The Mosque Is In Trouble, Very Big Trouble
September 02, 2010
Nancy Pelosi who always has her ear to the ground for a simple-minded explanation of an intricate matter has demanded to know whose money is behind the campaign against the Ground Zero mosque. Maybe she can't imagine anything other than a grand conspiracy: maybe Glenn Beck or David Koch, maybe Sarah Palin or some other ditzy lady with access to right-wing money. In my view, the really modest struggle against the mosque is probably the closest thing we've had to a genuinely grass roots effort against the casual and elitist First Amendment fundamentalists.
GOP Confusion On House Reform
September 02, 2010
Republicans are promising the change the way the House works if they win a majority.
A Dem Palin? Not Needed
August 30, 2010
The Sunday NYT carried an unusually useless op-ed yesterday, asking for a "Palin of Our Own" for the Democrats. Anna Holmes and Rebecca Traister note that Sarah Palin generates a lot of publicity, and conclude: The left should be outraged and exasperated by all this — but at their own failings as much as Ms. Palin’s ascension. Since the 2008 election, progressive leaders have done little to address the obvious national appetite for female leadership. And despite (or because of) their continuing obsession with Ms.
Inspired Proposal of the Day: A Pelosi-Boehner Debate
August 11, 2010
We expect presidential candidates to debate each other and, in many parts of the country, we expect congressional candidates to do the same. But, as far as I know, we have never had a major, prime-time debate between congressional leaders as a prelude to the midterm elections. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter suggests we start having them now, by staging a debate between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and would-be Speaker John Boehner: Don’t members of Congress debate all the time on the floor? Not really. Instead they give short speeches with no interaction, no questions, and almost no one listening.
The Senate Passes Edujobs! But Before You Celebrate...
August 05, 2010
Today, after months of wrangling, the Senate finally approved $10 billion to prevent teacher layoffs, as part of a larger $26 billion package of state aid. Nancy Pelosi has said she will call the House back next week to vote on the measure as well. States and teachers’ unions (and the Obama administration) are breathing a sigh of relief. But, as I’ve written before, edujobs is far from a perfect bill. It doles out money to save jobs, which is good. But it doesn't include incentives for states to reform the bad systems that govern layoffs.
Is the CBC Uniquely Unethical?
August 03, 2010
Not so long ago, all eight of the members of Congress being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics were black. Now, two powerful black members of the Congressional Black Caucus are on the griddle. There are two entirely appropriate responses. One of them is to wonder if there is something racial going on. Yes, that is reasonable. Dismissals of this line of reasoning as mere “crying racism” are, in this case, hasty. Bloggers blithely listing white people who have fallen into the OCE’s line of sight as disproof of the racism charge are missing the point.
Liberal Apathy, Cont'd
July 30, 2010
Paul Krugman: he managed (with a lot of help from Nancy Pelosi) to enact a health reform that, imperfect as it is, will greatly improve Americans’ lives — unless a Republican Congress manages to sabotage its implementation. But progressive disillusionment isn’t just a matter of sky-high expectations meeting prosaic reality. Threatened filibusters didn’t force Mr. Obama to waffle on torture; to escalate in Afghanistan; to choose, with exquisitely bad timing, to loosen the rules on offshore drilling early this year. Then there are the appointments.
Did a climate bill ever have a chance to squeak through Congress? Could anything have saved it? Politico's Darren Samuelsohn has a piece today about the usual, tiresome round of recriminations among greens after Harry Reid killed cap-and-trade. (Okay, technically Reid's putting it off until after August recess, but the odds of survival are grim.) The underlying question, though, is a good one: Peering back over the past two years, there were a few pivot points where things might have turned out very differently. What if McCain had won the election?
The REALLY Lonely Centrist
July 19, 2010
Washington—The titans of the private sector say President Obama is anti-business. Many progressives say he coddles business. How does the administration manage to pull that off? The "center" is said to be the most comfortable place in American politics. But this assumes that the center is stable, that most people on either end of the philosophical continuum give would-be centrist politicians the benefit of the doubt, and that voters actually care whether someone is "centrist" or not.Not one of these assumptions works.
July 11, 2010
Just over 45 years ago, I set foot in the United States for the first time. If you had sat the old Oxford scholarship exam in December and, in Simon Gray’s deathless definition of the pedagogical process, displayed a fluent fraudulence that the examiners could not expose without revealing their own fraudulence, you were able to take the next nine months off before going up as a freshman in October. So, “westward, look, the land is bright!”—a line Churchill liked to quote—and I set off to the New World, more precisely, to Chuck Berry’s ‘Promised Land’ of southern California.