August 13, 2012, 4:05 pm
Mike Grunwald has a post at FP summarizing his new book, The New New Deal. The basic argument (of both the post and the book) seems to me clear and unassailable: the President’s “stimulus package,” or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is an under appreciated success for two reasons.
First, as to recovery, the jobs stimulus averted much worse unemployment than we would otherwise have had; this is widely understood.
Second, as to reinvestment, it will bring real and lasting “change” — Grunwald uses this word deliberately, arguing that (unlike FDR) Obama has scrupulously kept his campaign promises. ARRA has transformed the energy sector, giving renewable energy a new lease on life; it modernized medical records, it put money into high-speed rail, and pushed high-speed internet out to poorer areas. This is the more original part of Grunwald’s book and the most valuable; it’s…
July 25, 2012, 6:20 pm
Someone on Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team told a reporter about the US-UK special relationship, “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage … The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.” Get it? The black guy doesn’t appreciate shared Anglo-Saxon history. Because he’s black. No, I don’t think you understand: he’s b-l-a-c-k. Not like our guy. Get it? Let me try it again …
Theodore Roosevelt had this to say about our alleged shared Anglo-Saxon history:
… I have always insisted that we [Americans] are not Anglo-Saxon at all – even admitting for the sake of argument, which I do not, that there are any Anglo-Saxons – but a new and mixed race – a race drawing its blood from many different sources … My own view is, that if a man is good enough for me to profit by his services before the election, he is good enough for me to do what I can for him after…
July 13, 2012, 5:05 pm
This blog expected Barack Obama to disappoint us, and he did not disappoint in his capacity for disappointment. The original source of our predicted unhappiness with the President was his indifference to Americans’ civil liberties. He’s gone well beyond that now. Tom Junod here lays out the moral case against the President’s drone war. James Joyner already made the practical case. Junod follows up. Also, the drones are in the water now. And the linked article posits the existence of “drone lovers.” O brave new world.
June 14, 2012, 10:57 pm
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has a fascinating bit of research into the effect of racism on the vote for Barack Obama:
… many Americans use Google to find racially charged material. I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like “Lakers,” “Daily Show,” “migraine” and “economist.”
A huge proportion of the searches I looked at were for jokes about African-Americans. (I did not include searches that included the word “nigga” because these searches were mostly for rap lyrics.) I used data from 2004 to 2007 because I wanted a measure not directly influenced by feelings toward Mr. Obama. From 2008 onward, “Obama” is a prevalent term in racially…
June 12, 2012, 1:18 am
Not to pile on, but there’s also this, in the new Democracy. Unlike the aforementioned TLS essay, the whole thing is online; here’s a short excerpt:
The single moment that made postwar liberalism feel most like a cause worth fighting for came in the darkness of April 4, 1968, when an Indianapolis crowd, assembled to hear Robert F. Kennedy campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, instead met a man obliged to tell them that Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered. When Kennedy broke the news, a desperate wail burst from the throats of those gathered, a sound unlike any other, bespeaking the tide of anguish and anger about to rush over the republic, sweeping reason before it—but not yet, or not here, not if Kennedy had his way.
Speaking off the cuff, he claimed a shared sorrow—his own brother had been killed in the line of political duty, at a time when he had begun…
May 2, 2012, 6:58 pm
Do we need any other political/historical commenter than John McEnroe? Greg Sargent points to this plaintive request to the President from a wealthy donor:
They felt unfairly demonized for being wealthy. They felt scapegoated for the recession … and they blamed the president and his party for the public’s nasty mood. The administration, some suggested, had created a hostile environment for job creators.…
One of the guests raised his hand; he knew how to solve the problem. The president had won plaudits for his speech on race during the last campaign, the guest noted. It was a soaring address that acknowledged white resentment and urged national unity. What if Obama gave a similarly healing speech about class and inequality? What if he urged an end to attacks on the rich? Around the table, some people shook their heads in disbelief.
“Most people in the financial world,”…
March 29, 2012, 1:30 pm
While we’re watching the signal, if not single, liberal achievement — the BFD, if you will — of the Most Disappointing President Ever™ writhe before conservative jurists like a tasty Christian before so many lions deciding whether merely to rip out the mandate or devour it whole (the Scalia lion is, of course, played by Jeremy Irons and drawling, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”), let’s pause to remember how the Real Democratic Party™ acted when the High Court tossed out a law that was important to their constituents and agenda: They simply passed it again, with a different rationale.
