Person Career

Mixed Messages

Republicans are proclaiming victory after their candidates won statehouses in New Jersey and Virginia. And well they should. These were both states that went for Barack Obama in 2008. But how much do these elections really say about Obama and the prospects of the national Democratic Party? Some network commentators, citing suspiciously high approval ratings for Obama in New Jersey and Virginia, claim the elections say nothing at all about the president and his party.

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On Wednesday, exactly a year after he won the White House and a day after the Democrats lost high-profile gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, Obama will be in Madison, Wisconsin to promote his education agenda. It’s a smart move. The media spent Tuesday speculating about whether the governors’ races were referendums on Obama’s presidency and whether he’s delivered on the change he promised a year ago. It’s easy to point to health care or climate policy, currently mired in congressional partisan wrangling, as areas where change-making isn’t going so smoothly.

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Is Stanford's John Taylor -- who, according to this measure is the 10th most influential economist in the world -- exhibit A for the corrosion that occurs when politics meets academic economics? In a blog post last week titled "National Accounts Show Stimulus Did Not Fuel GDP Growth," Taylor writes: Along with the news that real GDP growth improved from -0.7 percent in the second quarter to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released detailed National Income and Product Account tables...These tables make it very clear that the $787 billion stimulus packag

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On the Job

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. When Senate Majority Leader Reid held a press conference announcing the inclusion of a version of a public health insurance option in the merged Senate health reform bill, he didn’t mention the outcome of another major difference between the two Senate committee proposals--what would be responsibility of employers with regard to on-the-job coverage.

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Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank and chairman of the Institute of International Finance (an influential group, reflecting the interests of global finance in Washington) is opposed to breaking up big banks. According to the FT, he said, “The idea that we could run modern, sophisticated, prosperous economies with a population of mid-sized savings banks is totally misguided.” This is clever rhetoric--aiming to portray proponents of reform as populists with no notion of how a modern economy operates. But the problem is that some leading voices for breaking up banks come from peop

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I don't usually re-publish emails straight from political parties, but this collection of quotes following the 2001 elections, emailed by the DNC, is pretty telling. NRCC Talking Point: “The 2001 Off-Year Elections Have No Bearing On Next Year’s Mid-Term Elections. These Races Revolved Around Local Issues And Local Candidates. There Were No Discernable National Trends.” NRCC Talking Points: “The 2001 off-year elections have no bearing on next year's mid-term elections. These races revolved around local issues and local candidates.

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While Congress slogs through the final months of the health reform debate, the American people remain focused on the economy. With good reason: We’re in a very deep hole, and it’s not clear how we’re going to get out.  As Christina Romer, chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, pointed out in her recent testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, “The shocks that hit the U.S. economy last fall were, by almost any measure, larger than those that precipitated the Great Depression.” And despite unprecedented government action, the labor market has reflected these shocks.

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Dave Weigel has a great dispatch from New York’s 23rd district today in The Washington Independent that’s packed with juicy anecdotes, like Fred Thompson choking up as he introduced Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman (if only he’d shown such commitment to his presidential bid!). What makes the Thompson detail so interesting is the extent to which it highlights the differences between the narrative building around Hoffman and his own temperament.

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Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. At the 11:57th hour, Republicans are set to announce their own health plan, as Jonathan notes below. According to the Wall Street Journal Mr. Boehner said the Republican bill would also propose grants for states that use "innovative" solutions to expand coverage.

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It's remarkable enough that a bat somehow made its way into San Antonio's AT&T Center and buzzed the court during the Spurs-Kings game. It's more remarkable still that Spurs guard Manu Ginobli was able to pluck the flying critter right out of the air for disposal. But for all this to happen on Halloween night? Yes, I know I'm late to this. But I'm suffering from my own ironic seasonal mishap--involving pumpkin vines and a torn tendon: don't ask--and as a result have some catching up to do.

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