Mark Schmitt is a senior fellow and advisor to the president at the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank affiliated with the FDR Library. He is a former executive editor of The American Prospect.
David Bossie, leader of Citizens United and producer of "Hillary: The Movie," is seen in his office in Washington on March 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
There aren't too many Supreme Court cases that can be called "truly momentous" even before they are decided. But when the Court asked to rehear the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in a rare preterm session this fall, it became clear that, even though the case itself is minor, the Court might use it as the opportunity to make a big change in the law regarding money in politics. But as week after week passes without a decision, the community of campaign-finance reformers becomes ever more anxious that some of their most basic assumptions about what's constitutional and what isn't will be wiped out.
Over at Talking Points Memo, a friendly argument has broken out between a former Senate staffer and a political scientist over what might be called the problem of the Senate. That's the kind of fight I have to jump into!
Benjamin Beachler, 3, sits in his stroller holding his sign as his parents and hundreds of tea party tax protesters gather outside of the Federal building in Anchorage, Alaska.(AP Photo/Al Grillo)
Of all the aspirations set out by the newly inaugurated Obama administration one year ago, the promise to reduce the level of acrimony in American political life is the one that has most plainly gone unfulfilled.
Here in Washington, certain words don't seem to mean what they mean elsewhere. I remember some years ago, Christopher Hitchens pointing out that the word "perception" generally means insight or understanding. But in Washington, it means something false, as in "perception is reality," or "the perception of George W. Bush as a heroic president."
Ezra Kleinnoted a similar reversal a few months ago: In the external world, "reconciliation" means a peaceful reunification, as in the end of a family feud. But in Washington, the word represents "the most divisive thing you could do."
A week ago, New York City Mayor Michael Bloombergreported that he had raised (from himself) $85 million dollars, while opponent William C. Thompson had raised about $9 million. And yet Thompson, an uninspiring candidate with no message and no real base, came within four percentage points of defeating Bloomberg.