Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity


My first Newsweek column is up. Not a huge fan of the picture, but readers of the blog will like the topic. Plus, if you all click over to it, then it gets a big audience, and then I look good. And you want me to look good, right?

By Ezra Klein  |  February 22, 2010; 2:59 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Re: Natural gas
Next: The Democrats to watch


Haven't you been complaining about the absence of leadership and guidance from the White House? Didn't Obama largely try to stay out of direct involvement, with the disastrous results that have dragged this process out six months longer than it should?

Posted by: adamiani | February 22, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, the pix is great. Very handsome--you look nervous.

Posted by: tara_brownlee | February 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you on the picture... you've got a pretty good reputation in policy circles now, no need to try and look overly serious for Newsweek.

Posted by: Quant | February 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan, but that picture really is horrible. It look like a mug shot. Great column though.

Posted by: JohnN79 | February 22, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

that picture is incredibly bad

Posted by: rt72 | February 22, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

You look like you are waiting to get yelled at. It's an aniticipating look.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 22, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with your face, it's just your shirt collar that looks kind of goofy, maybe lose the tie and open up. Excellent clarity in the column. Folks will say, "Who's this young whippersnapper, where'd he come from? he can write."

Posted by: rjewett | February 22, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Come on, people, the picture is adorable! He looks just like a real little pundit!

But seriously, if Obama's aim is to get the Senate bill past the House and fix things in reconciliation (while convincing the people through the cameras), then isn't a party-line vote a good thing? Perhaps the goal is more to stiffen Democratic spines and expose the Republican positions as dubious than to try to forge some new compromise.

Posted by: TheodoreLittleton | February 22, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that picture is terrible. You look like a member of the high school debate team who wears a suit that gives him that "child-wearing-a-suit" look.

Posted by: constans | February 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Yup. Picture is kinda hot. Much more than the blog photo... Blah blah blah, health care, blah.

Posted by: surplusvalue | February 22, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Whoa. That picture is godawful.

Get them to change it. Seriously.

Posted by: timwalk | February 22, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The blog photo is so much better -- can't they use that! The Newsweek mug shot photo really does not do justice to your dreaminess!

Posted by: hillgirl8024 | February 22, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

A clever and counterintuitive debut! By way of counterpoint: can a major policy initiative pass without Presidential leadership?

Posted by: sprung4 | February 22, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo shot of you uses a variant of a loop lighting pattern called Rembrandt (notice the triangle of light under the left eye). The effect here thins your face out a bit.

The NW shot uses split lighting which might have been been dramatic if not for the fact that the contrast between the shadow and lit sides is not...uh..contrasty enough. Overall, it gives a bit of a DMV-look to the shot (note - the left ear (Ezra's left) is about the same brightness as his face - same brightness=no depth).

Just as importantly, you are smiling in the WP shot. Between the lighting and smile, you can see the difference between a successful shot and a shot needing be re-done.

If you have a chance, see if you can get David Hobby to shoot you. He's local (well Baltimore)...and he's the f#@&ing Strobist!

Posted by: user435 | February 22, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Dude, that picture is terrible. What are they trying to do to you over there? I'm pretty sure they could Google Ezra Klein and come up with several far superior pictures.

This is sabotage. Far be it for me to offer advice but . . . I think heads should roll. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TigerCats | February 22, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Interesting piece, my question would be could the Dems in Congress get themselves moving to legislate without the President inserting himself in larger issues.

Not a great photo. Coincidently, I was watching a DVD of the recent movie Knowing, which featured Nicholas Cage acting all over the place, and some good end of the earth cornpone. Anyway, the Newsweek photo looks a lot like the humorless alien dudes in Knowing.

Posted by: bdballard | February 22, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I guess they used your driver's license photo

Posted by: TigerCats | February 22, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I clicked over three times. Do I get some free air miles or something?

Posted by: golewso | February 22, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

the pic isn't so bad, but a smile would have killed you?

Posted by: freaktown | February 22, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Great column. As to the picture, I think it shows that Newsweek is determined to make Jezebel fail. I mean Jezebel said you were one of the 10 hottest guys who aren't hot for a living so Newsweek decided to make you look like a dork just to make Jezebel look silly.

Dead tree media have to coopt or destroy (or both -- watch out -- they might go for both).

Posted by: rjw88 | February 22, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't agree with the premise of the column. It would be one thing if this was a Congressional dispute and then the President decided to interject himself in the middle - sure then he would be a lightning rod. But when the president campaigns on a particular issue and says upfront that it will be one of his main priorities, then whatever lightning rod effect you're talking about has already happened - long ago. To say that Obama's meeting on Thursday will make things more partisan just because he's the president is sort of closing the barn door after the horse is already out and been out for almost a year.

Posted by: hohandy1 | February 22, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Congrats on the new gig over at Newsweek, but you are too cute for that horrible picture!

Posted by: stephen_schmitz | February 22, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

You've got that blank Business School undergrad look on your face. Admit were trying to figure out who moved your cheese when that picture was taken.

As for the article itself: Personally, I think the fact that the President is considered the de facto leader of his party is the biggest problem. I, for one, am amenable to the quaint notion of independent branches of government. With the concept of Party gaining greater and greater importance, by default, the concept of separate and equal branches becomes more and more remote. So, even if we change congressional rules, the lines between branches is still too blurry for my personal taste. Good government is too important to be subjected to the whims of the Executive Branch alone, as evidenced by the Presidency of George W Bush.

