Steve Benen

For all of their complaints about public education, conservative Republicans have generally shied away from attacking the idea in principle.

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Today the Wall Street Journal editorial page joins the chorus of conservatives trashing President Obama's Monday announcement about the Affordable Care Act. Obama said he was offering the states greater flexibility, by allowing them to opt out of the Act' under certain circumstances. But the flexibility he'd afford is just a "mirage," according to the Journal. States "would still need to find other mechanisms to achieve the same liberal priorities." Well, yes, that's true. But that's because the "liberal priorities" are to provide everybody with decent, affordable health insurance.

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Steve Benen has a fine item ridiculing the “shower issue” when it comes to DADT repeal implementation.

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Polling on health care reform remains as reliable as ever, which means that you shouldn't consider it particularly reliable. Voters have mixed feelings and few actually understand what it's in the law, which means answers depend a lot on how the survey firms word their questions. But the polls do provide some insights. And they've consistently undermined the claim that  Americans are clamoring to scrap the Affordable Care Act because it tries to do too much. The latest evidence comes from the new Associated Press-GfK poll, which Greg Sargent flagged on Friday.

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 Steve Benen argues: I continue to believe in a simple litmus test -- if you claim to believe in fiscal responsibility and want to cut the deficit, you can’t insist that the Pentagon budget is untouchable. It’s an immediate credibility killer, reflecting a fundamental lack of seriousness about the subject. I understand his point, and it’s a good post, but I’m going to disagree with it.

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Remember when Republicans were complaining about "uncertainty"? As the argument went, businesses weren't expanding and hiring new workers because they feared struggling with new regulations and taxes. Businesses, the Republicans said, needed certainty and financial relief. Apparently Republican thinking has evolved, as Steve Benen at Washington Monthly and Pat Garofalo at Wonk Room explain today. In late July, the Democrats were poised to pass a small-business assistance bill, full of tax breaks and other incentives designed to reward small businesses that hire new workers.

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Democrats have edged ahead of Republicans in the generic ballot, according to the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, although the fluctuation is probably just statistical noise. But the regional background reveals a familiar a pattern, as Steve Benen shows with this graph: The more things change...    

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-- Steve Coll asks us to stop blaming the Afghans. -- Daniel Gross defends the electric car against fellow Washington Post co. employee Charles Lane. -- Rick Hertzberg swats away more uninformed defenses of the electoral college. -- Suzy Khimm highlights the first signs of corporations taking advantage of the Citizens United ruling. -- Steve Benen likes the shifting Republican narrative on tax cuts.

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-- Jason Zengerle takes on the right's hatred of Eric Holder -- Steve Benen recalls when Republicans loved the idea of disclosure in campaign finance. -- A new paper quantifies how the stimulus and economic rescue prevented economic catastrophe. -- Paul Krugman explains why he always said the stimulus was too small to prevent mass unemployment. -- Mark Halperin: "The Sherrod story is a reminder — much like the 2004 assault on John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — that the old media are often swayed by controversies pushed by the conservative new media."  

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-- Matt Welch yawns at Journolistgate -- Is the individual mandate really a tax? -- James Pethokoukis and Kevin Drum on being pro-market rather than pro-business -- Steve Benen on "making the unemployed wait for no reason"

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