Political Animal

February 2012 Archives

February 29, 2012 6:07 PM ***Day's End and Night Watch

Tonight's links are brought to you by the insanely helpful and awesome Tammy, aka Blue Girl, and her Nightowl Newswrap, which is back on her blog later tonight after a...

By Jesse Singal

February 29, 2012 4:27 PM A Response To Megan McArdle On Inequality And Empathy

After reading a Bloomberg article on the plight of high-earners who have seen their income drops, Megan McArdle, asks, "Are the Rich Completely Undeserving of Sympathy?" Nope. It's hardest to...

By Jesse Singal

February 29, 2012 3:45 PM Deer Are Fast, Bureaucratic Decision-Making Is Not

The Washington Monthly prides itself on being months or even years ahead of the mainstream press in breaking inside-the-Beltway stories—big ones as well as not-so-big ones. In the latter category...

By Paul Glastris

February 29, 2012 3:00 PM New Studies Suggest That Placement Tests Don't Make the Grade

Susan Headden had an important article in the September/October issue of the Monthly running down the problem with community colleges' high-stakes placement tests, which often wrongly assign students to remedial...

By Jesse Singal

February 29, 2012 2:30 PM A Wee Bit of Self-Promotion

I have a review of "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business," by New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg, up on The...

By Jesse Singal

February 29, 2012 2:00 PM Drug-Testing Welfare Recipients: Expensive and Pointless, But Otherwise A Great Idea

I feel gross even linking to the Brion McClanahan article The Daily Caller posted yesterday. It's just conservative shock-porn. Among other brilliant, empirically supported ideas for tweaking the food-stamp system,...

By Jesse Singal

February 29, 2012 1:00 PM Doctor, This Debate Needs 50 ccs of Reason, Stat!

This finding shouldn't be surprising, but it hits upon some pretty common misconceptions: Contrary to the common perception among physicians that poor people sue doctors more frequently, Ramon L. Jimenez...

By Jesse Singal

February 29, 2012 12:52 PM Lunch Buffet

A few light hors d'oeuvres from the pantry for your mid-day snacking: * Apparently responding to complaints that he's Mitt's Secret Special Friend, Ron Paul includes anti-Romney line in ad...

By Ed Kilgore

February 29, 2012 12:29 PM Graham's Apology to Obama

It appears the Rev. Franklin Graham finally remembered his father's palpable regret at his own tendency to confuse faith and politics, and had second thoughts about his dismissive remarks on...

By Ed Kilgore

February 29, 2012 11:51 AM Snowe-Boren '12?

I missed it in all the Michiganxiety last night, but Jon Chait drew attention to the possibility that Olympia Snowe's retirement, and the language of her retirement statement, might be...

By Ed Kilgore

February 29, 2012 10:03 AM Huckapalooza

Most of us thought the CNN debate in Arizona last week would be the last time the candidates would gather before they insincerely raise hands together at the convention. But...

By Ed Kilgore

February 29, 2012 9:48 AM Santorum Loses Catholic Vote--But Did He Ever Have It?

As they awaited the final results from Michigan, probably the single biggest topic of conversation in the chattering classes last night was the shocking news from the exit polls that...

By Ed Kilgore

February 29, 2012 8:39 AM Romney Avoids the Abyss

So depending on how you choose to look at it, Mitt Romney won two crucial Republican primaries last night and resumed his "inevitable" march to the GOP nomination--or, Mitt Romney...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 6:20 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Sorry if the blogging has been a bit erratic today, but I learned of a death in my family this morning, and have been spending some time making travel arrangements...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 5:58 PM Sex-Crazed Coeds Want Your Money!

When I saw the headline at the right-wing CNS site--"Sex-Crazed Co-Eds Going Broke Buying Birth Control, Student Tells Pelosi Hearing Touting Freebie Mandate"--I really did think another conservative had mistakenly...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 5:30 PM Making Sure Everyone Is Awake

You never know about the reliability of Election Day turnout reports. Sometimes they are based on whatever precinct happens to be close to a reporter's path to the office, or...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 5:08 PM Class Warfare Alert! Union Boss Alert!

As I briefly mentioned at lunchtime, the President spoke at a convention of the United Auto Workers in Washington today, and I strongly suspect he had the Michigan GOP primary...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 4:57 PM Hair on Fire

It was a historic moment: Mitt Romney came reasonably close to criticizing Rick Santorum for being too conservative, something he's never done before. Indeed, he and his surrogates have spent...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 2:27 PM Religious Freedom From "Immodesty" in Israel

The United States is not the only country where "religious freedom" is being advanced rather aggressively these days. As Gershom Gorenberg explains at The American Prospect, certain religious nationalist rabbis...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 12:58 PM Lunch Buffet

Some hot pockets fresh from the oven: * From Brooke Jarvis, amusing-but-true infographic on credibility of climate change conspiracy theories. * Kid Rock sings for the Mittster. * NH Republicans...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 12:20 PM ***Pollack on Santorum and the Disabled

One of the nastiest of Rick Santorum's recent attacks on his fellow-citizens who do not share his particular religio-cultural affinities is his claim that liberals support prenatal testing in order...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 11:49 AM Possum Brooks

New York Times columnist David Brooks' usual M.O. is to position himself as an immensely reasonable centrist who views political conflict from a great height, mocking the foibles of unreasonable...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 10:11 AM Consultants Feast on Mitt

As Walter Shapiro explained in the last issue of the Washington Monthly, one of the sources of the corrupting power of money in politics is from within the campaigns themselves,...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 9:44 AM Michigan Mischief

You will probably hear a lot tonight, particularly if Rick Santorum is running relatively well in Michigan, about Democrats "crossing over" on the Pennslyvanian's behalf. And if this is the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 28, 2012 8:45 AM Primary Day in Michigan & Arizona

Though Michigan and Arizona will award roughly the same number of delegates tonight (with both losing half their original allocations for non-compliance with RNC calendar rules), and though Arizona will...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 6:20 PM Day's End and Night Watch

So tomorrow we begin the festive countdown to Super Tuesday. But in the meantime: * Continuing an old tradition in Michigan, primary day arrives on the wings of alarums about...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 5:43 PM Mitt Keeps Digging in Michigan

Mitt Romney better be happy the Michigan Republican presidential primary is tomorrow. If it was much later, his series of mistatements and gaffes and empty-stadium moments might eventually sink him....

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 5:30 PM ACA made EZ

An awful lot of politicians, and through them, an awful lot of Americans, have come to belief an awful lot of unfounded assertions and boldface lies about the Affordable Care...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 5:10 PM A Cardinal Threat

Making the conservative rounds today is a column from Francis Cardinal George, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, that in the guise of a discussion of Lenten sacrifice, presents the now-familiar...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 2:54 PM Fuel for the Pauline Conspiracy Theory

There's been a lot of talk--dating back at least to the Iowa Caucus stretch-run--that Ron Paul is doing his devious best to help Mitt Romney destroy his other GOP opponents....

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 2:18 PM Triumphal March Or Panicked Counter-Attack?

As regular readers have probably noticed, I believe the $64,000 question of contemporary U.S. politics is why one of the two major parties made the historically unusual decision to react...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 1:09 PM Lunch Buffet

Here are some flash-fried lucheon nuggets for your delectation: * Jamelle Bouie looks at two new and sharply divergent presidential general election polls (one from Gallup/USAToday and another from Politico/GWU)...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 12:33 PM A Proposed Moratorium on Late Entry Speculation

Late-entry fantasists who keep lofting up the names of possible GOP saviors that a "brokered convention" might nominate have a basic problem: most of those names are of pols who...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 12:07 PM Never Mind Those Election Results

Expectations-management is a familiar part of the political game. But it was raised to a new level today by a "senior advisor" to Rick Santorum: "We have already won," Santorum...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 10:28 AM 120% of Republicans Favor Repeal of ObamaCare!

There's a new Gallup survey out on the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that helps illustrate why the exact numbers on issues that divide partisans are...

