July 01, 2009
How Much Do Rahm And Axelrod Make?
The White House just posted staff salaries here. For what it's worth, they appear to top out at $172,200 for Rahm, Gibbs, Axelrod, Summers et al. (Also in that group: head speechwriter Jon Favreau.) Update: It looks like Obama's director of public health policy, David Marcozzi, actually makes more than $172,200. The reason, I'd guess, is that he was detailed to the White House from another agency and gets to keep his previous salary. --Noam Scheiber
Politico's Darkening Clouds
In the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, the magazine's media critic Michael Wolff writes a surprisingly positive 3400-word column about Politico. Not everyone shares this glowing assessment of the web-print startup. Last month, Politico’s chief foreign policy writer David Cloud resigned after only six months on the job. “It wasn't a good fit for me,” Cloud told me by phone this afternoon. Cloud joined Politico in January.
David Leonhardt has some interesting thoughts on why the administration's job forecast from back in January turned out to be so far off: It’s not fair to expect Mr. Obama’s economists to be clairvoyant. But they did make one avoidable mistake that led directly to their overoptimism. They relied on the same forecasting models that had completely failed to see the crisis coming. These models, which are also used by Wall Street and various research firms, do a decent job most of the time.
Obama, Hillary And Iran
The Washington Times adds some detail to prior reports that Hillary Clinton pushed Obama to toughen his rhetoric on Iran: At his June 23 news conference, Mr. Obama said he was "appalled and outraged" by Iranian behavior and "strongly condemned" the violence against anti-government demonstrators. Up until then, Mr.
June 30, 2009
The John Roberts Method
Tom Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and lecturer at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. He is the founder of SCOTUSblog. It’s always perilous to try and generalize about a Supreme Court Term. Roughly 80 cases on diverse topics decided by 9 different people don’t collectively produce clear themes. When they do appear to, it’s often a mirage that reflects the coincidence of cases that happen to fall together by chance within a single term.But that never stopped me before.Here is what strikes me most about this Term.
Health Care Deform
The issue sucking up the oxygen in Washington today is whether to have a public health insurance plan compete with private insurers for the business of Americans without secure workplace coverage. Americans overwhelmingly back the idea, President Obama strongly supports it, and House Democratic leaders have drafted legislation that shows how it can be done.
Last month, I reported that Bob Woodward is at work on a new book about the Obama administration, which has been a cause of concern at the White House. At the time, sources told me that Woodward would likely focus his efforts on Obama's foreign policy, and the high-level debates that play out inside the West Wing. A favorite parlor game in Washington is guessing the identities of Woodward's (many) anonymous sources. This time around, speculation is that Woodward will turn to national security adviser Jim Jones, whom Woodward forged a relationship with.
Biden And Iraq
Speaking of Iraq, Newsweek has an interesting nugget I hadn't seen anywhere else. Apparently Obama has asked Joe Biden to take a lead role in managing Iraq as the U.S. slowly withdraws from the country in the coming months: Vice President Joe Biden's official portfolio is expanding. NEWSWEEK has learned that President Obama has asked Biden to take the lead role on Iraq as the U.S.
Should the government require that employers either provide their workers with health insurance or pay some money to help defray the cost? Wonks call this an "employer mandate" and it's among reform's more controversial notions. Most reform advocates support the idea, arguing it's necessary both to raise the money necessary to finance universal coverage in the early years and to protect existing employer coverage for people who already have it.
Failed States, Dubious Rankings
I spent some time yesterday and today trying to figure out Foreign Policy magazine's ranking of failed states. Somalia, Zimbabwe, and Sudan got first, second, and third place--no surprises there. But what initially piqued my interest was the high ranking given to Kenya, a country where I just spent two weeks (on a trip sponsored by the International Reporting Project, based at Johns Hopkins).