August 26, 2013

Kerry’s last line summed up his primary point, which he’d made repeatedly, that this was about enforcing an international norm against something too severe and serious to ignore: “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

That’s not a speech you give if you’re thinking about whether or not to strike. That’s a speech you give if you’ve already decided to strike and are building a case, a coalition and an action plan. Judging by Kerry’s comments, it’s just a matter of time.


— Max Fisher @WonkBlog

November 1, 2012
"For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him."

— Interesting, if not unexpected endorsement of Obama from The Economist

October 6, 2012
The cover of next week’s New Yorker is brilliant.

The cover of next week’s New Yorker is brilliant.

September 12, 2012

I’m a bit confused by this whole embassy attack statement/twitter bullshit controversy …  but it seems like Mitt Romney is criticizing Obama because the Cairo embassy failed to condemn an attack on the Libyan embassy that hadn’t happened yet.

And all on 9/11?

Come on guys, WTF. 

April 2, 2012
Rare, poignant, praise for political “minimalism”

Mr Obama made his first statement on the Trayvon Martin case last Friday, and it was pretty darn careful. He said he thought it was crucial that the case be investigated at every level so we can get to the bottom of what happened. He also noted: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Ta-Nehisi Coates called this “Stunning. Pitch perfect…a stunning exercise in political minimalism.” Minimalism is exactly right: in a case freighted with racial significance, where being black puts him in an especially fraught position, Mr Obama said exactly enough to register the moral weight of the situation, without saying anything that would imply partiality. The line demonstrates empathy and invites everyone else to share that empathy, without saying anything that might alienate anyone whose sons don’t look like Trayvon.

-The Economist

I highly recommend reading the rest of the article, which is actually about the politics of gay marriage. It contains truly inspiring analysis. 

December 1, 2011

So, recent polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that popular support for the Affordable Care Act is waning. The percentage of those with a favorable view of the reform law has basically sunk to a low of 37%, compared with around 44% holding an unfavorable view. 

KFF Health Reform Polling Data

Obviously, health care reform isn’t the only issue that’s important to voters. But, it’s still really ironic that the two Republican front runners right now are Mitt Romney (aka the guy who basically invented “Obamacare”) and Newt Gingrich, who as recently as 2007 argued in no uncertain terms for a national health insurance marketplace, health care subsidies for low-income families, AND an individual mandate. In other words, Newt supported -nay, urged- congressional action to pass legislation that sounds remarkably like Obamacare. 

WTF?? I thought the ACA was the glaring symbol of all that is wrong with Obama’s big-government, self-loathing, socialist agenda? I thought repealing the ACA was the number one domestic policy priority of the Republican party? How has the GOP spun Obamacare so hard as pure, destructive evil only to then maneuver two candidates into the spotlight who have to outright lie in order to claim opposition to it. 

Maybe this is why:

If you take a closer look at the polling data you realize that Obamacare isn’t quite as unpopular as it seems. Four interesting points from Kevin Drum at Mother Jones

  1. Among those who don’t like Obamacare, nearly half admit that their dislike has nothing much to do with the law itself. They’re just mad at Obama and/or Washington DC.
  2. Only 37% of the public feels favorably toward Obamacare, but 50% want to keep or expand it. It turns out that many of the unfavorable/don’t know opinions aren’t from people who dislike healthcare reform, they’re from people who don’t think Obamacare went far enough. 
  3. Virtually every aspect of Obamacare is viewed favorably by over half the public. The only exception is the individual mandate. Even Republicans, it turns out, like most of the specific provisions of the law. 
  4. A fifth of the public says Obamacare has affected them negatively. But nearly all of this is because people have been convinced that Obamacare has caused their premiums to go up and their benefits down. Needless to say, this is nothing more than a fantasy fueled by Fox News. 

This is a pretty wild strategy. Republicans realize that elements of Obamacare are actually pretty popular, but can capitalize on general resentment of the man by shitting on him for passing it. 

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