Jonathan Chait

Steven Pearlstein Is Making Sense

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It's too bad the only newspaper reporters who understand how politics actually work are writing for the business page:

The first thing to say is that while those of us who are Washington insiders may be focused on health reform, the country has its mind on lots of other things. First and foremost is a lousy economy that has resulted in lots of lost jobs and lost wealth, a big spike in the federal deficit, and big budget shortfalls for state and local governments. Combine that with lousy weather, an attempted terrorist attack, a never-ending war in Afghanistan and an earthquake that may have just killed 200,000 people and you don't have to be George Gallup to figure out that Americans are in a grumpy mood and might want to take it out on the politicians and parties in power.

That seething discontent is no less evident in Florida and California, states with Republican governors, than it is in Virginia and New Jersey, which until this month had Democratic governors. And it's even true in other countries -- Britain, Ireland, Greece, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Chile and Argentina are several that come to mind. The common thread in those places isn't health-care reform.

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