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 9:58 AM Santorum Hurls

Though it was not an original remark, like Romney's coziness with NASCAR owners rather than fans, Rick Santorum did double-down on a statement made last fall that reading John F....

By Ed Kilgore

February 27, 2012 8:36 AM Mitt Romney and the Popeye Defense

As you may have heard, Mitt Romney made a surprise appearance at the (subsequently suspended) Daytona 500 yesterday, and made another one of his patented gaffes that draw attention to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 26, 2012 4:34 PM Taxmageddeon and the Tax Reform Farce

Ezra Klein tells us that Hill staffers are starting to call January 1st, 2013 "Taxmageddon" because of the legislated expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the introduction of higher Medicare...

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 26, 2012 1:19 PM Getting the Politics In Politics Right

Alec MacGillis has a long piece in the Washington Post defending the politicization of public policy; or at least the idea that it's appropriate to consider the electoral and political...

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 26, 2012 11:07 AM Housing: An Economic Problem That Turned Into A Political One

A paper written by four economists released this past Friday,"Housing, Monetary Policy, and the Economy," has been garnering a fair amount of attention. The entire thing is interesting and makes...

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 26, 2012 10:23 AM ***Obama Campaign Goes After Kochs. Why?

Before Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum addressed an Americans for Prosperity forum on Saturday, the DNC put together a web ad that weaves together oil industry subsidies, the Koch brothers...

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 25, 2012 12:45 PM Cocktail Hour

It's the early evening here in Evanston, and if you're sticking around tonight, here's some of the best stuff on the web. * BuzzFeed asks if did Mitt Romney steal...

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 25, 2012 12:09 PM Newt and Rick Bring Back Jack

When Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have gotten attention for criticizing safety net programs for the poor, it has usually been because of the supposed racial undertone of their comments....

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 25, 2012 10:21 AM Romney's Greatest Asset: Not Showing Up

Rick Santorum was leading in most Michigan polls until a Romney negative ad blitz followed by a lackluster debate performance left him reeling and behind Romney in the most recent...

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 25, 2012 9:02 AM Introductions

Hey all, I’m Matthew Zeitlin and I will be occupying Political Animal for the weekend. Ed’s introduction yesterday, has all the important stuff: I’m a senior at Northwestern University and...

By Matthew Zeitlin

February 24, 2012 6:11 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Before heading off to a Lenten Writers Group session, I'll offer a few reads I didn't get around to giving the fully bloggy treatment: * In a new paper for...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 5:42 PM Gas Price Hysteria

In one shot at Republican pols that no fair-minded observer would dispute, the president yesterday accused GOPers of "cheering" higher gas prices. Not since the days of the mindless "Drill...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 5:21 PM Awful Specter Stalking Rick

Veteran Capitol-watchers are abundantly aware that former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of PA was never terribly shy about drawing attention to himself. So it's not terribly surprising that with Mitt...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 4:54 PM Circuit Broken

It's just one small front in a major war over appointments, in which an administration that hasn't often made such matters a priority is confronting a Republican oppositon that definitely...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 3:41 PM A Nation (Relatively) Secure

There is a useful buzz this week surrounding an article in, of all places, Foreign Affairs magazine, by Michah Zenko and Michael Cohen, with the provocative title: "Clear and Present...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 2:19 PM Craziest Ever. No, Really!

Sometimes a perfectly valid observation about a political phenomenon will be repeated so often and then internalized that people forget exactly how true, and how significant, it actually is. That...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 1:28 PM Running On Empty

It's not clear to me why Mitt Romney was so hell-bent on delivering his Detroit Economic Club speech today (officially unveiling the tax plan everybody's been writing about all week)...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 12:56 PM Lunch Buffet

Here's some side dishes you can enjoy with your Friday fish sticks: * Most of us have probably forgotten there was a Rielle Hunter/John Edwards sex tape. Now it's in...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 11:58 AM Romney's "Absent-Minded" Truthtelling

So Mitt Romney "mispoke," and Paul Krugman nailed him on it: Speaking in Michigan, Mr. Romney was asked about deficit reduction, and he absent-mindedly said something completely reasonable: “If you...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 10:55 AM Taking on Tax Expenditures

Two very influential writers--WaPo's Ezra Klein and New York Times columnist David Brooks--chose today to address the murky but essential subject of "tax expenditures"--the ever-growing use of tax incentives to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 10:16 AM Satan's Indoctrination Camps

Let's just say for the sake of argument that Rick Santorum has "grown" in the last year or two that he's been running for president. Let's say he's right in...

By Ed Kilgore

February 24, 2012 8:35 AM Most Expensive Campaign Ever

One of the most durable beliefs about politics is that the cost of campaigning for major offices--particularly the presidency--has been going straight up since forever, and will continue to do...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 5:41 PM Day's End and Night Watch

After beginning the day at 4:45 a.m. reading 50 bored assessments of GOP debate, I'm ready for a nap. Some unconsumed items of news: * My favorite soon-to-lose U.S. Senate...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 5:07 PM Not a Detail Man

Good catch by Josh Marshall on Newt Gingrich's breezy statement during last night's presidential candidate debate that civil service reform could save the federal government "a minimum of $500 billion...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 4:36 PM Santorum and For-Profit Colleges

So let's imagine for a moment that Rick Santorum can separate his concerns about jobs and the economy from his broader commitment to cultural (or as he would put it,...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 4:10 PM ***Culture Wars & Economics

One of the funniest things to be said in the political world over the last few days was Rick Santorum's complaint that he's not interested in starting some sort of...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 3:27 PM Rubio Book Scheduled for the Fall

So just as the revelation circulates that Sen. Marco Rubio was a member of the LDS church for a big chunk of his childhood (roughly co-extensive with his family's residency...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 2:59 PM Don't Worry, Rush!

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh went semi-postal on the man he will be loyally supporting later this year should be become Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Mitt's sin? Suggesting in the rollout...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 12:56 PM Lunch Buffet

Here's a brain food/junk food sampler for your luncheon enjoyment: * George Will glares imperiously at Rick 'n' Mitt and calls both of them losers. * Nate Silver estimates Romney's...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 12:35 PM Huntsman To Americans Elect?

Boy, I bet Mitt Romney gets more excited every day that Jon Huntsman is on his team. Aside from the nasty stuff Huntsman said about Romney before he folded his...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 12:07 PM Big Tent Tensions

It's become a truism in U.S. politics that the Democratic Party represents a broader ideological coalition than the Republican Party, in the context of a "sorting-out" of the party system...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 11:10 AM Super-PAC Super-Salaries

After reams of publicity about the power and glory of Super-PACs in this presidential cycle, and considerable scrutiny of the antics of big donors like Winning Our Future's Sheldon Adelson...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 9:53 AM "Taking One For the Team"

By most analysts' account, the most illustrative moment in last night's GOP presidential candidates' debate occurred when a backpeddling Rick Santorum defended his vote for No Child Left Behind legislation...

By Ed Kilgore

February 23, 2012 8:36 AM Mesa Debate: Everyone Happy It's the Last

From reading the reaction to last night's 20th, and probably last, Republican presidential candidate debate, it appears no one is anxious for a sequel. Roger Simon had the most succinct...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 5:42 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Here are some assorted items that eluded blogging today: * PPP poll shows Obama running even with Romney, and ahead of Santorum, Gingrich and Paul, in AZ general election trial...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 4:58 PM Like Higher Stock Prices? You Should Love Democrats!

At Business Week yesterday, Joshua Green made this unconventional but salient point, supported by a rather fascinating chart: Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly peaked above 13,000 before dipping...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 4:45 PM Never Mind Satan: How About the Angel Moroni?

