House Republicans voted on Tuesday to pass a legislative version of “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” one of the newest and most disturbing of the many conservative oaths currently being sworn by large swaths of the GOP. Of course, the bill is not going to be enacted, and for some congressional Republicans, it will just serve as cover for some ultimate debt limit vote that will anger the conservative base. But the “Cut, Cap and Balance” measure explains a lot about the actual priorities of conservatives at a time when they are supposedly fixated on eliminating deficits and debts.
The GOP Feedback Loop: How Presidential Candidates and Congressmen are Moving Each Other to the Right
July 07, 2011
In the civics-book perspective on the American political system, presidential elections help make government work. They allow nominees to set a national agenda for the two major parties that transcend the regional differences and messy constituency-tending that so often occurs in Congress. And they pull the parties towards the political center, where swing voters live and bipartisanship thrives.
A few weeks ago, in anticipation of the District’s budget being taken up by Congress, I joined D.C. autonomy activists at a small press conference tucked away in the back corridors of the U.S. Capitol. The District’s lone delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and its mayor, Vincent Gray, took the opportunity to rally representatives from various organizations to join in D.C’s most awkward annual ritual: attempting to beg, scold, or otherwise shame Congress into abstaining from attaching riders to the city’s budget.
The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities: It's Not Good, Especially in Red States
June 22, 2011
Pardon my excursion into graphs and scatterplots today. There is a broader purpose. Last Tuesday I hit the “send” button on a big grant concerned with intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) policy issues. Last Wednesday, the bible of the field, State of the States in Developmental Disabilities, appeared in my mailbox. Such is life. State of the States is a periodic compendium of state policies, service patterns, and spending across the country.
Rick Perry: Why He’s Not the Man to Save the GOP
June 17, 2011
With the first major 2012 Republican presidential candidates’ debate over with, and the Iowa State GOP Straw Poll less than two months away, the window for additional candidates to emerge and strengthen a shallow field is rapidly narrowing.
The Cain Train
June 03, 2011
Among the many striking features of Georgia-based radio talk show host Herman Cain’s presidential announcement speech in Atlanta on May 21, the most surreal was to hear an African-American in front of a heavily white audience of hard-core conservatives, at a site within shouting distance of the Martin Luther King Center, end his remarks by declaring, “When Herman Cain is president, we will finally be able to say, ‘Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, America is free at last.’” Cain’s decision to appropriate those famous words from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is in many ways char
Don’t Draft Rick Perry
May 25, 2011
With Mitch Daniels officially out of the race, Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee now a distant after-thought, and Newt Gingrich’s campaign running on fumes, pundits of all political stripes are finding it hard to shake a persistent belief that there’s a gaping hole in the Republican presidential field. Indeed, the most frequent theme that keeps cropping up in smart analysis of the current state of play is that the contest cries out for a late-entering, credible southern candidate.
Tim Pawlenty's Cash Problem
May 23, 2011
With Mitch Daniels officially out of the presidential race, it seems like the entire GOP is emulating Ethelred the Unready. Well, not quite everyone. In a contrarian move at odds with the Reluctant Republican ethos of the party, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will actually make it official by declaring his candidacy today in Des Moines. Along with the obligatory yawn-inducing “can you win Iowa?” question, Pawlenty almost certainly will be asked again about his ability to compete financially with Mitt Romney, the Daddy Warbucks of the truncated Republican field.
May 19, 2011
A few years ago, four of the current Republican presidential candidates—Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman—all supported a cap-and-trade approach to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. In the years since, however, conservatives have made “cap-and-trade” a dirty word, and climate denialism is now de rigueur on the right.
May 16, 2011
Mike Huckabee pulled off quite a Sweeps Week carny act Saturday night, pulling in what must have been a record audience for his Fox show by sending all sorts of mixed signals about his presidential intentions. Prior to his announcement, he presided over a spirited trashing of Mitt Romney’s health care speech and listened good-naturedly to guest Ted Nugent call for Navy SEAL teams to “secure” the borders by giving transgressors the ol’ bin Laden treatment.