Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Read Stuff. You Should

Happy Birthday to McCoy Tyner, 75.

Tons of news yesterday, but you'll still want the good stuff:

1. Mann and Ornstein want to save Congress.

2. Lynn Vavreck reviews Double Down.

3. John Sides on the Steve Stockman challenge.

4. Scott Lemieux is a little obsessed with liberal health care reform fantasies...but he's also totally correct.

5. And Sarah Kliff provides a user guide to the ACA and


  1. It is really quite incredible that Mann & Ornstein describe Mel Watt as "a highly respected, moderate House member." According to National Journal's 2012 Congressional rankings, Watt was at the 88th percentile of liberalism in the 112th Congress. In 2011, the liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rated Watt's voting record at 100% and the conservative American Conservative Union (ACU) rated him at 4%; in 2012, the ADA rated him at 90% and the ACU at 0%. He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the organization of the Democratic left within the House of Representatives. By any reasonable measurement, Watt is a very liberal Democrat, which fits his district, which voted 78% for Obama's re-election.
    While Watt has been in Congress for 21 years, many of them spent on the House Financial Services Committee, he has never been much of a policy wonk on financial regulatory issues, unlike Barney Frank, his liberal colleague who pushed the Dodd-Frank bill through the House. Despite being a senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, he played little role on the Dodd-Frank bill, and he asked rather naïve questions in committee hearings, such as "What is tier 1 capital?' and "Does every bank hold tier 1 capital?" He may be respected by reporters, but those who lobby on financial issues have not been impressed with the depth of his knowledge, to put it mildly. That is not mere partisan bias, as every major Wall Street firm has lobbyists of both Democratic and Republican backgrounds, and those lobbyists were impressed with the financial knowledge of liberal Democrat Barney Frank.

    1. I must agree with Anon here. Mann & Ornstein don't need to hang their hat on the dubious hook of Mel Watt.

      Cordray was a better example before Watt (note: confirmed once the recess appointment made nullification impossible), as were the judges.

      Since the merits of the nominees don't matter to the GOP, the game isn't to try to demonstrate their intransigence by saying "well, they don't like this guy." It's to show that they don't like anyone at all; their comments about the circuit court do that just fine.

  2. FWIW, I still can't DO anything with M&O's advice.
    Their diagnosis (and mine): these people are the problem for all of us.
    Their prescription: these people need to cure themselves to make all of us better off.

    It just doesn't work. There's really not much for Democrats or Indies to DO with this advice. And the GOP is unlikely to agree with either the diagnosis or the prescription.

    At some point, this becomes untenable. If our diagnosis is wrong, then imposing the prescription is really a bad thing. If our diagnosis is right, the prescription won't be taken. I'm not sure what the way out of that is. FWIW, I'm not sure M&O actually do, either. Their prescription is a hope, not something that can be done.

  3. Glad that someone remembered the world's greatest living jazz pianist. (Trivia note: his brother is a leading American Communist.

  4. Seeing McCoy Tyner play live is an experience. (1) The man is an immense physical presence. (2) He is also an immensely physical pianist. (3) He is great. I've been privileged to see him three times, all at Iridium in NYC.


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