David A.

Stories by David A. Graham

  • Can the Democratic Party Capture Formerly Uninsured Voters?

    The biggest political reason for health reform is the Democrats' base. Leaders will be relying on the bill's passage to reenergize many of the voters—and prevent a disastrous erosion of support among young voters. How well that works will become clear in November and, probably, again in 2012. As fellow Gaggler Katie points out, there's good news for Dems on that front. It looks like the the so-called enthusiasm gap has closed between Republican voters, who have been motivated en masse by the tea-party movement and opposition to the bill, and Democratic voters, who were put off by the slow pace of reform....
  • Lay Off Eric Cantor! (Sort Of)

    An angry Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lashed out at Democrats yesterday, claiming they were shamelessly using threats against lawmakers to make political hay. In fact, the minority whip said, someone had a shot a bullet at his own office in Richmond, Va. But an investigation found that the bullet was probably a random shot, fired from as far as a half-mile away, police said today. It appears it wasn't fired at Cantor's office, which is minimally marked and in a city with serious gun violence problems. ...
  • Why You Shouldn't Worry About Texas's Textbook Changes

    We're now two weeks into the row over changing Texas history-textbook standards, and the story seems likely to persist at least until a final vote in May on the changes. That means several more weeks of hysteria....
  • How Oregon Ended Its Meth Epidemic

    Methamphetamine makers across the country have expanded operations in recent years as demand for the feel-good drug has risen with unemployment. In Oregon, however, the once booming industry has nearly disappeared. Between 2005 and 2009 the number of lab seizures—the best indicator of production—dropped an astounding 96 percent, from 192 to 10, according to a recent report by the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association. Even more astounding: to get these results the state simply restricted cold and allergy medicines with pseudoephedrine, making this key meth ingredient unavailable without a prescription.Were the rest of the U.S. to follow Oregon's lead, says Emory University professor Jean O'Connor, who studies meth policy, police could focus almost wholly on Mexican smugglers—America's top meth suppliers. The number of users would continue to fall as well. Last year in Oregon, meth arrests were half of what they had been in 2006, the year the law took effect.But don't expect the...
  • A Peek at Jonathan Alter's New Book on Obama's First Year

    Fellow Gaggler and esteemed NEWSWEEK columnist Jonathan Alter has been busily at work on a forthcoming book, and this weekend New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman provided a peek inside. The book, titled The Promise: President Obama, Year One, is a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the first 365 days of the Obama White House....
  • Rove Gets Roved

    With Karl Rove's Courage and Consequence (we read it so you wouldn't have to, here) flying off shelves, it was obviously only a matter of time before the Internet worked its magic with a video spoof. Et voila! The authors of a business-advice book, despairing of ever beating Rove through traditional, positive methods, decided to take the fight onto Rove's territory, launching an attack ad, ostensibly in Rove's style. Among their charges against him: his book's cover uses a French, rather than American, typeface; the book too heavy a burden for taxpayers to bear; and it's so long that it will destroy Americans' productivity. This is all pronounced gravely over an ominous soundtrack, of course. The ad also says the book doesn't have pictures, although that's false—the pictures are unusually good (on the other hand, some critics might suggest misleading statements are actually part of the Rove style). Anyway, the ad should be amusing for Ro...
  • Hunter Told Edwards Not to Run: Mistress Speaks in 'GQ' Interview

    You may recall that about three weeks ago, NEWSWEEK ran a story detailing Rielle Hunter's "quiet dignity" as the sordid John Edwards scandal unfolded. Well, no more: Hunter has opened up with an interview for GQ, complete with semi-risque photos (a pantsless Hunter) as well as a touching picture with her and Edwards's daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter). Among her revelations to interviewer Lisa DePaulo: she and Edwards, who she calls "Johnny" throughout, slept together the day they met; she insists he still loves her; and Edwards lived "in fear of the wrath of Elizabeth," his wife. The interview is fascinating in a rubber-necking sort of way, but there's not too much of political interest....
  • Reports: N.Y. Rep. Eric Massa Now Plans to Step Down Monday

    Pop quiz: If we'd asked on Monday, which Empire State Democrat would have seemed closest to resignation? Probably embattled Gov. David Paterson or maybe Rep. Charlie Rangel, who's been haunted by an ethics investigation. The surprise winner, though, is Rep. Eric Massa, a first-term congressman representing a western New York district. The Washington Post, Politico, and other outlets are reporting that Massa will announce his resignation on Monday....
  • Arizona: Political Cover for Coming Tax Hikes?

