Obama’s Stunning Ohio Turnaround
September 25, 2012
The story of the 2012 campaign is Obama's success in the swing state he was thought to be weakest in: Ohio. How did he pull it off?
Obamacare, Good for the Economy
June 13, 2012
Over here on stage left, we have been debating whether Obama’s pursuit of health care reform prevented him from getting a second stimulus in late 2009 or early 2010, the kind that would have prevented or at least mitigated the economic backslide took place afterwards. The main proponent of this claim is my colleague Noam Scheiber. To get a detailed version, you’ll have to read his book,The Escape Artists (which, by the way, you should do anyway). To get a more abbreviated version, you can read his latest entry at TNR.COM.
*Of Course* Doing Health Care Slowed the Recovery
June 12, 2012
Last week Mitt Romney inadvertently kicked up a debate in the blogosphere over whether health care reform had hurt the recovery. Since he did it by citing my recent book, I felt compelled to explain how he hacked up my argument: My point was that the time and resources spent on health care reform made it harder to get more stimulus, not, as Romney suggested, that the health care bill directly hurt the economy.
When It’s OK to Lie
June 12, 2012
Mitt Romney is not the most honest man in politics, but he may be among the smartest. Kevin Drum explains: Blatant lying has always been routine in local races that don’t get a lot of press coverage, but the brighter media spotlight kept at least a bit of a lid on it in higher profile races. However, with the splintering of the mainstream national media in recent years and the rise of the web and social media, national politics is local again.
Pssst. You Already Pay for Birth Control.
February 06, 2012
More than two weeks have passed since the Obama Administration announced that it would require every health insurance plan to cover the cost of birth control, but the controversy doesn't seem to be going away. Leaders of the Catholic Church and the conservative movement are furious over the decision. Even some liberals think the administration got this one wrong—as policy, politics, or both. This is a genuinely complicated issue about which I have genuinely mixed feelings, in part because I have great admiration for the assistance Catholic charities provide to low-income Americans.
Romney, Hot Under A Tight Collar (Again)
November 30, 2011
When my new cover story went up online Monday, I was gratified by the range of responses, and slightly amused by those that questioned the article's premise, that Mitt Romney has himself a bit of a temper.
(Semi-) Daily Deadline: May It Please the Court
November 16, 2011
[with contributions from Matt O'Brien and Darius Tahir] Five and a half hours -- that's the time Supreme Court justices have set aside for oral arguments in the lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act. And you'll forgive me if I find that a little unsettling. As readers of this space know, I've long believed that the law's individual mandate is constitutional. Yes, the Supreme Court could reach a different conclusion. The justices can say pretty much whatever they want.
How To Make Republicans Care About Stimulus
August 05, 2011
Adam Serwer and Kevin Drum write today about the paradox of republicans forcing contractionary fiscal policy, and then reaping the political benefit of the resulting contraction. This is, indeed, a maddeningly unjust outcome. But it also suggests one strange corollary: The only way to get a really big new stimulus would be to elect a mainstream Republican president (Say, Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty) in 2012. Here are my premises. Most Republican embrace of contractionary fiscal policy reflects conscious or unconscious partisanship rather than a sudden conversion to Austrian economics.
Kevin Drum is skeptical that the Obama administration would really be within its rights to ignore the debt ceiling: Maybe I'm missing something here, but it strikes me that this doesn't come close to implying that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. What it really suggests is merely that the public debt is the only untouchable part of the federal budget. Jack Balkin delves into the legislative history and shows why the 14th Amendment has a provision guaranteeing the debt in the first place.
Obama: Bad Negotiator, Or Clever Moderate?
June 22, 2011
I've been noting the negotiating blunders that have left President Obama in the position of surrendering to Republican policy demands or risk the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Kevin Drum says it's not a blunder: I continue to think that this probably wasn't a bungle. More likely, during his first two years in office Obama had gotten enough deficit religion from the likes of Peter Orszag and Tim Geithner that he actually welcomed the opportunity to put in place some long-term spending cuts.