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Time For A Single, Six-Year, Presidential Term?

White House Dusk

An idea whose time has come? Not really.

Does A President’s Cabinet Even Matter Anymore?

Obama Cabinet Meeting

The President’s Cabinet is less a Team Of Rivals and more a Team Of Managers.

Mitt Romney: Make Business Experience A Requirement For The Presidency

mitt-romney-shirtsleeves

Mitt Romney thinks prospective Presidents should be required to have business experience.

How Obama Became a Hawk

obama_stetson

The president has come a long way from his days as a “liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war.”

All the President’s Stitches

obama-lip-busted-basketball

The over-hyping of President Obama’s lip getting cut while playing basketball is a bit much.

Obama’s Obligatory Oil Odyssey

obama-gulf-oil-spill

The following headline and picture, currently fronting YahooNews, sums it up: Obama arrives in Gulf as BP tries to stop oil leak Four paragraphs in, AP writers Ben Nuckols and Greg Bluestein get to Obama’s role: President Barack Obama arrived in the Gulf, where he stood on Fourchon Beach in his shirt-sleeves and called reporters […]

Cult of the Presidency: Oil Spill Edition

Obama Stetson

Over at his own digs, Dave Schuler discusses the politics of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster in a post titled “Beyond White House Control.”   I commend it to you in full, but the key ‘graphs are: All of the experience, expertise, and equipment relevant to dealing with the spill are in the […]

Blatant Unconstitutionality in the Shadow of Framers

constitution-preamble-quill-pen

For a whole variety of reasons, I’m a strong believer in the adherence to the plain meaning of the U.S. Constitution and believe that it should be amended rather than circumvented when the realities of today conflict with those of 1789.   Still, there are those who make a fetish of the wisdom of the Framers […]

Consent of the Governed

consent-governed-sticker

Glenn Reynolds has been pushing an interesting meme: that somehow the United States should be a direct democracy. This seems to be the direct implication of his Sunday Examiner column and this morning’s  link teased with “If members of Congress won’t come to their constituents, their constituents will come to them,” but it’s also endemic […]

Obama’s Pet Goat: Watch This Drive

obama-golf-terrorism

TV writer Steve Marmel takes to the pixels of HuffPo to excoriate President Obama for continuing his vacation in the wake of the failed Detroit terror plot. [T]he only thing that stopped 12/25 from feeling a lot like 9/11 was a failed detonator and a guy named Jasper Schuringa. Weather now seems like a quaint […]

Obama the Superhero

Green Lantern

Taegan Goddard wonders whether it’s “time for Obama to get angry” with recalcitrant bankers and Senate opponents alike.  He cites Mark Murray‘s observation that “If there is one thing that both yesterday’s meeting with the bankers and today’s meeting with Senate Democrats have in common, it’s that they’re situations where some might argue that it’s […]

Is America Ungovernable?

Filibuster Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Jimmy Stewart

Progressives are increasingly frustrated that, despite having won the presidency by a comfortable margin and having solid majorities in the House and Senate — where they have a “filibuster-proof” 60 votes — they still can’t enact the policies they want.   Matt Yglesias says “smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the […]

White House Blocks Congressional Party Crasher Testimony

Desiree Rogers, White House Social Secretary, Photo

In yet another example of a change of administrations not leading to a change in behavior, the Obama White House is refusing to allow Congress to question the social secretary on the matter of the “party crashers.” The White House on Wednesday invoked the separation of powers to keep Desiree Rogers, President Obama’s social secretary, […]

Europe’s New Leadership in Perspective

eurocrats

My latest for Foreign Policy, “The Eurocrats Europe Needs,” is up.   It attempts to bring some perspective to the negative reactions — my own included! — that accompanied the selection of  Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton as president and high representative for foreign policy, respectively, of the EU. Many had hoped for a kind […]