As part of a larger effort to claim that their candidate is being persecuted for his religion, Rick Santorum's staff is pointing towards Mitt Romney's religion via the Washington Examiner's...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 4:13 PM Enslaved By Freedom and Equality

In a long, circuitous, and characteristically haughty column for the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto makes the interesting claim that Rick Santorum is "ahead of his time" in warning that...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 3:11 PM Mitt's New Tax Plan: Dessert Now, Broccoli Later

In discussing Mitt Romney's decision to offer some new tax cut proposals yesterday, I wondered whether Mitt would have the guts or deficit-hawk mojo to offer offsets by way of...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 2:06 PM Your State Tax Dollars on the Red Carpet

At Pew's very useful Stateline site, Will Wilson has an article that sent me hunting for my blood pressure meds: Of the nine film productions up for best picture at...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 1:04 PM Lunch Buffet

Here's today's mid-day snacks: * Gov. Bob McDonnell now hedging on immediate signature of VA ultrasound bill. His old buddies at Regents University must be livid. * Another poll, this...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 12:35 PM Court Gets Second Chance on Citizens United

It's not likely that anything fundamental will change, but it's worth noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has just been given a chance to reconsider the empirical (or perhaps it's...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 11:54 AM Romney's Perpetual Self-Reinvention On Abortion

It's not often you can point to an article as "definitive," but I suspect that is how William Saletan's long, vastly-documented piece for Slate on Mitt Romney and abortion policy...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 10:43 AM Get Thee Behind Me!

Ah, you just gotta love the MSM and its blinders! Thanks to a handful of obscure researchers and bloggers (I first noticed the story at People for the American Way's...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 9:44 AM UI: More Than Just An Extension

The package of "extenders" that was just enacted by Congress and that will soon be happily forgotten by most observers actually represented a bit more than the act of legislative...

By Ed Kilgore

February 22, 2012 8:30 AM ***States of Mind

Public Policy Polling, as is its habit, has a cool, unconventional poll up on its site right now, measuring the favorable/unfavorable ratios of the 50 American states. Overall, it shows...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 5:57 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Really didn't intend for this whole day to be about the GOP presidential candidates, but sometimes that's how the news cycle, well, cycles. Some other odds and ends: * PPP...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 5:30 PM More On Santorum's Religious Anathemas

In an earlier post today, I quoted Steve Waldman's report from Beliefnet on Rick Santorum's 2008 remarks about Barack Obama and those un-Christian "liberal Christians." But in the comment thread,...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 4:31 PM Mitt's Friends Open Up New Front on Rick

It's been an implicit part of the rules of engagement in the GOP presidential race that no candidate can be criticized for being too conservative, particularly by Mitt Romney. Thus...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 3:46 PM Handel Begins Martyrdom Tour

Those who might have thought we'd heard the last of Karen Handel are, unfortunately, wrong. Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the former Komen Foundation vice president and...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 3:00 PM Time For More Tax Cuts!

What do Republican politicians do when they need to pick it up a step? You've got it: they propose more tax cuts. So it's no great surprise that Mitt Romney...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 12:58 PM Lunch Buffet

News is heating up after a slow start this week. Here are some tidbits for your lunch-time perusal: * Supremes to reopen issue of affirmative action in college admissions in...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 12:16 PM Santorum: "You're Not A Christian"

Defenders of Rick Santorum are very angry that anyone would suggest his "phony theology" comments about the president represented an attack on a fellow Christian's beliefs. Turns out he was...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 11:30 AM Hoosier Solon Exposes Another Progressive Plot

Via Taegan Goddard, there is this entry for the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" file, from Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne (IN) Journal Gazette: A Fort Wayne lawmaker's...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 10:58 AM Rick 'n' Hillary 'n' Orange Jumpsuits

While Mitt Romney has not yet unleashed the full Death Star treatment on Rick Santorum that he lavished on Newt Gingrich in Iowa and Florida, that's not to say his...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 9:46 AM Unbrokered, Unbought

So it seems the famously disciplined, easily herded, strictly hierarchical voters of the Republican Party are not yet falling into line behind the elites' favorite candidate, Mitt Romney. And if...

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 9:14 AM Bottomless Pit Boss

In my last post I quoted from an interview of Sheldon Adelson by Forbes' Steven Bertoni that is actually an excerpt from an upcoming cover story on the casino mogul....

By Ed Kilgore

February 21, 2012 8:32 AM Year of the Nastygram

If you've gotten the impression that the Republican presidential nominating contest has become a wildly negative affair dominated by billionaire-financed Super-PACs, well, you're not just having a psychic flash. As...

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 5:59 PM Day's End and Night Watch

This hasn't exactly been a huge news day, but here are some items I didn't get around to mentioning in today's Lite Blogging: * At College Guide, Daniel Luzer meditates...

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 5:25 PM Getting the Government Out of Public Schools

What with his attacks on the president for advancing "phony theology," and on Mitt Romney for seeking government "bailouts" for the Olympics, Rick Santorum got less attention for his assault...

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 4:02 PM Progressive Options in the Medicare Wars

As Sahil Kapur reports at TPM today, Republicans are repackaging their plans to radically transform Medicare to avoid the most obvious political pitfalls: Republicans want to turn Medicare into a...

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 2:26 PM The Myth of "The Catholic Vote"

A good deal of the excitement over the recent contraception coverage mandate has resulted from the hopes of Republicans, and the fears of some Catholic liberals, that the controversy could...

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 12:59 PM Lunch Buffet

If you happen to get Presidents Day off from work, perhaps you enjoyed a leisurely brunch this morning. But for everyone else, here are some morsels for just another mid-day...

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 12:05 PM Of "Phony Theology"

As Adele Stan noted in this space yesterday, Rick Santorum reached a new summit Saturday in his efforts to paint the president and "liberals" generally as secularist enemies of Christianity....

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 10:13 AM Who's Winning in Michigan?

There has been an intense amount of interest in Public Policy Polling's latest survey of the Republican presidential primary in Michigan. It shows Rick Santorum leading Mitt Romney by a...

By Ed Kilgore

February 20, 2012 8:45 AM ***Presidents Day

Since this is a federal holiday, I will be following a relatively light posting schedule here today, which means it will only be slightly more intensive than most sites are...

By Ed Kilgore

February 19, 2012 12:27 PM ***The Whitney Rorschach

When a big-time celebrity dies an untimely death, there's an immediate rush in the media to apply lessons. This is especially true of those whose unravelling became the stuff of...

By Adele Stan

February 19, 2012 11:00 AM GOP Frontrunner Santorum: Obama Agenda Based on 'Phony Theology'

Here's the state of our national politics: The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination says that that President Barack Obama embraces a "phony theology"; that large-scale public education is an...

By Adele Stan

February 19, 2012 9:15 AM BREAKING: Where Abortion is Available, More Abortions Take Place Than Where It's Not

Ross Douthat, the New York Times' conservative columnist, this morning brings us this startling revelation: In states where there are few restrictions on abortion, more abortions take place. Herewith: [A]bortion...

By Adele Stan

February 19, 2012 8:03 AM Romney Adviser 'Self-Deports' From Campaign

Mitt Romney, the once-"inevitable" nominee for the Republican presidential nod, can't seem to catch a break. With Rick Santorum nipping at his heels in Romney's native state of Michigan, where...

By Adele Stan

February 18, 2012 12:43 PM You want to know something the federal government is good at?

Temporarily taking over dysfunctional, yet critical industries (or even entire industrial sectors) and improving their efficiency and bottom lines. The other day Mitt Romney repeated his opposition to the restructuring...

By Rich Yeselson

February 18, 2012 9:33 AM A World View Encapsulated in a Backward Glance

Michelle Goldberg and Michael Tomasky have excellent columns up at the Daily Beast, which catalog the comprehensive push by conservatives around the country to demean, control, and otherwise subordinate women...

By Rich Yeselson

February 18, 2012 8:29 AM And one more thing about Jeb Bush...

He is, by political instincts as a Florida politician, and by the example of his own family, a immigration moderate. Yet there is no issue which galvanizes the Republican base...

By Rich Yeselson

February 17, 2012 5:51 PM Coming Closer Closer....

