May 12, 2009
Today At Tnr (may 12, 2009)
Does Petraeus Have The Answer? The Surge Saved Iraq From The Abyss, But In Our Multi-Front War, Failure Is Still An Option, by Dexter Filkins How Obama Could Avoid A Congressional Battle Over ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' by Nathaniel Frank One Of The Worst Scams In Washington Will Be Coming To An End--If Obama Stands Firm, by Barron YoungSmith TNRtv: What Should The Next Stimulus Package Look Like? by Simon Johnson Samuel Beckett Didn't Hate Literature--He Loved It To Death, by John Banville What Would The Middle East Look Like If Iran Gets The Bomb? A Lebanese Preview.
May 11, 2009
When 50 is Too Old
It is now widely understood that presidents must value youth in their Supreme Court nominees. The reason lies in the combination of two factors: life tenure and the party system. Because justices serve for life, presidents can increase their influence on the law by choosing young nominees. Given two-party competition, this incentive can provoke an unhealthy game of how-low-can-you-go: If one party nominates young justices, the other party risks ceding long-term control of the judiciary if it does not choose justices who are at least as young.
Interesting moment the other night at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner when Barack Obama teased Republican National Party Chairman Michael Steele for his famous inclination towards slightly studious mouthings of hip hop slang. "Michael Steele is in the house. Or as he would say, "in the heezy ... " ...
Too Important To Compromise
One of President Obama's major priorities is making college more affordable, and he now has an historic chance to do that by reforming the way the federal government delivers student loans. Under the current student-loan program, the government essentially bribes banks to lend to students by offering them generous subsidies and promising to take on 97 percent of the risk. As Jon Chait and Kim Clark have written, the program is purely a sop to banking interests--absorbing money that could be used to increase the number and size of Pell Grants.
In an online article written with (let's say) healthy amounts of seriousness and gravity, Kathryn Jean Lopez blasts the president for his performance at the White House Correspondent's Association dinner Saturday night. I urge everyone to go and read her piece because it is admittedly much funnier than the comedy routines at the dinner itself. Here is just a taste: But even the children were not left out of the jokes. President Obama used his daughters to make light of Air Force One’s Lower Manhattan flyover.
Simon Johnson, professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of BaselineScenario.com, argues that if Obama continues to prioritize fiscal stimulus over recapitalizing the banks, he will put health care and other costly reforms at risk. --Ben Eisler Check out the latest on TNRtv: Cohn: A New Game Show--Why Republicans Can't Be Trusted On Health Care! Halevi: How to Stop Iran--"It's Now or Never" Scheiber: Why Inflation Fear Mongerers Don't Scare Me
Cato Institute Senior Fellow Jerry Taylor has a post on the Corner that's another great window into the style of conservative movement thought: There's nothing strange or mysterious, Victor, about President Obama's political assualts on Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and other radio voices on the Right. The administration hopes that it can convince the public that these guys are the leaders of the GOP at the moment.
Ah, the Weekly Standard parody, quintessence of comedy: President Barack Obama has announced that June will be officially designated Gay Awareness Month in the White House....
You may have read or heard that some health care lobbyists went to the White House today, pledging their assistance in controlling the cost of medical care. Why are they doing it? What does it mean for the reform debate? You can read my answers (along with a few outside dissents) over at The Treatment, here and here and here. --Jonathan Cohn
For those who want to read the actual text, here it is: May 11, 2009 The President The White House Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President: We believe that all Americans should have access to affordable, high quality health care services. Thus, we applaud your strong commitment to reforming our nation’s health care system.