January 23, 2009
Obama Defangs Mcconnell
Peter Baker reports that Republicans (or at least Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell) emerged from the bipartisan White House economic meeting just now optimistic that we'll have a stimulus bill by mid-February. Baker notes that Obama budget director Peter Orszag offered the same assurance I'd written about yesterday--that 75 percent of the overall bill will take effect in the next 18 months--which seems to have gone over pretty well.
I know you must be aware of the Durban II...Well, what shall I call it? First of all, it is an extravaganza, like all the conferences sponsored by the hand-to-mouth United Nations, even the relatively benign ones like "the year of the child" or "the year of the woman." It is true that these ideological jamborees allow people to meet who might not be able to meet otherwise. But I wonder if anyone has ever done a cost-benefit analysis of what good has come out of any of these. By all accounts, you are a tough-minded and simpatico person.
Sour Kraut & Bitter Mike
Wow. From the looks of the WaPo op-ed page, some of the town's conservative pontificators are still sucking on some seriously sour grapes. Krauthammer's column, if you read all the way to the end, actually kinda, sorta compliments Obama for giving a post-racial inaugural address. But to get to that grudging praise, one must slog through the first two-thirds of Krauthammer's exceedingly grumpy trashing of Obama's "dour," thudding speech, in which he somehow even manages to fault the new POTUS for not being the eternally needy adulation slut that Bill Clinton was.
Today At Tnr (january 23, 2009)
The Establishment's Pick: Why Leon Panetta Could Be Wrong For The CIA.
January 22, 2009
WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends. He will cast extreme individualism as an infantile approach to politics that must be supplanted by a more adult sense of personal and collective responsibility. He will honor government's role in our democracy and not degrade it. He wants America to lead the world, but as much by example as by force.And in trying to do all these things, he will confuse a lot of people.
George Mitchell’s contribution to the peace process dictionary of lost causes is the link between “end of violence” and “settlements.” But the former senator, former North Ireland negotiator, and former head of the fact-finding Mitchell Commission is going back to a Middle East much different than the one he had studied back in 2000. Mitchell, the Obama administration’s newly appointed Middle East envoy, will still recognize many of the players in the region. However, rereading his report to President Bush from eight years ago is like reading an old, outdated newspaper clip.
Barack Obama’s recent bipartisan charm offensive--dinner with columnists like Bill Kristol, toasting John McCain at a fancy dinner--may be striking, and a little titillating in its audacity. But it’s actually nothing new. Within days of his inauguration in 2001, George W. Bush launched a similar offensive of his own. Although the new president had emerged from a bitterly fought Florida recount battle, with some Democrats doubting his very legitimacy, he quickly reached across the aisle and pledged to work with the opposition.
This afternoon, Robert Gibbs held his first press conference as Obama's White House press secretary. We asked Dee Dee Myers, who held the same position at the beginning of Bill Clinton's term, what she thought. On his performance: He didn’t make any mistakes. He seemed a tiny bit nervous, which I thought was appropriate, since it’s his first briefing and there’s an incredible amount of interest. He’d be crazy not to be a little bit nervous, I suppose.
Hill Republicans have spent the last few days dwelling on a CBO report showing that less than 40 percent of the $350 billion worth of spending projects in the House stimulus bill would take effect in the next two years. (The overall bill includes other items like tax cuts and aid to states and runs about $825 billion.) I heard two or three GOP senators raise the issue at Tim Geithner's confirmation hearing, and several of the usual suspects held a press conference yesterday to hammer the point home. It's the kind of critique that, if unrebutted, could become an effective rallying cry.
When Kinsley Attacks
I meant to post this yesterday, but better late than never. It's a hatchet job on Yale that Michael Kinsley wrote as an undergrad--a colleague sent it to me after seeing my piece on Yale and Harvard. Subject matter aside, it's amazing how recognizable Kinsley's voice is. It's almost more satisfying than his professional work, since he's even less inhibited. My favorite passage: For one thing, there's the presidency. Last Spring, I asked Brewster for an interview for the Crimson.