    While Washington, D.C., has accepted the idea that Americans are allergic to taxes, at the state level public tolerance for sacrifice is being put to a test. For the first time since the early 1990s, several governors have suggested sweeping tax increases—the kind that will affect the majority of voters, not just smokers and high earners. Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire, for example, has warned of an unspecified bump in the sales tax. Pennsylvania's Ed Rendell wants to add a 4 percent surcharge to a series of everyday products and services, including periodicals, flags, and dry cleaning. Perhaps the best gauge of local sentiment, however, will be in Arizona, where Gov. Jan Brewer—despite a stiff primary challenge from a tea-party-aligned Republican—will send a 1 percent sales-tax increase to voters in May.None of these proposals is a slam-dunk. But their ultimate impact may be less fiscal than political, says Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, which tracks...
  • Yes, Virginia, There Are Republican Critics of Sarah Palin

    Fred Kaplan, Slate's "War Stories" columnist, is usually right on, but his column on Sarah Palin yesterday was a bit of a dud. Charging right out of the gate, Kaplan asks: "Are there any Republican grown-ups out there, and, if there are, will they ever start coming to the aid of their party? That sentence could segue into any number of topics, but the one at hand is Sarah Palin."...
  • Blanket Holds vs. Blanket Holds

    Much of the chatter over Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) move yesterday to place a so-called blanket hold on all administration nominees has focused on how novel the tactic is. Although holds are a frequent—and of late, much maligned—Senate tactic, Shelby's is unusual in that it applies to a vast swath of nominees. (For a good rundown on holds, read this.)...
  • Mark Cuban's Shadow Small-Business Tax Proposal

    Speaking in Baltimore on Friday, President Obama described his plan to encourage hiring by offering tax cuts to small businesses as "a simple, easy-to-understand mechanism that will cut taxes for more than 1 million small businesses."...
  • What's the Matter With Ohio?

    Having spent most of my life in northeast Ohio, I can't help but scratch my head at President Obama's speech in Elyria today. Speaking at the Lorain County Community College, Obama struck a populist tone, justifying—or attempting to justify—bank bailouts to an almost certainly skeptical audience, and selling a forthcoming jobs stimulus and beleaguered health reform as policies to help the common man....
  • Hitler Finds Out About Scott Brown's Victory

    If you're still not familiar with the Downfall meme, we're a little surprised you're even on the Internet to read this. In brief: in 2004, there was a German film called Downfall, which featured a gripping and unintentionally hilarious scene in Hitler's bunker as the end of the Third Reich neared (or so we're told; we've never actually seen the original). Since then, jokers on the Web have been writing new subtitles for the scene, making it about sporting events, Sarah Palin, videogames—you name it—in the grand tradition of Mel Brooks's The Producers. Naturally, there's already one for Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts special election and its effects on health reform. For your viewing pleasure:
  • New 'Livability' Guidelines for Transit Projects: What They Do and Don't Change

    Lost in the shuffle of Haiti and the Massachusetts Senate race was an interesting development in federal transport policy. Advocates of public transportation and sustainable transportation development have had a frustrating few months, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood threw them a bone Wednesday with new guidelines for spending. In plain English, the decision-making process for large projects is no longer just about money—the cost-benefit analysis will now include intangibles that improve "livability."...
  • Obama Rolls Out First Concrete Haiti Relief Steps

    Howard Fineman wrote in this space yesterday that President Obama would feel pressured to come out with a strong response to the earthquake in Haiti as a result of both the memory of Hurricane Katrina and the racial makeup of the nation. What form would that take? Howard said we could expect to see a parade of strong statements as well as U.S. military involvement on the ground to assist in rescue efforts....
  • Hawaii School Cuts Symbolize Coming Trouble for State, Municipal Budgets

    CNN had a nice segment yesterday that puts a personal face on the coming crisis facing state and local budgets. NEWSWEEK reported on that issue last week: in a nutshell, state and local budgets get hit later than the rest of the economy, because income and property taxes don't show a dip for a while. Some analysts are worried that just as employment and economic growth begin to recover, cities and states are going to be facing massive shortfalls and very tough decisions. One of the facets of this case─unions and governments at loggerheads over how to deal with a crisis─is likely to be a major one as similar cases develop elsewhere....
  • It's Not About Obama, It's About Maintaining a Viable Opposition

    In a post this morning, Ben did a good job of capturing the gist of the conversation following the attempted Christmas Day attack: does the Obama administration deserve the blame, or did Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab slip through cracks that were beyond administration control? The administration is scrambling to deal with poorly worded responses by its own officials plus attacks from Dick Cheney in Politico to Rep. Pete Hoekstra's Twitter account. And now we've entered the backlash-to-the-backlash phase, as exemplified by an impressively detailed report in Politico that demonstrates a double standard in reaction to Barack Obama and George W. Bush's handling of similar incidents....
  • Rove Divorces, Twitter Delights

    When Karl Rove announced this morning that he and wife Darby had divorced last week after 24 years of marriage, family spokesperson (and former Bush press secretary) Dana Perino asked for the family's privacy to be respected. In a development that surprises no one, Twitter users did not oblige, with an outpouring of scornful tweets raining down on Rove, the adviser George W. Bush once nicknamed "Turd Blossom." ...