Timothy Noah

Cordray's Recess Appointment Sure Doesn't Look Constitutional To Me
January 04, 2012

[Correction, Jan. 6: An important premise of this blog post as originally written was incorrect. In the original version I stated that on the day before President Obama made his recess appointments there was a brief window when the Senate was technically in recess. I expressed bafflement that the president didn't take advantage of that window and instead chose to make his recess appointments later, when the Senate was technically in session. But there was no window; the changeover from one Senate session to the next was rigged in such a way that the Senate was continuously in session.

Why Do Candidates Hire Ed Rollins?
January 03, 2012

Omertà is not exactly his middle name. I guess it makes candidates feel like they're in the big leagues to hire a guy who'll bad mouth them on TV the second he's off their payroll (if not before). The question that never gets asked is: "If she's such a godawful candidate (and she is; Rollins isn't wrong about that), then why did you decide to work for her?" 

Santorum Loses Nephew Vote
January 03, 2012

It's never good when a family-values candidate loses the family. John Garver, who identifies himself as Rick Santorum's nephew, has written a column for the Daily Caller that not only endorses Ron Paul but seriously disses Uncle Rick. "If you want another big-government politician who supports the status quo to run our country," writes Garver, a 19 year-old student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, you should vote for my uncle, Rick Santorum. My uncle's interventionist policies, both domestic and foreign, stem from his irrational fear of freedom not working.

Romney Flip-Flops On Winning Iowa
January 03, 2012

A nice illustration of the problem the GOP has in its likely nominee is Politico's story reporting that Mitt Romney flip-flopped within a 24-hour period about whether he was going to win the Iowa caucuses. It sounds like a bad joke, I know. But yesterday afternoon, according to the Des Moines Register, Romney told a crowd (click here for the video): You guys, I need you tomorrow night. I need every single vote in this room, and I need you to get a couple of other votes in your neighborhood, get them to caucus. I need a great showing here in Cedar Rapids.

January 02, 2012

Nothing happening right now in Iowa is as important or as revealing (not to mention as entertaining) as the outburst by Eric Cantor's press secretary during a 60 Minutes interview that aired on Jan. 1. You won't find it on Politico's home page (yet), but it really happened. Scroll to the bottom of this item to watch the relevant portion (assuming you have the patience to sit through a commercial first). Here's the transcript: Leslie Stahl: So are you ready to compromise? Cantor: So I have always been ready to cooperate.

When Did David Brooks Turn Into My Grandmother?
December 27, 2011

My paternal grandmother was the most determinedly pessimistic person I ever met. She witnessed during her lifetime a Great Depression and (from her perch in the Bronx) two world wars, but had she been born into a thousand-year reign of peace and prosperity I doubt she would have been a more hopeful person. On Nov. 10, 1989, I happened to be visiting my parents in California. Nana, then approaching 90 and in failing health, was sitting at the breakfast table when I came downstairs.

It's Done, I Think
December 23, 2011

The House finally caved yesterday on extending the payroll tax cut, adding just a few technical tweaks that the Senate just approved by unanimous consent. Later today the House is expected to adopt the Senate bill. A question for another day is how all this legislating can happen when most of the senators (and quite a few House members, I'd guess) aren't there. Because I've got a few other bills I'd like to see pass while nobody's around (heh, heh).

Media Conspiracy Memo
December 22, 2011

To: Members of Media Conspiracy From: Governing Committee Re: McConnell "Compromise." Sen. Mitch McConnell has proposed a face-saving compromise to resolve the standoff over extending the payroll tax cut. We want Boehner to accept this compromise so bipartisanship may reign and we can all enjoy our Christmas dinner in peace. Also, it would be kind of nice not to hit working people with a payroll-tax increase when the economy's still struggling to recover.  The compromise isn't really a compromise. McConnell is telling Boehner it's game over and he lost.

Bill Daley ... Indispensable?
December 22, 2011

The Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week that White House chief of staff Bill Daley was unable to attend a Chicago-area memorial mass for his dad, onetime Chicago Mayor Richard Daley--not the one who just retired, but the one who told cops "Shoot to kill" when blacks rioted after Martin Luther King's assassination (though the elder Daley had his good points, too)--because Bill was "sidelined in Washington dealing with tax-cut legislation." That amazes me.

Grover Norquist, Toady
December 22, 2011

Listening to the ordinarily silver-tongued Grover Norquist, president of Americans For Tax Reform and high priest of the anti-tax movement, try to spit out some justification for the House GOP's Masada-like stance against extending the payroll tax cut is like listening to Porky Pig sing "Blue Christmas." He'll gloat that the Democrats had to back off their millionaire surtax to pay for the payroll tax cut extension. He'll chide Obama for trying to postpone a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.