There are a lot of thorny issues in American politics that require a great deal of concentrated attention to grasp. The controversy over budget reconciliation and health care is not one of them. It's pretty simple, and can be explained in thirty seconds or so. And yet large chunks of the political class seem unable to grasp it. Before we turn to the principal subject of my latest condescending lecture on this topic, let's briefly review the situation here. Last year, some Democrats considered passing health care reform through budget reconciliation, which would only need a Senate majority.
Are We Overpaying On Our Afghan Bribes?
November 17, 2009
Mike Allen highlights an interesting piece from the Times of London in today's Playbook. Apparently the British army has just released new counter-insurgency guidelines with an emphasis on bribing potential Taliban recruits in Afghanistan: "Addressing the issue of paying off the locals, the new manual states that army commanders should give away enough money to dissuade them from joining the enemy," the paper reports.
Wall St. Reform Moves Up the Priority List
September 11, 2009
So says Mike Allen in today's Playbook: EXCLUSIVE: OBAMA WILL PROD CONGRESS TO SPEED WORK ON HIS PLAN FOR FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM. Financial reregulation has moved from third on the White House agenda, after energy/climate, to second, in part because it’s viewed as more attainable. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank is moving sections and may get several key ones to floor votes this fall, although Senate action may not come until next year. Very interesting, and smart.
In Which I Triple Down on Kennedy, Health Care
August 28, 2009
Okay, in for one blog item, in for three... The emerging CW on Kennedy and health care is that his death either doesn't change or worsens the Senate math because the people who hold the key votes--Republicans and moderate Democrats--don't hail from states where there's much of an outpouring of goodwill. As my colleague Mike Crowley puts it today, subbing in for the apparently human (who knew?) Mike Allen in Politico's "Playbook": Will there be a “Kennedy effect” that pushes health care through? Not likely.
Is Obama Over?
August 23, 2009
I really hope Obama brought some books with him to Martha's Vineyard, because reading the newspaper is going to ruin his vacation. Over at Politico, M
Jake Siewert Reports To Treasury
May 07, 2009
I missed this nice scoop from Mike Allen Tuesday: Former White House press secretary Jake Siewert is preparing for a return to government as a top counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Democratic sources said. According to the sources, Siewert has been in talks with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel about joining the Treasury staff, and an agreement is nearly complete.
The Scoop Factory
March 04, 2009
On the evening of January 22, a few hours after his administration's debut news conference, Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the cramped quarters of the White House press corps. It was meant to be a friendly event, and Obama glad-handed his way through reporters and cameramen, exchanging light banter as he went. But Politico reporter Jonathan Martin wasn't there to chat. Martin pressed Obama about the president's decision to nominate William J. Lynn III, a former defense lobbyist, to deputy defense secretary and about Obama's pledge to curtail the influence of lobbyists.
Health of the State
October 22, 2008
In 1992, Bill Clinton ran for president promising a bevy of expensive spending initiatives: assistance for college tuition, new public works, not to mention a massive universal health insurance plan. "In the absence of increasing investment in this country," Clinton said, "you can't get growth going again." But critics insisted the budget had no room for such extravagances--a belief Clinton eventually embraced.
June 30, 2008
Mike Allen says Mitt's currently sitting atop of McCain's veep list--not least because he can raise a ton of cash. Update: Noam wonders whether McCain could do much with the $60 million Romney can raise for him because he'd have to spend it all in about a month.
A New Look For Huckabee
October 20, 2007
Also, I agree with Mike Allen about Huckabee. I've seen Huckabee speak live twice and caught most of his debate appearances. This was the angriest I've ever seen him. I'm not sure if he was just trying to show Tony Perkins et al he has the fire in the belly, or if this is just how he sounds when he's speaking directly to social conservatives, but it was definitely a change of tone. It also seemed to go over very well. Huckabee was treated to warm applause throughout and got several standing ovations. (As opposed to the tepid applause Romney and Giuliani frequently got.) --Noam Scheiber