Tea Bags, Wind Bags, and Moneybags
August 05, 2010
So let’s say you’re a Republican politician who’s been working the far right side of the political highway for years, getting little national attention other than the occasional shout-out in Human Events. Or let’s say you’re a sketchy business buccaneer with a few million smackers burning a hole in your pocket, and you’ve decided that you’d like to live in the governor’s mansion for a while, but you can’t get the local GOP to see you as anything more than a walking checkbook who funds other people's dreams. What do you do?
The Virtue of Warmed-Up Rehash
July 31, 2010
Anyone who’s worked for a news organization will recognize the phrase “we did that.” A demonstration at an abortion clinic? We did that. Decay of the New York subway system? Rotting bridges in Minnesota? Shoddy levees in New Orleans? Melting glaciers? Fished-out oceans? Ditto, ditto, and ditto. Other attendant verbs are “rehash,” “warmed-over” and “-up.” Speaking for myself—maybe this is a personal quirk—when I was a kid, I preferred my hash on the second day, warmed up. “We did that” isn’t a sinister response: It’s occupationally necessary.
The GOP's Tactical Radicalism and Its Dem Enablers
July 20, 2010
[Guest Post by Noam Scheiber:] Just a quick data point in support of Chait's excellent post about the increasing tactical radicalism of the right--the belief that ideological purity is perfectly consistent with (in fact, the best recipe for) electoral success. Politico reports today that: With the official formation of a congressional Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann has thrust an existential question before House Republican leaders: Are you in or are you out?
"Hell No" Is No Platform
July 15, 2010
Since Sarah Palin coined this imaginative slogan, it has taken on the function of analysis, inspiration, program for the Republicans and for their outlier allies. But, of course, it is not any of these. Like "yes, we can" in 2008, it is exhortative. As it happens, the Obama chant became a decisive and mortifying flop when the president failed even in his most easy symbolic chore to dislodge the Guantanamo SP prisoners from the big jail house at the southern tip of Cuba when his Democratic congressional allies simply wouldn't have them in their districts.
The Liberal Hour
June 25, 2010
Washington—This week’s hearings over Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court will mark a sea change in the way liberals argue about the judiciary. Democratic senators are planning to put the right of citizens to challenge corporate power at the center of their critique of activist conservative judging, offering a case that has not been fully aired since the days of the great Progressive Era Justice Louis Brandeis. It was Brandeis who warned against the “concentration of economic power” and observed that “so-called private corporations are sometimes able to dominate the state.” None of
Who Versus Where
May 26, 2010
Last week on this blog, I riffed about one of the more interesting findings to emerge from our State of Metropolitan America report—that demographically, our nation’s major metropolitan areas didn’t always look very much like their geographic neighbors. To illustrate the point, I looked at the Southeastern seaboard, which counts metropolitan members from each of the seven demographic categories we identify in the report, from the “Next Frontier” region of Washington, DC to the “Industrial Core” area of Augusta, GA. We argue that metropolitan demographic peers may have more to learn from one
Beating the Street
May 05, 2010
Shortly after nine on a Monday morning in late April, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler filed into a meeting room with nine senior aides. The aesthetic was what you might call “bureaucratic drab”—fluorescent lights, beige carpeting, American flag—and the mostly middle-aged men did not seem out of place. Their suits ranged from gray to charcoal and the complexions were varying degrees of pasty.
April 28, 2010
For most of the 2.5 million years that humans and their predecessors have been around, the Earth has been a volatile place. Subtle shifts in the planet’s orbit have triggered large temperature swings; glaciers have marched across North America and Europe and then retreated. But, about 10,000 years ago, something unusual happened: The Earth’s climate settled into a relatively stable state, global temperatures started hovering within a narrow band, and sea levels stopped rising and falling so drastically.
April 21, 2010
“Someone had better tell Washington that the pink elephant is on the move!” So crowed Sarah Palin earlier this month at a high-voltage campaign rally for Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at the Minneapolis Convention Center. While chock-full of the liberal-bashing you’d expect from the dynamic duo, the event also had a weird strain of girl power running through it. The two women entered to country cutie Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls,” and, in introducing Palin, Bachmann gushed about how “drop-dead gorgeous” her sister-in-arms is, both inside and out.
April 12, 2010
Gambier, Ohio—Ohio's U.S. Senate campaign offers an excellent preview of what this fall's midterm elections will be like: Everyone in the race wants to be an outsider, everyone pledges to break with politics as usual, and everyone is talking about jobs. Those running against Washington include Republican Rob Portman, even though he was elected to Congress in 1993 after working for the first President Bush and then held two high-level jobs in George W. Bush's administration.