A "prominent Republican senator"says that he will call for a new candidate to join the GOP race if Romney loses Michigan. He figures that Santorum and Newt would both lose...

By Rich Yeselson

February 17, 2012 5:50 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Week's end is finally here! But there's always more on the news transom: * Moroccan man caught in FBI sting while plotting suicide attack on Capitol. * Violent weather events...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 4:40 PM Herding Money Back Towards the Parties

At a time when the very idea of campaign finance reform seems archaic, and in any event blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, Lindsay Lewis of the Progressive Policy Institute...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 3:59 PM Another Romney "Victory" Could Become Hollow

Looks like lightning could strike twice. As you probably recall, Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Iowa Caucuses on the night of the event, only to later yield...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 3:35 PM Micro-Targeting Breakthrough?

Serious political junkies should check out this Sasha Issenberg article from Slate, which I missed when it was first posted on Wednesday. It's about Project Narwhal, a semi-secret Obama '12...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 3:04 PM Late Entry Alert!

Get a load of this report just in from ABC's Jonathan Karl: A prominent Republican senator just told me that if Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 2:30 PM Santorum to Mainline Protestants: You Are Satan's Spawn

Kyle Mantyla of People for the American Way's indispensable Right Wing Watch has come up with an audiotape of a Rick Santorum address to the students of the conservative Catholic...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 1:10 PM Lunch Buffet

Here's some seasoning for your leisurely end-of-week mid-day repast: * That was fast: House, Senate pass payroll tax/UI/"doc fix" package. 91 House Republicans and 30 Senate Republicans buck leadership to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 11:54 AM Pat Buchanan As Victim

In addition to Foster Friess' passive-aggressive "apology" for his "joke" about how the "gals" used to avoid unwanted pregnancy by keeping their knees together, the other big news in the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 10:53 AM Foster Friess Doubles Down

So on his "Campfire Blog," which is apparently how he communicates with the world when he's not on our television screens, Santorum Super-PAC heavy and all-purpose spokesman Foster Friess apologized...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 10:16 AM Virginia Ritual Humiliation Bill

In other news involving the war on reproductive rights: Over the weekend Virginia became the eighth state to pass legislation requiring women to submit to an ultrasound examination and be...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 9:15 AM "Terri Schiavo Moment"

Now that it's reasonably clear that the Obama administration's contraception coverage mandate is not turning into a "wedge issue" that herds large number of Catholic voters into the GOP column,...

By Ed Kilgore

February 17, 2012 8:30 AM Long Slog

It's not as much fun as Sean Trende's interactive schedule of primaries and caucuses, but at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, there an interesting map that lays out the remaining contests...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 6:15 PM ***Day's End and Night Watch

Running late today, for no good reason other than thirteen posts. Here are some leftovers from today's political menu: * All the other candidates bag on March 1 CNN debate...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 5:32 PM Now There's Too Much Information!

I guess if you are more-or-less financing a presidential candidate's Super-PAC, you get to go on TV to speak for the candidate. That's the only way I can understand how...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 5:16 PM No Such Thing As Too Much Information

Polling data is obviously the mother's milk of campaign reporting, and sometimes of issues reporting. Without it, most discussions of politics would constantly descend into a nether world between the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 3:14 PM Deflation By Contagion

People often ask why presidential candidates like Ron Paul stay in the race when they haven't a snowball's chance of victory. Some (arguably Newt Gingrich) may just adore the sound...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 2:28 PM "Don't Say Gay" Advances in Tennessee

In other outstanding Republican-led legislative action on the cultural front, a subcommittee of the Tennessee House of Representatives approved the infamous "Don't Say Gay" legislation passed last year by the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 2:12 PM When "Framing" Goes Horribly Wrong

The Republican pols who so gleefully pounced on the contraception mandate issue, thinking it would simultaneously titillate their conservative evangelical voter base and ObamaCare haters everywhere, while serving as a...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 12:59 PM Lunch Buffet

Here's your mid-day chafing dish of bite-size snacks: * So maybe reports that Mitt Romney's beginning to tap out his donor base are accurate: he's now banking on calls from...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 12:20 PM The Fox Swing State Survey

In a week of very good news from the pollsters for Barack Obama, this has to be the best yet: a Fox News survey of registered voters in ten "swing...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 11:36 AM A Matter of Temperament, Part II

Maybe this video, featuring a song by another of my idols, Ry Cooder, best expresses my ambivalence about Romney's temperament, from the perspective of his dog:...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 11:21 AM A Matter of Temperament

After my bout of horror yesterday upon reading excerpts from a stump speech by Rick Santorum in Idaho (I wasn't alone: check out Charles Pierce's reaction to the same speech,...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 10:08 AM Garry Wills on the Contraception Mandate

At several points during the administration's ongoing struggle with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over contraception coverage, I've found myself thinking: "Wonder what Garry Wills would have to say...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 9:16 AM It Takes a Book

According to Bethany Mandel of Commentary, the Santorum Surge is sending journalists scurrying to the libraries or to Amazon to read the book the Pennsylvanian published in 2005 explaining his...

By Ed Kilgore

February 16, 2012 8:30 AM Michigan Microcosm

We'll obviously be hearing a lot from and about Michigan over the next twelve days, thanks to the state's February 28 presidential primary, and the focus it will bring to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 5:57 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Another day older, if not deeper in debt. But there's still more to read: * In terms of current ad buys in Michigan, Team Mitt is outspending Team Rick by...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 5:42 PM Santorum's Rhetorical Surge

I don't know if it's because he doesn't have enough money to devise a more subtle message, or because he fears the attacks on him as insufficiently conservative. Or conversely,...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 4:17 PM The Future Lies Ahead

Reaching into the deep and messy grab-bag of journalistic geegaws offered by Politico today, I managed to snag one fun item: Tim Mak's list (complete with example counts and embarrassing...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 3:35 PM Boehner's Bad Week

Speaker John Boehner is having one of those weeks that try the souls of even the best spin-meisters. He's already having trouble keeping his fractious caucus on board as he...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 2:14 PM A Controversy From Hell for Mitt Romney

If, God forbid, I were part of Mitt Romney's press operation, this headline from HuffPost popping up in my inbox would make me strongly consider calling it a day and...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 12:46 PM Lunch Buffet

Today we offer light fare to help you get back on that pre-Valentine's Day diet. * Dana Milbank says "hazing" of Cuban-American judicial nominee by Senate Republicans reflects GOP "death...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 12:10 PM Two-Front War for Santorum?

This is certainly a fine day for thinly-sourced reports of developments that could roil the GOP nomination contest. Hot on the heels of the BuzzFeed report that Team Romney is...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 10:49 AM ***Team Romney Getting Ready To Nuke Santorum?

It's just one unsigned and thinly sourced report from BuzzFeed, but we do have the first indication that Mitt Romney's campaign has decided to bite the bullet and go after...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 10:20 AM 2008 Obama Coalition Returning

Putting all political science aside, I'd say the reason a lot of progressives have been pessimistic about Obama's reelection prospects in the fairly recent past has been pretty simple: how...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 9:43 AM Now You Can Create Your Own "Brokered Convention" Scenario

Nothing short of the mathematical elimination of it as a possibility will eliminate talk of a "brokered" or "open" or "deadlocked" Republican convention this year. I've said my piece about...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 9:14 AM Split Among Catholics on Contraception Mandate Emerges More Clearly

In the ongoing saga of the Obama administration's efforts to implement a mandate for employer-sponsored insurance coverage of contraception services, the secular-socialists-versus-people-of-faith framing conservatives have sought to impose has been...

By Ed Kilgore

February 15, 2012 8:30 AM Clearing Out the Must-Pass Stuff

Reports are now breaking out all over Washington that the earlier tentative decision of the House Republican leadership to accept a payroll tax "holiday" extension until the end of the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 5:41 PM Day's End and Night Watch

A final assortment of political chocolates for the day: * Roseanne Barr would attract 6% of the vote as a Green Party candidate running against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney....

