The Daily Beast

Elena Kagan's Achilles' Heel

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
April 19, 2010 |

President Obama is about to nominate someone for the Supreme Court. On the day he or she is unveiled, conservatives will announce that they are approaching the selection with an open mind. Ten minutes later they will declare, more in sadness than anger, that the nominee has the judicial philosophy of Chairman Mao and the temperament of Dennis Rodman. Ten minutes after that, liberals will rise en masse to defend the nominee as wise, brilliant and humane, a person who restores our faith in humankind. And the kabuki theater will continue like that all summer long.

The Tea Party's Phony Populism

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
April 15, 2010 |

“Populist,” like “idealist,” is one of those words reporters use when they’ve checked their critical faculties at the door. George W. Bush routinely gets called an “idealist” in foreign policy because he gave soaring speeches on behalf of democracy. Whether his actions—in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Central Asia, the horn of Africa, or for that matter, Washington, D.C.—were particularly idealistic usually escapes scrutiny. He said he was for democracy, therefore he was.

The Republican Frat-Boy Culture

  • By
  • Reihan Salam,
  • New America Foundation
March 28, 2010 |

In the celebrated 1978 film Animal House, John "Bluto" Blutarsky famously rallies the men of Delta House with a riveting speech on the vital importance of fighting even when it seems that all hope is lost. And now, more than three decades later, one can see that same fighting spirit animating the Republicans in Congress, who see the coolly cerebral President Obama as a figure almost as reprehensible as the scheming Dean Vernon Wormer. The ironies are obvious.

Blow Up the GOP

  • By
  • Reihan Salam,
  • New America Foundation
April 2, 2010 |

Republicans should be gleeful. After shepherding the largest expansion of the federal welfare state since Medicare through Congress, and achieving a goal that American liberals have been striving for ever since FDR called for a Second Bill of Rights in 1944, President Obama, the most gifted politician of his generation, garners an anemic approval rating of 48 percent in a new USA Today poll. While 47 percent of voters believe that the new health care law is a "good thing," 50 percent believe that it's a bad thing.

Chris Dodd's Toothless Reform

  • By
  • Reihan Salam,
  • New America Foundation
April 16, 2010 |

If you thought the financial crisis marked a turning point in American history, and that Democrats and Republicans were committed to making TARP the bailout to end all bailouts, you'd be sadly mistaken. As Senator Chris Dodd's financial reform bill makes its way through the Senate, there is a broad conviction among experts that it will do little to prevent yet another financial crisis.

The Dirty Secret of Unemployment

  • By
  • Reihan Salam,
  • New America Foundation
April 8, 2010 |

Even after a strong jobs report in March, the unemployment rate has remained stuck at 9.7 percent. And as a new study from the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative has found, 44 percent of unemployed Americans have been unemployed for at least six months. During the devastating recession of the early 1980s, in contrast, the long-term unemployed were only 26 percent of the total. Remarkably, the number of unemployed Americans who've been out of work for a year or longer is 23 percent.

Obama's No Drama, Un-Bush Nuke Summit

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
April 14, 2010 |

Although I’m embarrassed to admit it, the nuclear summit bores me. At the health-care summit, the prospect of President Obama body-slamming Eric Cantor kept me on the edge of my seat. Even at the beer summit, there was the tantalizing whiff of ill will. The nuclear summit, by contrast, lacks the essence of good drama: conflict. Dozens of the world’s sanest and most benign leaders are descending on Washington to declare their resolve never to let Osama bin Laden get his hands on a nuclear weapon. Ahmadinejad won’t be there; Chavez won’t be there; Netanyahu has pulled out.

Obama's Power Surge

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
March 29, 2010 |

Is it just me, or does Barack Obama seem different since health care passed? He’s sticking it to the Senate by appointing 15 nominees while it is on recess; he’s sticking it to Benjamin Netanyahu by not backing down from demands that Israel halt building in East Jerusalem; he’s sticking it to the banks by aggressively pushing financial reform. It’s hard to believe that only two months ago, Paul Krugman announced that “I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr.

How Obama Did It

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
March 21, 2010 |

When they turn health-care reform into a movie, I hope they give a cameo to the nuns. For months, the powerful, sheltered men who run the Conference of Catholic Bishops had been urging members of Congress to give up on covering the uninsured because the anti-abortion provisions in the Senate bill, written by two anti-abortion senators, weren’t anti-abortion enough. Then along came the nuns, to remind everyone that Jesus didn’t get his start on Fox News. “When I read the Gospels, where is Jesus? He’s healing the lepers,” declared Sister Simone Campbell.

How Barack Beat Bibi

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
March 18, 2010 |

Israel’s diplomatic war with the United States will likely end the same way its real war ended last year in Gaza: ambiguously. There will be no white flags or mission accomplished signs, just a slight tilt in the balance of power, a modest moving of the trench lines. Those lines aren’t fully demarcated yet, but in important ways the outcome is already clear: Barack Obama has won.

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