That said, I don't know how to get us away from the the President-as-Party-Leader mindset, so whatever...I have no better suggestion.

Posted by: slag | February 22, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse


=.-D <- tear from laughing

... you may want to ask, politely of course, if they can use a different picture... Just saying. :-)

Posted by: JERiv | February 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The picture is fine. I'll take your word for it that it could be better. More important: your bio over there is blank. Great inaugural column!

Posted by: JonathanTE | February 22, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The picture makes you look like a character in a Coen brothers movie.

Posted by: ostap666 | February 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Are you sure that NW used an actual picture of you? It looks like a CGI image; the avatar Ezra!

Posted by: danwhalen2 | February 22, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, normally a big fan, but you write, "The more that health-care reform is associated with the president, the less likely it is that any Republican will support it."

I think it's obvious from over the past few months that the Republicans have no intention of working with the president. Might as well fight the good fight, play a partisan game, and get the bill through with Democratic votes than to endure any more delays.

Posted by: MediaGlutton | February 22, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Terrible article, Ezra. Don't know that I've ever disagreed with you more. The hatred by the Rs is the issue -- just because they hate hate hate doesn't mean they should be able to run Obama off the field.

Posted by: AZProgressive | February 22, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

You should use the photo from this blog in Newsweek too.

Posted by: plbernstein92 | February 22, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse


Great start at newsweek, but you should definitely say something to the headline writer. "Stay Out of It, Mr. President." Seriously? That's the best they could come up with? As happens all to often, this headline writer completely twists the thrust of your argument, which has nothing to do with whether or not Obama should engage in the health care debate or not as a matter of politics. Even if delivered with tongue-in-cheek, any intended humor (at least in this case) is likely going to be lost on most readers.

Posted by: pollibido | February 22, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The reminder that there's a big issue not being discussed (the elephant in the room) doesn't work anymore because the Repubs are and have been for a long time, elephants. I suggest the wooley mammouth as a replacement.

In this case, your Newseek piece starts off telling the Pres. to stay in bed with the covers pulled over his head because if he doesn't, it will be more partisan.

But then, in the "The Democrats to watch" (above) you make the case that the HCR is an intra-Dem. party issue now, and the Pres. is concerned with showing them leadership to get their votes, hence the White House conference on health care this week.

Inconsistent much?

Is there any doubt that the civil rights acts of the 1960's wouldn't have passed without LBJ twisting Dem. arms (and some GOPers too)? Great swaths of legislation would not have passed without an active POTUS pushing the Congress. Bush and tax cuts? Bush and Iraq?

It is simply unbelievable that you would say ANYWHERE that the President should just let Congress do its thing. Would emancipation have happened without Lincoln?
Would the trusts have been humbled for a time without Teddy R.? Would we have a national park system without Teddy Roosevelt? Would we have had a New Deal without FDR? Would we have gone to moon without JFK? Or, avoided a nuclear war with the Soviets without JFK over Cuba?

Nothing wrong with interacting with Political Scientists, but adopting their memes without criticism and analysis is just stupid. You may as well have been quoting The Weekly Standard.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | February 22, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Ezra: I endorse the photo. Years ago people favored serious, non-smiling poses. Nowadays everybody favors a toothy, robotic, fake grin when they have their picture taken. Maybe you can start a trend. A serious pose is dignified. Imagine how silly our currency would look if Washington and Lincoln were smiling.

Posted by: Jasper999 | February 22, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: bgmma50 | February 22, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with your conclusion. What the president wants is a party-line vote. He wants every Democrat on-board, and what the Republicans do is of no import.

By getting involved, Obama might hurt bipartisanship but he helps healthcare.

Posted by: zosima | February 22, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

The irony is that I think Obama understood that presidential positions polarize and that is why he tried to avoid taking positions on the details on both the stimulus and health care reform, a decision for which he has been often criticized. He assumed that there was a general bipartian consensus on the need for, and an outline of, both the stimulus and health care reform, and that if he left the details to the Congress, that bipartisan consensus would be turned into detailed legislation. Alas, he was wrong and this applies to a time when the Senate was not as inherently partisan because there were liberals and conservatives in each party, and there wasnt filibustering in the Senate purely for partisan purposes (for instance, it was southern dems who filibustered the civil rights act for racial reasons). Those days are long gone, the parties are more ideologically pure and the filibuster is seen as a legitimate partisan tool especially for a GOP base that is so strongly anti-Obama because they do seem him as representing change-a change that they fear and loath. I think the president has come to understand this and that he needs to change his approach. Unfortunately, the media and the vast middle of the public dont yet seem to get it and I think the health care summit is, in some ways, designed to educate the public and the press on this.

Posted by: gregspolitics | February 22, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

How can you look good with a picture like that? Did somebody die? Are you canvassing for the Mormons? Will I have to turn the hose on you when you show up at my door?

Posted by: pj_camp | February 22, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

You look like you were just told about someone dying. Nothing like the happy face that tells google reader about healthcare.

Posted by: StephenBank | February 22, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company