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 4:43 PM Liberal Rick

So the emerging political story-line we've been following closely the last few days is this: * Mitt Romney's losing ground rapidly to Rick Santorum, who is consolidating support from "very...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 4:33 PM Here We Go Again on "Voter Fraud"

Politico has a report today based on a Pew study of the vast shortcomings of our state-and-local-government run system of voter registration and election administration. Already, conservatives are beginning to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 4:07 PM Plus Ca Change...

Dueling ledes today from press releases on President Obama's standing with Catholics from two major polling organizations tell you an awful lot: Gallup: Catholics' views of President Obama were little...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 3:40 PM Mitt Losing "Electability' Too?

The Public Policy Polling outfit has been offering Mitt Romney a bottomless cup o' misery this last week. It was the first to show Rick Santorum passing Mitt like a...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 2:33 PM Gerson's Spin on the Contraception Coverage Mandate

The contraception coverage mandate saga clearly isn't turning out to be the anti-Obama wedge issue the president's opponents initially thought it might be. But acknowledging that is very, very hard...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 12:53 PM Lunch Buffet

Some delectations for those of you not already spoiling your lunch with Valentine's Day candy: * Herman Cain turns down a chance to appear on Dancing With the Stars. Maybe...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 11:51 AM False Spring in Bahrain

As various first anniversaries of the roiling events dubbed the "Arab Spring" have passed, there have been frequent reassessments of conditions in Tunisia and Egypt. Tomorrow will mark the anniversary...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 11:25 AM Newt Without Adelson

When the 2012 presidential campaign is gone and largely forgotten, historians are obviously going to focus on the advent of Super-PACs as a game-changing factor in the nomination process (and...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 9:44 AM Reader Query: Respecting Ricky

Commenter Abe raised an entirely legitimate point in the thread after today's first post: is my habit of referring to former Senator Rick Santorum, the current (according to public opinion...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 9:14 AM Fox's "Shift to the Left"

So did you know that "Roger Ailes is presiding over a shift to the Left at Fox News"? Me either. But that's the caption beneath a photo of Ailes at...

By Ed Kilgore

February 14, 2012 8:30 AM Rickymentum Confirmed

In case you are one of those people who have a really, really hard time taking Rick Santorum seriously, and/or wondered if the PPP poll showing the one-time asterisk candidate...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 5:57 PM Day's End and Night Watch

* Jonathan Bernstein explains how the apparent House GOP decision to let a payroll tax cut extension pass without offsets continues a perennial tradition of talking tough on deficits until...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 5:25 PM His Master's Voice?

Here's how the official CPAC blog blandly described uber-lobbyist Grover Norquist's speech to the gathering of the conservative tribes this weekend: Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, addressed...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 5:02 PM Is America Getting More Conservative?

It's one of those headlines that tend to sink into the subconscious as reflecting a fact rather than an opinion. "Why America Keeps Getting More Conservative," published at The Atlantic...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 4:01 PM ***One-and-a-Half Steps Forward for Marriage Equality

Washington became the seventh state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize same-sex marriage today, as Gov. Christine Gregoire signed legislation enacted last week. It won't take effect, however, until...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 3:11 PM Breakthrough on Payroll Tax?

Perhaps using the cover of crosstalk on the president's FY 2013 budget, House GOP leaders have abruptly signaled they are willing to support an extension of the current payroll tax...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 2:19 PM The Crux of the Matter in Michigan

The new PPP numbers from Michigan reinforce the phenomenon I discussed earlier today: Rick Santorum is harvesting momentum from a great Tuesday night and some mutually assured destruction between Romney...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 12:43 PM Lunch Buffet

Some diversions for those of you who are not ignoring nutrition because you can't tear yourself away from the FY 2013 budget documents: * If you want to see what...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 11:49 AM Send in the Tedious Clowns

The president's FY 2013 budget has just been released, and before you read much of anything else about it, you should check out (speaking of JournoList!) Ezra Klein's introduction to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 11:30 AM Proof By Mention

There's a big buzz on conservative sites this morning about an "expose" the Daily Caller has published on Media Matters and its founder, David Brock. I was thinking about reading...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 10:15 AM The Liberal Catholic Complaint

You have to figure nobody was much happier than E.J. Dionne when the Obama administration released a "compromise" on its insurance coverage mandate for contraceptive services that Sr. Carol Keehan,...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 8:50 AM Unlucky Eleven

Just one more interesting tidbit about Ricky's apparent national surge, as reflected in this weekend's PPP survey. As Nate Silver pointed out, Santorum has just become the eleventh Republican pol...

By Ed Kilgore

February 13, 2012 8:30 AM Crux of the Matter

Before we get to the weightier topics of the morning, such as the ritualistic responses to the president's FY 2013 budget, I did want to note a weekend development that...

By Ed Kilgore

February 12, 2012 4:36 PM So Happy I Was Invited/Gave Me a Reason To Get Out of the City

I'm out, folks. It's been a blast. Thanks for being a very intelligent, engaged group of readers — awesome community you got here. And thanks to Ed Kilgore for letting...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 3:08 PM Nothing To See Here, Folks — This Isn't Actually About Contraception

"GOP GOES ALL IN" is the headline on TPM, and that really is the only way to describe the party's latest maneuver on contraception: Not satisfied with President Obama’s new...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 2:06 PM Obama is an Atheist Fascist Muslim Communist

Great little nugget from The Boston Globe Ideas section's weekly roundup of interesting research findings (and if you don't read Ideas, you really should, as it has consistently fascinating stuff):...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 12:53 PM Money, the GOP primaries, and the Pain of Missed Opportunities

Karen Tumulty has a good, comprehensive rundown of the GOP's primary tumult (too easy) in the Washington Post. This part's particularly interesting: Republicans celebrated two years ago when the Supreme...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 11:49 AM Here's Your Lazy Sunday Low-Stakes CPAC Pseudo-Intrigue

From The Hill: Rick Santorum suggested on Sunday that Mitt Romney's campaign may have rigged a straw poll of conservative activists by paying the entrance fee for supporters. Romney beat...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 11:45 AM And the Winner Is...

There were some very solid entries in the contest I posted earlier. Tough call, but I'm going with MattF's entry: If Rick Perry had been smarter and better prepared, he...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 11:00 AM Further Evidence That Ignorance is Hard to Dislodge

Political scientists — not to mention politicians — have for decades been preoccupied with the question of how citizens come to believe what they do, why they are so easily...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 9:45 AM The Safety Net is Getting Wider and Tougher To Remove

There's a very interesting article in today's New York Times: There is little poverty here in Chisago County, northeast of Minneapolis, where cheap housing for commuters is gradually replacing farmland....

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 8:46 AM A Contest, Sort Of!

Maybe it's just that the coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet, but I'm quite enamored with this lede from The Hill: If Sarah Palin had been on the ballot for...

By Jesse Singal

February 12, 2012 8:45 AM What is College For?

Jumping back into our debate from yesterday on the merits and difficulties of asking colleges to collect data about the employment outcomes of their graduates, commenter Some Experience writes: The......

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 5:00 PM I Fear Now I've Lost You To Health and Good Cheer

All right, I'm going to call it a day. I have a stack of papers up to my neck to get through, and then, if I have time, I'm going...

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 3:56 PM ***Just How Legitimate an Anyone-But-Mitt is Rick Santorum?

The big news today is Rick Santorum's sudden surge in the polls. There are many reasons to take these results with several grains of salt, such as the massive organizational...

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 3:21 PM Pardon the Outdated-Seeming Question, But...

...among those of us who support Obamacare, did we ever reach a consensus as to whether "Obamacare" is a derogatory term? I ask because last year, in the course of...

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 12:50 PM A Qualified Partial Semi-Defense of The Washington Free Beacon

I have mostly tried to ignore The Washington Free Beacon (if you originally read that as "Free Bacon," you are not alone, my friend, and should go get yourself some...

