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.
Our Asymmetrical Parties
May 20, 2011
Michael Gerson has a pretty interesting column noticing that the Democratic Party is riven in two, while the Republican Party is unified: Republican leaders have proved themselves capable of producing proposals that unite perhaps 90 percent of their congressional delegation, losing just a thin margin at each end of their ideological spectrum. But the job is made easier by the narrowness of the Republican ideological spectrum.
May 19, 2011
A few years ago, four of the current Republican presidential candidates—Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman—all supported a cap-and-trade approach to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. In the years since, however, conservatives have made “cap-and-trade” a dirty word, and climate denialism is now de rigueur on the right.
All the Hill’s a Stage
April 07, 2011
Around 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, Nancy Pelosi fielded a question from a journalist who wanted to know the same thing everyone else wanted to know: How, exactly, are the talks over a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown faring? The former Speaker of the House paused—back when Dems had a majority, after all, she would have been smack in the center of those negotiations. But now?
The Washington Post Needs To Get Its Budget Story Straight
March 21, 2011
Glenn Kessler, who has been doing a bang-up job writing the fact-checker column for the Washington Post, has a piece today rapping the knuckles of some House Democrats for using some tenuous projections to tout the success of the Affordable Care Act. it's a useful corrective.