You can read the whole thing if you like. There’s also this oldie, which at a glance I still stand by.
March 11, 2012, 3:49 pm
It troubled me when President Obama scoldingly said, “We’re putting colleges on notice: you can’t assume that you’ll just jack up tuition every single year”. The UC has raised tuition, but it hasn’t been on its own initiative; it’s been because the state has cut funding to higher education.
Now Robert Frank riffs on Obama’s comment, attributing rising tuition to rising faculty salaries.
To recruit professors, universities must pay salaries roughly in line with those made possible by productivity growth in other sectors. So while rising salaries needn’t lead to higher prices in many industries, they do in academia and many other service industries.
As they say about the International Jewish-Zionist Monetary Conspiracy, if there is one I want my share.1 I don’t think rising faculty salaries are the primary cause of increasing tuition costs.
Frank’s colleague Ronald Ehrenberg …
December 10, 2011, 1:19 pm
Shorter Obama administration: yes, we will preserve acknowledged social ills against which we’ve inveighed when prevailed upon by massive expenditures of money and influence. No, I guess this is not so much reason for hope or evidence of change.
Last year, the Obama administration vowed to stop for-profit colleges from luring students with false promises. In an opening volley that shook the $30 billion industry, officials proposed new restrictions to cut off the huge flow of federal aid to unfit programs.
But after a ferocious response that administration officials called one of the most intense they had seen, the Education Department produced a much-weakened final plan that almost certainly will have far less impact as it goes into effect next year.
The story of how the for-profit colleges survived the threat of a major federal crackdown offers a case study in Washington power…
December 7, 2011, 5:26 pm
So after today’s Plan B announcement, do I get extra credit for saying yesterday that “The president went to Kansas to do his version of the ‘New Nationalism.’ But his New Nationalism is the old Obamaism — elevating bipartisanship above all else”?
December 6, 2011, 12:07 pm
Dear White House: if you want to be compared to TR, you should know your TR. And for starters, TR didn’t like being called “Teddy.”
Live from Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kansas President Obama gives remarks on the Economy in the same town President Teddy Roosevelt visited just over one hundred years ago.
This link might work better.
November 3, 2011, 10:06 am
Congressman Brent Spence of Kentucky on how to negotiate when approached with amendments to the Bretton Woods bill in 1945.
I wouldn’t agree to anything…. You see, if we accept something now it puts us just in the same position as if we hadn’t accepted it…. Every amendment we accept kind of weakens us. [W]e might say, ‘Well, we’ll accept them if that’s all the amendments.’ But if we are going to have to fight it out, we just as well fight it out on all of them.
Could someone explain this to the people in the White House, please?
October 25, 2011, 8:35 pm
October 21, 2011, 10:08 am
Correlation is not causation, you know. Still:
All US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year, President Barack Obama has announced.
He ordered a complete withdrawal from the country, nearly nine years after the invasion under President George W Bush.
About 39,000 US troops remain in Iraq, down from a peak of 165,000 in 2008.
The US and Iraq were in “full agreement” on how to move forward, Mr Obama said, adding: “The US leaves Iraq with our heads held high.”
“That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.”
Before the speech the White House said: “This will allow us to say definitively that the Iraq war is over,” and said the US and Iraq would work as two sovereign nations.
Maybe if we’d kept up blogging right the way along the administration could have been less aggressively disappointing.
Anyway, we still want it.
October 20, 2011, 3:14 pm
A friend*, who happens to be among the most astute observers of the political scene I know, has this to say in the wake of last night’s Republican debate:
I think he’s [Romney] going to be an unbelievably good candidate in the general. He’s Obama — a tall, handsome technocrat who instituted universal coverage — with a different coalition behind him. I now have this dystopian fantasy about how the campaign will play out:
Romney: I’m Mitt Romney, and I’m not black.
Obama: I’m Barack Obama, and I’m not Mormon.
R: I’m not secretly a Muslim.
O: My religion doesn’t treat “Space Invaders” as a sacred text.
R: I don’t want to rape your daughters.
O: I won’t force them to become my sixth and seventh wives when they turn 13.
Good times. Oh, by the way, with the economy in tatters, Steve Jobs in the grave, and the nation mired in countless foreign wars, we’re considering coming back.