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 12:05 PM Data is Good, But Collecting it is Hard

Commenter Mudge says that collecting employment and wage data from college students, which Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is hoping becomes the norm, is much easier said than done: No graduate...

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 10:47 AM A Strong Contender for this Year's "World's Smallest Violin" Award

Politico reports that Philip Ellender, president and COO of Government and Public Affairs for Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, has hit back hard against President Obama and Nancy Pelosi's recent...

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 9:45 AM Bringing a Bit of Transparency to the College Decision

Over at the College Guide, Daniel Luzer has a rundown of the bill Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced on Thursday to address the black hole of non-information prospective college students...

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 8:30 AM Mmmm, Culture War...

Public Policy Polling has a pretty convincing rundown of the political ramifications of the contraception controversy: -Republican agitating on this issue could cause themselves trouble at the polls this year....

By Jesse Singal

February 11, 2012 8:15 AM Greetings

Hi everyone. I'm Jesse Singal, and I'll be your Political Animal blogger this weekend. I'm a first-year master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy, where...

By Jesse Singal

February 10, 2012 5:52 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

We had lots to talk about today, but there's always a bit more: * Think Progress notes that the cable nets have been consulting a lot more men than women...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 5:24 PM The Crisis Manager

It's quite the time for big, thumb-sucking evaluations of the presidency, so far, of Barack Obama. Last month arrived Ryan Lizza's New Yorker meditation on Obama's losing battle with "post-partisanship."...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 3:35 PM Mitt Doubles Down On Ryan Budget Cuts

It didn't really get a lot of attention at the time, but I've always felt that the single most significant pander to the Right executed by Mitt Romney this cycle...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 2:45 PM The Santorum Anti-Contraception Mandate

Like a lot of folks, I'm eager to see how well the conservative pols at CPAC pivot from bellowing about the determination of the Obama administration to conduct a Dioletian...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 1:43 PM Did Obama Thread the Needle on Contraception Mandate?

Interesting how the media narrative can change really fast. This morning Obama was "boxed in" on his administration's contraception mandate, caught between reproductive rights advocates (and regular folks via the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 12:59 PM Lunch Buffet

I'm running a bit behind today, but hope you didn't hold lunch for me. It's still breakfast time out here on the Left Coast. * Sign of the times: Rick...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 12:34 PM Suitcase Blues for Pols

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), a perennial conservative target for his quaint belief in such outmoded foreign policy concepts as treaties, alliances, and nuclear-non-proliferation efforts involving nations other than Iran, has...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 11:35 AM My God How the Money Rolls In (and Rolls Out)!

Even as GOP candidates run the wingnut gauntlet at CPAC, a slightly different market test is taking a new turn, as Rick Santorum's campaign and Super PAC get flush, while...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 10:53 AM ***Supply-Side Economics for the Working Man

If anything positive comes out of the contraception mandate brouhaha--other than, perhaps, some shred of a contraception mandate--it will be to bury once and for all the once-confident Beltway pundit...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 10:31 AM The Ultimate Peggy Noonan Column

Most political junkies have some celebrity pundit that drives them particularly crazy. Often it's not the one you disagree with most, but the one who exemplifies the characteristic sins of...

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 9:25 AM Candidate Day at CPAC

Today has officially been set aside as the segment of the three-day CPAC conference when the remaining presidential candidates get to strut their stuff, in anticipation of tomorrow's straw poll....

By Ed Kilgore

February 10, 2012 8:40 AM Just Stand Still

Well, scanning the news it's kinda hard to avoid writing still more about the contraception mandate issue. Every single public gabber in America appears to have a strong, perhaps even...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 5:51 PM Day's End and Night Watch*

Another long day comes to an end. Here are a few hilarities and brain-teasers. * Santorum says Obama "war on religion" will lead to another French Revolution, use of guillotine....

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 4:33 PM Adelson and His Bibiton

American political observers just getting to know casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has given millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich Super PAC and offered strategic advice to Mitt Romney, may...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 3:40 PM Libertarians for Ricky (To Lose)!

As a whole, libertarians are not renowned for tactical thinking. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and pretty much everyone willing to compromise on a routine basis is contributing...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 3:02 PM The 49-State Settlement

As you probably know, the big news today was the announcement of an agreement between 49 state attorneys general (all but Oklahoma's, who doesn't think banks should have any liability...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 2:21 PM The Ghost Vote, and Six Days on the Road

A chronic flaw in political analysis is the tendency to forget that yesterday's demographic cleavages and political allegiances have not been frozen in amber. The periodic talk of putting the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 1:40 PM The Craig James Anti-Boom

Sometimes a widely disliked public figure will get an itch to run for political office, and even people who care nothing about politics will join in a festival of schadenfreude...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 12:45 PM Lunch Buffet

Antibiotics are doing major number on my appetite, but hope yours is good. Here are a few condiments: * A Mississippi legislator has introduced a bill to rename the Gulf...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 12:08 PM Bishops To Over-reach?

There are a fair number of mixed signals coming from the White House on the contraceptive coverage mandate dispute. The President reportedly told a closed session of Senate Democrats that...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 10:45 AM Tebowing Comes To the Virginia Legislature

Oh, brother. With the end of football season, I thought Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow might have a slight chance of reducing his massive over-exposure, and thereby reduce the number...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 9:58 AM Will GOP Elites Let Mitt Reduce Ricky To Smoking Ruins?

Yesterday I said it, you said it, pretty much everybody said it: after the unpleasant surprise of losing the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses to Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and his...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 9:14 AM Battleground Economies

We all talk a lot about the implications of unemployment rates, new jobs, GDP growth, etc., on the 2012 presidential race. But as Ezra Klein reminds us today, you get...

By Ed Kilgore

February 09, 2012 8:20 AM Wingnut Hoedown

The American Conservative Union's annual CPAC conference kicks off today in Washington, so you can expect three days of incendiary headlines as pols throw big chunks of red meat to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 5:30 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Man, what a difficult day! But here are some good reads you might enjoy while your blogger gets his act together: * Igor Volsky outs Snowe and Collins (along with...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 4:54 PM Pas D'Enemmi a Droite

It appears a likely collision with Occupy DC members will not be the only source of controversy for the activists gathering to beat the drums and vet the candidates at...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 4:20 PM "Enthusiasm Gap" Revisited--and Reversed?

A lot of the discussion of "enthusiasm" in the lead-up to elections has always struck me as suspect. Certainly a lot of the endless talk of a pro-Republican "enthusiasm gap"...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 3:40 PM Poor Handeling

As the Komen Foundation fiasco over its effort to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood continues to unwind, former vice president for policy and Georgia Republican pol Karen Handel continues...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 2:44 PM Coals to Newcastle

Maybe I'm just biased, but I wouldn't have imagined that what the political media world most needed at this moment was a new, avowedly vicious conservative web site. But that's...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 1:42 PM Heritage's "Dependency Index" and the Art of Ledgerdemain

If you wander around conservative news or opinion sites today, you will probably see references to the Heritage Foundation's latest edition of its "Dependency Index," supposedly an empirical analysis of...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 12:44 PM Lunch Buffet

Just because I couldn't get a post up before the sun was high in the sky is no reason you don't get your normal lunch break. Here's some quick bites:...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 11:52 AM The Gasoline "Bubble"?

Since we are all trying to get to know Ricky Santorum a bit better, at least until such time as a barrage of attack ads reduce him to a whimpering...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 11:38 AM Broke Convention

Naturally enough, the Santorum Sweep last night, compounding all the other signs that this Republican nominating contest is becoming an endless game of Hot Potato, is reviving excited chatter about...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 11:21 AM Rickypalooza

The whole hep political world is abuzz about the Santorum Sweep last night. So here's my brief take: There are obviously two ways to look at Ricky’s Big Night. On...

