Joe Klein

If nothing else, the NYT report today of additional pre-9/11 warnings about Al Qaeda serves to puncture our disconcerting national amnesia.

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Inequality, as my colleague Tim Noah will tell you, reflects many factors. But one of them is education, particularly early childhood education. Young children from more affluent families get quality care and teaching, while less affluent children do not. And that disparity inevitably affects how these children fare later in life -- intellectually, emotionally, and, ultimately, financially. But what do we do about it?

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] E.J. Dionne today points out that the Republicans have no agenda to create jobs in the short term, summarizing their credo as "Don't just do something, stand there." It's the latest in a series of terrific, hard-hitting columns that he has written about the Republicans. And that's worth pondering for a moment. If you've ever seen E.J. on television or heard him on the radio, you've probably gotten the impression he is polite and reasonable to a fault. That impression is correct.

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Joe Klein, writing in Time, divides the Republican field between sensible moderates like Mitt Romney and nutty outsiders. Here's Mitt Romney being sane and wonky, according to Klein: "Barack Obama has failed America," Mitt Romney said unequivocally at his first New Hampshire town meeting, repeating the signature line of his presidential-campaign announcement speech a day earlier. Unequivocal is not a word that traditionally has been associated with the former Massachusetts governor, but that was then, and the retooled edition of candidate Romney is much improved.

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Paul Ryan is a remarkable politician. It is rare in this day and age to find an elected official so carefully craft an image that is distinctly at odds with reality and yet have the media cooperate so thoroughly and willingly in his image making. Mike Grunwald is in top form: You may not like Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan, but you must admit that it's courageous. You simply must.

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I think I'm done talking about Mitt Romney and his health care plan, at least for now. But I can't resist passing along Joe Klein's latest thoughts from Time: Romney remains a mystery to me: He's smart, he was a good governor, he's essentially a responsible moderate-conservative...but he has made an utter fool of himself flip-flopping and fudging--and taking wildly stupid positions (against the START treaty, for example) on issues about which he knows little or nothing. It almost seems a personality disorder.

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Rumor Debunked

Herzliya, Israel—For years, American neoconservatives have been accused of being lackeys for Israel, namely the Likud party. In 2008, Time’s Joe Klein wrote, “The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives—people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary—plumped for [the Iraq] war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S.

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&c

-- How John Boenher made a government shutdown inevitable. -- Joe Klein has a good take on the battle in Wisconsin. -- Even Fox's Shep Smith sees through Scott Walker.

Joe Klein says that Governor Scott Walker only wants a few modest tweaks: it seems to me that Governor Scott Walker's basic requests are modest ones--asking public employees to contribute more to their pension and health care plans, though still far less than most private sector employees do. He is also trying to limit the unions' abilities to negotiate work rules--and this is crucial when it comes to the more efficient operation of government in a difficult time. Ezra Klein, no relation, has, er, a bit more detail: Walker tries to sell the change in collective bargaining as modest.

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The childish panic that has swept the policy establishment over the past few weeks over the Wikileaks revelations themselves will soon subside.

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