I'm Not Done Arguing Yet
September 07, 2011
My piece in the New York Times magazine last weekend about President Obama and the left kicked up a lot of debate. The thesis was that the left's criticisms that Obama failed to secure enough stimulus. Let me address a couple objections I've seen. One argument claims that my argument hinges on the premise that those who argued for more stimulus are unimportant. Here's what I wrote: It’s worth recalling that several weeks before Obama proposed an $800 billion stimulus, House Democrats had floated a $500 billion stimulus.
A Paul Ryan Campaign? Are Republicans Out of Their Minds?
August 18, 2011
The sub-headline in Stephen Hayes’ latest Weekly Standard post trumpeting the possible emergence of a Paul Ryan presidential campaign lists some big political names who are encouraging the idea: “Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, John Boehner, Jim Jordan, and Bill Bennett encourage Ryan to run for president.” Hayes missed a few more big names who might well be equally excited about a Ryan run: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. Indeed, Democrats (especially those in Congress) have been plotting for months to make Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, and particularly its radical treatment
August 03, 2011
-- It's a "Great Contraction" not a "Great Recession." And that means we need some inflation. -- But where are the Fed appointees? -- How Nancy Pelosi bailed out John Boehner. -- Bloomberg surveys economists. And the survey says: strong chance that everything is screwed. -- The consequences of the autism-vaccine myth. -- David Frum's Susan Sontag moment.
What Should Liberals Demand From the Super Committee?
August 02, 2011
The next step of the deficit fight moves to the super committee, in which each party appoints members. Since the committee can't recommend any deficit reduction without a majority, each party has the incentive to appoint members unamenable to compromise. I would like to see the committee come up with a sensible bipartisan compromise. But since Republicans are already vowing to insist that any appointee disavow any increase in tax revenue, it makes sense for Democrats to reciprocate. But what does "reciprocate" mean?
The Butterfly Effect
July 28, 2011
It is often said that the age of the Washington hostess is dead. Gone are the days, we are told, of Katharine Graham and Pamela Harriman, who assembled Washington power players around tables where deals were struck and alliances forged. But that may not be entirely true. The name Rima Al-Sabah doesn’t ring many bells to people outside the Beltway. Inside, it rings a lot. Al-Sabah is the wife of the Kuwaiti ambassador, Salem Al-Sabah. Since the couple arrived in Washington in 2001, she has become known as the issuer of invitations one doesn’t decline.
The Pathologies Of The Anti-Deficit Lobby
July 11, 2011
The anti-deficit lobby is a powerful force in American political life.
Does anything matter to Republicans more than protecting tax cuts for the very wealthy? Developments of the last 18 hours suggest very strongly that the answer is no. As you have probably heard by now, House Speaker John Boehner on Saturday evening informed President Obama that he was no longer interested in pursuing a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction. It was a major turning point in the debate.
Ruling? What Ruling?
June 30, 2011
Wednesday’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act was, importantly, the first appellate ruling on the law, as well as the first not to be decided along partisan lines.
House Democrats And The Debt Ceiling
June 27, 2011
Nobody has paid much attention to what House Democrats think about the debt ceiling vote. But, given that large chunks of the GOP caucus will not support any debt ceiling increase, Democratic votes will be needed. And it's not necessarily safe to assume that House Democrats will line up behind whatever deal President Obama cuts. For one thing, they might not like the deal. For another, their political incentive structure is very different than Obama's. Pay close attention to a pair of recent comments by Nancy Pelosi.
Look, if a politician admits to, or is convicted of, a serious crime, or if his or her actions run completely contrary to the beliefs that they profess to have guided their voting, then there is good reason to demand their resignation. But a sex scandal that involved no illegal activity—that is not a firing offense.