July 25, 2012

Love Classic Republican Foreign Policy? Vote For Obama
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Pundits and, for that matter, the Obama campaign were right to ding Mitt Romney’s foreign policy address Tuesday for banging the table instead of putting anything substantive on it. But what could Romney do? Obama has given him almost nothing to work with.

Romney’s Distortion—and Why It Matters
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Mitt Romney’s twisting of President Obama’s rhetoric continues today with a press release insisting that, yes, Obama really did say people who own businesses didn’t build them. "President Obama Meant It," the release says, "He’s Consistently Sided With Government As The Answer To Solving Our Nation’s Problems." Afterwards the press release cites a new pair of Obama statements, one from 2009 and one from 2012, that supposedly back up Romney’s claim.  As you probably know by now, Romney has been taking the infamous Obama quote ("If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that") out of context.

July 24, 2012

False Analogy: Why the 2012 Campaign is Nothing Like 2004
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The emerging conventional wisdom among many Democrats takes the form of two equations: 2012 = 2004, and Bain = Swift Boats. There’s also a supporting narrative: The negative campaign against John Kerry fatally weakened his candidacy, securing the victory of an incumbent who could not have won based on his own record. And so, the idea goes, a president whose performance the public doesn’t much like can power his way to a narrow, less than pretty win by eviscerating his challenger. But the evidence in favor of all of these propositions is remarkably thin.

One More Time: CBO Thinks Obamacare *Reduces* Deficit
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The Congressional Budget Office just published a newly updated estimate of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the budget. The estimate largely tells us what we already knew: The law, when fully implemented, will dramatically reduce the number of Americans without health insurance. It will also reduce the deficit. This last part remains a big deal, if only because so many conservatives—and, yes, so many members of the public—refuse to believe it. Over and over again, you hear people saying that Obamacare will run up the deficit.

Yes, Business Owners Need Government
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Mitt Romney is still pounding away at President Obama’s quote, “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that." Romney says it proves Obama is hostile to entrepreneurs and, to illustrate the argument, Romney has recently introduced the country to a pair of small business owners who apparently took similar umbrage at Obama's remarks. But the stories of the business owners are turning out to be a lot more complicated than Romney or even the businessmen themselves have let on.

July 23, 2012

In Russia, Even Putin’s Critics Are OK With His Syria Policy
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On Monday afternoon, Italian premier Mario Monti and Russian president Vladimir Putin convened a small press conference in the slanting, gold light coming off the Black Sea. They had just met to discuss the European economic crisis as well as energy (Italy is Russia’s second biggest gas client), but they also touched on the deepening conflict in Syria. “We do not want the situation to develop along the lines of a bloody civil war and for it to continue for who knows how many years, like in Afghanistan,” Putin said, standing with his perfect posture in a slate-gray summer suit.

Obama’s Skills on the Campaign Trail Explain His Haplessness in the White House
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July 20, 2012

What the Islamist Takeover of Northern Mali Really Means
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Until a few weeks ago, Al Farouk, the patron djinn of Timbuktu, protected the ancient city in northern Mali. For centuries, from astride a winged horse in center of the city, the stone genie kept watch over the houses so that children didn’t sneak out at night. Legend had it that if Al Farouk caught you getting up to anything naughty, he’d warn you the first two times. If he nabbed you a third time, you’d disappear forever. Now Al Farouk has disappeared.

Taking On Assault Weapons Could Be a Political Winner for Obama
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The horrific and deadly rampage in Colorado has renewed public interest in the merits of gun control, though neither presidential campaign has thus far made an issue of it. Part of the reason is that they don't want to be perceived as politicizing a true tragedy. But it's also undeniable that gun control is an especially risky issue.

July 19, 2012

Absolutely, Positively Not a Sign of Global Warming
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This isn’t a post about how hot the U.S. is getting. This is a post about how hot Greenland is getting—and why, maybe, we should care about it. On July 16, a NASA satellite photographed a iceberg breaking off from the Petermann Glacier, a massive sheet of ice that is on the northwest side of Greenland, contiguous to the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada.