Obama’s in Good Company: All Presidents End Up Unpopular
August 20, 2011
In Washington, on both left and right, a new piece of conventional wisdom is hardening into place: Barack Obama’s presidency is slowly collapsing under the burdens of a bad economy, a rudderless foreign policy, and confusion about how the man who once twinkled with charisma wants to change the country. Even if the president manages to get re-elected, his chance to “win the future,” pundits agree, is probably over.
London Journal: How Britain Left Behind the Poor of Tottenham
August 10, 2011
I’m in London, having arrived on Saturday evening. The Sunday morning papers had absolutely nothing about the enormous riot in Tottenham the night before. But the online press had plenty—except who exactly was doing the rioting. I got all my news all day from this—shall we say incomplete?—source. The front pages of the print press on Monday, however, had almost nothing else. (Except, de rigueur,the disastrous news of advanced capitalism in further collapse.) The headlines were a bit different Tuesday morning.
Does Obama Have a Problem With His Base?
July 13, 2011
I recently argued that an increased deficit among the white working class could sink Obama’s re-election chances. That’s particularly the case if Obama is already weakened by relatively poor support from his base. Right now, that looks like a distinct possibility. This can be seen by looking at Obama’s two key base demographics: the minority vote and the youth vote. Start with minorities, the heart of the Obama coalition. In 2008, Obama received 80 percent support from minorities, who were 26 percent of all voters. Can he replicate that performance in 2012? Consider first the probable minori
The Pathologies Of The Anti-Deficit Lobby
July 11, 2011
The anti-deficit lobby is a powerful force in American political life.
‘Teavangelicals’: How the Christian Right Came to Bless the Economic Agenda of the Tea Party
July 11, 2011
According to received wisdom, the Christian Right is engaged in a tactical alliance with more secular-minded conservatives in the Republican Party. The pairing was established as far back as 1980, when Ronald Reagan made unambiguous support for social-conservative priorities (especially the abolition of abortion rights) GOP orthodoxy and earned the support of conservative evangelicals who had been politically mobilized and then bitterly disappointed by Jimmy Carter.
Imagine a new liberal policy magazine in which the word “Obama” appears only five times in 75 pages, and phrases like, “Obama should have …” or “Obama’s big mistake was …” never.
'Hard Truth' About the GOP: They Like Nonsense
June 08, 2011
Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota Governor and frontrunner in the "I'm not Mitt Romney" Republican primary, gave a major economic speech in Chicago on Tuesday. Although I also happened to be in Chicago, I didn't actually see the speech. And it appears I missed absolutely nothing. I say that not because Pawlenty's ideas are so conservative. I say that because they're so transparently unworkable and unrealistic.
Is Mitch McConnell Ready To Deal?
June 01, 2011
Jay Newton-Small interviews Mitch McConnell, who invokes the grand bargain on the deficit but maintains his no-new-taxes stance: TIME: Deficit reduction in the past has always required both sides to make sacrifices and then jump together. What are you willing to give up? McConnell: It is true that divided government is the only government that can do transformational, difficult things… One thing I do tell my members is: whatever we do with this President is not going to be an issue in the next election.
Can Democrats Win Back the House?
June 01, 2011
Charlie Cook points to reasons for historical caution: There is no historical precedent for the party of a president seeking reelection scoring a net gain of more than 15 seats; presidential re-election coattails do not exist. Franklin Roosevelt’s Democrats only picked up 11 seats in 1936, Dwight Eisenhower’s Republicans lost two in 1956; Republicans under Richard Nixon picked up 12 seats in 1972 and 14 seats in 1984 under Ronald Reagan. In the last two reelection years, Democrats gained nine seats in 1996 under Bill Clinton and Republicans three in 2004 under George W. Bush.
Our Asymmetrical Parties
May 20, 2011
Michael Gerson has a pretty interesting column noticing that the Democratic Party is riven in two, while the Republican Party is unified: Republican leaders have proved themselves capable of producing proposals that unite perhaps 90 percent of their congressional delegation, losing just a thin margin at each end of their ideological spectrum. But the job is made easier by the narrowness of the Republican ideological spectrum.