Tom Graves

As House Republicans once again march us toward the precipice, they are being led by one Tom Graves, a member from Georgia.

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In my first cover story for the magazine, which went up on-line today and will hit newsstands next week, I tell the story of Rick Perry's remarkable rise, with a focus on the enterprise he's built around himself in Texas: a flow of money (campaign contributions coming in; contracts, appointments, and awards from his $800 million in economic development accounts going out) that is unprecedented in scale even in Texas, where the sky's the limit for political donations. Perry's primary rivals have already tried to give this enterprise a name -- the dread alliterative, crony capitalism.

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This last weekend, Ross Douthat argued that Republican intransigence on the deficit was not really evidence that the party had lost its marbles. The party, he postulated, was shrewdly attempting to maximize its leverage. Douthat's argument hinged on the premise that Republicans had to account for the fact that any budget deal would come with future tax hikes when the Bush tax cuts expire: The White House hasn’t made spending concessions just because the president wants to campaign as a deficit cutter next year.

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