Is Obama Really More 'electable' Than Hillary?
December 03, 2007

Frank Rich certainly thinks so. Andrew Sullivan does, too. As for me, I'm not so sure. The crux of Rich's argument seems to be that Obama (unlike Clinton) disarms conservatives--pointing to the kind words people like Peggy Noonan and Rich Lowry have had for him--and that Obama's race would actually be an advantage in a general election campaign, in that it would prompt the GOP to engage in their cynical brand of racial politics, which in turn would drive white swing voters into the Democrats' corner. I hope those two things are true, but color me unconvinced for the moment.

Is Obama "setting Back" Health Reform?
November 28, 2007

Universal health care champion Ezra Klein hammers Obama for his non-universal health care plan, saying Obama is actually "setting back the cause of reform" with a plan that doesn't include mandates. Ezra's beef is partly policy-based. But it's also partly that Obama is making a huge political error. You'll lose support on the left, won't gain any on the right, and will give opponents an easy way to attack your plan. "We're spending all this and we're still leaving 20 million uninsured? Typical liberal efficiency, I guess." Ezra spends more time thinking about health care politics than I do.

No Panicking In Obama-land
October 30, 2007

Howard Fineman has a web item in Newsweek suggesting that, contrary to the buzz surrounding that Times Obama piece this weekend, there really isn't a sense of panic in the Obama camp, and that Obama doesn't feel like he has to make some game-changing move in tonight's debate. For what it's worth, I spoke to a top Obama fundraiser earlier today who basically made the same point. This person told me that Obama's top money men split into two camps when they gathered in Des Moines three weeks ago for a meeting of the campaign's national finance committee.

Cool Hand Hillary
August 03, 2007

Juicy stuff from the Times: When Mr. Obama was running for the Senate, Mrs. Clinton waited out a lightning storm on a tarmac to fly to Chicago for a fundraiser on his behalf. After he arrived in Washington in 2005, he studied her first year in office and worked to keep a similarly studious ? yet low ? profile. After Hurricane Katrina, he joined Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton as they visited storm evacuees in Houston, with Mr.

Cucumbers For All
July 19, 2007

Yesterday, ABC News ran the headline, "Sex Ed for Kindergartners 'Right Thing to Do,' says Obama." Right on cue, Mitt Romney went ballistic, telling supporters that he was "shocked" by Obama's comments, adding: "Instead of teaching sex education to five-year-olds, let's clean up the ocean of filth, the cesspool in which our kids are swimming." (Presumably this isn't what Romney had in mind.) Anyway, I was trying to find a better explanation of what Obama's views actually were, since the ABC story wasn't terribly clear, and came across David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network--that's P

Obama's (not Necessarily) Universal Plan
May 29, 2007

Brad's first reading of Obama's health care plan is correct. There's a mandate for kids to get insurance -- but not for adults. By my definition, that means it's not true universal coverage. At least not right away. Now, there's still a ton to like in the plan, to be sure -- particularly the meaty material on bringing down costs and improving quality.

Fire Imus
April 11, 2007

So says Obama. So much for the idea that he was boxed in by the race factor. --Michael Crowley

Portrait Of Obama As A Young Man
January 31, 2007

Via Tapped, I found this fascinating Chicago Reader profile of Obama from 1995, when he was making his first foray into elective politics as a state senate candidate. I highly recommend the whole article, but here's one short bit that quotes the then-34-year-old Obama at length: "Now an agenda for getting our fair share is vital. But to work, it can't see voters or communities as consumers, as mere recipients or beneficiaries of this change. It's time for politicians and other leaders to take the next step and to see voters, residents, or citizens as producers of this change.

What About Bob?
January 23, 2007

Ben Smith has a story in the Politico about Clinton's relative strength--and Obama's relative weakness--when it comes to appealing to black voters. It's a good piece, but there was one part of it that I didn't quite get. Smith makes a big deal of the fact that the Clintons spent a recent vacation in Anguilla schmoozing with Bob Johnson. Smith writes: Johnson--founder of Black Entertainment Television and owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats--stands at the pinnacle of the black elite and embodies its longstanding ties to the Clintons.

Media Self Criticism Watch
December 24, 2006

In the midst of his front-page story on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in today's Washington Post, Dan Balz takes time to note the following:   Even though neither has announced for president, Clinton and Obama have demonstrated the benefits of celebrity in a world of constant cable news and expanding Internet communities. That culture serves to reinforce the advantages of celebrity, repeatedly focusing attention on the celebrities (as this story is doing) rather than paying close attention to the doggedness of dark horses--at least until serious campaigning begins and the voters weigh in.