July 03, 2009

Palin’s Independence Day
12:00 AM

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.     Generously helping the chattering classes extend a week of speculation about her past and future, Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced today that she was resigning her position on July 26, because--well, it’s not quite clear why, but if you watch her press conference, it seems to have something to do with her concept of point-guard play in basketball.  She’s handing off the governorship to her Loot, moving towards

News Of The Weird (i.e. Palin)
12:00 AM

Palin announces that she's stepping down as Alaska's governor on July 26. To do what? According to the NYT, to run for president in 2012: By leaving office early, Ms. Palin will be able to travel around the country more freely and not have to deal with the constraints of being a governor. It's true that as governor of a state that's not part of the lower 48, Palin was hampered in a way that pretty much every other governor with presidential aspirations is not: a weekend trip to Iowa or New Hampshire was not just a weekend trip for Palin.

Prospects For A Second Stimulus
12:00 AM

The Journal writes up what we can say at this point: With unemployment still rising, White House economists have discussed whether more economic stimulus will be needed, but they won't make the decision until at least the fall. Administration officials say they have to wait to see how the economy responds as more stimulus dollars are spent. And as big battles peak this summer and fall on the president's health-care plan, climate bill and financial re-regulation, Mr. Obama wouldn't want to put another fight on Congress's agenda.

July 02, 2009

On the Hot Seat
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Hours before the House passed its cap-and-trade bill last week, freshman Democrats Tom Perriello and Frank Kratovil were pondering the political fallout of the votes they were about to cast in favor of a plan Republicans were denouncing as "cap-and-tax." "Maybe we should be called the conscience caucus," said the 34-year-old Perriello, who won his Southside Virginia district last year by 727 votes even as Barack Obama was losing it by 7,512. He recalls Kratovil, 41, replying that perhaps they would be known as the caucus of soon-to-be unemployed congressmen.

TNR Video Slideshow: The Best And Worst Of National Anthem Performances
12:00 AM

"The Star Spangled Banner" is a difficult song. It has been criticized in this magazine for its aesthetic and symbolic deficiencies and its Jacksonian sentiment. As former TNR editor Michael Kinsley recently put it, the song is "notoriously unsingable" because it spans two octaves and most people can only sing one--so the results tend to be polarized: good performances, like the Jimi Hendrix one below, become iconic, while bad performances become infamous. Here, Jimi Hendrix performs the national anthem at Woodstock in 1969.

Who's Missing From The White House Salary List?
12:00 AM

While paging through the much-remarked on list yesterday, I noticed it was both incredibly comprehensive--everyone from Rahm down to the most obscure "correspondence analyst" was on it--but also that a couple big names were missing. Two in particular jumped out at me: Mike Froman, a deputy national security adviser (who has a joint appointment with the National Economic Council), and Samantha Power, a one-time TNR contributor who is senior director for multilateral affairs, also at the NSC.

White House Salaries And Washington Paydays
12:00 AM

Yglesias: I will say that one thing I like about Washington is that relative to other major American metro areas, DC is relatively egalitarian in economic terms. The $172,200 that the top White House staff make is good money but it’s hardly enough to put you in the stratosphere of the American economic elite. And yet, these are some of the most important and successful men and women in Washington. Go to New York or LA or Chicago and the biggest of the big shots will be making 10 or 20 times that.

Palin Reconsidered
12:00 AM

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.     At virtually any given moment, the news-cycle-driven chattering classes of politics have in the background of their computer screens or the pockets of their briefcases a Big Thumbsucking Magazine Article on a political topic that they read during periods of calm.

Harry Reid, Not Very Pugilistic Ex-boxer
12:00 AM

As everyone's heard by now, the House climate and energy bill passed last week by a narrow 219-212 margin. And by all accounts, Nancy Pelosi's arm-twisting skills were one major reason the controversial bill eked through, as she worked overtime exhorting colleagues to vote for the thing. Here's a typical anecdote from Politico: One of Pelosi's first targets was Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), a key fence-sitter who wanted more money generated from the carbon trading to be directed to the research and development of green technology. Pelosi talked to him again and again, but he wouldn't budge.

Biden In Iraq
12:00 AM

Demonstrating that Iraq hasn't fallen off the Obama administration's radar--and affirming reports that the vice president would play a key role on Iraq policy--the White House has sent out this announcement: Vice President Biden has arrived in Iraq to visit U.S. troops and to meet with Iraqi leaders, including President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Speaker of the Council of Representatives Ayad al-Samarrai.