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David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

The key thing to understanding the debate over health care policy in the United States is that it's not really about health care policy, it's about money.

This may sound weird on first read, but there's actually not a lot of disagreement about the basic contours of health care policy. It seems like there is. But most of the policy debates are proxies for the underlying disagreements over whether and how much government should spend on health care.

The political challenge for Republicans has always been how to mask their ideological preference not to spend much (or any) on health care. To do that, they've mounted a sustained decades-long attack on any reform efforts as too costly, inefficient, unworkable, and a threat to liberty. At the same time, they've had to come up with a proposals of their own to make it sound like they actually have a workable health care policy: tax credits, health savings accounts, high risk pools, etc.

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It starts small, but this is real, not just some hypothesized conflict of interest, but actual misuse of office for personal familial financial gain.

Could the White House have been unprepared for the backlash to the "extreme vetting" executive order? It beggars belief, but the tone of this new statement directly from the President is defensive (I do too have "compassion" for the "suffering"), wounded ("This is not about religion"), self-justifying (Obama did the same thing!), lashing ("this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting"), and bewildered (Why doesn't the media recognize my good intentions?).

Here's the full statement:

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The first big initiative of the Trump administration will apparently be to contest the crowd-size estimates for his inauguration. Trump himself just went down that bizarre path at CIA headquarters, in front of the memorial to fallen CIA officers. And now we're awaiting a White House press briefing, where photos of the crowd, blown up to poster size, have been set out as props:

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One of the outside groups supporting Jeff Sessions nomination as attorney general is running a TV ad in DC titled "Champion" that calls him a "civil rights champion" and associates him in images with Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John Lewis. It's a remarkable re-write of Sessions' life and career:

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Secretary of state when he awoke yesterday morning, and now just walking the dog down Pennsylvania Avenue during the women's march:

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