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David's Must Reads - April 14th, 2013

Ronnie's Friend Maggie -Presidential Historian Jon Meacham writes in TIME about the special relationship with President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

  • [Thatcher] quickly became a defining feature of the global landscape, an unapologetic, nearly always blunt advocate of freer markets, greater individualism and tougher anticommunism. Her fellow Tory Alan Clark was once asked whether he liked Thatcher. "Like her?" he replied. "She is not there to be liked. She's a force of nature. So she was, along with her transatlantic friend Ronald Reagan. Dismissive of the language and ethos of détente with the Soviets, they were frank about the goal of winning, not merely enduring, what JFK had called the "long twilight struggle" with communism. And for all their ferocious and bracing rhetoric--Thatcher's delivered in a no-nonsense British way, Reagan's in the plain-speaking style of the American frontier--they were fundamentally pragmatic. It was Thatcher who first declared that Mikhail Gorbachev was a man with whom she could "do business," and the Soviet leader's ensuing partnership with Reagan (and later with George H.W. Bush) resulted in the collapse of the totalitarian system that had seemed a permanent force before Thatcher and Reagan's joint rise to power in their respective nations.

Could Margaret Thatcher's reforms work in 2013? - Fareed Zakaria writes in the Washington Post's about whether or not Margaret Thatcher's policies of privatization and deregulation would work in today's global economy.

  • Thatcher’s ideas resonated because they were an effective antidote to the problems of the times. In the 1970s, the Western world staggered under the weight of oil shocks, rising wages, rocketing inflation, slowing productivity and growth, labor unrest, high taxes and sclerotic state-owned companies. These are not the problems we face now.

A New Budget for a New Party - Ron Brownstein writes in the National Journal about how President Obama's budget serves to align a new Democratic "coalition of ascendants."

  • Much of this year’s Washington story is about Obama aligning the Democratic agenda with the priorities of the “coalition of the ascendant”—minorities, the millennial generation, and college-educated whites, especially women—that powered his 2008 and 2012 victories. He is nearing Senate breakthroughs on gun control (which attracts overwhelming support from minorities and upscale whites, particularly women) and immigration reform (a top priority for Hispanics). At the Supreme Court, he embraced same-sex marriage, also tracking with millennials and upscale white women. Obama isn’t assured of victory in any of these confrontations, but the wavering Republican resistance across all three hints at the modern Democratic coalition’s potential to drive the national debate, especially as its key components continue to increase in number.

Anthony Wiener and Huma Abedin's post-scandal Playbook -Jonathan van Meter's piece in the New York Times Magazine profiling the life of Anthony Wiener and wife Huma Abedina since a scandal forced Wiener to resign from Congress.

  • At breakfast, Weiner quickly put all the speculation to rest: he is eyeing the mayor’s race. He told me that his political committee spent more than $100,000 on polling and research by Obama’s longtime pollster, David Binder (a detail that would be made public — and prompt a flurry of news reports — in mid-March when a spending report was filed with the city’s Campaign Finance Board). The focus of the poll, Binder says, was the question “Are voters willing to give him a second chance or not, regardless of what race or what contest?” And the answer? “There was this sense of ‘Yeah, he made a mistake. Let’s give him a second chance. But there are conditions on that, and there are a couple of things we’re going to want to know: What have you been doing since this incident occurred? Did you learn anything from this mistake? How did you deal with it?’ They want to know that they’ve put it behind them.”

How Dealmaking gets done on Capitol Hill - The Christian Science Monitor's take on the resurgence of dealmaking in Washington.

  • On nearly every major legislative initiative, at least some bipartisan activity is under way, even if it isn't yielding everything its sponsors would like. From strengthening controls on firearms to immigration reform to renewed stirrings of a "grand bargain" on taxes and entitlement programs, Congress is alive with the possibility of compromise. In other words, the dealmakers are resurfacing.

Does Buzzfeed know the Secret? -New York Magazine's in-depth look at Buzzfeed's new take on journalism and advertising.

  • [Buzzfeed Founder Jonah] Peretti wanted to fabricate memes, and after years of experimentation, he built BuzzFeed as a shop to do so. He didn’t do it for the news, or the movie gossip, or the cute pictures of pandas. Beneath BuzzFeed’s cheery gloss lies a data-driven apparatus designed to figure out what makes you click. Peretti is aware that if he really has divined that secret—if he can reliably manufacture, at mass scale, content you will want to share—he will have developed an asset of immense value.