Debating Obama's Ransom
August 01, 2011
My evaluation of the debt ceiling deal is decidedly mixed, and many liberals are deeply unhappy. Dave Weigel wittily captures the spirit in his liberal denunciation mad lib: I am [outraged/fed up/fixin’ to vomit] at the news of this [sellout/betrayal/Chekovian drama of political adultery]. While I have yet to see all the details of this plan, it may be the worst piece of legislation since [the Kansas/Nebraska compromise/the Enabling Act/the one that renamed a rest stop in New Jersey after Howard Stern].
Getting Past ‘Goo-Goo’ on Freight Policy
July 25, 2011
A national policy for freight--one that recognizes the multi-modal and increasingly globalized nature of goods movement and accordingly directs federal spending based on rigorous and defensible criteria--is one of those classic goo-goo initiatives that everyone seems to want, but isn’t sexy enough to make it past the “Hey, that’s a good idea!” stage. Twice in the past year, Sens.
Chris Christie's Gay Marriage Blather
June 28, 2011
Here's the unabridged transcript of Chris Christie, appearing on "Meet the Press" last Sunday, explaining his position on gay marriage: Let's--I'll tell you, in New Jersey we have a civil union law. And we had a very vigorous debate in late 2009, early 2010--before I became governor--about same-sex marriage, and it failed in the state legislature under a Democratic legislature with Democratic Governor Jon Corzine. And so my view on it is, in our state we're going to continue to pursue civil unions. I am not a fan of same-sex marriage. It's not something that I support. I believe marriage
Good-Bye to the Big Man
June 25, 2011
In the dozens and dozens of shows by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band that I’ve seen since the early 1970s, when I was a kid in New Jersey and Springsteen was, too, I’ve found something comforting—and something discomforting—in Clarence Clemons’s presence on stage.
June 23, 2011
Transgender people are some of the least protected, most persecuted people in the United States.
Jon Huntsman at Liberty Park: The Next Wesley Clark?
June 22, 2011
Jersey City, New Jersey—With his voice firm as he disdained a Teleprompter for a printed speech text, with the shock of prematurely white hair at his temples giving him statesmanlike gravity, with the Statue of Liberty looming over his left shoulder in an advanceman’s fantasy (inspiration provided by the late Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan’s imagemaker), 51-year-old Jon Huntsman declared his candidacy for president Tuesday less than two months after he stepped down as Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. While the pyrotechnics accompanying the presidential rollout were impressive (two dozen TV
Riding the Huntsman Bus to Nowhere
June 22, 2011
They rolled out of Washington in the dead of night. But the Huntsman bus was wide-awake. A group of around 50 young Jon Huntsman supporters had hit the road, heading up to Liberty State Park, New Jersey, to see the former ambassador announce his dark-horse candidacy. Like the campaign itself, the pilgrimage had been cobbled together at the last minute. The young volunteers had gotten word only a few days in advance and had scrambled to fill buses from D.C. and Philadelphia. Stephen, a Huntsman organizer with a Utah basketball jersey draped over his button-down, handed out bagels.
June 22, 2011
Partisans have a general habit of insisting that their side would do better if only their leaders would give more strident speeches. Witness liberals during the health care debate demanding that President Obama mind-meld conservative Democrats into supporting the public option, or the Republicans who fervently believe that just a few more addresses by Paul Ryan can sell the public on his plan to slash the most cherished program in the United States so as to pay for unpopular tax cuts for the affluent. It’s usually a fantasy of escaping inescapable political constraints.
The 2012 GOP Race: The Men Behind the Men (and Woman)
June 17, 2011
As the GOP presidential nominating process begins to take shape, behind each candidate there emerges a cadre of consultants, managers, and strategists, some more prominent than others. And while we might not know for sure what kind of campaign each candidate plans to wage, we know a thing or two about the history of their more famous staffers.
Under the Radar
June 09, 2011
The drab Amtrak depot in Detroit, Michigan, was recently the venue for a truly surreal scene: A Republican governor accepted—gratefully—a check from the Obama administration. This was not just any federal funding, either, but $200 million for that most Europhiliac of abominations: passenger rail. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich, and Florida’s Rick Scott had all rejected the money. But here was Rick Snyder, the state’s new Republican governor, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Carl Levin, John Conyers, and John Dingell, beaming genially and brandishing a giant check.