Sunday's New York Times
It has been apparent for a while now that Mitt Romney’s candidacy is less than ideal for the one percent, or the one-tenth or one-hundredth of the one percent. It is one thing to have a candidate who is committed to promoting unjust tax policies that will help you and your fellow millionaires; it is another thing to have a candidate who benefits from those unjust policies, thus making himself a poster child for reform. Romney pays a federal income tax rate of only 14 percent on his income of more than $20 million per year because of two features of the tax code.
Editor's note: As I was thinking about Sunday's New York Times article about iPhone manufacturing, I e-mailed a few economists to see what lessons they drew from it. One was Andrew Samwick, of Dartmouth, who pointed me to a post at his new blog. There, he stresses, among other things, the importance of "agglomeration": Manufacturers like to build new plans in close proximity to suppliers.
After a busy week, I finally got around to picking up T.A. Frank's profile of Herman Cain in this past Sunday's New York Times magazine. Read it. It is the definitive piece on the Cain phenomenon, capturing its absurdity while also trying to reckon with its very real appeal and staying power. The piece appeared the day before Cain's five-minute wipe-out on Libya policy, but it all but predicted it: "To say that Herman Cain has an imperfect grasp of policy would be unfair not only to George W. Bush in 1999 but also to Britney Spears in 1999.
My plan is to stay here blogging the next couple of days, and since it's my last couple of days at TNR, I may as well go out in a blaze of hippie-punching. Democratic message consultant Drew Westen, whose New York Times cri de coeur of liberal frustration gained wide acclaim despite, or perhaps because of, its massive factual and historical errors, has another piece responding to your truly. He begins by implying that my response to him was part of a coordinated administration campaign: [I]n a cover story in The New York Times a month ago, I questioned whether he has it in his DNA to lead.
Last month, the Heritage Foundation had some fun with what it called a "flip-flop" by the Obama administration: Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama launched a campaign against childhood obesity, which is interesting considering President Barack Obama’s past statements on hunger in America. In November of 2009 — only three short months ago — President Obama “reacted with concern” at a report that Americans are suffering “record levels” of “food insecurity,” according to a report from the Boston Globe. ... So which is it? Is the real problem here hunger, or is it obesity? Hur-hur!
Sunday's New York Times had a terrific investigative story about the Congressional Black Caucus's use of creative fundraising tactics to soak up corporate cash: From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions, according to an analysis by The New York Times, an impressive amount even by the standards of a Washington awash in cash. Only $1 million of that went to the caucus’s political action committee; the rest poured into the largely unregulated nonprofit network.
I appreciated two things about Sunday's New York Times piece about Roger Ailes. First, the article attempted to evaluate Ailes' influence as a Republican operative without getting hung up on Ailes' preposterous insistence that he's in the business of objective news reporting. Most reporting about Fox either takes a studiously neutral approach toward the question of Fox's slant ("critics call the network conservative-leaning, but...") or, occasionally, devote their energy to proving Fox's partisan role. But this tends to mire every discussion of Fox's role in the first stage.
Sunday's New York Times piece on John Edwards is fun reading, and includes some juicy details about the lengths to which Edwards' financial backers went to keep their candidate in the clear. Two other things were worth noting. First: At the same time, Mr. Edwards is moving toward an abrupt reversal in his public posture; associates said in interviews that he is considering declaring that he is the father of Ms. Hunter’s 19-month-old daughter, something that he once flatly asserted in a television interview was not possible. Friends and other associates of Mr.