Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Inside-Outside Game for Republicans on Medicare

The reports that Republicans were abandoning Medicare reform in advance of today’s White House summit were quickly refuted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor . “Eric made very clear that our position is the Ryan budget which -- as you know -- assumes a debt limit increase and includes Medicare, Medicaid and $715 billion in mandatory savings,” Cantor’s spokesperson told Politico . As Pema Levy wrote , the GOP faces massive public opposition as it seeks to reduce Medicare coverage. However, Republicans are in a tight corner as efforts to turn Medicare into a voucher system are consistently popular among the most vocal elements of the right. Conservative websites rushed to favorably highlight Cantor's denial this morning, and if The Washington Post 's original report had been left as the official record, those same writers would have spent Thursday morning disparaging the party. From Hot Air: some sort of grand compromise is going to have to be reached if they expect to make any...

Competing GDPs in the Debt Ceiling

The Economist examined the U.S. government's bookkeeping methods and noticed that our economic models tend to present a rosier outlook than the equivalent European number crunching: Take public-sector debt. The definition used in Washington, DC, is “federal government debt held by the public”, which stood at 62% of GDP at the end of 2010. But if you instead use Europe’s preferred measure—general government gross debt, which also includes the borrowing of state and local governments and Treasury securities held by other government bodies, such as the Social Security Trust Fund—it jumps to 92% of GDP (see left-hand chart). That is on a par with Portugal’s level of public debt. Likewise, America’s budget deficit of 8.9% of GDP last year would have been 10.6% using Europe’s preferred measure. Decisions on economic definitions will play a major role in the resolution on the debt ceiling , which still looms large unless Congress takes action in the next 11 days. A clean bill to raise the...

Bush Apologists Push Enhanced Interrogation After Bin Laden's Death

The death of Osama bin Laden reignited debates over Bush-era detention policy. On Monday, conservatives rushed to claim that the CIA was only able to locate bin Laden as a result of information gained during "enhanced interrogation" sessions. While the details of the hunt for bin Laden are still being laid out, The New York Times reports that waterboarding and other morally questionable tactics played little to no role in locating bin Laden. A closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden’s trusted courier and exposing his hide-out. One detainee who apparently was subjected to some tough treatment provided a crucial description of the courier, according to current and former officials briefed on the interrogations. But two prisoners who underwent some of the harshest treatment --including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times --repeatedly misled their interrogators about the courier’s...

Slow 2012 Start Hurts Fundraising For State GOPs

Yesterday Mitt Romney confirmed that he will skip the first GOP presidential debate scheduled for this Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina. Romney's decision is the latest delaying tactic among prominent 2012ers, with each of the major candidates holding off on making the full commitment to a presidential run. Only four candidates -- Tim Pawlenty , Ron Paul , Rick Santorum and Herman Cain -- are slotted to participate in Thursday's debate, according to The Wall Street Journal . Compare that to the first Republican debate in 2007 , in which 10 GOP candidates, including Romney and eventual nominee John McCain , shared the stage. The slow start may cause little damage for each individual candidate, but it leaves the Republican Party in a weakened position for the 2012 general election. Beyond selecting the candidate at the top of the ticket, the presidential primary process serves as an organizing force for parties; it rallies the base, raises the profile of the party's young...

Conservatives Trumpet Use of Torture After Bin Laden's Death

Osama bin Laden’s death was at first one of the rare political occasions that united liberals and conservatives. Today, however conservative writers began using the mission’s success as evidence for the effectiveness of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques (aka torture) that were implemented under the Bush administration. As President Obama said during his address late last night, planning for the assault began in August when he was briefed on preliminary evidence that the CIA had possibly pinpointed bin Laden’s hideout location. But according to the reports trickling out today, the initial intelligence appears to have originated from detainees held in U.S. custody, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who provided the nom de guerre of the courier who served as bin Laden’s voice to the outside world. The AP reports that the information was gleaned from KSM while he was in secret overseas prisons, where he was waterboarded 183 times. The National Review has spent today pushing the...

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