The Ghost of Romneycare Returns
October 11, 2011

Just in time for Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate, NBC News is out with a story reminding everybody of just how closely the architects of Obamacare modeled their efforts on Romneycare. The story, by Michael Isikoff, cites White House records showing that three key analysts who worked on the Massachusetts reforms met with administration officials at least a dozen times.

'Crony Capitalism' Switches Parties
September 15, 2011

The Republican catchphrase of the moment is "crony capitalism." This is odd, because Republicans don't usually like to disparage capitalism in any form.

Why Is the Press Spending So Much Time Obsessing About Libya?
September 08, 2011

The U.S. economy being what it is, it should come as no surprise that most Americans, including the minority with a keen interest in foreign policy, have been focused on domestic issues. What is less understandable is why that internationally-minded remnant should have been so concerned with events in Libya to the virtual exclusion of any other part of the world. This has been particularly true of mainstream liberals, and the media outlets that reflect their views, above all the New York Times, CBS, ABC, and NBC.

Obama's Katrina Was Also Boehner's Katrina
September 06, 2011

Gerald Seib pinpoints the cause of President Obama's summer polling collapse: To grasp the importance of the summer's debt negotiations—which produced a plan to cut the federal deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over the next decade just in time to avoid a default by the federal government—look at both how the deal affected Americans' confidence, and how it is judged by them in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. As Mr.

Obama's Electoral Paradox
September 06, 2011

Two new public polls out this morning, from NBC/WSJ and the Washington Post, illustrate the curious nature of President Obama's electoral standing. The top-line number is completely abysmal.

Dick Cheney's New Book And Spontaneous Human Combustion
August 24, 2011

Dick Cheney, seemingly unsatisfied with his post-White House career of Finally Leaving Everybody Alone, is releasing a memoir next week—and he’s promising big things. “There are gonna be heads exploding all over Washington,” Cheney told NBC. (It’s unclear whether Cheney is referring to the stir caused by the book’s release, or whether he in fact is planning to detonate the heads of his enemies.) Cheney’s prediction brings to mind the old belief in “spontaneous human combustion”—that the human body could suddenly burst into flames.

Obama Losing Policy, Winning Politics Of Debt Ceiling Fight
July 20, 2011

I've been pretty critical of President Obama's strategy on the debt ceiling negotiations, and the whole saga could well end in economic disaster, bad long-term policy, or both. That said, I must concede that Obama has, largely through ideological retreat, maneuvered the debate onto terrain where he holds the public opinion high ground. Consider this question from the latest WSJ/NBC poll: Which of the following approaches being considered in Congress to deal with the Federal debt ceiling are you more likely to support?

The 80s Were Weird
June 27, 2011

Via Eli Lake, an ABC commercial from 1987 that promoted the network's fall lineup with an extended montage of cowboys, pies to the face, the Washington metro, fighter jets, dancing, boats, farms, sunsets, toddlers, marching bands, and a whole lot of patriotism: Possibly the most anachronistic part is a woman (at 1:42) saying, "There's two things I can't stand. One of them's NBC, and the other one's CBS." There really was a time when it was considered normal to have a loyalty to a television network.

Six Sigma: Is It Taking Over the GOP?
June 13, 2011

There’s a wry old episode of NBC’s “30 Rock” in which Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon attend a seemingly fictional “Six Sigma” business conference (motto: “Retreat to Move Forward”) and immerse themselves in the ever-intense world of consulting buzzwords and team-building exercises. “There they are,” says Jack, reverently, pointing to a group of older men, “The six sigmas themselves, each of them embodying a pillar of the Six Sigma business philosophy: Teamwork. Insight. Brutality. Male Enhancement. Handshakefulness.

The Love of Monopoly
May 19, 2011

Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications By Richard R. John (Belknap Press, 520 pp., $39.95) Once upon a time, some thought it obvious that competition was a bad thing, particularly in communications. As Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T, put it in 1913, “The public as a whole has never benefited” from competition. Monopoly, he said, was the better choice. The reason, he argued, is that “all costs of aggressive, uncontrolled competition are eventually borne, directly or indirectly, by the public.” Nowadays corporate executives carefully avoid expressing such sentiments.