The DeMint Lexicon
January 25, 2010

If you're the kind of person who reads this blog, you're probably already familiar with the churlish Republican practice of refusing to call the Democratic Party by its true name. Disiplined GOPers will instead refer to "the Democrat Party," or "the Democrat agenda." But yesterday on ABC 's "This Week," Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, whom Michelle Cottle recently profiled in TNR's pages, took this practice to a comically nonsensical extreme: DEMINT: We can't promote freedom and democracy by repressing free speech. That's not the way to do it.

Obama Wants Reform. Is He Fighting for It?
January 25, 2010

Health care reform may not be finished after all. Despite the political reverberations of last week’s special election in Massachusetts, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are still discussing ways of passing a comprehensive reform bill. But it’s going to take heroic political efforts, given the number of Democrats suddenly skittish about supporting such a bill.

Where's the Obama I Voted For?
January 21, 2010

If you’ve been a Democrat for more than two or three years, disappointment with your leaders is something that comes rather naturally. From the 1970s until well into the previous decade, the party produced presidents and presidential candidates like Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. These men weren’t lovable losers. They were just losers. Even the lone winner among them--Bill Clinton--famously and infamously found ways to disappoint. But then Barack Obama came along.

The Disaster Pool
January 19, 2010

Anderson Cooper was one of the first reporters to arrive in Haiti after last week’s massive earthquake. According to a Los Angeles Times account, the CNN personality raced to the airport upon hearing the news and caught the last flight out of New York. Unfortunately, the flight he caught deposited him in the Dominican Republic, not Haiti. That forced him to catch a lift the following morning on a government helicopter, which nearly collided with a plane in the congested skies above Port-au-Prince. As it happens, though, Cooper’s epic journey to Haiti was fairly typical among journalists.

Can Climate Polls Tell Us Anything Useful?
December 18, 2009

There are any number of ways to read (and, yes, spin) this latest Washington Post/ABC poll on Obama and global warming. Take the headline figure: Americans now only barely approve of the president's handling of climate change, 45 percent to 39 percent, which is down dramatically from his 61-29 approvals back in April. Is that because people genuinely don't want him to deal with the issue?

The Donkeys' Dilemma
December 17, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Here's what Democrats need to ponder: Can they prosper in the absence of George W. Bush? His presidency was a tonic for Democrats and led to a blossoming of political creativity on the center-left not seen since the 1930s. No tactic, no program, no leader ever did more to catalyze the party than the rage Bush inspired. The whole effort was summarized nicely by the party's slogan in 2006, "A New Direction for America." There was no need to specify north or south, east or west, up or down. Compared with Bush, any alternative destination seemed appealing.

Who Likes the New Compromise?
December 08, 2009

The Medicare buy-in now under consideration is a nice idea, but it's not a public option. Or is it? Yesterday on MSNBC Countdown, Ezra Klein made an important point. If premiums for the Medicare buy-in are competitive--and they should be, I think, if it's done right--then a 56-year-old selecting that option is going to see, right away, what a good deal it is. That's going to have precisely the effect that public option proponents always wanted, both on popular perceptions of public versus private insurance and, in the aggregate, on the market for insurance.

Watch: Michelle Cottle on ABC News
December 07, 2009

TNR Senior Editor Michelle Cottle appeared on ABC News to discuss today’s political headlines. She spoke about the criticism of White House social secretary Desiree Rogers handling of the Salahis' White House Party crashing: “People were waiting for a good excuse to jump on her with both feet.” President Obama’s recent health care push on Capitol Hill: “He’s there as the pep-rally kind of guy.” And Sarah Palin's attempts to appease the media at the Gridiron dinner: “It’s not a new leaf.” Watch the whole video.

What We're up Against
December 04, 2009

ABC on Now Zad, a town in Helmand: One area of town is so heavily mined, Marines refer to it as "no leg alley." Since 2005 several Marines have lost limbs there because of small bombs planted apparently not to kill, but to maim. The principle tactic of Taliban forces in the area is to injure at least one Marine using an IED placed in a wall, doorway or path, and then to draw in more Marines who try to extricate the injured. To the frustration of the Marines, it's a tactic that has some success. In October, one Marine was killed and eight others were injured after their MRAP hit an IED.

Oprah Packs Up Her Toys
November 20, 2009

It's all over the news today that Oprah Winfrey will end her syndicated talk show in 2011, after 25 seasons. No need for women--or the book publishing industry--to panic.