Planes, Boats, and Paris Hilton: Why Can’t Democrats Master the Politics of Synecdoche?
July 09, 2011
It’s a choice between “kids’ safety” and “tax breaks for corporate jets” according to President Obama’s clearest explanation of the budget showdown in a press conference last Wednesday. The Republicans’ staggering refusal to consider even the most minimal efforts to close tax loopholes—because it would cross the line of their blood-oath to tax lobbyist Grover Norquist—was boiled down to the tangible phrase, repeated six times, “corporate jets.” The reaction, especially but not exclusively on the right, was disparaging. It was simultaneously “class warfare” and futile.
[Guest post by Matthew Zeitlin] Ryan Grim has been doing a great job at the Huffington Post tracking how Senate Democrats are starting to consider the constitutional option when it comes to the debt ceiling. The constitutional option, what Chait calls the “Zeitlin Option,” is for Obama to instruct Treasury to ignore the debt ceiling and continue to honor the government’s obligations to creditors and to fund appropriations and entitlements, arguing that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.
February 03, 2011
In response to the shooting in Tucson, Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Carolyn McCarthy have introduced a bill to ban high-capacity magazines like the one that was used in the killing. If this measure goes anywhere, it would be a major break from recent history. That’s because, for the past ten years or so, neither party has wanted to tackle gun control. Of course, it’s no surprise that Republicans have opposed tightening restrictions. But why did Democrats give up on the issue? The high-water mark for modern gun policy came in 1999.
Who's On Team Crist?
July 30, 2010
I've always thought that you can understand about 90% of what you need to know about a politician's beliefs by looking at who advises them. Charlie Crist now has a lot of Democrats working for him: Two of the major power players now steering the Crist ship are Eric Johnson, who was chief of staff for former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and Josh Isay, the former chief of staff to Sen.
An Energy Bill's Coming In July. But What Kind?
June 07, 2010
Last Friday, Harry Reid sent a letter to various Senate committee chairmen telling them he wanted to get an energy bill rolling in July. BP's poisoning of the Gulf has apparently made energy reform look a lot more palatable than it did a few months ago. But Reid's letter was blurry on the details: He never said whether he wanted legislation that capped carbon emissions. An "energy bill," after all, could mean anything from the big Kerry-Lieberman climate bill to a scaled-down bill that just cracked down on oil companies and maybe added some funds for alternative energy sources.
Why Immigration Reform Is Bad Politics This Year
May 19, 2010
I believe in comprehensive immigration reform—so much so that I helped organize a bipartisan task force on the matter. (Here is the report.) I understand that most Americans have qualms about taking harshly punitive measures against illegal immigrants.
The Coming GOP Wave
May 03, 2010
Steve Lombardo at pollster.com surveys the good political news for Republicans. There's a lot of it: We are in one of the longest sustained periods of voter dissatisfaction in modern history. Except for a few weeks in the spring of 2009, perceptions of the direction of the country have been strongly "wrong track" since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That is seven years. The only comparable period is 1973-1983. This helps explain why we are in the middle of a third successive "change" election. Moreover, trust in government to do what is right is at an all-time low.
Your Questions Answered: Stephen Spruiell
April 19, 2010
Stephen Spruiell at National Review: [C]heck out Schumer's hilarious exercise in straw-man-building: Of course, not everyone agrees with me. Some on the right argue we should do nothing, that the banks have recovered and should be left alone. Some on the left argue we should be much tougher and punish the banks as much as we can. And there are some who say, "Just defend Wall Street, no matter what." Really? Who's in favor of just defending Wall Street no matter what? Well, Wall Street is, and Wall Street -- surprise! -- has some sway in New York.
Be There and Be Square
February 24, 2010
The White House has released some more details about Thursday's Blair House meeting: Who will be there and the shape of the table where they'll all be sitting: The President will be seated in the middle of one side of the hollow square, with the Vice President, Secretary Sebelius, and congressional Leadership seated alongside him.
February 05, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 3:28 p.m. Among the convention’s several last-minute saves—opening the conference to media, replacing one speaker who fell ill and another who dropped last minute—was bringing on Andrew Breitbart. Convention spokesman Mark Skoda knew the conservative media mogul through their mutual friend Mike Flynn, who manages the Breitbart site BigGovernment.com, and when Marsha Blackburn and Michele Bachmann backed out, Breitbart swooped in to help. At first, Breitbart himself was just supposed to introduce Sarah Palin. But to no one’s surprise, really, his portfolio grew.