A year ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced with much fanfare that he was forming an investigatory panel, known as the Moreland Commission, to address reports of rampant corruption in Albany. Cuomo declared that the commission would be "totally independent," and could even investigate his administration. "Anything they want to look at, they can look at — me, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, any senator, any assemblyman," he said. The reality was very different. Cuomo abruptly shut down the commission in March, prompting Manhattan's U.S. attorney to take up its unfinished investigations into criminal activity in the state legislature, as well as accusations that Cuomo meddled with the commission's probe. Now the New York Times is giving prosecutors a hand. During a three-month investigation, the paper found extensive evidence of how Cuomo's office successfully objected anytime the commission focused on the governor or his associates.
Just after his first introduction to Vladimir Putin in 2001, then brand-new President George W. Bush memorably announced that, by looking into his Russian counterpart's eyes, he had managed "to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country." But, ten years later, Vice President Joe Biden visited Putin and determined that Bush must have been hallucinating or something.
A few months ago, President Obama delivered a tribute to Lyndon Johnson that was also a tribute to his optimistic vision about American history. Obama reminded his audience that the triumph of justice was not easy, continuous, or automatic. “[W]e know we cannot be complacent,” he warned, “For history travels not only forwards; history can travel backwards, history can travel sideways.” This was Obama’s caveat to his main point, which is that, for all the struggle and imperfection and reversals and injustice that remained, over the long haul, moral improvement has carried the day:
“Still, the story of America is a story of progress. However slow, however incomplete, however harshly challenged at each point on our journey, however flawed our leaders, however many times we have to take a quarter of a loaf or half a loaf — the story of America is a story of progress.”
Karl Rove has a column today promising Republicans that they can still win by running against Obamacare. And when Rove tells Republicans they’ve got a winning hand, you should listen, because he would never wildly overstate his party’s prospects. Except that one time in 2000 he predicted George W. Bush would win 320 electoral votes. And that time in 2006 when he insisted Republicans would definitely hold both houses of Congress. And that other time in 2000 when he assured reporters that Bush would win the New Hampshire primary. And of course that time in 2012 when he refused to accept the outcome of Fox News’ own election desk.
There are only two reasons New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would visit Iowa — and the state fair's famous butter cow won't be on display for another three weeks. That means Christie's campaigning for president, and the New York Times has some details on just what that will look like. Christie's schedule has him hitting three cities on something of a handshake tour, ostensibly in support of Iowa's Republican governor Terry Branstad, but really designed to show off his personality and skills at retail politics, which he sees lacking in his likely tea-party opponents.
The business lobby’s very public exasperation with House Republicans has given Democrats in Congress an idea: They can lure the business lobby to switch sides. The basic underlying calculation makes a certain degree of sense. The most recent controversies in Congress have all entailed Republicans defying corporate America’s preferences — by killing immigration reform, threatening the Export-Import Bank, and blocking any long-term solution to highway funding. “It is a trifecta reminder of how the tea party has taken over the Republican Congress,” says Democrat Steve Israel, who, reports The Wall Street Journal, has “stepped up his courtship of business donors.” Likewise, Senator Charles Schumer pleads, “From the Export-Import bank to tax extenders to immigration reform, Democrats and business are on the same side on a range of issues. The Tea Party has dragged the Republican Party so far to the right that business is now closer to mainstream Democrats than Republicans.” But the Democratic courtship of the business lobby has not worked, and it isn’t going to.
It’s awfully hard to go unnoticed when you’re nearly six-feet-six-inches tall. When you’re that big and also the mayor of New York City in the social-media era, invisibility is nearly impossible. Yet Bill de Blasio keeps trying — and today brings two more examples of the mayor’s foiled attempts at stealth.
Debra Harrell is currently in jail because she let her 9-year-old daughter play, unsupervised, in a public park. Almost everything about this story (which I noticed courtesy of Lenore Skenazy) is horrifying. Harrell works at McDonald's. Her daughter used to tag along and stare at a screen at her mother’s workplace during the day. She asked to go to the park instead, was discovered to be without an adult, and her mother was arrested. Compounding the horribleness is the news coverage, in which reporters and onlookers alike are united in disgust at Harrell:
Deep behind a tangle of denial and rebranding initiatives, a GOP resuscitation plan emerges.By Frank Rich
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
Jon Favreau’s most enduring riffs.
Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013
For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.By Ezra Klein
Mother Jones Jan. 15, 2013
Our debt dysfunction began with the Constitution, funded Manifest Destiny, and makes the trillion dollar coin look tame.By Tim Murphy
Salon Jan. 15, 2012
Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.By Steve Kornacki
New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010
After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009
Obama drew progressive ire from day one.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008
How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.By Jeff Coplon