In the Arena

The Unbelievable Republican Race

There is a CBS poll out today┬áthat has Herman Cain topping the field at 18%, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich at 15%…all of whom are dwarfed by the 31% who are either undecided or want another candidate. Does this mean anything? I’ve got mixed feelings…

The Republican Debate: Reverse Stockholm Syndrome

Yes, yes, Rick Perry….uh….what was I going to say……about…..Rick…..uh….oh, I remember! Those of us who have achieved a certain, ah, maturity can certainly sympathize with the Texas Governor’s aphasic moment, although the Republican electorate can’t afford to be so kind–there is, I suspect, zero chance that Republicans will …

Obama’s Iran and China Challenge

In this week’s print column, which can be found here if you’re a TIME subscriber, I deal with two foreign policy challenges that may well crash through the all-economy, all-the-time nature of the coming presidential campaign–China and Iran. The President is thinking long and hard about both right now, but these are not easy issues to deal with:

Election 2011: A Victory for the Silent Majority

Rochester, Michigan

I’m out here for the deathless drama and schoolyard hijinks that attend each and every Republican debate and, wandering the spin room, I came upon NBC’s Chuck Todd who made a very good–and sort of flattering–political point: last night’s election results reaffirmed the mood that I encountered on my recent road …

Obama’s Head Start Reform

A few months ago, I wrote a controversial column about the Head Start pre-school program, in which I cited the Department of Health and Human Services’ own study that showed Head Start wasn’t making much of a difference. I quoted an Obama Administration official acknowledging the problem, especially in the Head Start programs run by …

The Real Debate: 2012 and Beyond

The New York Times op-ed page has two excellent columns today, by Tom Friedman and Ross Douthat that should define the most important national debate in the coming year–about the role of banks (Friedman) and the government (Douthat) in our economic future. Should, but probably won’t, because the national IQ tends to plummet in election …

Class Warfare: The Middle Class Is Losing

Peggy Noon today picks up a theme, recently invoked by David Brooks, which has become a relentless Republican talking point on the presidential stump: Barack Obama is a divider or, as Newt Gingrich inimitably put it to a crowd in Davenport, Iowa, which I report in my print column this week: “The President is a sincere believer in class …

Obama the Populist Cont.

In my print column this week, I made the argument that Barack Obama hasn’t been a very convincing populist, given the fact that he turned over his economic policy to Financophiles Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. In fact, he blew the opportunity to restructure a diseased financial system that emphasizes financial deal-making over …

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

It’s sort of fun to watch as the right-wing press attempts to handle the phenomenally unprepared and unworthy Herman Cain with kid gloves. Here, for example, is the neoconservative Weekly Standard, explaining Cain’s cluelessness about neoconservatism on Meet the Press:

“Would you describe yourself as a neoconservative then?” [David]

The End of the Road

I’ve written the cover story for this week’s magazine, which is now available online to subscribers. The piece summarizes some of the things I saw and learned on my recent road trip from Laredo, Texas, to Iowa.

The most important conclusion seems obvious, but it isn’t much appreciated by our political class or by those of us in the …

Iranamok Redux

Back in the 1980s, The New Republic coined a lovely neologism to describe Ronald Reagan’s foolishly convoluted and entirely illegal attempt to trade arms for hostages: Iranamok. The reference was to Reagan’s silly staff having …

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