October 26, 2011
I. The American dream of politics without conflict, and of politics without political parties, has a history as old as American politics. Anyone carried along on the political currents since 2008, however, might be forgiven for thinking that the dream is something new—and that a transformative era was finally at hand, in which the old politics of intense partisan conflict, based on misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misanthropy, could be curbed if not ended. After the presidency of George W.
Newt’s Personal Hypocrisy on ‘Death Panels’
October 17, 2011
If Newt Gingrich holds to form in Tuesday night's GOP presidential primary debate in Nevada, he may well decide to answer a question on health care policy by invoking the threat of "death panels." He backed up Sarah Palin when she first tossed that rhetorical grenade against the Democrats' universal health care legislation in the summer of 2009 and he wielded the dread phrase again at the last debate in criticizing the new recommendations against routine testing for prostate cancer in older men. My colleague Jonathan Cohn did yeoman's work last week in rebutting Gingrich's specific attack on
How Congress’s Showdown With China Puts Obama in a Serious Bind
October 06, 2011
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.
From Clinton’s Mouth To Rove’s Ad
October 04, 2011
When Barack Obama arrives in St. Louis tonight for a couple of fundraisers, he will be greeted by a targeted media hit from American Crossroads, the outside group led by Karl Rove that had such an impact in the 2010 midterms and is gearing up for the same next year. The group's new ad, a $50,000 buy in Missouri, will attack Obama's jobs plan by invoking the recent words of the president's ever-helpful fellow Democrat: Bill Clinton.
“He’s Just Not Like That”
October 03, 2011
Something about Rick Perry seems to inspire conversation that is awfully elemental. First, he was praying for rain. Then there were the Texas wildfires last month, and the question of whether or not they were related to the man-made climate change in which Perry does not believe. And now comes the rock. We'll leave it to others to litigate just exactly when a certain offensive word was visible on the boulder at the entrance to piece of land that Perry and his father starting leasing as a hunting ranch starting in the 1980s.
The Permanent Candidate
September 28, 2011
What’s driving Rick Perry?
The Shifting GOP Nominating Calendar Will Produce a Knockout Victory—Or an Extended Slugfest
July 28, 2011
When I last wrote about the schedule of Republican presidential nominating contests back in April, there were two dynamics that appeared to be shaping the calendar: first, the usual “frontloading” temptation of states to run to the front of the line in order to have an impact on the results, which both national parties have been fighting in recent years with less than brilliant success; and second, a more unusual “backloading” phenomenon, where other states were delaying primaries or caucuses for their own reasons, often the money savings associated with holding the contests in conjunction wi
"Politifact" Unfairly Attacks The GOP
June 24, 2011
Republicans have been slamming Democrats for their vote to cut $500 billion out of Medicare as part of the Affordable Care Act: The NRSC revised and reissued a three-day-old news release that targeted virtually identical statements at Brown, of Ohio, and four other senators who all are Democrats up for re-election next year: Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Bill Nelson of Florida. "Despite Sherrod Brown's transparent political strategy to mislead Ohio seniors and demagogue Medicare, this serves as another reminder he is the only candidate in Ohio
A Good Joke Spoiled
June 23, 2011
Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1By Mark Twain Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith (University of California Press, 736 pp., $34.95) It is hard to think of another writer as great as Mark Twain who did so many things that even merely good writers are not supposed to do. Great writers are not meant to write bad books, much less publish them. Twain not only published a lot of bad books, he doesn’t appear to have noticed the difference between his good ones and his bad ones. Great writers are not meant to care more about money than art.
Turning FEMA Around
May 28, 2011
It’s not exactly the Rapture, but the tornadoes that have been tearing through the Midwest and South this year certainly have an end-times feel to them. Just this past Sunday, an EF-5 level tornado (that’s as fierce as it gets) plowed through Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 125 people, flaying the bark off trees, crumpling cars like aluminum cans, and basically flattening everything in its six-mile path.