Graham Digs In On Climate
January 07, 2010
A lot of Senate observers have been wondering whether Republican Lindsey Graham's really going to stick around to support a climate bill. After all, he's already been censured by his state GOP and will face a lot of pressure from the leadership not to work with Democrats. Surely at some point he'll just drop the issue, right? Well, maybe, but he sure doesn't sound like a man about to back off: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham renewed his call Tuesday for federal controls on greenhouse gas pollution, despite continued criticism from the Republican Party's most conservative members.
Ben Nelson, Still a Big Problem (Updated)
December 17, 2009
In a local radio interview this morning, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson indicated that he remains a "no" for now. He's not satisfied with the compromise on abortion that Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey proposed. He's not happy about the burden the Medicaid expansion places on states. He's not content with the level of cost control. He could be posturing, of course, but this is entirely consistent with what he's been saying all along. And it's why insiders have been warning he'd be harder to win over than Joe Lieberman. (Time's Amy Sullivan is among those not at all surprised at this deveopment.
Sometimes, Health Reform Isn't About Health Reform
December 04, 2009
Ezra Klein packs a lot of wisdom into this paragraph: The first problem for people who care about policy outcomes--regardless of which direction they care about those outcomes from--is that the Congress has developed an overwhelming bias toward inaction and the status quo. It is much stronger now than it has been in the past, and it's exacerbated because we are much more divided now than we have been in the past. The answer to the systemic dysfunction on display in the health-care reform debate does not lie elsewhere in the health-care reform debate.
Can the Democrats Get Collins on Board?
December 02, 2009
What would it take to get Susan Collins on board with the health reform bill? After months of sending hot and cold signals about the bill, the Maine Republican made remarks yesterday that suggested she might be willing to support the legislation if certain amendments were put through.
November 17, 2009
I was struck by the question that Mark Penn asks in his column, “Turning to the left or the center?” What would public relations executive and former Clinton advisor Penn, who claims to represent the political center, have to say about the choices facing the Obama administration? Penn is no dummy, and I was not disappointed.
The Dodgy Political Punditry of Moderate Dems
November 05, 2009
One of the most frustrating consequences of an Election Day like Tuesday is that it invariably (if fleetingly) transforms moderate politicians with no particular insight into the dynamics of public opinion into all-knowing sages. More to the point, it elevates their perfect-for-every-occasion view of politics, which says that if your party suffers a setback, the reason must be that it was too far to one side of the political spectrum, and so the answer is obviously to move back to the middle.
Pawlenty Walks Back Criticism of Snowe
November 04, 2009
Minnesota governor and potential 2012 presidential nominee Tim Pawlenty made headlines yesterday when he criticized fellow Republican Olympia Snowe for her "deviations" from conservative GOP orthodoxy, and refused to say whether or not he was happy that she was a Republican. Snowe shot back at Pawlenty today, telling Politico, “I've been a lifelong Republican -- I haven't changed, I don't know what the problem is -- I really don't. I know Gov.
Senate Dems to Obama: Um, a Little Help Here?
October 26, 2009
After a weekend of furious activity, Democratic leaders in the Senate think they are close to getting the votes they need in order to pass an "opt-out" version of the public option. But they feel like President Obama could be doing more to help them, with one senior staffer telling TNR on Sunday that the leadership would like, but has yet to receive, a clear "signal" of support for their effort. The White House, for its part, says President Obama supports a strong public option, as he always has--and that, as one senior administration official puts it, the president will support the Senate le
What Did Obama Tell Reid?
October 23, 2009
And I thought yesterday was crazy. Brian Beutler has sources telling him that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is close to rounding up 60 votes for an "opt-out" public option, but that the White House is trying to slam on the brakes. The main reason? Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, whose support the White House covets, is against the idea and prefers some sort of trigger. One source tells Beutler: They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger...
October 22, 2009
Jacob S. Hacker is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University. An expert on the politics of U.S. health and social policy, he is author, coauthor, or editor of numerous books and articles, both scholarly and popular, including The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream (2006; paperback, January 2008) and Health At Risk: America’s Ailing Health System and How to Heal It (2008). As closed-door discussions continue in the Senate, the idea of triggering the public health insurance option is once again on the table.