The budget reconciliation process, Ezra Kleinpoints out, "has been the key to getting anything done for at least 20 years." He's right, of course (and how I miss those long afternoons talking to Ezra about things like budget reconciliation!).
There’s a certain kind of essay that can be infuriating even when its main argument is correct. One such was retiring Sen. Evan Bayh’s op-ed in TheNew York Times this weekend. Congress is broken. Needs filibuster reform. Public financing of campaigns. Senators should eat lunch together more often.
Michele Bachmann speaks at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
As the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) overtook Washington this past week, the cheering for Dick Cheney, the sessions promoting "nullification" (the concept that states can opt out of federal laws, last heard from John C. Calhoun in the 1830s), and the angry rants about ACORN and homosexuality were a reminder that the idea that there is a "conservatism" that is measured, responsible, decent, and worthy of the word is a bit of a myth. As the historian Kevin Mattson showed in his 2008 book, Rebels All!, modern conservatism even in the era when William F.
Discussions of money in politics are usually steeped in watery metaphors: The Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision will "open the floodgates" of corporate money, we're told, which will "drown" or "swamp" the voice of ordinary citizens. Skeptics of campaign finance regulation warn that, like damming a river, it will only divert the flow to other channels.
My friend Ed Luce at the Financial Times has written what seems to me the best and most succinct rundown of what's gone wrong in the White House, with particular attention to the role of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
A concluding theme of the piece is that the White House, flush with the enthusiasm of an "amazing victory" in 2008, essentially carried the mood and tactics of the campaign into the White House. The November trip to China, in which administration officials with expertise on China were apparently kept at bay by Obama's inner circle, is described as, "the Obama campaign goes to China."