From a Position of Strength
August 31, 2009
WASHINGTON--President Obama can still secure major health care legislation this year if he learns from his mistakes in recent months and spends more time reminding Americans why they were once eager for fundamental change. His White House lost sight of the need to make a strong case that reform would deliver specific benefits to the insured as well as the uninsured.
Mob Rule, Continued
August 07, 2009
Kathy Castor, Democratic representative from Florida, held a town hall meeting on Thursday to talk about health care and to make the case for reform. At least, that's what she tried to do. Here's what happened instead, via a video posted at Daily Kos. I'm generally wary of jumping to conclusions based on blog postings, but this seems pretty unambiguous--and consistent with what I'm seeing and reading elsewhere. As many others have noted, this is not an effort to have a debate.
Get In Line
February 12, 2007
LAST SATURDAY, DEMOCRATIC Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York mounted the stage at the antiwar rally on the Mall. Though he doesn’t sit on the relevant committees, he’d just introduced a gutsy bill in the House to cut off funds for Bush’s “surge” and begin withdrawal from Iraq, and he was hoping to present it to the crowd. But, sadly, the rally’s organizers had chosen Representatives Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey, and Maxine Waters,who also have Iraq bills, to speak instead.
Pay it Forward
January 22, 2007
HOURS AFTER Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as House speaker last week, Democratic Representative Rahm Emanuel held a celebratoryreception at Johnny's Half Shell, an upscale Capitol Hill restaurant. Having just overseen his party's victorious campaign aschairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Emanuel resembled a mafia don who had taken down a rival family andwas now receiving visitors (Harold Ickes, Paul Begala, James Carville) to kiss his ring. Filing into the restaurant along with the giddy Democrats, however, was a crowd with markedly longer faces.
When Government Writes History
May 23, 2005
The 9/11 Commission was "set up to fail." So says its chairman, former Republican Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean. "If you want something to fail," he explains, "you take a controversial topic and appoint five people from each party. You make sure they are appointed by the most partisan people from each party--the leaders of the party. And, just to be sure, let's ask the commission to finish the report during the most partisan period of time--the presidential election season." He could have added that President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress had agreed to create the commission onl
February 14, 2005
If you've bothered to pay any attention to the low-wattage drama of the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), you probably know that Howard Dean is on the verge of winning it. But, during a three-month process in which many candidates and would-be candidates have stumbled briefly into the fray, nothing is more illustrative of how Democratic politics have changed than the fate of Leo Hindery. You've probably never heard of Hindery, but he is one of the party establishment's longtime moneymen.
February 07, 2005
If George W. Bush's Social Security reform fails, people may look back at January 18 as the day the wheels really started to come off. That was the afternoon House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas pronounced Bush's plan a "dead horse" that Congress would not pass. Thomas also suggested that any changes to Social Security would involve elaborate tax reform of the sort that can take more than a year, far longer than the few weeks the White House is hoping to devote to Social Security.
Learning from Newt
January 24, 2005
Early last year, a Democratic representative named Chris Bell decided it was time someone really went after Tom DeLay. Like many of his Democratic colleagues, Bell had come to believe that DeLay, a fellow Texan, was not just a tyrannical House majority leader, but that his pursuit of power had led him to trample House ethics rules.
August 02, 2004
Robert Shrum, John Kerry's chief strategist and speechwriter, is considered the poet laureate of populism--the man who injected the phrase "the people versus the powerful" into Democratic vernacular. Over his 35-year career, Shrum has been responsible for many of the memorable lines to leave the mouths of such Democratic eminences as Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, and Al Gore. But one of his most telling speeches won't ever be collected in an anthology of great oratory. For many years, Shrum plied his trade on behalf of Richard Gephardt.
TRB From Washington: Enemy Within
May 03, 2004
REPUBLICANS SAY THEY ARE dismayed by the partisanship of the 9/11 Commission and, if you define partisanship as criticism of the Bush administration--the working definition on much of the right--they are exactly right. But, if you define partisanship the way it's traditionally understood--as placing party interests above national ones--then the 9/11 Commission hasn't been very partisan at all. And that's what really irks the GOP: They're dismayed that the 9/11 Commission isn't partisan enough.