Daily Archives: February 16, 2010

Post-crisis economic policies. Edmund Phelps, Center on Capitalism and Society

Replace Rahm Emanuel (and Larry Summers). Leslie Gelb, Daily Beast. Interesting, though not entirely convincing. The fearsome four (Emanuel, Axelrod, Gibbs, Jarrett) sure have a case to answer. (I think Gibbs is a disaster.) But whether Obama’s troubles are their fault or his is debatable. He decides how to use them, and whether to listen to others. The piece says Summers has to go, but fails to say why. My guess is that Obama should have paid more attention, not less, to Summers.

Possibility of a Republican Senate. Sean Trende, RCP

Time for Financial Reform Plan C. Alan Blinder, WSJ

John Heilemann has an interesting new column on Obama’s “vexing bind”: how to attack the Republicans while reaching out to moderates like Scott Brown. Complicating that task, which is “mildly schizophrenic” to begin with, he says, are divisions within the Democratic party.

There’s a certain grim irony in the difficulties the White House has confronted in moving its agenda on the Hill—because to no small extent, they are rooted in a stunning success that chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had in his previous life. Together with Chuck Schumer on the Senate side, Emanuel was as responsible as anyone for recruiting the kinds of Democratic candidates who could beat Republicans in relatively conservative districts and states in 2006 and 2008. The results were impressive majorities in both houses, but with two unpleasant side effects: a Democratic Party with a substantial Blue Dog wing that sees political benefit in resisting the White House, and a Republican Party stripped down largely to its irreducible right-wing core, which sees no upside in compromise.

Heilemann wonders whether Obama might have got more done if the Dems’ majority in the House had been smaller–with, say, 25 moderate Republicans taking the place of 25 moderate Democrats. That would have made bipartisanship a more realistic prospect.

He also asks, are there still even 50 votes in the Senate for the healthcare bill? Good question. In the column I just wrote on the filibuster, I tried to explain why Democrats are reluctant to change the filibuster rule even though they could: doing so would not solve the underlying problem, which is that the bill is unpopular in the country. But Heilemann’s question prompts a further thought: if there are no longer even 50 votes for the measure, the filibuster actually helps Democrats. It gives them cover. It lets them blame Republican nihilism rather than their own divisions for the failure.

Evan Bayh to Barack Obama: Shove it. Charles Lane, Washington Post

The White House lost the narrative. Ed Luce interviews John Podesta, FT. Video here.

America’s new era of unemployment. Don Peck, Atlantic

Obama’s unsustainable budget. Greg Mankiw, NYT

The Afghan offensive. Foreign Policy provides links, including to NYT‘s David Sanger on the meaning of victory in Marja. Meanwhile, an as-yet-unMirandized Taliban commander is under interrogation by Pakistani intelligence and the CIA.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

Clive Crook’s blog: A guide

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