In the Arena

Ryan’s Medicare Plan

It’s going to take a while to sift through the entrails of Paul Ryan’s latest budget, but it seems obvious that his Medicare proposal, jointly made with Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, is going to get most of the attention. I’m a big fan of Wyden’s when it comes to health care policy. He’s proven to be the most creative legislator on this …

How Mitt Can Win, Cont.

He can lie. As Bryan Walsh discusses and the New York Times amplifies today, Romney has been selling whoppers about the President’s position on gasoline prices. This continues a disturbing trend that has existed from the very start of his campaign: Romney and his handlers have been all too willing to tell blatant untruths about the President. 

Apology Not Accepted

Rush Limbaugh is having a bad day. His radio sponsors are jumping ship. Sandra Fluke refused to accept his apology. Republicans are finally piping up with more fulsome condemnations. Jim Poniewozik raises the most important question here: Has Limbaugh reached an Imus-like tipping point, where his power and audience will be severely curtailed?

Iran Notes

Some interesting foreign policy developments over the weekend:

Democrats for Stupidity

Bob Kerrey has given the Democratic Party the chance of actually retaining a Senate seat in Nebraska–and so, predictably, the usual leftist wingnuts have decided to trash him. The left-wing blogosphere has been in a swoon in recent years; it just can’t compete for attention with the hilarious extremism of the Republican party. But it …

Limbaugh Lost and Other Notes on the Contraception Controversy

Back in the 1950s, Senator Joe McCarthy ran roughshod over the political landscape, accusing people hither and yon of being communists, even taking on the U.S. Army in a moment of personal pique — and, finally, receiving a classic scolding at the hands of a Boston Brahman, the lawyer Joseph Welch, “Have you no decency at long last, …

Obama on Israel and Iran

On the eve of the AIPAC convention and Bibi Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, Jeff Goldberg has an excellent interview with the President on the prospects of war with the Iran and other crucial topics. Obama seems steadfastly opposed to Iran getting a nuclear weapon, but he also makes a smart case against a pre-emptive Israeli attack:

Afghan Reality

Two more Americans were killed today in Afghanistan–in Zhari district, just outside Kandahar, a place I know well, having embedded twice with U.S. units there. This has become business as usual in Afghanistan, especially since U.S. troops accidentally burned some Qurans a few weeks ago. It is, of course, infuriating. And it raises a …

Mitt Romney’s Hairfire Manifesto

In my print column this week, which can be found here if you’re a TIME subscriber, I explore the implications of Mitt Romney’s declaration that he wouldn’t set his “hair on fire” by making the sort of outrageous comments about the President that his opponents have used to boost their poll ratings. This is a crucial moment: For the first …

Slow Death in Michigan: Why the Drawn-Out GOP Primary Is Nothing Like 2008

After a long, long weekend in Michigan watching Romney and Santorum, I have no strong feelings about who is going to win–put a gun to my head and I’ll say Romney–but I do know that this Republican race has become a victorless crime, a mortal snooze. Those few Republicans who are not so dispirited by this mess that they’re still willing …

Did Jeb Bush Actually Say That?

We may be reaching critical mass in the belief that this pathetic field of Republican candidates has jumped the shark…even many Republicans have come to that conclusion. Politico today cites several sources that Jeb Bush said this during a post-speech question and answer session the other night in Dallas:

“I used to be a

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