The Great Debate

Romney’s second shot at healthcare reform

By Jim Stergios and Josh Archambault
April 3, 2012

Americans believe in second chances. The oral arguments before the Supreme Court last week were a rare opportunity to dispassionately re-examine the divisive healthcare debate of two years ago. What happens if, after the smoke clears, we get a second chance at healthcare reform?

Mr. 1 Percent versus Mr. 1 Percent

By David Callahan
January 20, 2012

Listening to a newly populist President Obama or to Mitt Romney, who touts his CEO past at every turn, it is tempting to imagine a 2012 election that unfolds as textbooks imagine, with Republicans speaking for business and Democrats standing up for the little guy. Don’t be fooled. A more accurate reading of the contest features two elite candidates who represent different wings of the 1 Percent – a group increasingly divided over economics and the role of government.

The GOP’s hunt for Latino voters

By Stephen Nuno
January 18, 2012

Jon Huntsman suspended more than just his campaign this week. He also put an end to any hope the GOP had of making strides in the Latino community.

Santorum and the Tea Party crackup

By Michelle Goldberg
January 6, 2012

By Michelle Goldberg

The views expressed are her own.


It’s easy to read too much into Rick Santorum’s stunning finish in the Iowa caucuses after months of dismal poll numbers. In some ways he won by default, emerging as the last conservative candidate standing because no one took him seriously enough to attack him. Nevertheless, by virtually tying with Mitt Romney, he has become the leading conservative alternative in the race. And that should put to rest the exhausted conventional wisdom that the American right is primarily motivated by a desire for small government. Because Rick Santorum sure isn’t.

Michele Bachmann’s glass house

By Amanda Marcotte
January 4, 2012

By Amanda Marcotte
The views expressed are her own.

Of all the candidates who rose and fell during the prolonged Republican primary campaign going into Iowa, Michele Bachmann took the wildest ride. Bachmann won the 2011 Ames Straw Poll in August, taking 28 percent of the vote, mainly due to conservative evangelicals who supported her strong anti-abortion views and her ease in speaking Christianese. But a mere five months later, after a disastrous showing in Iowa where she only took 5 percent of the vote, Bachmann is dropping out of the race.

A caucus-goer’s community

By Eitan D. Hersh
January 3, 2012

We think of caucus-goers as unduly politically active. But the data suggests they care far more about something closer to home.

Gingrich’s anger management

By Michael A. Cohen
December 15, 2011

By Michael A. Cohen

The views expressed are his own.

WINDHAM, N.H.—Newt Gingrich is flying high these days – on top of national Republican polls and currently leading in three of the first four Republican primary and caucus states. He hasn’t been this relevant in American politics since Bill Clinton sat in the White House and Titanic was the biggest movie in America. But while the new Newt is clearly enjoying himself, seeing him on the campaign trail brings back familiar glimpses of the old Newt, defined far more by his acid tongue than he was by his policy acumen.

Obama’s Ted talk

By Michael A. Cohen
December 7, 2011

The president’s new populism comes from Teddy Roosevelt’s new nationalism.

By Michael A. Cohen

The views expressed are his own.


Has there ever been an American President more regularly compared to his predecessors than Barack Obama? Since arriving on the national stage Obama has been weighed against Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Reagan, Kennedy, Truman, Carter and even George W. Bush. But after his remarkably full-throated populist speech yesterday in Osawatomie, Kansas we have to add another one to the list – Theodore Roosevelt.

A new party won’t necessarily be more pure than our existing two

By David Callahan
November 24, 2011

By David Callahan

All views expressed are his own.

One irritating thing about rich people nowadays is their boundless faith that they can solve society’s most daunting problems – whether it’s underperforming schools or the AIDS epidemic. Yet just because someone made a bundle trading stocks or developing software doesn’t mean they’re equally brilliant in other areas.

George W. Bush: The GOP’s forgotten man

By Michael A. Cohen
November 22, 2011

The former president has only been mentioned by GOP candidates 19 times in 10 debates. Why?