April 08, 2009

Pete Wehner Has Me Confused
12:00 AM

I don't entirely understand this point from former Bush strategist Pete Wehner in his critique of Obamaism: On top of this almost $5 trillion figure we need to add the $250 billion the Obama administration has already signaled is likely to be needed for the second installment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). More is sure to follow. Obama has also established a 10-year fund for health care which will cost more than $630 billion.

April 07, 2009

Driven Up the Rawls
12:00 AM

It had been known for some time that during his last two undergraduate years at Princeton, John Rawls had immersed himself in Christian theology and considered studying for the Episcopal priesthood. More recently, a professor in Princeton’s religion department stumbled on Rawls’s senior thesis, “A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith: An interpretation based on the concept of community.” This discovery moved two noted philosophers, John Cohen and Tom Nagel, to explore possible links between his youthful theological speculations and his mature political philosophy.

Obama's Popularity
12:00 AM

I'm a bit late in coming to this, but the incredibly strong numbers for Obama in today's Times poll seem like a slight artifact of timing--a few weeks of good stock market news, plus an overseas trip that, whatever its substantive accomplishments (and they weren't nil), was a PR bonanza. At least that's what this quote in the write-up made me think: Frank Henwood, an independent from Amarillo, Tex., said: “Hopefully, the stock market has bottomed out and is on the rise.

Who Won And Who Lost In The Defense Budget?
12:00 AM

We posed that question to several experts, and here's what they had to say.  NAME: Thomas Donnelly POSITION: Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute WHO WON: Lockheed Martin, who got a funding boost in the budget for its F-35 fighter plane. (Boeing, on the other hand, would see production of the F-18 scaled back, and money for the F-22, in which Boeing has roughly a one-third stake, would be eliminated.) Also, the Obama administration wins for proposing to cut defense spending to below four percent of the GDP.

Photo Of The Day
12:00 AM

US President Barack Obama looks on during a meeting with National Security Advisor James Jones (L), top general in Iraq Ray Odierno (2-L), Charge Des Affairs Patricia Butenis (2-R), and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (R) during a visit to Camp Victory in Iraq on April 7, 2009. US President Barack Obama said on a surprise visit to Iraq that the next 18 months could be 'critical' and told the war-torn country that it would soon have to look after itself. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images) --Michael Crowley

This Is Not Britain. For Better And For Worse.
12:00 AM

Tony Blankley takes to the opinion pages of the Washington Times today, trotting out a familiar but frequently effective line of argument. We can't have universal health insurance, Blankley says, because then our system will end up looking like Britain's, where the government makes everybody wait for services and frequently denies potentially useful treatments. First the federal government would get regulatory power over insurance.

Americans More Optimistic; Still Hate Gop
12:00 AM

The latest New York Times poll is loaded with good news for the Obama administration and news that would be devastating for the GOP if it were ever able to penetrate the conservative-media echo chamber. While the public is still pretty pessimistic about the future, it's considerably less so than it was before Barack Obama took office. Thirty-nine percent of respondents in the Times poll think the country is going in the right direction and 53 percent say the wrong direction, a substantial improvement from January, when the numbers were 15 and 79, respectively.

Is Axelrod A P.r. Liability?
12:00 AM

If Alex Conant can help it, yes, as this piece the former RNC press secretary wrote for Politico makes clear. But the weird thing about Conant's article attacking David Axelrod is its strained use of the passive voice. To wit: Axelrod is now a pillar for Barack Obama, but he will likely become a lightning rod for public concern. The public is naturally leery of Machiavellian advisers inside the White House, yet that’s exactly Axelrod’s function.

April 06, 2009

Allergic Reaction
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Yes, this is the year Congress will finally give every American access to health insurance. Getting there won't be pretty. But for the first time since the passage of Medicare in the 1960s, the forces favoring action on health care reform are stronger than the forces of cynicism and obstruction.Feel free to be skeptical. Since Bill and Hillary Clinton's reform efforts foundered in 1994, predicting the death of any comparable venture has been the safest bet in Washington.But this misses almost everything that has been happening.

What's The Impediment?
12:00 AM

I hold no brief for Avigdor Lieberman, not at all.  I have already characterized him as a neo-fascist, and a neo-fascist he is.  What's more he is an utterly reckless person, and the weird parliamentary system -too democratic by half- encourages the recklessness of Israeli politicians for many of whom it is by now habitual, perhaps even by now almost generic or genetic.Today, another loudmouth, Gilad Erdan, minister of the environment, about which he knows roughly nothing, also took to the bullhorn and proclaimed that Israel is not America's 51st state.  Believe me, that is not the issue in Am