Ezra Klein

THE PITFALLS OF MAKING DAVID BROOKS YOUR GUY.

090427_brooks_axelrod-1.jpgI've remarked before that the columnist with the best access to the Obama administration is, far and away, David Brooks. That's an odd state of affairs.

LOVE THOSE CARS.

I think this result, from the Pew Research Center, should actually concern supporters of cap and trade:

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FUN WITH COALITION POLITICS.

200px-YakovLitzmanCongress.jpgNutty as Jim DeMint's demographic theories might be (see below post), news out of Israel reminds me to be glad that we don't have a coalition system that abets the participation of parties meant to represent nothing but religious extremism.

The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

DEEP THOUGHTS FROM JIM DEMINT. [UPDATED.]

This is a novel response to the concern that the GOP has become an exclusively southern party:

DeMint says he isn’t worried. He denied that the GOP has become a southern party, attributing Republican losses in the northeast to some northern voters who have left the region and moved south hoping to avoid labor unions and “forced unionization.” He said Americans will eventually come back into the Republican fold because of growing alarm about the size of government and President Obama’s fiscal policies.

CHUCK GRASSLEY'S MUSICAL CHAIRS.

090127_grassley_coller.jpgOver at the Iowa Independent, Mike Lillis takes a look at the changed incentives for Chuck Grassley now that Arlen Specter has ditched the party. Grassley is currently the Ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. That's a big job. A powerful job.

PROFANE ABSTRACTS.

Speaking of SSRN, I just stumbled across "Fuck," a paper by Ohio State Law Professor Chris Fairman, which "explores the legal implications of the word fuck." The abstract:

TOO MUCH CONVERSATION. NOT ENOUGH PAPERS.

John Sides notes that the Social Science Research Network -- one of the web's leading repositories of academic papers -- has started a blog. But it's not a very good blog. It's seen three posts in two weeks. And my hunch is that's partially due to a poor mission statement. "The SSRN Blog will not be a broadcast vehicle," they promise. "We want to engage you in an ongoing conversation."

SHOULD WE PROSECUTE TORTURERS?

I don't want to agree with Tyler Cowen on the politics of torture prosecutions, but I think I actually do:

I believe that a full investigation would lead the U.S. public to, ultimately, side with torture, side with the torturers, and side against the prosecutors. That's why we can't proceed and Obama probably understands that. If another attack happened this would be all the more true.

ARLEN SPECTER AND JOE BIDEN: AN AMTRAK LOVE STORY.

amtrakcabin.JPGNo one will ever accuse Joe Biden of lacking for enthusiasm. "Arlen Specter has been my friend and my confidant and my partner," he said today, using language more commonly associated with wedding proposals. "And it gives me great pleasure, great pleasure, Mr. President, to now officially be in the same caucus with Arlen Specter.

WORTH QUOTING: HERDING DEMS EDITION.

Gail Collins:

Everybody knows, of course, that even when Al Franken finally makes it to Washington, getting all 60 Democrats-and-fellow-travelers to vote together on something will be like herding … something really impossible. Not cats. Cats I could envision all going in one direction if there was a little herring-flavored incentive at the end of the line. Herding rabid guinea pigs in a thunderstorm, maybe.

WORTH QUOTING: RAHM EMANUEL ON COMPROMISE.

rahm-emanuel-1207072.jpgFrom an interview with CNBC's John Harwood:

HARWOOD: One of your jobs as chief of staff is to help the president figure out when you can declare victory on an issue, even if you don't get everything you want. Two particulars: Can you have a successful outcome on health care if you have not dramatically expanded coverage, if you have a piece of legislation that focuses on cost reduction? And can you have a successful and transformative energy policy without putting a price or limit on carbon emissions?

THE COMING DOCTOR CRUNCH.

lotsofdoctors.jpgThe Obama administration is right to worry about a coming doctor shortage. We have a medical system that's co-evolved with a health care system that leaves 47 million people uninsured and tens of millions more underinsured. It employs about the number of doctors required for that level of care usage.

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