Presidents, the Military, and Stagecraft

obama-usmc-shirt

Dana Milbank starts an otherwise thoughtful piece with a rather sophomoric attempt at humor: First, the good news: President Obama will not be wearing a flight suit when he addresses the cadets at West Point on Tuesday night. Nor will he wear a bomber jacket with the presidential seal on the chest, nor even, the […]

Obama: Disloyal, Ruthless, Cold

obama-ruthless-cold

Wednesday’s column by Maureen Dowd, eviscerating President Obama for his shabby treatment of former White House Counsel Greg Craig and supporter Caroline Kennedy, is getting favorable responses from his supporters in the blogosphere. Only a year after he had helped Barack Obama get elected by eviscerating his close friend, Clinton White House colleague and Yale […]

National Debt Hits $12 Trillion, Will Double By 2019

obama-debt

Barack Obama has been president for just under 10 months but he’s added two trillion to the national debt and will double it by the end of the decade.  CBS’ Mark Knoller: This latest milestone in the ever-rising journey of the National Debt comes less than eight months after it hit $11 trillion for the […]

Obama Stonewalling Senate Fort Hood Investigation

Senate Seal

President Obama is refusing to allow serving police, military, or intelligence officials to testify before the Senate investigation into the Fort Hood massacre. The first public congressional hearing on the Fort Hood attack will not include testimony from any current federal law enforcement, military or intelligence officials because the Obama administration “declined to provide any” […]

Roger Ailes for President?!

President Roger Ailes

Topping Memeorandum is Mike Allen‘s wild speculation for Politico about a presidential run by Roger Ailes. Friends and associates are encouraging Fox News chief Roger Ailes to jump into the political arena for real by running for president in 2012, top sources tell POLITICO. “Ailes knows how to frame an issue better than anybody, and […]

Fineman: Chicago Style Isn’t Working

us-politics

Howard Fineman piles on to the burgeoning — if thus far unfounded — Obama overexposed and Obama fatigue memes with an uncharacteristically harsh column. In addition to contending Obama gives too many speeches with too little substance, her goes further: There is only so much political mileage that can still be had by his reminding […]

Heckling the President

question time

In his Daily Beast debut, Alex Massie rises in defense of Joe Wilson’s outburst. No, not so much whether Obama was lying in this particular instance but rather the very notion that it’s “inappropriate” to heckle the president.  The whole piece is worth a read but here’s a taste: Trivial though it may seem, this […]

Shouting ‘Liar’ in a Crowded Congress

law-scales-justice-flag

The big news surrounding President Obama’s latest heathcare speech is that South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” in response to the claim that illegal immigrants would not be covered under universal coverage: AP (“Obama heckled by GOP during speech to Congress“): The nastiness of August reached from the nation’s town halls into […]

Congressional Revolution Needed?

partypolarization

Ezra Klein and Steve Benen are recirculating this somewhat interesting chart on political polarization in America by political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal. Ezra argues that “this level of polarization makes it virtually impossible to govern in a system that is designed to foil majorities and require a constant three-fifths consensus. […]

Krauthammer on Palin

Charles Krauthammer is getting a lot of attention for his observation on Fox’ Special Report that Sarah Palin “is not a serious candidate for the presidency.” As regular readers know, I think he’s right on this score: She had to go home and study and spend a lot of time on issues in which she […]

Obamas’ Expensive Night Out

Obamas Go Manhattan

The blogosphere is abuzz with news that the Obamas spent the afternoon relaxing in NYC. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama landed in New York Saturday afternoon, and after taking a helicopter from JFK into Manhattan, drove up the West Side Highway, where the northbound lanes were shut down by police for their visit, past […]

Ending the Vice Presidency II

jeremy_lott

Jeremy Lott’s attempted response to my response piece on “Ending the Vice Presidency” was, for some odd reason*, rejected altogether by my commenting system.  Rather than pasting them into the comments of a post buried in the archives, I’ve done it below, with my original in blockquotes, followed by his retort in boldface, followed by […]

