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Politico's Mike Allen, the Man the White House Wakes Up To -

The daily e-mail from Mike Allen, Politico's star reporter, has become a morning ritual for Washington's elite.


Speaking of Elite Contempt

Check out how NPR, Bloomberg News, and Mike Allen's Politico Playbook handle coverage of this weekend's upcoming 8/28 "Restoring Honor" Glenn Beck rally in Washington. Each piece is almost a parody of press hostility and derision toward Mr. Beck and his listeners and viewers. Compare the tone of the coverage of Mr. Beck with the tone of the mainstream press coverage of the imam of the ground zero mosque. The imam and his followers generally get the benefit of the doubt, while Mr. Beck and his followers get scrutinized and caricatured.


Revolving Door

Via Mike Allen's Politico Playbook comes news of the latest spin through the revolving door: Evan Liddiard, for 20 years a top tax aide to Senator Hatch of Utah, a Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is leaving to become a partner at Urban Swirski & Associates, LLC, a tax and finance-oriented lobbying firm whose client list is here.



What to make of Wikileaks, the organization that exposed more than 90,000 classified U.S. government documents about Afghanistan that are the subject of a front-page news article in today's New York Times?

NYU's Jay Rosen: "the world's first stateless news organization....Wikileaks is organized so that if the crackdown comes in one country, the servers can be switched on in another. This is meant to put it beyond the reach of any government or legal system."

An Obama "administration official," via Mike Allen's Politico Playbook: "It's worth noting that WikiLeaks is not an objective news outlet but rather an organization that opposes U.S. policy in Afghanistan." (As opposed to, say, the New York Times?)


Government Pre-Election Ads

The Obama administration has spent about $3 million in government funds on pre-election television commercials touting the supposed benefits of ObamaCare, Mike Allen's Politico Playbook reports. "The Department of Health and Human Services insists that the ads are not political," the report says.


Tulips for Mike Allen

The change in the Washington conventional wisdom about what will happen in Tuesday's election is visible in the influential Politico Playbook, a daily morning email from the indefatigable Michael Allen.

Playbook, October 20: "PLAYBOOK ODDS FIXING: If the election were held today, we forecast a Republican pickup of 47 House seats (39 needed for majority; net gain could reach 55)"

Playbook, October 26: "PLAYBOOK ODDS FIXING: Republicans net 51 House seats (39 needed for control)" Mocks as "Tulip Craze" Republican predictions of gains of 62 or 64 seats.

Playbook, October 29: "PLAYBOOK ODDS FIXING: GOP gains 59 in House (39 needed for majority)."


Pre-Existing Condition Hype

Mike Allen's Politico Playbook reports, without further comment: "At 6 a.m., HHS posted a report finding that anywhere from 50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent of) Americans under age 65 have some type of preexisting condition and would be at risk if the Affordable Care Act were repealed."

The full HHS report is here.

The 129 million number is absurdly inflated. There weren't anywhere near 129 million people without health insurance before ObamaCare passed. The claim that since the law passed tens of millions of people have suddenly developed conditions that make them uninsurable suggests that, if anything, the law has been bad for the health of Americans.


Obama and Matthew Dowd

New York magazine reports that President Obama met with the "chief strategist for the 2004 Bush-Cheney reelection campaign," Matthew Dowd. The magazine describes this as "surprising," or at least, "more surprising" than his meeting with President Reagan's chief of staff, Kenneth Duberstein:


A Prime Example

From Mike Allen's Politico Playbook: "This is the kind of thing that Republicans could easily seize on as a prime example of how Washington is broken. Democrats meeting behind closed doors with 400 lobbyists to talk about how they can keep their hands on the taxpayer cash."


Haley Barbour on Government Growth

Mike Allen's Politico Playbook has a quote from a speech to be delivered today by the governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, a likely Republican presidential candidate:

People see clearly that a bigger government means a smaller economy. So, it's time we made economic growth, not government growth our top domestic priority. Let me say it again: Bigger government equals a smaller private economy. The private sector can't grow and create jobs if government sucks up all the money.

More on the same speech, from the Associated Press:

He says economic growth would not be achieved through "government boondoggles like taxpayer-subsidized high-speed rail or other pet projects" or by "having government take control of our automakers, financial sector, health care system and energy industry."


Kerry's Infrastructure Bank

Read it here first: In commenting over the weekend about Senator Kerry's plan for a $10 billion or $600 billion "federal infrastructure bank," I said, "infrastructure spending is a big favorite of the Chamber of Commerce." Today Mike Allen's Politico Playbook reports that Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue will appear with Mr. Kerry today to endorse the proposal. So will Republican senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Mr. Allen quotes an anonymous Kerry aide as saying, ""This legislation is John Kerry's climate change effort of 2011 – meaning he's going to throw his heart and soul into it." Mr. Allen is too polite to suggest an alternative meaning – that, like the climate change legislation, it's not going to pass.

Meanwhile, over at Bloomberg News, Amity Shlaes has a column skeptical about the effects of infrastructure spending:


Nonessential Personnel

One of the nice things about a potential government shutdown (or, for that matter, a big Washington D.C. snowstorm) is the clarity it provides about which government workers are "essential" personnel, who come to work even in a shutdown, and which are "nonessential" personnel, who don't come to work. The question that naturally arises is, if they are nonessential personnel, why are the taxpayers funding their employment to begin with?

Mike Allen's Politico Playbook has details on some nonessential personnel in the Congressional branch of government:


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Mike Allen

Age: 52

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Washington Post

The Free Lance-Star

Richmond Times-Dispatch

The New York Times



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Washington and Lee University
Undergraduate Studies

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