By Ed Kilgore

February 08, 2012 11:12 AM Do Not Adjust Your Screen

So you might have noticed a lack of activity here this morning, and wondered if my dental procedure late yesterday did indeed put me in the hospital (no, just have...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 5:30 PM Day's End and Night Watch

A few late and/or not fully bloggable items: * Occupy DC announces it will stage protests during this week's big CPAC confab in Washington. Even money whether CPAC folk will...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 4:35 PM "Dynamic Scoring" Rears Its Ugly Little Head

One of the crankiest of long-standing conservative demands has been for "dynamic scoring" in federal budget estimates. To make a long, tedious story short, "dynamic scoring" would incorporate supply-side assumptions...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 3:30 PM Catholics, the Contraception Mandate, and Public Opinion

Sarah Posner nicely summed up the conventional wisdom on a particular red-hot subject yesterday: First there was Michael Sean Winters, writing "J'Accuse!" in the National Catholic Reporter. "President Barack Obama,"...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 1:39 PM Another Step Towards Marriage Equality

The big news from California today is that a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (by a 2-1 margin) 2008's Proposition 8 ballot initiative banning same-sex...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 1:22 PM It Ain't the Heat; It's the Stupidity

Under normal circumstances, you'd think today's Republican presidential primary in Missouri would be a real barn-burner. It's a reasonably large state which usually makes the general election "battleground" lists, and...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 12:30 PM Lunch Buffet

Here's some light reading for the lunch hour. Musical accompaniment is up to you. * Karl Rove says he was "offended" by Chrysler Super Bowl ad featuring Clint Eastwood. We...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 11:39 AM Handel's Water Music

Poor, misunderstood and maligned Karen Handel! In a statement clearly stained by the bounteous flow of her tears, she has announced her resignation from her gig with the Komen Foundation...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 11:20 AM Fire With Fire

Here was the predictable announcement today from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina: With so much at stake, we can't allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 10:08 AM Slow Motion Hissy Fit

Blogger, pundit and would-be political boss Erick Erickson is having himself quite a week. Yesterday he presumed to lecture the president of the United States on the obvious, everybody-gets-it, biblical...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 9:38 AM Pete Winitnot

In other news involving ethnically insensitive Republicans named Pete, former congressman Peter Hoekstra, who's running for the U.S. Senate, is getting some serious heat for the Super Bowl ad his...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 8:53 AM Romney's Unforced Error

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, suggested Mitt Romney is "getting really bad campaign advice.” I'd say so, too. Vargas was reacting...

By Ed Kilgore

February 07, 2012 8:10 AM Ricky's Day

Today Republicans hold caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, and a non-binding "beauty contest" primary in Missouri. And thanks largely to Newt Gingrich's lack of organization and Ron Paul's lack of...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 5:45 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Remains of the day: * Rep. Jon Fleming (R-LA) unironically cites a satirical article from The Onion in attacking Planned Parenthood on Facebook. Time to overhaul that social media team....

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 5:10 PM The Selling of the President 2012

I missed this Philip Rucker report about the "pivot" of the Romney campaign in WaPo yesterday, what with sleep and then church and then heavy Diet Coke stockpiling while most...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 4:35 PM Secret Agendas

One of the more maddening things you regularly encounter in politics and other elements of civic life is the powerful conviction of a remarkable number of people that they know...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 3:45 PM Anti-Anti-Terrorism on the Right

Remember the brouhaha back in 2009 when a Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing militias was leaked? Well, it's back. Patrick Poole of Pajamas Media raised the alarm after...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 2:26 PM Masters of the Universe Return to Earth

Gabriel Sherman has a long, anecdote-rich piece at New York magazine detailing the "existential crisis" that has hit Wall Street since the financial collapse, the public backlash against banks and...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 1:48 PM Polling on Abortion and the "Why" Issue

I'd add a footnote to the robust discussion Rich Yeselson touched off yesterday in response to Ross Douthat's column citing public opinion on abortion as a reason to welcome the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 12:08 PM Lunch Buffet

A few a la carte items for your lunch break: * Speaking of roosters taking credit for the sunrise, Donald Trump takes credit for Romney's win in Nevada, which everyone...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 11:41 AM Hyping the Horse Race

Via Jonathan Bernstein, I ran across an interesting piece on a familar topic, penned by Erika Fry for the Columbia Journalism Review, about the tendency of political journalists not only...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 11:06 AM Komen and the Rituals of "Damage Control"

In the Atlanta-based Saporta Report, veteran political journalist Tom Baxter has an interesting take on the Komen Foundation fiasco, comparing its handling of adverse publicity over a policy change to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 10:40 AM Obama's Electability

There's a new WaPo/ABC poll out today, providing Barack Obama with some good news. Taken only partially after Friday's encouraging jobs report, it shows the incumbent with a net positive...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 9:44 AM Rooster Taking Credit For Alarm Clock

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is supposedly near the top of Mitt Romney's list of poential running-mates, and you can sorta understand why: he's the reasonably popular governor of a state...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 8:53 AM How Long, O Lord?

The chaos surrounding Saturday's GOP caucuses in Nevada, with mass confusion of voters about where to caucus, battles over religious qualifications for a separate caucus, wildly varying procedures, and an...

By Ed Kilgore

February 06, 2012 8:20 AM You Have Not Suffered Enough, America

Saturday Rich Yeselson wrote here about the moralistic strain in American politics that leads President Obama to limit proposals to help homeowners with underwater mortgages to those who have proved...

By Ed Kilgore

February 05, 2012 5:00 PM Ross Douthat and Planned Parenthood are Honest; The Komen Foundation is Not

Ross Douthat in the Times today sees media bias in its coverage of the Komen/Planned Parenthood funding controversy. Douthat thinks the, yes, liberal media made Komen out to be the...

By Rich Yeselson

February 05, 2012 1:38 PM Occupy Oakland doesn't seem to have a plan

The Occupy episode (which I prefer to "movement" in this case) seems to have created its most powerful bastion in Oakland, scene of many social justice fights over the decades....

By Rich Yeselson

February 05, 2012 11:24 AM The Super Bowl and Capitalism's Banal Powers of Cultural Recuperation

The Super Bowl is, of course, as American as the Constitution itself. By that, I mean that it is almost a perfect expression of a set of conventions and protocols...

By Rich Yeselson

February 05, 2012 11:18 AM "Hey, how do you program this damn thing?"

Apologies for the technical glitches this morning. My computer froze (and then my dog ate the computer), and, in shifting to another computer and in still getting used to doing...

By Rich Yeselson

February 05, 2012 9:53 AM Sheldon Adelson Always Bets Against the Union

Sheldon Adelson didn't amass a $20 billion fortune by making dumb investments--or, at least, by continuing to make dumb investments. The Timesreports that Adelson, who has known and liked Romney...

By Rich Yeselson

February 05, 2012 9:13 AM A Note about Thinking Historically

I see my off the cuff idea that the 1940 presidential election might have some telling similarities to the current race triggered a lively response in the comments section. That...

By Rich Yeselson

February 04, 2012 1:33 PM Romney's Truth that tells a Lie

So, no surprise, Mitt wins big last night in Nevada. He carries 91% of the 26% of the caucus goers who are Mormons, so that helps him carry overlapping categories...

By Rich Yeselson

February 04, 2012 11:54 AM Will this year's election be similar to the one in 1940?

I don't want to carry this too far, and I haven't entirely worked it out yet, but 1940 might well be an interesting template thru which to view this year's...

By Rich Yeselson

February 04, 2012 10:14 AM "Responsible" homeowners and the problem and promise of American Moralism

President Obama spoke today about his latest plan to help underwater homeowners. As many critics have already noted, this is an ok idea, but it's not as large a program...

By Rich Yeselson

February 04, 2012 9:54 AM The Weaker you get, the Weaker you get

Arizona seems poised to pass a draconian anti-union measure. This, of course, follows in the wake of Wisconsin, Ohio (since repealed via referendum), and, just this week, Indiana. The paradox...