Ending the Vice Presidency

bucket

Sunday’s WaPo put together a collection of half-baked ideas by smart folks, designed to generate controversy and discussion more so than shed serious light on policy ideas.  Thomas Ricks’ suggestion to close the service academies and war colleges got the most attention, overshadowing the abject silliness of Jeremy Lott’s column advocating doing away with the […]

Economist to Obama: ‘Lead, Dammit’

obama-thinking-2

The editorial board at The Economist (which apparently considers itself a “newspaper” despite coming out weekly in magazine format) praises President Obama for having “already done some commendable things” in the foreign policy arena but charges that, domestically, “His performance has been weaker than those who endorsed his candidacy, including this newspaper, had hoped.”  They […]

These Kids Today: Conservative Politics Over?

alex-p-keaton-esquire

Paul Waldman fleshes out a theme that many observers have made in passing: The young voters who helped propel Barack Obama to the presidency could create a “permanent” realignment in American politics. In 1984, 59 percent of the nation’s Alex P. Keatons voted for Reagan, an extraordinary percentage for a Republican (and just over his […]

What’s Hillary Clinton’s Role?

Hillary Clinton

In “Hillary Clinton’s Job Description,” I consider the steady stream of data pointing to an obvious conclusion: there’s not much left for new Secretary of State to do. Clinton is a shrewd insider in the games of Washington and one presumes that she considered the possibility that her erstwhile opponent for the presidency was shunting […]

Obama Defiles Oval Office with Shirt!

Obama in Shirt Sleeves

Barack Obama has already lowered the standards of the presidency, CNN Political Ticker reports. It’s the same Oval Office. The same desk. Even the same curtains. But President Obama has already made one major change: Go through eight years of White House photos, and you won’t find one of former President Bush in the Oval […]

Obama’s ‘Lincolnesque’ Train Ride

obama-train

Barack Obama has arrived back in Washington’s Union Station after recreating a historic train ride.  The papers are aflutter. Obama Makes His Way by Train to Washington (NYT) President-elect Barack Obama stepped onto a vintage train car, built at a time when a black man’s ascendancy to the presidency was impossible in America, and traveled […]

No, This Isn’t the Crisis

travel-suitcase

In the comments thread to James’s post about the recent Israeli offensive against Hamas in Gaza, a commenter wondered if that were the crisis that VP-Elect Joe Biden warned about. No, it isn’t. Foreign policy has a way of overwhelming most American presidencies. Our constitution is written that way and Barack Obama’s presidency is very […]

Nepotism Nation?

Nepotism Poster

The “trend toward dynasty politics” is getting out of hand, Charles Mahtesian argues in Politico. [Obama’s] secretary of state will be Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president. The Senate seat she’ll vacate is being pursued by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of a president and the niece of two senators. Joe Biden’s Senate seat […]

Obama’s Bipartisan Cabinet

Obama National Security Team Photo

CQ is calling Barack Obama to task for seemingly reneging on his campaign pledge to have a bipartisan cabinet. Now that President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet is, by his count, half picked, the odds are fading that he’ll have more than one Republican on his team — suggesting that his campaign promise to include Republicans may […]

Bobby Jindal Presidential Bid Underway

us-politics

A long profile in today’s WaPo extolling Bobby Jindal as the Republican Party’s best hope to regain the White House may constitute the unofficial start of Campaign 2012.  It’s about time. Last weekend, 18 days after Barack Obama decisively defeated their candidate for president, a mostly Republican crowd of self-described conservatives received their first introduction […]

Bush’s Flight Suit

Bush Flight Suit USS Lincoln

Glenn Greenwald notes that Joe Klein has changed his mind in the last five-and-a-half years about President Bush’s now infamous flight suit gambit. Now:  “The flight-suit image is one of the two defining moments of the Bush failure.” Then: “[T]hat was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in […]

2012 Campaign Starts in 3, 2 . .

us-politics

Today’s meeting of the Republican Governors’ Association has, not surprisingly, been greeted with speculation that the party’s 2012 presidential nominee is likely in the room. Facing the prospect of being out of power at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue for the first time since 1992, Republicans are looking to their governors to fill the leadership […]

