Why do Mitt Romney’s attempts to be funny fall flat? Most of the Romneyisms that get quoted only seem funny to his critics—“Corporations are people, my friend,” or “Look, I’m not going to eat Barack Obama’s dog food.” But he knows he has to try. As he rather grimly told Time in 2008, “One of the rules we had was we were going to have fun. The first rule was every meeting had to begin with a joke. And it took some work to find jokes.” People who know Romney say that in private he’s actually quite funny, and—contrary to his reputation—he does, at times, pull off a good joke or two.
Judging from the fervor of their celebrations, the Libyan people are acutely aware that they will benefit from the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. But Libya is hardly the only country that has reason to rejoice. As committed as the dictator was to destroying his own country, he posed an equal—perhaps even greater—danger to developing countries in other parts of the world. From the time he assumed power, Qaddafi leveraged Libya’s oil money, and his own willingness to have his country become a pariah state, to support insurgencies from East Asia, to South America, to southern Africa.
Rick Perry: The God-Fearing, Know-Nothing, Pistol-Packing Embodiment of Liberals’ Worst Nightmares
August 24, 2011
What Rick Perry has achieved in his inaugural strut on the political stage is unprecedented in the annals of modern conservative history from Barry Goldwater to Sarah Palin. It is not just that the Texas governor has dominated the news cycle, overshadowed the Iowa Straw Poll, vaulted over every GOP contender except Mitt Romney in the national polls, and reduced Karl Rove to sputtering frustration.
Jobs Program? Here Are 3 Essential Ingredients
August 19, 2011
President Obama’s plan to give a major economic speech after Labor Day means that, finally, Washington is going to have a serious conversation about creating jobs. And it can't come a moment too soon. While Thursday's stock market decline shouldn’t alarm you, the conditions that sparked it should. Of course, whether that conversation on jobs leads to action on jobs is more a question of politics than policy.
Eric Cantor's Pseudo-Economic Rationale
August 09, 2011
Eric Cantor is circulating a memo to House Republicans urging them to hang tough on their absolute opposition to any deficit reduction plan that includes higher revenue.
A camera-mobbed Rupert Murdoch walked into yesterday morning’s hearing a Bond villain, an evil overlord, an all-seeing eye. He walked out of it a pied, deflated, piteous figurehead, with the committee apologizing to him, comforting him, and praising his “guts and leadership.” The Murdochs’ theme wasn’t denial, nor was it really apology. It was innocence through ignorance, victory through stupidity. While Rupert languished, his son James dodged.
The New Nullification: GOP v. Obama Nominees
July 19, 2011
Elizabeth Warren won’t get a chance to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Richard Cordray may. And perhaps that's good news. Warren, the Harvard Law Professor and champion of consumer interests, may run for the U.S. Senate, seeking the seat Ted Kennedy once occupied and that Republican Scott Brown now does. Although a first-time candidate, she could be formidable. As for Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general, he was the first state official to sue a mortgage servicer over foreclosure fraud.
Attention Conservatives: Yes, Medicaid Works
July 07, 2011
My latest column for Kaiser Health News: Are you better off with Medicaid than if you had no insurance at all? The answer seems like a no-brainer: Of course you are. But, for the last few months, a cadre of conservative writers and intellectuals has argued that the program doesn't actually help beneficiaries and may actually hurt them. To prove their point, they've cited a handful of studies in which Medicaid recipients ended up in worse health than people with no coverage whatsoever.
Why is the IMF Chief Almost Always French?
July 05, 2011
When Christine Lagarde was named the new IMF managing director last Tuesday, the announcement came as little surprise to many of those who had been paying attention to the selection process. Lagarde had long been considered the front-runner in the race to replace the embattled Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who, of course, stepped down in May following accusations of sexual assault.
June 09, 2011
On March 29, 1989, at a time when many of his fellow first-year law students were beginning to prepare for the spring semester’s looming examinations, Barack Obama paid a visit to the office of eminent constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. Obama had not dropped by to brush up for a test. In fact, he had yet even to enroll in an introductory constitutional law course, a gratification Harvard Law School denies its students until the second year of study. Obama’s call was purely extracurricular: He wanted to discuss Tribe’s academic writings.