By Rich Yeselson

February 04, 2012 9:31 AM A Saturday Superbowl and the Death of Freedom

Michael Tomasky dares to think the unthinkable. Jesus (with whom the Super Bowl generously shares its special day) weeps. Obama sneers. And this guy gets the subject for his next...

By Rich Yeselson

February 04, 2012 7:37 AM Can we get to 2016 already?

The Nevada Caucus looks like it's going to be a snooze. After all the talk since 2004 about Romney's Mormonism hurting him, he's got a Mormon premium out there, where...

By Rich Yeselson

February 04, 2012 7:06 AM Good Morning

My name is Rich Yeselson and I'm the blogger for Political Animal this weekend. A bit of background about me. I worked in the labor movement for over 20 years...

By Rich Yeselson

February 03, 2012 5:42 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

* Dow, NASDAQ take off to pre-financial-crisis levels. * Republican senators join lawsuit over Obama recess appointments. Good time to take another look at comparative chart of recess appointments by...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 5:01 PM Regressively Worse

The mistake made most often in discussion of tax burdens for this or that segment of the population is to focus on federal income taxes and ignore payroll taxes. Probably...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 4:20 PM Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Newt Gingrich is obviously in a position where he thinks he has to throw the kitchen sink at Mitt Romney. He also obviously thinks he has to get Tea Party...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 3:28 PM Just Making Stuff Up

Yesterday I fulminated a bit about the rapidly developing conservative claim (abetted by dumb media reports) that the President had claimed Jesus would support his tax policies during remarks at...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 3:02 PM Lessons of the Komen/Planned Parenthood Battle

The quick reversal today of the Komen Foundation's decision to stop funding breast cancer screening services long provided by culture-war-target Planned Parenthood was an impressive testimonial to the power of...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 1:07 PM Berman on "Resegregating the South"

At The Nation, Ari Berman has an important and exhaustive article on the GOP's use of its control over redistricting in southern states to draw congressional and state legislative maps...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 12:08 PM Lunch Buffet

As the week draws to a close, here are some quick reads for a leisurely lunch: * Breaking news: Komen Foundation reverses course, will restore funding for Planned Parenthood. More...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 11:39 AM Obama's Break-Point on Job Creation

If you want a better understanding of the potential importance of today's impressive January jobs report, check out a massive analysis Nate Silver posted (before the report was released, as...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 10:13 AM No Time For Warmongering

It's hard to tell how much of this is intimidation or even misdirection, but the war talk coming out of Israel right now is getting pretty serious. WaPo's David Ignatius...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 8:56 AM Nice Surprise, For a Change

I'd just published my last, rather dark and brooding post on economic trends when the sun burst from the clouds, at least for a moment, with the release of a...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 8:36 AM The Unequal "Recovery"

Conservatives who are puzzled by the rise of "populist" sentiments in the left and center of the political spectrum, or who wonder why progressives become furious when Republicans propose more...

By Ed Kilgore

February 03, 2012 8:00 AM The Confirmation of a Stereotype

I do not often agree with Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, but he nicely sums up why Mitt Romney's "not concerned about the very poor" remark has become more than...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 5:41 PM Day's End and Night Watch

A few random items from the clipping-room floor: * Asked about whether his boss ever asked Donald Trump for an endorsement, White House press secretary Jay Carney replied: "I'm not...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 4:52 PM Heath Shuler Retires

Outside the House Blue Dog Caucus, and the embattled ranks of North Carolina Democrats, the announcement today that Rep. Heath Shuler was retiring at the end of this term is...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 4:10 PM Test of Hawkishness

With the sound of another shoe dropping, a small group of Republican Senators (McCain, Graham, Kyl, Cornyn, Ayotte, and Rubio) have announced a proposal to cancel next year's automatic cuts...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 3:32 PM Veepstakes

Now that most of us, at least, are reasonably confident we know the identity of the Republican nominee for president, talk will naturally shift to the identity of Mitt Romney's...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 2:40 PM 51st State On the Moon

As we begin to hear carping from some circles that Barack Obama is cutting and running in Afghanistan, it's worth noting that few of such critics seem capable of defining...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 2:03 PM Obama's Prayer

So President Obama spoke at this morning's National Prayer Breakfast, and it's not just conservative gabbers who are mocking him for allegedly claiming direct divine sanction for his policy proposals....

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 12:35 PM Lunch Buffet

Here are the daily specials: * Ever the showman, it now looks like The Donald is endorsing Mitt Romney rather than Newt Gingrich. Guess attention for the endorser was the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 11:52 AM Komen and Its Mama Grizzly

In the growing backlash against the Komen Foundation's decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening, critics have speculated that Komen's action might be related to...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 10:09 AM LDS Power in Nevada

Speaking of casinos and campaigning, we are on the brink of Nevada's caucuses, being held on February 4 after ricocheting around the calendar last year in the usual game of...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 9:22 AM Groundhog Day

So if Sheldon Adelson walks out of The Venetian today and sees his shadow, does Newt Gingrich get six more weeks of campaigning? Just wondering....

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 8:56 AM DeMint to Romney: Love the Poor By Shredding the Safety Net

Mitt Romney's dilemma in reconciling his nomination and general election strategies has been nicely illustrated by the controversy he invited yesterday in telling Soledad O'Brien he was "not concerned about...

By Ed Kilgore

February 02, 2012 8:17 AM Indiana Smites Unions

Yesterday, with Gov. Mitch Daniels' signature, Indiana became the 23d state, and the very first (other than Indiana itself during a brief period ending in 1965) in the industrial northeast...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 5:44 PM Day's End and Night Watch

A take-out tray of brain food for your evening: * Michele Bachmann hotly denied she was endorsing Romney. Guess Mitt went racing up to Minnesota to get in some shopping...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 5:00 PM Behind the Veil of the Super-PACs

It nearly got obscured by the Florida primary results and the associated talk, but there's now pretty extensive coverage of the disclosures made yesterday on the identity of major contributors...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 4:04 PM The Koch Brothers Pity Party

Need a quick boost to your blood pressure? If so, I strongly recommend that you read the Wall Street Journal op-ed today penned by former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 2:26 PM House GOP Gives Its Base a Lap Dance

One of the more alarming political phenomena of the last few years has been the very loud return of the "Welfare Queen" meme, back with a vengeance from its apparent...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 1:22 PM How Fox Finds Its Pretty People

There's a rather strange Mike Allen piece at Politico today about Fox News that opens with the scoop that Roger Ailes keeps his network all buffed up and on the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 12:15 PM Lunch Buffet

Some kibbles and bits for your mid-day dish: * In a speech this morning in Northern Virginia, President Obama fills in some details for his proposal, outlined in the SOTU...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 11:25 AM Mitt and Po' Folks

They say a "gaffe" is when a politician inadvertently tells the truth, and Mitt Romney made a pretty big one this morning on CNN when he told Soledad O'Brien: "I'm...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 10:04 AM Minnesota Twins

The hottest political speculation of the morning that does not involve Sheldon Adelson's bank account comes from Minnesota, to which Mitt Romney is suddenly racing for an early afternoon rally....

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 9:44 AM How Mitt Turned It Around in Florida

There were four basic factors that enabled Mitt Romney to move so quickly from a disastrous loss in SC to a win in FL which made him, once again, the...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 9:16 AM The Geography of Romney's Florida Win

Don't know if you find political geography as fascinating as I do, but it's worth a look at exactly where Mitt Romney won his solid victory in Florida yesterday. A...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 8:35 AM Last Night's Other Election

Commenter Berttheclock already beaten me to the punch, but yes, there was another election yesterday that unlike the Florida Republican presidential primary, actually resulted in the immediate election of someone...

By Ed Kilgore

February 01, 2012 8:10 AM Florida: The Spin Begins

My post last night covered the basics about what happened in Florida, but here are a few add-ons. Romney's final margin was a bit larger than the exits suggested, coming...

By Ed Kilgore

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