Whites Voted For Obama, Proving They’re Racist!

us-politics

Larry Bartels examines the voting behavior of white Americans on Election Day and finds that, as he expected, we were very, very racist: According to the exit polls, Obama outpolled the previous Democratic nominee, John Kerry, among people from small towns and rural areas and among gun owners. He also did better than Kerry among […]

Electoral College: A Defense

us-politics

George Will argues that the 2008 election demonstrates precisely what the Framers sought to prevent with the Electoral College. In a Presidential contest replete with novelties, none was more significant than this: A candidate’s campaign—for his party’s nomination, then for the presidency—was itself virtually the entire validation of his candidacy. Voters have endorsed Barack Obama’s […]

Obamas Visit White House

us-politics

NYT has a feature on today’s visit by Barack and Michelle Obama to the White House for the traditional meet-and-greet with outgoing president and first lady George W. and Laura Bush. For nearly two years on the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama rarely missed a chance to take a swipe at President Bush. The name […]

Palin Last Nail in Republican Coffin?

us-politics

Quite a few reports came out yesterday buttressing rumors that there were tensions between John McCain and Sarah Palin which caused a feud within the campaign team.   It’s only fitting, I suppose, since the selection of Palin has highlighted and exacerbated a growing fissure within the Republican Party itself. Fox New’s Carl Cameron dished last […]

The Mandate Myth

us-politics

Steve Benen strongly rejects the caution by Doug Schoen that “This election is not a mandate for Democratic policies. Rather, it is a wholesale rejection of the policies of George W. Bush, Republicans, and to a lesser extent, John McCain.” I suspect Obama, given what we know of his style and temperament, would make good-faith […]

Palin Dragging McCain Down?

Sarah Palin Dragging McCain Down?

A NYT/CBS poll shows that a strong majority of voters believe Sarah Palin is unqualified for the vice presidency and a third saying this would affect their vote: All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly […]

Palin Most Qualified Recent VP Nominee

us-politics

John McCain is getting some guff for his assertion on the Don Imus show that Sarah Palin is “the most qualified of anyone recently who has run for vice president to tell you the truth.”  And, no, not for the syntax but the point itself. Steve Benen is incredulous: Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, Al Gore, […]

Real America

Two Americas

Sarah Palin caused a bit of a flap earlier in the week when she told a North Carolina crowd that she loved visiting the “pro-America” parts of the country, leading WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin to quip, “No word on which states she views as unpatriotic.” The campaign circulated a longer report, courtesy of WSJ’s Elizabeth Holmes, […]

Sarah Palin, Ignoramus

us-politics

Several commentators have objected to my characterization of Sarah Palin as an”ignoramus” in the post below. I’m simply using the term in its precise meaning as “an extremely ignorant person.” The dictionary definition of ignorant: 1.    lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: an ignorant man. 2.    lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject […]

Sarah Palin, “Small Town Mayor”

Sarah Palin Legs Photo

Those who’ve read my previous commentary on Sarah Palin, notably yesterday’s post on the announcement of Palin as McCain’s VP pick, know that I think she’s a poor choice.  While she has many fans and may be possessed of some remarkable political gifts, she’s a tough sell as “Ready On Day One” and thus undercuts […]

Obama as Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Adam Serwer laments the fact that Barack and, particularly, Michelle Obama have to humanize themselves to the electorate and fight back against an elitist caricature. [T]he Obamas are still fighting Jackie Robinson Syndrome, the reflexive double standards and often small, sometimes large, but always public humiliations that come from being the first black person to […]

Obama and McCain Not ‘From’ Anywhere

McCain Obama America

Peggy Noonan laments “The End of Placeness.” OK, quick, close your eyes. Where is Barack Obama from? He’s from Young. He’s from the town of Smooth in the state of Well Educated. He’s from TV. John McCain? He’s from Military. He’s from Vietnam Township in the Sunbelt state. Chicago? That’s where Mr. Obama wound up. […]

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