May 19, 2009
I thought this Tom Toles cartoon did a particularly good job of capturing the Republican Party's strategy. I thought of it again when I read this item from the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti: The administration would like the voting public to believe that the GOP is outside the mainstream. Co-opting centrist Republicans like Huntsman reinforces that notion. But the problem with this argument is that what is "mainstream" changes over time. As unpopular as the Republican party is at the moment, it is actually winning a lot of the debates in Washington.
This week the administration begins a serious behind-the-scenes charm offensive on its regulatory reform plans. The argument seems to be: we are where we are on banks' solvency/recapitalization, so let's not argue about that; it's time to strengthen financial regulation in line with our G20 commitments. But there is a serious dilemma lurking behind the foreshadowing, the rhetoric, and the talking points. (Aside to Treasury: please find somone other than big financial players to endorse your next 100 days report; many taxpayers will find p.5 of your first report particularly annoying--if you d
Dennis Ross To The Middle East
A nugget obscured by yesterday's summit between Obama and Netanyahu: Ha'aretz reports that the administration's chief Iran policy official, Dennis Ross, has been visiting Arab capitals in the Persian Gulf and Egypt, laying the groundwork for a new U.S. tack towards Iran. It is often said, at least by Iran hawks, that the only people who fear a nuclear Iran as much as Israel are the Arab regimes.
May 18, 2009
The Cheney Fallacy
Former Vice President Cheney says that President Obama's reversal of Bush-era terrorism policies endangers American security. The Obama administration, he charges, has "moved to take down a lot of those policies we put in place that kept the nation safe for nearly eight years from a follow-on terrorist attack like 9/11." Many people think Cheney is scare-mongering and owes President Obama his support or at least his silence. But there is a different problem with Cheney's criticisms: his premise that the Obama administration has reversed Bush-era policies is largely wrong.
CORRESPONDENCE: The Allure of Green
Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger argue forcefully that green consciousness is a luxury good that emerges at a certain stage of economic development and which ebbs and flows in strength with the business cycle (and the price of oil). Yet, in today’s society, a green orientation goes beyond the luxury of enjoying clean air and swimmable waterways.
WASHINGTON -- Facing down protesters who didn't want him there, President Obama fought back at Notre Dame not with harsh words but with the most devastating weapons in his political arsenal: a call for "open hearts," "open minds," "fair-minded words," and a search for "common ground."There were many messages sent from South Bend on Sunday. Obama's opponents seek to reignite the culture wars. He doesn't. They would reduce religious faith to a narrow set of issues. He refused to join them. They often see theological arguments as leading to certainty.
Photo Of The Day
If I didn't know better I would think this was the opening of a Saturday Night Live skit. In fact, it's an official photo--of a May 7 meeting with Valerie Jarrett, Newt Gingrich, and Al Sharpton, to discuss education reform--from the White House's enthralling Flickr feed. --Michael Crowley
Rasheed Wallace sparked some controversy a couple years back when he pooh-poohed the Detroit Pistons' visit to the White House to receive congratulations from President Bush for winning the NBA championship as "just something we have to do." Still, Rasheed--despite his personal disdain for Bush--did go to the ceremony.
This had been long rumored, but it looks like the Obama administration is finally getting set to ratchet up fuel-economy standards: President Obama will announce as early as Tuesday that he will combine California’s tough new auto-emissions rules with the existing corporate average fuel economy standard to create a single new national standard, the officials said. … Under the new standard, the national fleet mileage rule for cars would be roughly 42 miles a gallon in 2016. Light trucks would have to meet a fleet average of slightly more than 26.2 miles a gallon by 2016.
The Men With Two Brains
Conor Friedersdorf isolates a particular strand of conservative schizophrenia: What’s truly weird is the subset of Obama critics who’ve tried to persuade me that he is a dangerous radical with ties to terrorists, or that he is plotting to transform the United States into a Communist dictatorship, or that he is going to seize the guns of law abiding Americans, or that he is an extreme leftist who cannot be trusted… and who nevertheless argue that President Obama should continue the Bush era practice of invoking the War on Terrorism to wield unprecedented executive power.... How can men who make