Today's New York Times featured a profile of Congressman Paul Ryan, in which the author, Matt Bai, dismissed questions about the substance of Ryan's vaunted budget road map, saying, "The more pertinent question is whether Mr. Ryan is the kind of guy who just wants to make a point — or whether his road map represents the starting point in what could be a serious negotiation about entitlements and spending." Paul Krugman, who has been extremely critical of Ryan's plan, gets frustrated:
Ben Smithwonders whether President Obama will see what a "teachable moment" the controversy over the Islamic center near Ground Zero is and weigh in with a characteristically sensitive and insightful speech or something. "He can understand the pain and anger of both sides, offer something that sounds like a synthesis but winds up roughly where Mike Bloomberg stands." Yeah, that'd be nice. But the thing about teachable moments is that people need to be willing to learn. This episode has reminded us (not that we needed a reminder) that Americans' commitment to American values is, on the whole, pretty thin.
Barack Obama's White House has plenty of problems these days, one of which is that they feel like they aren't getting enough love from the left. The people who should have their back, who should be touting their accomplishments, aren't -- in their view anyway -- doing enough to help. So press secretary Robert Gibbs apparently thinks the way to address this problem is to mock and insult them:
The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.
It's always hard to predict what's going to happen in a presidential race that's a year or two away -- back in 1991, when George H.W. Bush was riding high, somebody actually bet me $100 that no Democrat would beat him in the next year's election. But if you're a Republican today, there are two ways to look at 2012.