Bill Clinton

James Rowe’s Advice To Barack Obama
February 13, 2012

The best part of James Fallows’s excellent new evaluation of Barack Obama’s presidency (“Obama, Explained” in the March Atlantic) comes at the end. That’s when Fallows quotes at length a memo that the New Deal lawyer James H. Rowe, Jr. wrote for Truman after the House and Senate went Republican in 1946. The memo’s basic message is, “It’s impossible to cooperate when the other party controls Congress. Don’t even try.

Obama’s Worst Year
February 10, 2012

Shortly after four o’clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13, 2011, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner walked down the hallway near his office toward a large conference room facing the building’s interior. He was accompanied by a retinue of counselors and aides. When they arrived in the room—known around Treasury simply as “the large”—four people were seated at a long walnut table on the side near the door.

The Producers
February 08, 2012

Every significant political movement creates, or inherits, a compelling image of the people it vows to liberate and serve. The contemporary American right, for instance, idealizes the self-reliant, nuclear family in its modest home, with Bible verses on the wall and a flagpole in the yard. But what image comes to mind when progressives think about the Americans who would benefit from a more egalitarian society? None of the images or phrases currently in vogue are all that inspiring. “Middle class” merely describes a bland, imprecise economic status.

Doing It For the Gipper: Why Old People Could Be Newt Gingrich's Saving Grace
January 30, 2012

During the 1960 West Virginia primary,  John Kennedy campaigned in tandem with Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. to claim that he—and not liberal stalwart Hubert Humphrey—was the rightful heir to FDR. The biopic shown at the 1992 Democratic Convention showcased difficult-to-locate footage of Bill Clinton shaking hands with JFK at the White House in 1963 as an Arkansas delegate to Boy’s Nation.  Even by these bygone standards of the-torch-is-passed iconography, it is hard to top the battle for Ronald Reagan’s legacy being waged in the Florida primary.

Bob Dole's Sweet Revenge
January 26, 2012

In 1985, shortly after Sen. Bob Dole, R.-Kan., became majority leader of the upper body, a little creep called Newt Gingrich publicly branded him "the tax collector for the welfare state." Dole had previously been chairman of the finance committee, in which capacity he had overseen a tax cut in 1981 and a tax increase in 1982. In those days Republicans were allowed to be in favor of tax increases if circumstances warranted it, as they certainly did in 1982. President Ronald Reagan, before whose graven image every contemporary conservative must genuflect, signed the bill into law.

Romney Campaign Gets A Shot Of Viagra
January 26, 2012

As if having the likes of Ann Coulter, Elliot Abrams and Matt Drudge lowering the boom on Newt Gingrich wasn't bad enough, the Mitt Romney campaign decided to bring out the really heavy artillery today: losing 1996 candidate-turned-erectile dysfunction medicine pitchman Bob Dole. Here, in full, is the scathing statement Dole put out today about his former congressional colleague: I have not been critical of Newt Gingrich but it is now time to take a stand before it is too late.

Five Things To Watch For In the State of the Union
January 24, 2012

Given the blizzard of White House briefings to eager reporters in recent days, we already have some sense of what the president will say in tonight’s State of the Union address. But in considering the speech, we shouldn’t forget to judge it in its full political context—most of all, the fact that this is an election year. Here are five things to listen for: For better or worse, an incumbent president’s record is at the heart of his reelection prospects. President Obama cannot run away from his record; he must run on it.

Shallow Figure, Winner's Paid
January 23, 2012

If you haven't read it already, I recommend Jonathan Martin and John Harris' Politico piece about the "perfect mess" that Mitt Romney has created for himself by being so...darn perfect.

What The Hell Is Happening In S.C.?
January 20, 2012

HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- If South Carolina is on the verge of its second great rebellion, then it is happening not with a bang but with a shrug.

Why Does the Media Keep Underestimating Newt?
January 20, 2012

CHARLESTON, S.C.—Thursday night’s four-top GOP debate made it official: The South Carolina primary has become a referendum on Newt Gingrich. Just 10 days after he was left in a dustbin labeled “Yesterday’s Man” after dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich has confounded the experts yet again. The oft-derided and consistently under-estimated House speaker has now bested Jesus in his sheer number of resurrections—an association that can only help as the South Carolina primary vote looms.