Trigger Happy
October 26, 2011

Everybody agrees that the bipartisan deficit super committee had better hurry up and strike a deal to cut the federal budget by $1.2 trillion so it can meet its November 23 deadline. If it doesn’t, then all hell will break loose. Except it won’t. You may have lost track of the deficit story after Congress and President Obama averted catastrophe at the end of July by agreeing to raise the debt ceiling. Perhaps I can help.

September 28, 2011

In the good old days, they were called “the cardinals,” because the chairmen of the appropriations committee were so powerful. An insular group, they met behind closed doors, and, without wasting their time with input from anyone, they decided how the government should spend precious tax dollars. The most legendary example of the appropriator’s might is Charlie Wilson, the Texas representative who launched a covert war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, simply through canny use of the power of the purse.  How times have changed.

Hope and Change: Meet the Ex-Obama Staffers Getting Arrested in Front of the White House
September 03, 2011

Each morning for the past two weeks, scores of respectable-looking protestors ushered themselves into single file lines, walked determinedly through Washington’s Lafayette Park, sat down on the sidewalk in front of the White House, arranged themselves in rows as if for a class photo, and waited patiently to be arrested (the violation: blocking pedestrian traffic).

Root Against the Supercommittee? Maybe
August 17, 2011

[This analysis is a collaboration between Kaiser Health News and The New Republic.] Why does the debt ceiling deal give liberals so much heartburn? Many reasons, obviously.

Jesus and Jefferson
May 19, 2011

God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right By Daniel K. Williams (Oxford University Press, 372 pp., $29.95) From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism By Darren Dochuk (W.W. Norton, 520 pp., $35)  In the presidential election of 1976, the Democrat Jimmy Carter split the votes of American white evangelical Protestants almost evenly with the Republican Gerald Ford. With a clear plurality of at least ten percentage points, Carter did even better among the nation’s white Baptists.

Field of Dreams
December 01, 2010

This is the inaugural edition of Ed Kilgore's new political column, the PERMANENT CAMPAIGN. Check back every week for obsessive coverage of the 2012 contest. It's time to smack down, once and for all, the idea that President Obama will face a serious primary challenger in 2012. This trope has been popping up ever since the 2008 general election, when horserace-hungry pundits speculated that Hillary Clinton would try to knock off the Democratic nominee four years down the road.

Thanksgiving Reading
November 27, 2010

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] If you are feeling sick from family or overeating, and you are just dying to read one big article during Thanksgiving weekend, I would recommend this fantastic piece from Sunday's New York Times Business section. I don't want to reveal too much, but David Segal's completely fascinating article manages to raise interesting questions about the internet while simultaneously telling a riveting, disturbing story with two vivid characters. It's long, but well worth your time. 

The Thanksgiving Wars? Just Say No.
November 25, 2010

Why does the Tea Party insist on politicizing Thanksgiving?

'Mad Men' Mondays: 'Christmas Comes But Once A Year'
August 02, 2010

This is the new column in TNR’s weekly series of"Mad Men" episode recaps. Caution: It contains spoilers. Click here for last week's review. The second "Mad Men" episode of this season, "Christmas Comes But Once a Year," finds nearly all the major characters grappling with growing feelings of powerlessness. Basically, those people who have clout get the presents, and those who don't wind up humiliating themselves in a goofy red suit.

The Blago Trial: The Defense’s Hail Mary Pass
July 28, 2010

Click here to read Margo Howard’s assessment of the opening statements in the Blagojevich trial and here to read about the craziness that occurred during the first round of closing statements. Click here for her first, second, third, and fourth dispatches from the actual trial. Oh, thank goodness Sam Adam, Jr. has returned to deliver the defense’s closing, even after Judge Zagel impugned his legal masculinity at the end of the last session.