Whom Will The Unions Take Out Next?
April 25, 2012
With Mitt Romney sweeping the table against the sad remnants of the sorriest presidential field in years, the real action last night was in the Pennsylvania congressional primaries, where much of Washington's political press was caught completely off guard. Democratic primary voters knocked out two incumbent congressmen—Tim Holden, who’s represented his district between Harrisburg and Allentown for 20 years, and Jason Altmire, who won his district north of Pittsburgh in the 2006 Democratic wave. Both men found themselves in districts sharply redrawn by Pennsylvania Republicans.
A False Choice For Obama's Anti-Romney Message
April 23, 2012
Left without a manufactured scandal or over-hyped gaffe to talk about these past few days, the media circus has turned its attention to matters of a higher order: campaign semiotics.
Team Obama's Devious Bank Shot
April 23, 2012
So, according to the new CW, Team Obama is no longer portraying Mitt Romney as a convictionless panderer but as a Goldwater-esque extremist instead. As I noted in my own take on this question, that’s clearly the way to go here—Bill Clinton’s success with the strategy in 1996 speaks for itself. But I’d submit an added selling point that the coverage has so far ignored. The first-order benefit of the 1996 strategy is obvious: The right-wing views Romney has adopted will turn off women, independents, and Latinos, all of them key voting blocs.
From Hope to Hardball
April 20, 2012
Though it was obvious to almost no one at the time, Thursday, April 5, may have certified a momentous change in contemporary politics. It was that day when Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus was quoted saying that the Republican “war on women,” a favorite liberal talking point, was a creation of Democrats and the media—no more reality-based than a Republican “war on caterpillars.” It probably wasn’t the most outlandish comment a GOP operative uttered that hour.
Republicans in Congress belatedly closed ranks behind Mitt Romney this past week, with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell abandoning their neutrality in favor of the clear nominee. The goal is a happy political marriage until Election Day in November—and, ideally, beyond. Arranged marriages of this sort—between presidential candidates and their parties’ members in Congress—are practically mandated by the election cycle.
Why Romney Is Too Moderate to Beat Obama
April 05, 2012
For the last three months, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been repeating the same argument against Mitt Romney: He’s a moderate, and a moderate Republican can’t win the White House. Naturally, given Gingrich’s stature as a historian, the critique dredges up memories of campaigns past. “We tried a moderate in 1996, and he couldn’t debate Bill Clinton effectively,” Gingrich said in January. “We tried a moderate in 2008. He couldn’t debate Barack Obama effectively and lost.” Santorum, too, has invoked the gruesome specters of Bob Dole and John McCain.
The Rove Op-ed … Keeps Getting Better
March 26, 2012
Last week I wrote about how Karl Rove’s Wall Street Journal rebuttal of the recent Obama campaign documentary was a masterpiece in projection. Of particular interest was this paragraph, in which Rove downplayed Obama’s biggest foreign policy achievement: As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film "I hope that's the call I would have made" [emphasis added].
Is Rove Aware of the Columns Someone Is Signing His Name To?
March 22, 2012
Our former colleague Jon Chait ran a sideline business these last few years calling Karl Rove on the various forms of projection he practiced when it came to criticizing Obama. But if Chait were still on this beat today, I’m sure he’d concede that he actually no idea how pathological this Rove-ian tick was back when he wrote all those blog items. Rove’s column in today’s Wall Street Journal, about the dishonesty of the recent Obama campaign documentary, is a true thing of beauty.
Reform With No Mandate? Ask New Jersey About That
March 21, 2012
My latest article for Kaiser Health News: On Monday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, the justices will also contemplate a policy issue: Is it possible to reform the private insurance market, making affordable coverage available to all, without an individual mandate? The Obama administration has told the court that if it invalidates the mandate it should also invalidate two key insurance reforms that would prevent discrimination because of preexisting conditions.
Why 2012 May Mark the End of an Era of Political Anger
March 17, 2012
When progressives consider the future, two basic storylines emerge.