ICYMI Tumblr fans, the October 25th issue of The New Republic is out, with pieces by Nicholas Lemann on the inscrutable Barack Obama, Cass Sunstein on law, economics, and psychology in consumer markets, Helen Vendler on the poems of Dante, and Jonathan Chait on the future of conservatism. Check it out and subscribe http://bit.ly/R9TWOZ
Are GOP governors overplaying their hands on the Medicaid expansion?
“Rick Perry wants Texas to reject Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, even though it’d bring health insurance to several million people. But plenty of Texans disagree. And some of that have a lot of influence.
As Jay Hancock reports today at Kaiser Health News, two groups of powerful interests are preparing to pressure Perry if, come next year, the state really does decide to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. One group is the hospitals that, absent the Medicaid expansion, will be bearing the cost of charity care even as they cope with declining revenue from other resources. The other group is private insurers, who see the growing Medicaid population as a huge profit opportunity and have been investing large amounts of money to prepare for it.”
Jonathan Cohn — “Gov. Perry, Your Health Care Lobbyists Are Calling”
Eric Andrew-Gee digs into the consequences of Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law
THE VOTER ID law, which was passed by a Republican statehouse and will be enforced starting in September, requires voters to show valid photo ID every time they vote. The claim is that stringent rules will prevent voter fraud, particularly voter impersonation—basically, a voter pretending to be another voter.
But in a state where the last recorded case of voter impersonation happened ten years ago, what explains Republicans’ ardor for the cause? In late June, Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania’s Republican House Majority Leader, gaffed his way toward revealing the truth. In the course of listing his party’s recent achievements, Turzai said the voter ID law was “going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
He couldn’t have been clearer: fighting voter fraud is a fig leaf. The real goal is stealing Pennsylvania’s presidential contest from Barack Obama by suppressing the votes of his supporters. And the scary thing is, they might succeed.
— Eric Andrew-Gee, “Will Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law Cost Obama the Election?”
Ed Kilgore on Louisiana’s foray into free-market education
We all got a good laugh at the recent befuddlement (reported at TNR by Amy Sullivan) of a conservative Republican legislator from Louisiana who withdrew her support from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s school voucher program when she realized that its open door to public support for religious schools was not limited to those catering to Christians.
But the underlying principle of Jindal’s initiative—and arguably of Mitt Romney’s little-discussed proposal to convert the bulk of federal K-12 education dollars into vouchers—is no laughing matter. No-strings vouchers based on the idea that “the market” or the wishes of parents are an adequate or even ideal form of “educational accountability” could reflect a sharp U-turn in the standards-and-accountability trend in U.S. education that Republicans and conservatives until recently championed. Indeed, Jindal’s (and Romney’s?) agnosticism about the quality of schools receiving public funds represents an abandonment of the very idea of “public education” other than as a mechanism for subsidizing private choices.
Does Romney have it right on minimum wage?
“It’s well known that Mitt Romney is a shameless flip-flopper ready to shed any and all traces of his former moderation to win the GOP nomination. But this week we’ve seen an instance where Romney has been falsely accused of flip-flopping, yet Romney, hilariously, hasn’t protested, presumably because he has no particular interest in correcting the record.”
- Timothy Noah, Psst. Romney Still Supports Minimum Wage
Image courtesy of Photobucket
Why haven’t Romney’s rivals exploited his latest gaffe?
“Both Jonathan Chait and Jonathan Cohn today noted the utter incompetence of Mitt Romney’s GOP rivals when it comes to basic opposition research, as shown by their failure to dig up two 2009 statements in which Romney supported a national individual health insurance mandate. These statements are completely at odds with Romney’s claim throughout this campaign that he has never backed a national individual mandate, but rather simply thought it appropriate for the people of his own state. Yet Mssrs. Santorum, Gingrich et al apparently could not bother to dig up the statements, which were contained in two very obscure corners: a USA Today column and Meet the Press appearance.”
-Alec MacGillis, Just How Pathetic are Romney’s Opponents?
Read our Super Tuesday primer and know what’s at stake for today’s big vote. Also, read Jonathan Bernstein’s analysis on how caucuses affect the nominating process.
“Regardless of whether Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum comes out ahead in Ohio later today, Super Tuesday already promises to make at least one growing segment of America’s political class gleeful: caucus skeptics.”
-Jonathan Bernstein, Yes, Caucuses Are Unfair. No, We Shouldn’t Mind
What’s it like to attend the same church as Rick Santorum?
“Rick Santorum’s Catholic faith is an obvious centerpiece of his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, and it is rare for him to speak without referencing his religious beliefs. It is also rare, however, to hear him speak about his particular church, St. Catherine of Siena, which he and his family have belonged to for at least a decade. Even his 2005 manifesto on his personal faith and politics, It Takes a Family, did not mention the church. I was curious to learn more about it, so last Friday morning, I attended a 9 a.m. Mass there.”
- Molly Redden, Rick Santorum’s Virginia Church and Opus Dei
How did today’s GOP become the party of Jerry Falwell?
“Before Falwell, if liberals wanted to increase the minimum wage by one dollar and conservatives did not want to increase it at all, they could compromise and raise the minimum wage by fifty cents. Before Falwell, the American public’s ambivalence about abortion could find expression in the Hyde Amendment, which does not prohibit abortion but denies federal funds for the procedure. After Falwell, such compromises were seen not as part of the art of governance, but as a betrayal of first principles. After Falwell, conservatives could not entertain differences of opinion on many issues without being accused of political heresy.”
-Michael Sean Winters, “How the Ghost of Jerry Falwell Conquered the Republican Party”
Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post
Do you think the work of Bettina Inclan will attract Latino voters to the GOP come November?
“In late January, on the eve of the Florida primary, Bettina Inclán, the 32-year-old head of Hispanic outreach for the Republican National Committee (RNC), appeared on Fox News opposite progressive activist Simon Rosenberg to discuss the Latino vote. To say that the deck was stacked against Inclán in this fight would be an understatement.” - Molly Redden, Mission Impossible: Meet the Woman Tasked with Selling the GOP to Latinos