June 15, 2009

Following Obama's Lead
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Jonathan Martin has a piece about those pesky Dems teed up to buck the White House by challenging incumbents from their own party for Senate seats. In it, Joe Trippi (expected to be the chief strategist in Upper-East-Side Rep. Carolyn Maloney's quest to unseat Hillary-Senate-replacement Kirsten Gillibrand) raises an amusingly compelling point: “Who do they think inspired these people to run?” asked Trippi.  “They started this. They took on the established order of the party.

"simply Dishonest." Obama? Or Bob Samuelson?
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"Naive, hypocritical, or simply dishonest?" That's Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson talking about the Obama administration and its pursuit of health care reform. His argument in a nutshell: Health care costs too much money and Obama isn't serious about trying to take care of that problem. I agree wholeheardtly with the first premise. It's the second one I don't get. It's true that, in the world of health care reformers, there are those who focus on coverage almost exclusively. But Obama very clearly is not one of them.

Today's Foundation, Tomorrow's Crisis: The Geithner-Summers Proposals
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Writing in the Washington Post this morning, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers outline a five point plan for dealing with the underlying problems in our financial system, titled "A New Financial Foundation."  The authors are not completely clear on what they think caused the current crisis, but you can back out some points from their reasoning--and the implicit view seems quite at odds with reality. Their view: Regulation is overly focused on safety and soundness of individual banks. Reality: There was a complete failure of safety and soundness supervision.  This must be fundamental to any financ

The Key Iran Debate For Obama
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  NYT: [T]he senior administration official said there was some debate within the administration about how openly to question the result. While some political operatives in the administration wanted to be more open about American unease with the election result, those from diplomatic backgrounds were portrayed as pressing for the United States to say as little as possible, so as not to disrupt the engagement process, which Mr. Obama has made one of his foreign policy priorities.

Dennis Ross, Out As Special Envoy To Iran; Was He Ousted Because He's A Jew Or A Bit Hawkish On Nukes?
12:00 AM

The news that Dennis Ross, long time State Department strategist and peace processor, is being bounced as special envoy to Iran comes from an article by Barak Ravid in the reliable (at least on these matters) Ha'aretz. The story seems to assume that Ross was declared persona non grata by Tehran either because he was a Jew or because he believes that Iran should not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. If the Obama administration so readily capitulated to Dr.

Daily Treatment: Is There A Doctor In The House?
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OBAMA PAYS A HOUSE CALL: The big news today is President Obama's speech to the annual convention of the American Medical Association. Although the AMA is not the monolithic giant it once was--more on that here, and perhaps to come later today--it's still important symbolically. As Marc Ambinder reported last week, the administration wants physicians as validators of its reform efforts. That means keeping the AMA from going ballistic or, better still, winning its endorsement. But don't expect Obama to avoid potential areas of disagreement in his remarks.

June 14, 2009

No Schadenfreude Over Ahmadinejad's Re-election But No Self-deception Either
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I wish I could harbor even a smidgen of the confidence the vice presidenthas that Dr. Ahmadinejad's sweep was really a fraud. In the Times on-line, Roger Cohen also harbors the belief that the balloting results were a fraud. And he came away with what for him must have been a desolating wish: Majir Mirpour grabbed me.  A purple bruise disfigured his arm.  He raised his shirt to show a red wound across his back.        'They beat me like a pig,' he said, breathless.

Un-cooperative: The Trouble With Conrad's Compromise
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Editor's Note: Jacob S. Hacker is co-director of the Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security at U.C. Berkeley; a fellow at the New America Foundation; and the editor of Health at Risk: America's Ailing Health System--and How to Heal It. He's also a regular guest contributor to The Treatment. In the fast-moving debate over health care, no idea invites more admiration or ire than the “public health insurance option”--or what I’ve been trying to get people to describe as “public plan choice”.

Always Illegitimate
12:00 AM

I'll have more to say about the administration's lackluster response (if one can even call it that) to the ongoing events in Iran, but this sentence from today's New York Times story about Vice President Biden's announcement that the White House will "engage" Iran regardless of how many pro-democracy protestors it kills or ballots it stuffs stuck out at me:  That cautious reaction reflected the combustible scene in Tehran, where riot police officers were cracking down on angry opposition supporters, and the likelihood that the administration would be forced to pursue its diplomatic initiative

June 13, 2009

The Verdict Is In
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Click here for Margo Howard's Week One coverage of the Clark Rockefeller case. Click here for her coverage of the first two days of Week Two. Click here for the last two days of Week Two. And click here for coverage of Week Three. Coming into today, the defense had high hopes for victory. In addition to the jury’s taking its sweet time with the verdict, during day three of deliberations, it also sent up a question for clarification. The jury asked for the exact definition of criminal responsibility.