How They Did It
May 21, 2010

When the president and his closest advisers huddled in the Oval Office last August, they had every reason to panic. Their signature piece of legislation, comprehensive health care reform, was mired in the Senate Finance Committee and the public was souring on it. Unemployment was on the march, and all this talk about preexisting conditions and insurance exchanges barely registered above the Fox News pundits screaming, “Death panel!” Suddenly, health care reform was under attack everywhere—even in the West Wing. All week, the group had debated whether to scale back the reform effort.

Are Liberals Too Mean To Birthers?
May 17, 2010

Jonah Goldberg sees a pernicious double standard between the treatment of kooks who think Barack Obama is not a citizen and kook who think 9/11 was an inside job. "Birtherism" is dangerous and paranoid and "Trutherism" is quirky and no big deal, according to liberals," he writes. There are two claims here. The first is that liberals understate the craziness of Truthers. Goldberg's sole piece of evidence to support this claim is a New York Times article that he deems insufficiently hostile to the Truthers.

Two New England Republicans Hint Approval Of Elena Kagan. This Is Good News.
May 13, 2010

It’s no surprise coming from Susan Collins, maverick Republican senator of Maine. The other should also not be a surprise. But Democratic loyalists cast Scott Brown as a Neanderthal because he took away from them what they had come to call “Ted Kennedy’s seat,” as if it belonged either to the family or to the party. Of course, it’s always hard for a senator to come out against a nominee from his own state. But Brown is himself a moderate pol, and the Commonwealth a moderate state—regardless of how many Tea Parties have been held in Marblehead.

Olympia Snowe, Look Out For 2012
May 10, 2010

Tea Party activists have captured the Maine Republican platform: An overwhelming majority of delegates to the Maine Republican convention tonight voted to scrap the the proposed party platform and replace it with a document created by a group of Tea Party activists. The official platform for the Republican Party of Maine is now a mix of right-wing fringe policies, libertarian buzzwords and outright conspiracy theories. The document calls for the elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, demands an investigation of "collusion between government and industry in the glob

The GOP's Terrible FinReg Bluff
April 26, 2010

As of now, it looks like the Republicans will filibuster the first vote on financial reform. It also looks like they're pursuing the most asinine political strategy I've ever heard of, according to Politico: Republicans acknowledge privately that the headlines won’t look good if the entire conference votes unanimously against consideration of the bill.

The Next Justice
April 09, 2010

Tom Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and lecturer at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. He is the founder of SCOTUSblog. A version of this piece was originally posted there on February 23, 2010. When Justice Stevens retires, what happens then? There will be a pretty efficient process. The White House will receive significant pressure from both the right and left, all of which it will basically ignore. Conservatives will want to use the Court as a rallying point for their base for the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.

Bringing the Heat
April 05, 2010

This is a tale of two bills—a tale that illuminates how policy-making may unfold under the most progressive administration, and the most Democratic Congress, in a generation. And it’s not a tale with an especially happy ending. The target of both bills is carbon. From early on, President Obama has indicated that climate and energy legislation would come second in his administrative batting order, only after health care reform. (Originally, he thought that would mean last fall, but health care was like a hitter who fouled off pitch after pitch.

Reconciliation: Obsessed Or Ignorant, Pick One
March 01, 2010

The political media remains obsessed with the propriety of using budget reconciliation to pass health care reform. Unfortunately, many of them continue to not understand what they're talking about. Let me explain again. Last year, some Democrats considered using the reconciliation process – an expedited procedure that can't be filibustered -- to pass health care reform. They decided against it, in part because reconciliation only lets you make changes that mainly affect the budget.

What's Coming in the Obama Proposal
February 22, 2010

When the administration proposes a final vision for health care reform, in advance of Thursday's bipartisan meeting, it will propose giving the federal government more authority to block exorbitant premium increases, at least for people buying coverage on their own (rather than through an employer). The proposal, first reported in the New York Times and then described in more detail by a senior administration official, has the potential to help protect consumers from precisely the sort of increases Anthem Blue Cross of California has proposed for some of beneficiaries.

Putting a Stop to Big Rate Hikes
February 22, 2010

One reason people are skeptical of health care reform is that they don't believe it will help reduce their insurance premiums. On Monday, President Obama will give at least some of these people reason to rethink that skepticism. As part of the proposed House-Senate compromise the administration is unveiling at the White House website, Obama will call for improving the regulation of insurance rates for people who buy individual policies through the new insurance exchanges.