Is Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander such a proud upholder of Senate tradition that he can’t bear to give ground on the filibuster? Is he simply spoiling for a fight? Or, like a drunken frat boy yelling, “Come at me, bro!” is he feeling both a little piqued and a little reckless at the same time?
The Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision has moved another conservative into my corner on Medicaid. As I argued in my most recent TRB column (“States of Confusion”) Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion inadvertently pushed the state-federal Medicaid program toward outright federalization by weakening federal control over the program. The federal government already provides a majority of Medicaid’s funding, and under the Obamacare expansion the feds will initially provide 100 percent of the funding for the newly-eligible before ratcheting that down to 90 percent.
The Supreme Court's Obamacare decision has moved another conservative into my corner on Medicaid. As I argued in my most recent TRB column ("States of Confusion") Chief Justice John Roberts's opinion inadvertently pushed the state-federal Medicaid program toward outright federalization by weakening federal control over the program. The federal government already provides a majority of Medicaid's funding, and under the Obamacare expansion the feds will initially provide 100 percent of the funding for the newly-eligible before ratcheting that down to 90 percent.
Now we know what the doomsayers feel like when the decreed day of judgment passes by without thunderbolts or second comings. Americans Elect, which was going to save our benighted political system with the ultimate deus ex machina—a bipartisan, third-choice presidential ticket borne from an online nominating process funded by leveraged-buyout tycoon Peter Ackerman and other deep-pocketed centrists—announced at midnight that the savior has not yet made his or her appearance.
Once again there was a vote on the Senate Republican compromise payroll-tax cut. Once again a majority of Republicans and all but two members of the Republican leadership failed to support the "Republican bill." Twenty-five Republican senators voted against the bill, 22 Republican senators voted for it, and the only members of the Senate leadership who cast ayes were Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and John Barrasso of West Virginia, vice-chairman of the Senate Republican conference.
On July 30, 2011, thousands of public school teachers rallied on the southwest corner of the Ellipse, near the White House. Union members mingled with the occasional communist pamphleteer, and, on a temporary stage, a series of activists, students, scholars, and teachers put forward variations on a theme: Standardized tests and corporate interests are ruining public education. Late in the program, the actor Matt Damon showed up and began chatting amiably with an older, gray-haired woman sitting next to him on the stage. It turned out he wasn’t the only star in attendance.
[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] Yesterday in this space, Alec MacGillis argued the GOP field is such a pitiful morass of second bananas, we should scrap the primaries altogether. He makes a compelling point: Herman Cain is on the brink of implosion and Rick Perry is back in the gutter after Oopsgate. Republican voters will soon have cycled through a full third of the field in search of a viable non-Romney, only to witness each candidate flame out. Well, what about Jon Huntsman, deemed Obama’s most worthy opponent by the paper of record?
While all of Washington fastened its gaze on Chris Christie, the most important issue of the week—maybe of the year—was playing out on the floor of the Senate.
Everybody hates the No Child Left Behind Act. In the last few weeks, both conservative Republicans and President Obama have announced plans to overhaul George W. Bush’s signature education law by sending power over K-12 schooling back to the states. On the surface, this might seem like a rare moment of bipartisan consensus. Don’t believe it. The two plans actually represent radically different views of the federal government’s responsibility for helping children learn. To see why, it helps to understand some common misconceptions about NCLB.
On August 13, the Iowa State campus in Ames will become the center of the political universe, as thousands of Republicans participate in what is frequently ballyhooed as the season’s most important campaign event. The GOP activists will wolf down free barbecue, enjoy musical acts, watch their children be diverted by clowns, cheer political speeches, and cast ballots in a mock election designed to preview next February’s Iowa caucuses. We are, of course, talking about the Iowa Straw Poll.