In 2003, Ron Suskind wrote a famous article about the Bush administration's lack of interest in, or knowledge of, domestic policy. The article centered on the influence of Karl Rove and his staff: "There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical nonstop, twenty-hour-a-day White House staff.
At last week's health care summit, Paul Ryan launched a broad attack on the fiscal soundness of President Obama's health care reform. rather than interjecting with a reply, Obama allowed the next speaker in line to make his point. It's possible that Obama, who had otherwise displayed tremendous command of the details of the issue, simply didn't know how to respond.
Ezra Klein has a lengthy, thorough response to the arguments that Republican Paul Ryan has made about the Democratic plans for health care reform. According to Ezra, Ryan make a few good points but is mostly wrong. It will shock you, I know, to hear that I agree with Ezra's analysis. But that's not the reason, or at least the only reason, the article is worth reading. At the end of the article, Ezra reports on an interview he conducted with economist Robert Reischauer: Robert Reischauer is the head of the Urban Institute.
In a superb speech at the Brookings Institution this afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called on the United States—elected representatives and average citizens alike—to “rededicate ourselves to the painful, unglamorous, and indispensible work of fiscal discipline.” Drawing on the studies of leading economists and historians, he warned that failing to do so would be committing ourselves to national decline.
Who won? It's the exact same question people asked in 2008, after each of the presidential debates. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. What's "winning"--scoring more debate points, making fewer gaffes, or simply appealing to more voters? And aren't all those judgments pretty subjective anyway? But if Thursday's event didn't produce a winner, it was clarifying. Health care reform, as I've said many times now, is really about achieving three basic goals: Making sure everybody has insurance, making sure coverage is good, and making sure that, over time, medical care will cost less.
Who won? It's the exact same question people asked in 2008, after each of the presidential debates. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. What's "winning"--scoring more debate points, making fewer gaffes, or simply appealing to more voters? And aren't all those judgments pretty subjective anyway? But if Thursday's event didn't produce a winner, it was clarifying. (Click here to read more.)
Most of the Republicans have relied upon scripted talking points and generalized denunciations of big government and a "government takeover." Numerous Democrats in the room have explained why it's not possible to ban insurance companies from discriminating against those with preexisting conditions without also covering everybody and subsidizing those who afford it.
Mike Potemra at National Review argues that liberals should like the filibuster: I address this question to Rachel Maddow, who just delivered a long and passionate address against the filibuster (I caught only the last five minutes of it): Three years from now, Palin is president, with J. D. Hayworth as Senate majority leader, and Michele Bachmann as Speaker of the House. (Of course it’s impossible – just like the election of Obama was, and the election of Scott Brown, and . .
If you think lending his name to a fallacy is Pete Wehner's only contribution to public life, you're oh so mistaken. The former Karl Rove aid has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal blasting the liberal whiners who think that President Obama's struggles have some relation to creaky government institutions or a nihilistic opposition. First, he insists the GOP does too have positive solutions to offer: The charge that the GOP has no alternatives to offer is demonstrably false. Wisconsin Rep.
Last week, I called Republican budget sorta-kinda point man Paul Ryan "crazy but honest." Today, some of the intellectual influences behind the first half of that description are coming out. TPM reports that Ryan is a big fan of Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged." The Daily Beast, interviewing Ryan, reports that he was influenced by Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism." What do those works have in common? They're written by people who don't understand liberalism and the left at all, and are thus unable to present liberal ideas in terms remotely recognizable to liberals themselves.