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Be Afraid, Very Afraid of Rachel Maddow

The fake 2012 Massachusetts senatorial race between newly elected Sen. Scott Brown and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is really heating up—er, sort of.

White House Isn’t Selling ‘Obamacare’

Now that Obama’s historic health-care reform is signed, sealed, and delivered, we need to decide what to call this thing. Most laws end up with recognizable names (No Child Left Behind; FERPA; “don’t ask, don’t tell”), but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may be too much of a mouthful to actually catch on.

Student Loans Make Health-Care Bill Even More Complicated

In another twist in the health-care-reform saga, the Democrats announced Thursday a plan to include the contested Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) as a part of the final reconciliation bill sent to the Senate.

Obama Takes the Middle Road on Proliferation

The federal government’s Nuclear Posture Review, which the Department of Defense revealed this morning, outlines the government’s nuclear plan for the next five to 10 years. Its arrival kicks off a heavy season of nuclear summits and discussions, including a key one hosted at the White House next week. Since taking office, President Obama’s goal has been a nonnuclear world in which America’s foes who already have nukes promise not to use them against each other, and those who don’t have nukes promise not to acquire them in exchange for security (the latter of which speaks directly to Iran).

Sarah Palin: No Hockey Mom

Although she lost the election, Sarah Palin has certainly come out ahead. ABC News reportedTuesday that the governor turned media star had raked in more than $12 million since July from various speaking engagements, television contracts, and her book, Going Rogue. Several hours later, California state Sen. Leland Yee revealed pages believed to be from Palin’s speechcontract with the California State University’s Stanislaus Foundation (where Palin will speak at a gala this summer) that were found in a Dumpster by several students. Palin’s high cost, and her high demands, have concerned lawmakers in a state struggling with sweeping budget cuts.

Contradiction in Terms

The Tea Party Express arrived in Washington and other major cities Thursday to protest taxes, government spending, and burgeoning deficits. Activists took to the streets around Capitol Hill with their signs and costumes to tell Congress and the Obama administration that they weren’t going to take it anymore. The tea party has a message to send to elected officials in Washington. It’s just a little contradictory at times.

Stewart Calls It: ‘Obamacare’ Derogatory

On Tuesday night’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Stewart discussed a new book, A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending, and More Taxes, with its author, John O’Hara. O’Hara drops the O word—”Obamacare”—several minutes into the discussion about whether the tea-party movement is or is not antigovernment.

Welcome to the 21st Century, Sue Lowden

After the yearlong debate about how to solve America’s health-care problems, it seems we have an answer.

Sue Lowden, Republican hopeful for the Nevada Senate seat of Majority Leader Harry Reid, gave the media, the blogosphere, and late-night comedians something to chatter about this week when she said Americans should barter for health care. She harked back to those old days when our grandparents took chickens to the doctor

Thank You, South Carolina. Again. Seriously?

Last year South Carolina became one of the biggest punchlines in politics when Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, a presidential hopeful, tearfully admitted to an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman. Since his pathetic public apology, Sanford’s wife, Jenny, divorced him, appeared in Vogue, and revealed all in her bestselling book Staying True.

Arizona Threatens Los Angeles—Sort Of

The fight over Arizona’s controversial immigration law continues to get dirtier.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to boycott everything Arizona in order to “impact the economy of Arizona,” as L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa explained. That didn’t sit too well with the businessmen in the Grand Canyon State. And Tuesday, Arizona’s corporation commissioner fired back with a threat of his own. Stop the boycott or lose your electricity.

The Salahis: Masters of Deniable Publicity

There was a seismic shock that circulated the White House press corps this morning after ABC reported that former party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi were stopped by a Secret Service officer for running a red light and trying to turn into a blocked-off entrance last night outside the executive mansion, which was hosting its first state dinner since The Incident.

Obama’s Unlikely Defender: Laura Bush

Most political pundits have been quick to blame the oil disaster on Obama. Within a couple of days conservatives began calling it “Obama’s Katrina,” referencing his predecessor’s response to the 2005 disaster. But Friday morning, Obama found an unusual supporter—former First Lady Laura Bush.

Research credit

Party Time: Tea Partiers fit into a recent pattern of conservative populist movements.

By Howard Fineman

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