruntled (if not former) Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen are the latest to join in offering advice to President Obama and Congressional Democrats to abandon their health reform quest before it causes catastrophic damage to the party.

Truth and Reconciliation

'Reconciliation" means "restoration of harmony." But as a term of art in budgeting, it has become an act of war. President Obama and most Democrats in Congress hope to include health and education reform in reconciliation instructions as part of the budget process. No mystery why. The sixty vote hurdle in the Senate of the filibuster could scotch these central components of their agenda via united Republican opposition. Bills considered under reconciliation cannot be filibustered and can therefore pass the Senate by majority vote.

The Stature of Anton Chekhov
May 16, 1955

When Anton Chekhov died in Badenweiler in July 1904 of tuberculosis of the lungs, I was a young man who had embarked upon literature with some short s