Gerald Seib

Writing in the Wall Street Journal this week, Gerald Seib rightly reminds us that presidential campaigns are won and lost state by state in the Electoral College, not in the nationwide popular vote.

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Gerald Seib pinpoints the cause of President Obama's summer polling collapse: To grasp the importance of the summer's debt negotiations—which produced a plan to cut the federal deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over the next decade just in time to avoid a default by the federal government—look at both how the deal affected Americans' confidence, and how it is judged by them in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. As Mr.

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The post-mortems on the debt deal are showing the degree to which, as I've suspected, the Obama administration completely misunderstood the Republican Party. Laura Meckler and Gerald Seib's tick-tock is especially good. Here are the negotiations bumping up against the fundamental ideological divide in American politics: The next day, a Friday, a small group of Boehner confidantes warned the speaker about the political risks of working with the president. "The danger to him is making a deal with no one standing behind him," said one.

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The main thrust of the post-election commentary is going to be that Democrats governed too far to the left and are paying a price. But there's going to be a subs-strand of mainstream commentary, represented here by Gerald Seib, warning Republicans not to be too partisan or they'll alienate: a legion of independent voters, who swung to Mr. Obama in 2008 but are swinging back to Republicans with a vengeance this year. These voters, while moderately conservative, aren't terribly ideological.

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Gerald Seib has a classic of faux journalistic even-handedness today in his efforts to mete out equal, or at least equivalent-sounding, blame to both parties for the deficit: [B]oth parties could start by being honest about what they've done recently to make this problem worse. Republicans could acknowledge that they sinned in recent years by launching a giant new entitlement program during the George W. Bush administration—a prescription-drug benefit for Medicare recipients—without really paying for it.

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The Bomb Squad

Imagine for a moment that it is late 2010, perhaps a few weeks after the midterm elections. Barack Obama has scheduled a surprise prime-time televised statement from the Oval Office. Looking grave, even shaken, behind the presidential desk, Obama fixes his gaze into the camera and speaks: When I said that it would be unacceptable for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, I meant it. Over the past several months, it has become clear that neither engagement nor isolation and sanctions have slowed Iran’s determination to build a bomb.

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As I've been saying, the procedural critique of the Senate that some of us have been making for years is starting, but only starting to make headway into the conventional wisdom.

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Village Idiocy

Wasilla, Alaska, is currently the most famous small town in America, thanks to its former mayor Sarah Palin. A healthy part of her appeal is that she seems to embody small-town values, nurtured in Wasilla and America's other hamlets and burgs. As she said in her firecracker acceptance speech, small-town people live lives of "honesty, sincerity, and dignity" and "do some of the hardest work in America." Palin was tapping into a widespread belief that small-town America represents the country at large.

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