atch this year's recipients' acceptance speeches:
BLOGGER OF THE YEAR:
The tag line on Ezra Klein’s former blog at The American Prospect announced: “Mama said wonk you out!” Now that Klein swims in the establishment end of the blogging pool, as policy blogger–in–residence at The Washington Post, his hip-hop welcome mat is gone. But the sly, sophisticated spirit it embodied is stronger than ever.
Klein takes policy seriously enough to do the work necessary to understand it. And he understands it well enough to enlighten readers with insights that have made him both required and entertaining reading. A lucid, engaging writer, he feeds you spinach and you swear you’re eating ice cream.
For the past year, Klein has been a vital interpreter of the biggest story in Washington. And health-care reform is not just big: It is messy, complex, and subject to the heated claims of politicians, industries, and armies of academics, economists, and interest groups. In a dozen posts a day, Klein sorted through the cacophony, highlighting the most important issues and analyzing the devilish details. A partisan in the battle himself, Klein argued forcefully for reform. But he also invited opponents to make their case on the blog, elevating the overall quality of debate.
Ingesting a historic, 2-foot-high work of legislation and translating it into clear, accessible prose is a great public service. But no policy exists free of politics, and here, too, Klein was more than up to the task. He successfully guided readers through the dizzying political machinations, putting the politics in context but keeping the policy in focus — and central. He grabbed hold of one of Washington’s most slippery stories and never let go. What’s more, this 25-year-old blogger made policy cool, a feat that bodes well for the future of blogging.
"This is how health-care reform controls costs. It is, at its base, a grand bargain: The coverage expansion gets liberals to agree to, and even advocate for, cost controls they would never otherwise consider. A 6 percent growth target? A super-MedPAC—now called the Independent Medicare Advisory Board—that reforms Medicare to save money and whose recommendations are fast-tracked and protected from the filibuster? Hundreds of pages of changes to payment rates and experiments in value-based purchasing and coordinated-care efforts? This stuff is very, very real, and it goes into effect very quickly. You may think it’s impossible for Congress to cut costs in Medicare and that the government will just go bankrupt, but you’d have to admit that this is what it would look like if the government was cutting costs in Medicare." Nov. 19, 2009
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