J. Goodrich

J. Goodrich is a recovering economist and the sole proprietor of the political blog Echidne of the Snakes. She also blogs for TAPPED.

Recent Articles


A GUY THING? Joe Klein 's take on Jim Webb 's SOTU response is on the surface all about class, about who sips chablis and who gulps down a beer or two. Webb is a more genuine voice for the Democrats because he is not (how does Klein know this?) a chablis connoisseur. But I started feeling itchy with some of the things Klein says. Take these comments : No way Webb could ever pass for effete; he's a guy who always looks as if he's five minutes from his next altercation. and Kerry, whom I've known for many years, was always a different, more awkward guy in public than he was with his Vietnam pals -- and, according to one of his closest Vietnam pals, he'd even stopped being loose with them in private in recent years: "We lost him when he married Teresa." Eek! Girls have cooties! Well, Klein doesn't put it quite in those words. But there it is. Of course Klein is not alone with these feelings. Joan Walsh at Salon points out that other commentators were also relieved to finally find someone...


ON THE HEALTH INSURANCE DEBATE : Ezra 's post here on Tapped , Paul Krugman's column (behind the firewall at the New York Times ) and Joe Klein 's contribution on the same issue make a good beginning for another round of debates on how to cure the health insurance crisis in this country. But I'm wondering why it is that Americans must reinvent the wheel every time. Are there not many, many countries which already have various forms of public and private and mixed health insurance systems? Are there not even countries with fairly similar ethnic and economic profiles? Would it be so very odd to have a look at what they are doing ? Could it be (gasp!) that we could actually learn something from those countries? Nah. --J. Goodrich


"RE-ELECT HILLARY!" This bumper sticker I saw is an apt summary of both the strengths and vulnerabilities of Hillary Clinton in her newly announced run for the presidency in 2008. Take her strengths first: The little quip reminds us how very experienced and smart a politician she is, how well she has represented her state in the Senate, how fat and peaceful and ... innocent! (yes, innocent, in hindsight) ... those eight Clinton years truly were. And we are also reminded that here is a candidate who served eight years as a close observer of how to run a country. No other candidate can say the same. But that is also Hillary Clinton's major vulnerability: Her specific work experience is only possible because she is the spouse of a previous president. All this gets to smack of dynasties and hereditary power though perhaps not as strongly as in the case of the Bush presidents. Still, we all think we know the Clintons and that is why the bumper sticker says "Hillary". We are all on first...


HOW TO PAY FOR UPWARD MOBILITY? A question that occurred to me when I read about the halving of student loan interest on some types of loans: With fanfare and substantial bipartisan support, the House delivered Wednesday on the fifth of six bills Democrats had vowed to quickly pass, voting overwhelmingly to cut the interest rate on some college student loans. The bill, however, was much scaled back from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's campaign promise to cut all student loans in half. Instead, the House measure, passed 356-71, applies to the 5.5 million subsidized Stafford loans for students whose families earn between $26,000 and $68,000 a year, but would not increase Pell Grants or student tax credits, as originally considered. The bill sets a five-year phase-in of the interest rate reduction from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent, but then, after six months at 3.4 percent, returns the rate to the original percentage. House Democrats called it a "first step" on delivering some relief to...


THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE VANISHING PROSECUTORS. Senator Dianne Feinstein was one of the first to make a public note of the odd disappearance of so many U.S. attorneys, replaced by interim appointments by the Bush administration -- appointments which are not subject to Senate confirmation and which can last for the remainder of the Bush era. Feinstein states: While the administration has confirmed that 5 to 10 U.S. Attorneys have been asked to leave, I have not been given specific details about why these individuals were asked to leave. Around the country, though, U.S. Attorneys are bringing many of the most important and complex cases being prosecuted. They are responsible for taking the lead on public corruption cases and many of the antiterrorist efforts in the country. As a matter of fact, we just had the head of the FBI, Bob Mueller, come before the Judiciary Committee at our oversight hearing and tell us how they have dropped the priority of violent crime prosecution and, instead...