During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama relied on a standard applause line, a promise that his health-care plan would “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.” Cue cheers -- or jeers if you were a health-policy expert. For them, his vow was ridiculous. There was no time frame attached to the promise. There was no plan for realizing it. It was change no one quite believed in. He might as well have promised every American a puppy.
Power has devolved to the people. And the people hate it. In his book “Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics,” Stanford University political scientist Morris Fiorina considers this “the great irony” of American politics: that the more Americans participate in their political system, the angrier and more disillusioned they become. We have met the enemy, and it is us. Or at least some of us.
There was a time when all anyone in Washington wanted to talk about was “bending the health-care cost curve.” Forget covering the uninsured -- the ultimate test of the Affordable Care Act would be the trajectory of health- care costs.
Put aside the politics, and the question of who-knew-what-when. There are two policy problems highlighted by the controversies at the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice. The first is the growth of 501(c)(4) groups into vehicles for anonymous and unlimited political spending. The second is the Barack Obama administration’s overzealous prosecution of leaks.
The 2012 election is looking better for President Barack Obama. In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, he opened a six-point lead against Mitt Romney -- a finding confirmed in two other polls this month by Rasmussen and Reuters-Ipsos.
After the failure of the 1973 Geneva Peace Conference, the Israeli diplomat Abba Eban sighed that “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” In recent years, the same could be said of Americans.
On my blog, I tried for a while to get the term “Euromess” to catch on. Fail. The world seems to have settled on “the European debt crisis” as the accepted term for the run on sovereign bonds that’s bedeviling the euro area. So I gave in and started calling it “the European debt crisis,” too. Now I’m regretting it.