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.
'A Nancy Pelosi Democrat'
March 17, 2011
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has a new one-liner and I assume it's only a matter of time before the right-wing noise machine picks up on it. "President Obama is going to have to decide," Ryan told National Review. "Is he an Erskine Bowles Democrat or a Nancy Pelosi Democrat?" The implication here is that Bowles, a centrist who led the Bowles-Simpson commission, wants to balance the budget while Pelosi, the liberal who presided over all of that spending in the House, doesn't.
Scarborough And The Courageous Republicans
March 08, 2011
In Politico, Joe Scarborough flays President Obama for ignoring entitlement spending and the deficit crisis: For two years now, I have been assured by Obama’s closest aides that their man is going to get serious about the deficit — and soon. But in Obama’s White House, “soon” never comes. Right after he got into office, Obama passed the largest spending bill in U.S.
And In the Blue Corner...
March 07, 2011
The insanity of this political moment is difficult to fathom. Even if the latest employment figures underestimate job creation, as many experts expect, we're still in the middle of a slow, tentative economic recovery. At this pace, it will be two or three years, at best, before employment returns to what it was before the recession. Meanwhile, low tax revenues are forcing state and local governments to cut spending, throwing public workers out of work (and onto the unemployment line) while reducing all kinds of public services. Oh, and gas prices are rising.
Dems Attack On Health Care Reform
January 10, 2011
During the health care fight, Republicans understood perfectly well that the public considered the status quo totally unacceptable. That's why Republicans robotically insisted they wanted only to "start over" with a new plan, one they refused to define, that had all the good stuff and none of the bad. Now Republicans are proposing a bill to restore the wildly unpopular status quo ante. Democrats are attacking: In the opening days of the 112th Congress, members of the new Democratic minority have been unrelenting in their attacks on the way Republicans have begun their reign.
The Tucson Shooter and Arizona Politics
January 09, 2011
Perhaps the stupidest and least surprising comment about the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson came from New York Times columnist Matt Bai. Bai, the author of an interesting book about Democratic politics, analyzed the political environment—the universe of discourse that framed the alleged attempt at assassination by Arizonan Jared Lee Loughner. Here is what he wrote: Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web.
And So It Has Come To Demon Pass
January 05, 2011
Possibly my favorite news of the new Congress has been that its budget approach will revolve around "deem and pass." This is a parliamentary maneuver in which the House deems a piece of legislation to have been passed by rule: Because Democrats didn't pass a budget, and because spending authority expires in early March, there's a strong chance that the government will run out of money before the House and Senate agree to new spending levels.