February 09, 2009
Quick Hits: Dinosaur Bonanza Edition
What a solid 45 minutes of clicking around the Internet hath wrought: * Joe Romm explains why new National Security Advisor James Jones simply isn't going to be the guy formulating energy and climate policy, despite recent rumors that he's interested in augmenting his portfolio. Seriously. Jones already has two wars to juggle. How many hours in his day do people really think he's going to devote to, say, global climate talks? * Yes, yes, Obama's assembled a hyper-aggressive climate squad. Steven Chu. Carol Browner. John Holmgren. These folks want drastic action, and fast.
TNR senior editor Noam Scheiber and National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru set the record straight about what Michael Steele's appointment means for the GOP: Will he guide the party on a more moderate course? Ponnuru grills Scheiber about how the new administration has handled Howard Dean: Why do Republicans give him more love than his own party? Should Steele take a page out of the Dean playbook? --Ben Eisler
Today At Tnr (february 9, 2009)
Washington Diarist: On The Vast Emptiness--Or Worse--Of Obama's Incessant E-mails. by Leon Wieseltier What Were JFK's Fabled Press Conferences Really Like? by Walter Shapiro The View From David Frum's House: An Insider's Look At A Broken Party, by Barron YoungSmith A New Administration, A New Opportunity To Deal With The Drug Problem Like Adults, by Harold Pollack Why You Should Be Worried About Deflation: Good For Bargain Hunters, TERRIBLE For America, by Joshua Rosner Sure, He's 'Post-Partisan,' But Just How Conciliatory Is Obama? by E.J.
As a witty and informative essay on the TNR home page explains, former Bush speechwriter David Frum wants very much to foster the growth of a new style of conservatism -- one that can win a "new majority" of votes in a future presidential election. Since it launched on inauguration day, Frum's new website has posted an interesting range of articles. I'm not sure if I've seen the stuff of a new majority there yet, but it's early.
February 08, 2009
To: Interested Parties,The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides needed economic stimulus while laying the groundwork for many investments important to our nation’s future. The House of Representatives has passed its version, HR-1. The Senate is now debating its own bill.We, the undersigned group of 500 practitioners, analysts, and scholars come from virtually every state. We reflect many disciplines within public health, medical care, and policy research. We hold diverse political views, and have diverse ideas about how best to enact healthcare reform.
The Obama administration’s health care czar may be gone, but here is one hint that its commitment to pursuing major health care legislation in 2009 remains in place. On Sunday, a senior administration official told me that health care would be a “central focus” of Obama’s first budget proposal. The official didn’t specify precisely what that meant: Would the administration be asking for funds to make sure every American has insurance, or just a portion? Would there be major reforms of the way medical care is delivered?
Did Bush Spin Woodward?
Last September, when Bob Woodward's fourth book about the Bush administration, The War Within, was released, Derek Chollet argued in TNR that, despite the general perception that the book was harshly critical of Bush, the Bush White House had, in fact, expertly played Woodward. Chollet wrote: [B]eneath the surface, the core of Woodward's account actually seems to reinforce the narrative that Bush is trying to spin about Iraq--that against mighty resistance inside and outside the government, a small group made the gutsy decision to double-down with the surge.
Uncle Sam, Drug Scold
Editor's Note: We held onto this item for a bit as all hell broke loose with Senator Daschle and then with the stimulus bill. Substance abuse policy often takes a back seat to more visible matters, but we don't want this little story to get less than its due. Harold Pollack--for those of you who don't know yet--is a public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, where he is faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies.
February 06, 2009
Why I'll Miss Bill Kristol's Column
When word broke last week that William Kristol’s weekly New York Times op-ed column was ending its run, the reaction in left-blogospheric quarters was downright exultant. “An era of phoning in misrepresentation comes to an end,” announced Brad DeLong. “Like Bo crushing Bosworth, Bill Kristol has been exposed,” wrote Ta-Nehisi Coates. “He spent a year embarrassing the nation’s most prestigious news outlet, wasting space on the most valuable media real estate in the country,” concluded Steve Benen.
The Art of the Withdrawal
I come to praise Nancy Killefer, not to bury her. Yes, it’s certainly ironic that the hotshot McKinsey consultant whom Barack Obama tapped to become our federal government’s first ever chief performance officer did such a bad job managing her own performance that she failed to pay employment taxes on her household help. Because of that, she made the right decision earlier this week to withdraw her nomination as Obama’s performance czar. But there was one performance in which Killefer did do a masterful job: the performance art of the withdrawal.