Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan Want Each Other to Run for President in 2016

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have an odd problem. They've both earned the title "rumored 2016 presidential contender" — which politicians love — but to keep it up, they need to find a cute but non-committal answer they can give every time someone asks if they're running. They stumbled on the solution Thursday night during their first joint interview since 2012. After giving Romney a chance to describe the many ways he was right and President Obama was wrong on foreign policy and letting Ryan plug his new book, Megyn Kelly asked the congressman, "Who do you think would make a better president, you or Governor Romney?" "I'll give it to him," said Ryan as the governor chuckled. "He's very generous, but I had my turn," said Romney. "It's his turn now." It's sweet that [Romney/Ryan] thinks his old running mate is the man for the job, but the American people desperately want to draft [Romney/Ryan] for 2016! Or, you know, Jeb Bush.

How Obamacare Violates the Conservative Cleanliness Fetish

The right’s pathological hatred of Obamacare is a phenomenon liberals have struggled to grasp. Rational explanations — philosophical opposition to the expansion of the welfare state, the reinforcing certainty of a news cocoon, reflexive partisanship — only go so far. The indefatigably rabid opposition to what is merely a more fiscally responsible version of the plan Mitt Romney ran on in 2008, and the refusal to reconsider in the face of an endless string of failed predictions of failure, is a force of nature.

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Why Beheading Videos Are Back With ISIS, and Why They Went Away

Before Jim Foley's beheading video surfaced on Tuesday, there hadn't been a similar one — of a Westerner, beheaded by Muslim extremist groups with the intent to change government policy — in nearly a decade. Many compared his death to that of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002*, because after a spate of such videos in the early aughts, they had all but disappeared.

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Bill Kristol Demands War, Has Not Been Informed It’s Already Happening

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol is angry at ISIS's murder of journalist Jim Foley, which is completely understandable. Somewhat less understandable is his angry denunciation of Obama's policy toward ISIS:

What happens in the age of Obama to a group that does something that appalls and shocks the conscience of the entire world?

Nothing.

Nothing! Well, except for the two-week-long, ongoing campaign of air strikes, which has allowed Kurdish forces to route ISIS, and which is the very thing ISIS is trying to stop by threatening to murder more hostages.

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‘Youngsters Love Rand Paul’ Is a Fake Trend

The major premise of that extremely problematic New York Times Magazine story about the “Libertarian Moment” is that young voters have at least vaguely libertarian beliefs. They don’t. The corollary is that, since young voters are kinda libertarian, Rand Paul is uniquely well-positioned to deliver them to his party, compared with other Republicans. This assumption also turns out to lack any evidence.

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Paul Ryan: I’m Keeping Tax Cuts for the Rich

Reducing the top tax rate has been the Republican Party’s highest priority for a quarter century. Since the 2012 election, a handful of apostates have gently urged it to change course. Paul Ryan, who remains the most powerful figure within the party, has just given an interview to John McCormack, and he has a message for the reformers who want to change course: forget it. Ryan, reports McCormack, “made it clear that he disagrees with some conservatives who are willing to accept a high top tax rate in order to increase the child tax credit.”

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The Republican Party’s Geriatric Trap

There are many ways to think about the Republican Party's electoral predicament — in racial terms, in sectional terms, in ideological terms. One clarifying way to conceive the problem is in generational terms — a geriatric trap.

David Frum has an essay in Foreign Affairs laying out his view of how the Republican Party must change in order to regain parity at the national level. Frum’s core insight is that the Republican Party fell into a self-perpetuating cycle whereby its ideas attracted mainly old people, and old people in turn shaped its ideas, and so they wound up “reinventing themselves as defenders of the fiscal status quo for older Americans — and only older Americans.” Even while fighting a desperate rear-guard campaign to prevent, and then to destroy, universal health insurance, Republicans exempted all Americans over the age of 55 from any cuts to Social Security or Medicare. As a Fox News ratings gambit, this works splendidly. As both a long-term Republican political strategy and as a governing doctrine, it is a catastrophe.

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The Summer of 2014 and the Return of the Politics of Racism

This summer in street politics has been long and violent. But in the midst of the chaos, there has been a steady signal. It is becoming possible to detect a subtle, tidal shift in the attentions of the post-Occupy American left, away from the subject of economic inequality and towards the problem of race.

The protests in Ferguson seem to be growing at once more violent and more political. »

Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion

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In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon