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.
THE NEOCON PARTY. It's tempting to make fun of Marshall Wittmann's newest guise, as Lieberman's communications director, as if it were just another twist in one of the oddest careers in Washington. The New York Times has some fun with that theme today.
WINNING BY LOSING.Ezra's fine article in the print edition reminds us that the Republican approach to policy was not just to pass what they thought were good ideas, but to use policy to disembowel their enemies. He does a fine job of identifying some strategies that are not only good policy, but would help break down the right-wing power structure.
In novels, films, or real life, there's really only one Washington story: Newcomer comes to town, full of idealism and ready to change the country, but soon encounters the permanent government that defines what you can't do and whom you have to deal with if you want to try. The permanent government might be octogenarian committee chairs, ruthless staffers, or -- more recently, as the power of the committee chairs has waned -- the lobbyists.
It's the story of the Carter administration, the Clinton administration, and almost every new congressional majority. Even Republican right wingers claim it's their story that "we came to change Washington, but Washington changed us." (That one's not true, but we'll get to that.)
DEM GOVS: AN EMBARASSMENT OF RICHES. As Scottpointed out, Mattworries that there's too little talk about good middle-America governors as presidential candidates, and that "we may be doomed to an endless cycle of Senators (who DC political reporters already cover), governors from Virginia and Maryland (whose exploits are detailed in the Metro section of The Washington Post), and scions of famous families."
THE "WRONG" CANDIDATES.Michael Tomasky yesterday delivered an eloquent version of the challenge to the conventional wisdom that Democrats won the House by running conservative candidates. He's right, of course, although as I argued, the perception that the Democratic Party has moved a bit toward the center is not harmful, even if it just reaffirms the reality that this is and has long been a center-left party.