I subscribe to the Gregg Easterbrook school of prognostication: All predictions wrong or your money back! Still, I couldn't help thinking, when I saw the list of the top four vote-getters in the SRLC straw poll, that none of them will be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. (In case you're too busy to click on the link, the top four were Romney, Paul, Palin, and Gingrich.)
So who will it be? I don't have a clue. But I would urge you to keep an eye on this guy:
House majority leader Steny Hoyer has informed his colleagues of the CBO health bill score. Politico reports:
The bill would cost $940 billion, and reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the first 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the second 10 years. The deficit numbers Democrats have been most worried about, and will be key to convincing moderates to coming on board with the bill.
Keep in mind that the second decade estimate is incredibly speculative. Overall, though, this score may move some undecided congressmen into the Yes column. Whether those congressmen will be members who voted No last year is another question entirely, however. Perhaps they will have seen this video:
More CBO details, and the final reconciliation language, are expected later today. A Sunday morning vote is now likely. Gentlemen: Start your engines! The countdown has begun.
It wasn't until mid-December that Scott Brown's campaign team knew for certain they had a chance. An internal poll showed intense interest in the race to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. And the more interested a voter was, the more likely he was to support Scott Brown. The campaign then made the bold decision to cut this ad:
There was worry inside the Brown campaign that the public might react negatively to the outright comparison of Brown to Kennedy. That didn't happen. The ad was electric. It was the first in a series of bold moves and lucky accidents that culminated in Brown's incredible upset victory on January 19.
At some point this weekend, you should settle into an easy chair, crank up the volume, and listen to Stephen Davies's entire talk about historical placement, Western civilization, and what distinguishes modernity from what has come before. The lecture runs about 45 minutes, then there are questions. But as Davies talks you will actually feel your brain getting smarter.
This is Paul Ryan's moment. If national security or social policy were at the center of debate, the Wisconsin congressman wouldn't be nearly as prominent as he is today. But President Obama wants to reshape the American economy and welfare state so that it looks more like a Western European social democracy. And since fiscal policy is Ryan's specialty, he's become the GOP point man when it comes to entitlements and health care. I continue to get emails from readers applauding Ryan's performance at the health care summit a week ago. Type Ryan's name into Google search and the fifth prompt that comes up is "Paul Ryan for President." (Ryan says he won't run in 2012.)
It's not everyday that two likely candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination appear simultaneously on the top late-night talk shows. But that is what happened last night, with Sarah Palin's appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight Show and Mitt Romney's on David Letterman's Late Show. I just watched both interviews, which we'll post below the fold.
In a USA Today op-ed this week, assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser John Brennan wrote that "politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda." He's referring to the bipartisan criticism of the administration's decision to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber rather than detain Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant. Accusing your opponents of helping al Qaeda is not the best way to resolve an argument! Yesterday, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions took to the Senate floor to rebut Brennan's arguments. Roll tape: