Which Obama Is the Good Obama?
July 27, 2010

One of the frustrations that comes with reading a David Brooks column about policy is that inevitably it will revolve around some ill-defined distinction between good centrism and bad knee-jerk ideology. Good centrist policy is inevitably fitted with certain descriptors, like "modest," or (depending on Brooks' mood) "bold." It will be said to encourage the private sector while steering between the ideological evils of old-fashioned big government and anti-government animus.

Why Elizabeth Warren Will Likely Be Confirmed
July 27, 2010

Last week, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd aroused the ire of progressive activists when he wondered whether Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard Law professor who is a leading candidate to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, would be “confirmable.” “There’s a serious question about it,” he said on NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show.” Dodd’s concern is legitimate given that a mere 41 votes can block action in the Senate, and that the GOP has been willing to filibuster even seemingly popular proposals.

Obama's Push-Back On BP
June 03, 2010

Ridiculous as it may be that the press corps is going to spend every day demanding why President Obama hasn't plugged the oil spill in the Gulf, or demanding evidence that he is actually angry, that is the reality the White House faces. The only way out of the trap is to move the debate to a place where he can actually do something. Yesterday, Obama reiterated his call to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies, and to divert that money into clean energy.

Today's Must-Read
April 20, 2010

Noam has another terrific article loaded with great reporting on the state of financial reform. There's so much good stuff, I don't want to pick out one section, but I will anyway because this chunk was especially interesting: “I think right now, everyone sort of sees it as win-win-win,” says a senior administration official. “Frankly, Rahm’s hearing from friends in the financial industry that he should cut a deal before it goes to the floor--that probably makes him less likely to do that, work this out.

Meet Bob Rubin's PR Guy
April 09, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] The Times' Sewell Chan and Eric Dash have a great little piece about Bill Thomas, the volatile former Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, now vice chairman the the congressionally-chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). In a nutshell, Thomas is--how to put it?--a preening, self-righteous bully* who seems more interested in scoring rhetorical points than figuring out what caused the crisis.

The Latest On Stupak (Updated)
March 20, 2010

Dej ja vu all over again: We're a day away from a House vote on health care reform and success, once again, may hinge on a deal with Democrats who oppose abortion rights. As you know, Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak has said he can't vote for the senate health care bill because, at least in his view, it doesn't sufficiently restrict abortion.

Diversion Tactics
March 17, 2010

I agree with Ezra Klein that the House Democrats are foolish to enact health care reform through this "deem and pass" method. And I agree with Ezra, again, that Republicans are being ridiculously hypocritical to attack it as unfair. But that's not why I recommend you read his post. It is, rather, his analysis of why the Republicans are focusing on these attacks: this need for a nuclear response is a sign of their weakness in the face of the reality of this bill. They're much more comfortable talking about process, or marginal deals, then about the legislation itself.

How to Stop the Bleeding
March 15, 2010

Obama needs to learn Reagan's lessons from 1982.

Senate Bipartisanship
February 22, 2010

Republicans Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown voted to defeat a GOP filibuster of a $15 billion tax break for businesses that hire workers. Ben Nelson voted with the Republicans. What does this tell you? It tells you that these Senators recognized that the legislation is essentially symbolic, and therefore a good time to burnish their moderate credentials rather than spend political capital to advance their party's agenda.

The Great Unknowns (Updated)
February 19, 2010

If you read this blog, you probably want to know the true state of play in the health care reform debate. Well, join the club. After yet another a round of phone calls on Friday, I've become convinced that nobody really knows for sure. There's a lot of activity and discussion right now. But the key discussions involve a very small circle of people--smaller, in fact, than the circle of people you see quoted in the media, even anonymously.