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News Flash: Populism Is Popular

Both parties are suddenly listening to “the people” instead of the Establishment. They know the political class, however offended, can no longer stop a voter backlash.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Stop Thinking About Yesterday’s Health Care Debate

Because of the defeat of health care reform in 1994, there will be a temptation to treat every dispute as the first step toward the collapse of the process, ignoring the fact that times and minds change.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE



Harald Dettenborn

Report: Rep. Harman Mixed Up With AIPAC, Espionage and Alberto Gonzales

Rep. Jane Harman agreed to go to bat for two AIPAC officials accused of espionage, in exchange for which an Israeli spy would try to get her appointed to chair the House Intelligence Committee, according to Congressional Quarterly. The NSA reportedly captured an exchange between Harman and the spy, during which the congresswoman allegedly said, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?

Ten years after the Columbine massacre, our president stood in Mexico, where assault rifles from the U.S. are used to murder police officers, and said the American gun lobby is just too strong for him push a rational gun regulation through Congress. How sad.

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE


Armey’s Tea Party Army

At the apex of the tea party movement is FreedomWorks, headed by former Rep. Dick Armey. His past career should be instructive to any starry-eyed citizens who believe that they have at last found the true right-wing revolutionary path.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


The Obama Doctrine

The president insists that the U.S. can’t achieve great objectives on its own. This may break with George W. Bush’s style, but it is in keeping with the traditions of Roosevelt, Truman and George H.W. Bush.
 

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi’s Balancing Act

By comparison with her recent predecessors, she’s a strong speaker of the House. She has far more control than the previous Democratic speaker had, despite having to contend with a more conservative GOP and an ideologically diverse pack of Democrats.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


Crazy Like a Fox?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if the Republican Party wants to get back into the game, it should start by paying more attention to its new chairman, the all-too-quotable Michael Steele.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Susan Walsh

Resist or Become Serfs

If we do not immediately halt our elite’s rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform at Last

Yes, this is the year Congress will finally give every American access to health insurance. For the first time since the passage of Medicare in the 1960s, the forces favoring action on health care reform are stronger than the forces of cynicism and obstruction.

Posted on Apr 5, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / cursedthing

House Passes Mega-Budget ’09

Not a single House Republican voted for Barack Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget, but that didn’t stop the Democrats from passing it 233-196. The Senate is on its way to passing its own version, but the real clamor is over whether the final product will end up with reconciliation provisions that would filibuster-proof the president’s health care and energy proposals.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Outrage Over Workers Getting the Shaft?

The AFL-CIO spent $250 million in last year’s elections on behalf of Obama and other Democrats, yet a waffling president and a handful of senators have managed to kill the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, a cruel defeat for labor.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Change You Can Translate

If there is a trend in democratic nations now, it is toward younger politicians who express disenchantment with the status quo, more by questioning past approaches than by offering fully worked-out alternative systems.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Daring to Utter the T Word

The most significant moment of Obama’s news conference concerned taxes: his defense of proposed limits on the benefits that the well-off get for their charitable contributions and mortgage payments.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


Kill AIG Bonuses With a Tax? It’s a Lousy Idea

Obama needs to stop straddling and to threaten to veto any cockamamie tax scheme that emerges from Congress as retribution for the repulsive bonuses handed out at American International Group.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE



Jacob Heilbrunn on Alger Hiss

Susan Jacoby’s lucid new book reminds us that the Hiss case offered a vengeful postwar right a golden opportunity to tar the New Deal as a crypto-communist conspiracy—and why it still matters.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Time to Put the Clamps on Tobacco

An idea that has been around for years now has reached that rarest of moments: There is a political environment that should, if reason prevails, produce legislation to require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


A Big Moment for Volunteerism

The House this week is expected to vote to expand civilian service, and the Senate will soon take up a similar bill. This issue holds the promise of producing that much prized but elusive Washington commodity: a large bipartisan majority. 

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


For Competition Before They Were Against It

Republicans insist that “competition solves health care,” and tell us that government programs are worse than private health insurance. So, don’t they welcome a private-versus-public competition, believing that the former will trump the latter? Well ... uh ... no.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


From Frozen Minds, a ‘Spending Freeze’

Things are bad, and very likely to get worse—but the Republicans seem determined to plunge us into a real depression, gambling that catastrophe would return them to power.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chuck Kennedy

Obama on the Defensive as Stock Rebound Continues

The Dow is up another 240 points, gaining 9.5 percent over the last three days, but the president doesn’t want you getting too excited about it—or too distraught when things inevitably swing the other way.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Lynne Sladky

A Changing Community Now Wants Softer U.S. Policy on Cuba

A majority of Florida’s Cuban-Americans, including many former hard-liners, have come to oppose a U.S. embargo strategy that has proved futile over the decades.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi Has Reason to Smile

It’s “a completely different world,” says the House speaker, delighted by “the fact that we have a Democratic president who ... put forth an agenda for America that contained many of the issues that we have been fighting for over the years.”

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Rushing Toward Irrelevance

Once, conservatives liked to say that “ideas matter.” Although many of their theories later proved flimsy, they at least attempted to address real problems with fresh thinking. But ideas no longer matter—and in fact they’re dangerous, according to the maximum leader of the right.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE



Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte

It’s Obama’s War Now

Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, President Obama said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


Robin-Hood Republicanism?

Only months after the 2008 primaries, most Americans probably don’t remember Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. But that doesn’t mean the conservative populism they championed during their campaigns is as fleeting as their dark-horse candidacies.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Redux?

