August 12, 2009
On the evening of Saturday, June 13, a day after the Iranian presidential election, Vice President Joe Biden was preparing for an appearance the next morning on NBC's "Meet the Press." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian incumbent, was already claiming a preposterously large margin of victory, and reformist protesters were clashing with basiij thugs in Tehran. The Obama administration faced a delicate and fluid situation, and it was far from clear what Biden should say. In circumstances like these, the vice president--especially this vice president--could not simply wing it.
Is A Half-Assed Climate Bill Worth Supporting? Probably.
July 01, 2009
Among people who think we need strong, rapid action to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and avoid dangerous climate change—and I'm one of them—there's been a great deal of hand-wringing over whether or not to support the House climate and energy bill, which is now cruising on over to the Senate. The warts on the House bill are big and hideous: The renewable-electricity standard would require utilities to do little more than what existing state laws already require.
Conservatism Is Dead
February 18, 2009
An intellectual autopsy of the movement.
Could Obama Tax Cut His Way To Reelection?
January 26, 2009
Plenty of people have chewed over the costs and benefits of including vast tax cuts in the Obama stimulus bill. It's a bit crass, but one issue that I haven't seen discussed is the impact these tax cuts will have on Obama's reelection in 2012. As Princeton political economist Larry Bartels has discovered, Democratic presidents consistently deliver more economic growth among all income classes during any four-year period.
From TR to BHO
December 03, 2008
Not that my political history is so important. After all, no one in either the near or more remote environs of The New Republic required my enthusiasm for Barack Obama to kindle their own. As for my own enthusiasm--actually, it was at first a quizzical intrigue--it was sparked by the disciplined and thoughtful passion of my thirty-something children, first my film director (First Love, Last Rites; The Chateau; The Ex) son, soon thereafter my writer (Vanity Fair) daughter.
Debt Man Walking
December 03, 2008
For those Americans who are not daily readers of the Financial Times, the past few months have been a crash course in the abstract and obscure instruments and arrangements that have derailed the nation's economy. From mortgage-backed securities to credit default swaps, the financial health of the country has undergone a gory public dissection.
America the Liberal
November 19, 2008
The Democratic majority: It emerged!
End of an Error
October 22, 2008
Last year, I published a book describing how right-wing economics had come to dominate American politics. Whenever you write a book about something bad that's happening, you get asked for the solution. I'd shrug and admit that I didn't have one. The questioner would usually look slightly disappointed, so I'd add that nothing lasts forever, and eventually something will come along to change things. The financial crisis might be that something. When liberals talk about turning economic lemons into political lemonade, the usual model is the New Deal.
October 08, 2008
The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills Edited by John Summers (Oxford University Press, 320 pp., $21.95) C.Wright Mills published his sociological trilogy during the 1950s: White Collar in 1951, The Power Elite in 1956, The Sociological Imagination in 1959. Those were years of Republican ascendancy, and while the president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a moderate, the vice president, Richard Nixon, and a number of key senators, including Joe McCarthy, belonged to the conservative wing of the party.