May 14, 2011
Obama was a messaging master in 2008, with his “Change” and “Hope” mantras. But, in 2012, with some of the called-for changes completed, or, at the other end of the spectrum, abandoned, he’ll have to navigate a more treacherous field of potential promises. On some issues, like immigration, we are likely to hear that change takes more than one term. Others he’s likely to avoid altogether. Below is a list of particularly sticky issues—some critical in 2008—that the Obama campaign will have to step gently around: Bailouts.
The Myth of Moderate Mitch
May 11, 2011
During his tenure in office, Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, has enacted a set of policies that would make any conservative proud. Elected with the help of donations from the Koch brothers, he signed bills that abolished the right of teachers to bargain for anything other than wages and wage-related benefits and initiated the largest private-school voucher program in the country. He’s said he will sign a bill that will end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in his state and ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
April 30, 2011
In 2001, Amr Moussa, the current Egyptian Secretary-General of the Arab League, briefly achieved pop-icon status. Serving at the time as Hosni Mubarak’s foreign minister, Moussa’s frequent anti-Israel pronouncements caught the attention of Egyptian pop singer Shaaban Abdel Rahim, who released a song with the line, “I hate Israel and I love Amr Moussa.” The song became a tremendous hit. Shortly thereafter, Mubarak, who had come to regard Moussa as a serious political rival, exiled him to the Arab League. Ten years later, however, Moussa is back in the public eye.
Dick Morris Is Lying, Part ∞
March 24, 2011
[This is a guest post by Ezra Deutsch-Feldman and Michael Fitzgerald] Last week, Dick Morris wrote a column for The Hill which was almost willfully illogical and wrong, even by the usual Dick Morris standards of lies and attacks. Luckily, he made a bold and falsifiable prediction—that Obama will not win a second term—so that if he turns out to be wrong, perhaps we can all look forward to seeing him sheepishly own up to his mistakes and pledge to be more careful.
March 17, 2011
Few health care experts are more intimidating or effective than Gail Wilensky. An economist trained at the University of Michigan, Wilensky served as director of Medicare and Medicaid under George H.W. Bush. Later, she became chairperson of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a highly respected, blue-ribbon commission that advises Medicare on what to pay for medical services. Since that time, she’s held multiple positions in the advocacy and nonprofit worlds.
February 28, 2011
Herzliya, Israel—For years, American neoconservatives have been accused of being lackeys for Israel, namely the Likud party. In 2008, Time’s Joe Klein wrote, “The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives—people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary—plumped for [the Iraq] war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S.
In the Margins
February 23, 2011
In the latest installment of its occasional series on how technology is ruining our lives, The New York Times reports on a conference about to be held by the Caxton Club, a group of Chicago bibliophiles, on how annotating books “enhance[s] the reading experience.” Alongside some entertaining literary tidbits (Nelson Mandela wrote his own name in the margin of Julius Caesar next to the line “Cowards die many times before their deaths”), we find in the article the usual doomsday musings on the fate of marginalia in the digital age. The Caxtonites, needless to say, are not into the Kindle.
Why Are Professors Democrats?
February 08, 2011
The New York Times has one of those stories that seem to appear every six months or so about the dearth of conservatives in academia. Conservatives seem to view this entirely as a problem of academic ideological bias. I certainly think that exists, but it can't explain all or even most of the problem, given that even the hard sciences are overwhelmingly Democratic. One factor is that conservatives are probably less likely than liberals to choose academia, as Paul Krugman notes: Ideologies have a real effect on overall life outlook, which has a direct impact on job choices.
The Individual Mandate's Creator Speaks
February 01, 2011
Ezra Klein interviews the person who came up with the individual mandate: Tell me about your involvement in the development of the individual mandate. I was involved in developing a plan for the George H.W. Bush administration. I wasn't a member of the administration, but part of a team of academics who believe the administration needed good proposals to look at. We did it because we were concerned about the specter of single payer insurance, which isn't market-oriented, and we didn't think was a good idea. One feature was the individual mandate.
No Love Gained
January 27, 2011
Cliff Stearns wanted answers. Just not, mind you, complicated answers. Stearns, the Florida Republican who now chairs the House energy and commerce oversight subcommittee, decided to hold a hearing Wednesday on Barack Obama’s promise to snip away outdated federal regulations. In theory, Stearns had the ideal witness: Cass Sunstein, the White House’s "regulatory czar," who, in his past life as a law professor (and frequent TNR contributor), seemed like he published a new book on subjects like cost-benefit analysis every few months.