For someone who spent much of the Democratic primary season running against the Clinton era, Obama sounds an awful lot like President Clinton.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE



White House

The President’s Address to Congress

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama acknowledged the dire state of the economy, but struck a hopeful tone as he expanded on his vision for recovery. Investments in energy, education and health care will be key, he said, as will an expanded bailout of the financial sector. (Summary, video and full text after the jump)

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE


‘Entitlements’ Take a Bum Rap

It is time to wipe the term entitlement reform, a monument to the dark art of disinformation, out of the political dictionary. There is no crisis in Social Security, or even in Medicare and Medicaid.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE


A Road-Trip Presidency

After Obama began to campaign around the country for the stimulus, support for the package rose. Administration officials have taken notice. Count on this to be a road-trip presidency. 

Posted on Feb 22, 2009 READ MORE


Sarah Palin
Flickr / geerlingguy

Some Governors May Tell Obama to Stuff It

While just about every state in the Union is starving for funds, a small band of Republican governors is debating whether or not to reject the stimulus bill’s cash infusion, citing concerns over future taxes. This California editor says good. Give their stimulus money to my state. It’s broke.

Posted on Feb 22, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Zachary Karabell on ‘The Case for Big Government’

Jeff Madrick’s new book insists that the anti-government ethos that is a treasured American prejudice is not grounded in the new economic reality. But is he fighting the last war?

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / M. Spencer Green

Health Care Reform Can’t Wait

The national health care crisis, intensified by the recession, is so bad that nothing can be permitted to stop reform of the system, not even the implosion of the president’s health czar.

Posted on Feb 19, 2009 READ MORE


There Was No GOP ‘Victory’

Republicans congratulate themselves for remaining unified in defeat and whine about Obama’s refusal to capitulate—but in fact it is they who have failed in the initial episode of a confrontation that will certainly continue for four years.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Paul Morse / Pete Souza

Good Money After Bad

Congressional Republicans, with the exception of that embarrassingly shrunken contingent of three moderates, will rue their legacy of deep indifference at a time of true national emergency, one that makes George W. Bush’s far more costly war on terror now seem an absurdly irrelevant exercise.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


Blame Your Puny Paycheck

This didn’t start with the mortgage and credit crisis. It all began with the wage crisis.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE


A Hand on History

President Obama senses that fate has handed him opportunities few presidents ever get, and that his test will be whether he makes good use of his chance to bend history at one of its “inflection points.”

Posted on Feb 15, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Jeffrey Beall

Pols Sink or Swim With the Stimulus

President Obama on Tuesday will sign the stimulus bill, which passed without the support of a single House Republican and with only three votes from the GOP in the Senate. With battle lines that stark, lawmakers have tied their fates to that of the bill.

Posted on Feb 15, 2009 READ MORE



Allen Barra on the Myth of Ronald Reagan

At last, a revisionist takedown of our 40th president, portrayed as an empty suit too often lauded by the common people he betrayed.

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Another Nominee Bites the Dust

Apparently nobody wants to be President Obama’s commerce secretary. The second candidate for the post, Sen. Judd Gregg, has dropped out. The Republican senator cited “irresolvable conflicts,” including the stimulus package and the census. That’s what you get for trying to make nice with those fussy Republicans.

Posted on Feb 12, 2009 READ MORE


Stronger, Please, Mr. President

Having allowed his Republican opponents to dominate the economic debate, Obama used his first news conference to rebut them—coolly and civilly, yet without leaving any doubt that he can strike back harder if necessary.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE



Dems Bicker Behind the Scenes

It seems Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s stimulus compromise announcement was a tad premature, a fact that reportedly irked the most powerful woman in politics, Nancy Pelosi. “The speaker went through the roof,” a House Democrat told Politico, when she saw Reid’s alleged power play.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Reid
The New York Times / Susan Etheridge

Reid Announces Stimulus Agreement

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday afternoon that congressional leaders have finally agreed on a $789 billion economic stimulus package, pushing the plan to a final House and Senate vote by Friday at the earliest.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Stimulus Survives Senate Pecking

The Senate passed its own version of the stimulus package Tuesday, slashing funding in areas that would most effectively stimulate the economy, such as aid to low-income Americans and states, while expanding tax cuts. The House and Senate bills must now be reconciled with one another.

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Slam the Door on Compromise

Bipartisanship is a cute idea, but with 600,000 Americans losing their jobs in one month, there simply isn’t time to be nice.

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 READ MORE


A Team of Zombies

Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals,” but instead President Obama has populated his administration with Bush yes-men and Wall Street kleptocrats whose discredited theologies cannot be killed.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


In Washington, Public Policy and Private Wealth Are Hopelessly Tangled

Barack Obama in Washington reminds one of Diogenes in Athens, with his lantern in search of an honest man.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama and Howard Dean
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Howard Dean Should Have Been Obama’s Pick All Along

Now that Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name from the running to be health and human services secretary, President Obama should revisit the idea of nominating former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean for the position, an idea he abandoned last November for all the wrong reasons.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


GOP Revs Up the Spin on Stimulus

Republicans have been winning the media wars over Obama’s central initiative. They have done so largely by defining the proposal by its least significant parts.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


Ethical Malpractice

No need to fumble for words that sum up the stew of hypocrisy, arrogance and insiderism that is the unfolding saga of Tom Daschle. This is the audacity of audacity.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


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