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.
What Defunding Health Reform Would Do
December 23, 2010
With all of the focus on efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, another story about health care reform has gone largely unnoticed. The Obama Administration has been working furiously to draft the rules by which the new health care system will work. So far, they seem to be doing pretty well. But wouldn't you know it? The Republicans want to put a stop to that. To get a sense of the work that's going on, take a closer look at the draft regulation the administration released on Tuesday.
Things Fall Apart
December 18, 2010
When Barack Obama burst onto the national scene at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he represented—among many things—the shining hope for the religious left. Here was a liberal politician who was not afraid of the language of faith, who just might reclaim territory that the Democratic Party had, willingly or not, ceded to Republicans.
Newt's Lesson for John Boehner: Be More Like Pelosi
November 22, 2010
What lessons should John Boehner take from the fall of Newt Gingrich? I think there are three leading explanations for why Newt was a failed Speaker. John Harwood today pushes what I think is the least helpful of these, what I think of as the Sonny Bono explanation: Newt had a terrible media image. It is of course correct that Newt Gingrich was highly unpopular, and to a fair extent that was because of mistakes within his control. But Nancy Pelosi has is highly unpopular, and her caucus has shown essentially no signs of jettisoning her.
November 22, 2010
WASHINGTON—Ronald Reagan (bless his sense of humor) loved to say that the problem with his administration was that the right hand didn't know what the far right hand was doing. Something of that sort is happening among conservatives on the supposed urgency of closing the federal budget deficit. On the near right is the preliminary proposal of the co-chairs of the president's deficit commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. It is a deeply conservative document that would make sharp reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while also cutting and flattening income tax rates.
Boehner Claims He'll Clean Up the House. But Don't Count On It.
November 19, 2010
“So let’s start and build a House that works for the people, because this is the people’s House.” —Greg Walden (R-Oregon) Even the most avid Congress watchers probably have a hard time recognizing Greg Walton (R-Ohio), the head of the House Republicans’ transition team. But most veteran observers of Congress would recognize his call to build a more open and bipartisan House. In preparing to take up their new gavels, Newt Gingrich, Nancy Pelosi, and now John Boehner each committed their majorities to transforming the operations of the House.