Your Must-Read of the Day, Wall St. Edition
March 26, 2012
Bloomberg has an absolutely terrific piece of reporting out today about how the big banks have mobilized to water down the Volcker Rule—the reform measure designed to prevent federally-backed banks from placing bets for their own bottom line. Here’s the gist: To make their case in Washington, banks and trade associations have been pressing a coordinated campaign to get regulators from five federal agencies to scale back the draft of the proprietary-trading rule issued in October, according to public and internal documents and interviews.
From Jack Abramoff to Ann Coulter: Newt’s Most Hypocritical Critics
January 31, 2012
In advance of today’s primary, the Republican establishment has gone into overdrive to convince Florida voters that Newt Gingrich is a faux-conservative, ethically challenged has-been. The collective Republican panic has been fun to watch, not least because some of the GOP all-stars condemning Newt are best known for their own ethical lapses and heated rhetoric.
Why Conservative Republicans Keep Rebelling Against John Boehner
December 24, 2011
The House GOP’s initial decision to reject the extension of the payroll tax cut was a bone-headed move. Indeed, it was impressively masochistic in the way it brazenly violated not only public opinion, but also the will of Republicans in the Senate, the vast majority of whom voted for the bill. But while Congressional Republicans were violating all manner of political common sense, that’s not to say that they weren’t following any sort of political logic at all.
Two Candidates and Seven Clowns: How Did This Happen to the GOP?
October 18, 2011
Take a moment to imagine the following GOP presidential field: two popular, former big-state governors (one a former U.S. Treasury secretary, the other a hero of the conservative movement), two Hall of Fame senators (one of them a former vice-presidential nominee, the other a future White House chief of staff), a former CIA director, ambassador, and party chair, and a couple of miscellaneous House members. Not bad, right? That’s your Republican candidate field in 1980: Ronald Reagan, John Connally, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, John Anderson, and Phil Crane.
Cheers and Jeers
September 16, 2011
It was an ugly moment at the September 7 Republican debate when the discussion turned to the death penalty. “Governor Perry, a question about Texas,” moderator Brian Williams began. “Your state has executed two-hundred thirty-four death-row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times.” Suddenly, Williams was interrupted by an outburst of applause and cheers from the audience. The point being made by the Republican spectators could not have been clearer: The death penalty was not just a policy they favored. It was something to celebrate.
The GOP Crack-up on Jobs
September 12, 2011
A Politico story on House Republicans, by Marin Cogan and Jake Sherman, is generating a lot of buzz this morning. And the item getting all the attention is a blind quote, from a senior House Republican aide, questioning why Republicans would pass a bill that might improve Obama's chances for re-election. Here it is: Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?
The Very Small Sacrifice That's Not On The Table
July 29, 2011
As Ezra Klein points out, John Boehner is facing the real problem that any passable debt ceiling deal will provoke a rebellion from his own caucus: We’ve now seen the same farce play out four times. Republican leaders get close to a deal and then, just before they can close it, their members revolt and they have to pull back. The first time was when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor walked out of the Biden talks rather than discuss revenue. The second and third time when when Boehner walked out on the various iterations of the $4 trillion deal he had been cutting with Obama.
Obama Gets Mad
July 22, 2011
Two interesting developments emerged tonight. The first is that the Grand Bargain appears dead. Interestingly, and contrary both to public reports and the tenor of President Obama's press conference, Obama himself drew a line. The two sides had at some point discussed a deal that would raise $800 billion in revenue over the next decade -- a terrible deal, no more than Obama would gain by fulfilling his promise to veto more Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000 a year.
Let’s hear it for the heroes of the republic: the politicians! I know it sounds strange, especially these days when our politicians keep getting caught behaving badly or foolishly and gridlock is the primary export from Washington, but democracy, representative democracy, just doesn’t work without politicians. And not just presidents. Not just people who are worth putting on the side of a mountain. All of them.
Do the surprise victories of Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell in the 2010 Senate Republican primaries mean that seemingly fringe candidates like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, or even Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore have a chance? That’s what many pundits have been saying.