December 2011

Peeling the Onion (Or, Why Iowa and New Hampshire Really Matter)

Posted: Thu, 12/29/2011 - 4:59pm

We have by now spent so many weeks consumed with the ups and downs of Republican Presidential politics that we are in danger of misgauging its real impact, especially in these early days.

It can be easy to dismiss the Iowa caucuses. Ask “Presidents” Huckabee and Gephardt how winning there worked for them. Winning the Hawkeye State in 2008 and 1988 respectively turned out to be the high point of their campaigns.

In Case You Were Wondering: We Have Been Here Before

Posted: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 4:25pm

“Politics is politics” House Speaker John Boehner opined Thursday, as he stepped before the cameras to explain why he would not back down in the payroll tax fight House Republicans have been waging with the Senate.

Seldom have truer words been spoken. And it was politics at work when -- even as Boehner was speaking -- his counterpart on the other side of the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was busy bailing water out of the boat.

Hate Washington? Join The Club

Posted: Thu, 12/15/2011 - 6:18pm

Welcome to my hometown. There are few places in the world that people hate so much, yet expend such extraordinary effort trying to get to.

Myself, I find much to love about Washington. The monuments are pretty. The green spaces are well-manicured. The museums are astounding (and mostly free). And it is just Southern enough to produce good food and good people.

But if there is one thing that never seems to change, it is that the rest of the country has come to hate the caricature the city has become.

Black Holes and Campaign 2012

Posted: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 5:12pm

The scientists at the University of California Berkeley have discovered something awesome: monster black holes – 10 billion times the mass of the sun – that suck in everything around them. Even light

The Tax Cut Debate: The Latest Train Wreck Waiting To Happen

Posted: Thu, 12/01/2011 - 5:09pm

As I prepared for a PBS NewsHour discussion about the prospects of extending and expanding the year-old payroll tax holiday, I knew the challenges that lay ahead. And that was before the Senate confirmed my pessimism by rejecting not one, but two, proposals to grant Americans year-end tax relief late Thursday.

This time, I hoped for a little more nuance. After all, both sides say they agree that now is not the time to allow a tax cut to lapse that has saved many families as much as $1,000 this year. Plus, the proposal now on the table would boost those savings to $1,500, while cutting payroll taxes for small businesses as well. What’s not to like at holiday time?