Five Keys to Obama's State of the Union
January 24, 2011
As President Obama prepares to deliver his 2011 State of the Union address, the American people have already delivered their own verdict: The state of the union is not good. A Gallup survey released yesterday revealed declining public satisfaction on virtually every front—not only about the ability of individuals to get ahead through hard work (the core of the American Dream), but also about our system of government, the size and power of the federal government, and the size and influence of major corporations. Most of these declines have been a long time in the making.
‘Wastebook’ Is a Waste
December 21, 2010
There’s a reason politicians are always loath to cut government budgets: It typically means hacking away at programs people like, and painful cuts lead to scary headlines. In Arizona, the state legislature recently cut off organ transplants for Medicaid patients, and the press responded with tales about sick patients who could die as a result. Not pretty. That’s why, when House Republicans pledged this week to cut federal spending by some $88 billion when the budget comes up for renewal in March, they shied away from specifics.
Senators Are Not Very Smart
December 10, 2010
Tom Coburn is displaying a strange understanding of how the budget works: I'd issue this challenge: anyone who thinks we oughta pay for tax cuts, oughta have to put up a list of programs that we're going to eliminate to pay for them. I put up every time when people are wanting to spend money a list of options that we can do to make it that we don't increase the very problem — hole that we're digging in. I don't really know what to say in response.
August 30, 2010
-- Alexander Zaitchik: Glenn Beck's Saturday rally was all about himself. -- Tom Coburn slams New Gingrich. -- Howard Gleckman explains why Obama's tax reform panel was a missed opportunity.
Animal Research = Silly
August 03, 2010
One of the challenges for crafting a fiscal stimulus is that the economic imperative demanded getting money out the door quickly, but the political imperative demanded avoiding any project that appeared wasteful. John McCain and Tom Coburn have produced their report chronicling "waste" in the stimulus. McCain's favorite method in such things is to seize upon any program that involves research into animals, because animals sound silly: The Coburn-McCain report takes issue with stimulus spending on projects like one that entailed research on how cocaine affects monkeys.
Ceding the Court
July 05, 2010
Washington—Here's when you know something momentous has happened to our struggle over the Supreme Court's role: When Republicans largely give up talking about "judicial activism," when liberals speak of the importance of democracy and deference to elected officials, and when judges are no longer seen as baseball umpires. All these things transpired during Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, though you might not know that unless you saw some of the most thoughtful blogs or news stories.
Is Toomey Too Looney?
May 12, 2010
Harry Enten marvels at the possibility that Pat Toomey could win a Senate election in Pennsylvania: Toomey ranked more conservative than 97.9% of all United States legislators since 1995. He had a more conservative voting record than J.D Hayworth, Jim DeMint, and was about as conservative as Jesse Helms.
The Deficit Commission Lives!
April 17, 2010
When the Republicans used their appointments to the deficit commission to name hard-core right-wingers like Tom Coburn and Jeb Hensarling, everybody assumed that meant the commission would just deadlock. But the hard-core right-wingers are sounding... flexible: "Everything is on the table," said Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), one of six GOP lawmakers on the commission, when asked by The Hill whether he'd block any recommendation to raise taxes.
April 07, 2010
Saturday Night Live had a funny skit in 2008, in which John McCain records a series of misleading but technically true attacks on Barack Obama. In one, the announcer declares, "Obama supports tax cuts for pedophiles." McCain looks skeptically at his campaign manager, who explains, "Well, there's no way to identify all pedophiles. Percentages are, if you cut taxes, it's going to benefit at least a couple of them." Now that attack has come to life: Obama is going to provide health insurance to pedophiles! Here's Senator Tom Coburn: Sen.
Calling The Reconciliation Bluff
March 23, 2010
It was pretty blindingly obvious that the Republican bluster about how the party planned to fight reconciliation tooth and nail, how it could strip out much or all of the language and bring the bill down, was bluster.