January 02, 2012
Nothing happening right now in Iowa is as important or as revealing (not to mention as entertaining) as the outburst by Eric Cantor's press secretary during a 60 Minutes interview that aired on Jan. 1. You won't find it on Politico's home page (yet), but it really happened. Scroll to the bottom of this item to watch the relevant portion (assuming you have the patience to sit through a commercial first). Here's the transcript: Leslie Stahl: So are you ready to compromise? Cantor: So I have always been ready to cooperate.
"I'm Sorry, You're Too Stupid To Collect Unemployment"
December 19, 2011
The House "reform" of unemployment insurance, which is included in its payroll-tax extension bill, is actually a reduction in benefits. Right now you can collect unemployment insurance up to 99 weeks. Under the House bill, you can collect only up to 59 weeks. By this logic, if you have a loaf of bread and I slice off two-fifths of it then what you're left with is reformed bread. You're welcome! Or so I thought. But it turns out that this Republican measure actually does include, in addition to the 59-week limit, a few changes to how unemployment insurance is handed out.
Brokered Conventions, Last-Minute Comebacks, and Other Crazy Ways the GOP Could End Up With a Nominee
December 16, 2011
Has there ever been a worse year for the conventional wisdom in handicapping a presidential primary race? Sure, the pundit pack has been grotesquely wrong before, from over-hyping Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2008 to smugly dismissing Howard Dean’s potential to galvanize anti-war Democrats in 2004. But never have the political railbirds so frequently compounded their errors as they reeled from one smug, but erroneous, prediction to another.
The 2008 Roots of Rudy's Beef With Romney
December 15, 2011
As Republicans far and wide take turns wielding the baseball bat against Newt Gingrich's kneecaps, one legendary brawler has decided to stick up for him: Rudy Giuliani. The former mayor's counterattack on Mitt Romney earlier today held little back. From Politico: "I’ve never seen a guy change his position so many times, so fast, on a dime,” Giuliani said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Strategist and Scourge
December 14, 2011
George F. Kennan: An American Life By John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin, 784 pp., $39.95) I. George F. Keenan, who was born in 1904 and died in 2005, and served under presidents from Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy, left as deep an imprint on American geopolitics as any intellectual of the twentieth century. But the exact nature of his achievement continues to elude full or even coherent description. One reason is that most of his very long life was spent in comparative obscurity.
December 14, 2011
On a warm Saturday in early July, an employee at the Maryland Historical Society placed a call to the police. He had noticed two visitors behaving strangely—a young, tall, handsome man with high cheekbones and full lips and a much older, heavier man, with dark, lank hair and a patchy, graying beard. The older man had called in advance to give the librarians a list of boxes of documents he wanted to see, saying that he was researching a book. At some point during their visit, the employee saw the younger man slip a document into a folder.
(Another) Romney Lie on Health Care
December 13, 2011
Mitt Romney's $10,000 wager during Saturday night's debate has gotten all the post-debate attention. And that's a shame, because what Romney said after proposing the bet also deserves scrutiny. It was about health care reform and why he objects to the Affordable Care Act. Romney's answer was hypocritical -- and, more important, it was a flat-out lie. Put aside, for the moment, the question of whether Romney was dissembling about his previous statements on the individual mandate.
Why Are American Politicians Always Switching Religions?
December 13, 2011
If Newton Leroy Gingrich becomes the Republican candidate for president of the United States, then the 2012 election will be a contest between two men who found new religions fairly late in life. Gingrich is on his third religion: He was raised a Lutheran, later became a Southern Baptist, and in 2009 was received into the Roman Catholic church. President Obama, having been raised in an irreligious home, famously found faith as an adult in Chicago, where he was baptized in 1988 by Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.
The Psychological Foundation of Obama’s Political Problems
November 28, 2011
In June 1985, Flora Lewis wrote in the New York Times that then-President Ronald Reagan said he had pounded the walls in frustration over the hostage crisis in Beirut. Given what we know about Reagan, it's not hard to believe that he would resort to such measures to express his rage. Now try to imagine Barack Obama similarly venting his frustration at the Republicans taking his agenda hostage for political gain. Hard to visualize, isn't it? That's no accident.
Why the Romney Doctrine Won't Resemble the Bush Doctrine
November 23, 2011
The Republican presidential primary has provided ample display of the party’s penchant for bellicosity in foreign affairs, and last night’s debate was no exception. It’s a posture that’s understandably gotten many liberals worried about a reprisal of the famously interventionist Bush Doctrine. “God help us if any of these jokers makes it into the White House,” wrote Fred Kaplan of Slate after watching the previous GOP’s national security debate. But maybe liberals shouldn’t fret so much.