Politics

February 05, 2009

Unstimulated
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--The irony of President Barack Obama's Blue Tuesday is that the wall-to-wall television interviews he granted were designed not to apologize for Tom Daschle's fall from grace but to fight back against the Republicans' success in tarnishing his stimulus package.Obama's network appearances were planned as a response to a wholly unanticipated development: Republicans--short on new ideas, low on votes, and deeply unpopular in the polls--have been winning the media wars over the president's central initiative.They have done so largely by focusing on minor bits of the stimulus that amount

Crazy Like A Fox
12:00 AM

“New York is fantastic,” a pumped-up Rod Blagojevich said after strolling his way back to the luxurious Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday, hours after appearing on David Letterman. "Walking down the street here in Manhattan, cab drivers are honking, guys in cars are shouting support, ‘Keep it up! Keep fighting!’”You have to hand to it Rod Blagojevich. For someone who’s supposedly the most cuckoo and crooked man in politics, he’s assembled quite a fan club. “I must say the guy is growing on me,” said Dennis Miller on Fox News.

What's The Gop's Optimal Stimulus Strategy?
12:00 AM

Jon Chait and I were debating this at our editorial meeting this morning. Jon says the GOP's dream is to derail the stimulus plan, which would devastate the economy and destroy Obama's presidency. I say that'd be pretty self-defeating. Everyone knows Obama inherited an economic mess, and that Obama and the Democrats badly want to pass a stimulus. If the stimulus dies, the GOP will almost certainly get blamed.

The Emerging Republican Majority
12:00 AM

Let me offer my two-bits in the debate between Noam Scheiber and Jon Chait over what the Republicans are trying to accomplish by holding up Obama’s stimulus bill and what could happen if they are successful in significantly diluting it. I don’t have an answer to question number one, except that I imagine that Republican Senators are acting from a variety of motives--from the narrowly partisan (compare the House Republicans this year or the Senate Republicans in 1993) to the foolishly ideological.

More Hhs Chatter--and Not Just About Bredesen
12:00 AM

For more proof of how the left would react to the appointment of Phil Bredesen to run the Department of Health and Human Services, here's Dr. SteveB, the health care blogger over at DailyKos: This choice would represent a complete betrayal by Obama of what he ran on in so many ways. Bredesen would be a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible choice. Sort of like putting Summers in charge of economic policy or Gregg in charge of Commerce. But worse.

What's The Gop's Optimal Stimulus Strategy?
12:00 AM

Jon Chait and I were debating this at our editorial meeting this morning. Jon says the GOP's dream is to derail the stimulus plan, which would devastate the economy and destroy Obama's presidency. I say that'd be pretty self-defeating. Everyone knows Obama inherited an economic mess, and that Obama and the Democrats badly want to pass a stimulus. If the stimulus dies, the GOP will almost certainly get blamed.

Elections Have Consequences, Good News Edition
12:00 AM

On Wednesday, President Obama signed into a law an extension of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). Congress had passed a similar measure last year, when the program--first created during the Clinton Administration, with bipartisan support--was up for renewal. But President Bush and his conservative allies refused to go along, saying it was "government-run health care." The bill's supporters, which included not just the Democrats but many Republicans as well, couldn't quite muster the votes to overcome the veto.

February 04, 2009

Tough Love
12:00 AM

Last year, a new Middle East lobby called J Street was formed to push American Jewish opinion in a more conciliatory direction. "What we're responding to," wrote J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami last year, "is that for too long there's been an alliance between the neo-cons, the radical right ofthe Christian Zionist movement and the far-right portions of the Jewish community that has really locked up what it means to be pro-Israel." Israel's supporters do have a distressing tendency to define their position in maximalist terms.

Stringer Theory
12:00 AM

Earlier this month, Joe the Plumber Wurzelbacher--last seen serving as the third wheel on John McCain and Sarah Palin's increasingly disastrous blind date--traded in his toilet jack for a handheld microphone and traveled to the Middle East to become a foreign correspondent covering the Israel-Hamas war for the conservative website Pajamas Media. Alas, he wasn't terribly impressed with his new colleagues. "I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting," Wurzelbacher said in the Israeli city of Sderot, where he was, from all appearances, reporting. "You know, war is hell.

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