The Atlantic Daily: Political Speak

Politicians and authenticity. Plus Sandra Oh at the Golden Globes, the leisure gap between American men and women, and more

Rebecca Cook / Reuters

What We’re Following

Especially in the Trump era, politicians are continually vying to appear “authentic” and “relatable” in every place and on every platform where constituents might be gathered. Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has used her preternatural media savvy to connect with her constituents on social media, thus showing an “ability to program around both the news media and the party apparatus.” Representative Rashida Tlaib lobbed an expletive toward the president on her first day in office. And despite her Oklahoma upbringing, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard law professor, was nevertheless criticized for saying “I’m gonna get me a beer” on a New Year’s Eve Instagram about her presidential candidacy.

A sterling Golden Globes for Sandra Oh. At the jaunty awards show, Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody laid claim to the prize of best film, outstripping the presumed favorite and once Oscar front-runner, A Star Is Born. But the biggest star of the night wasn’t either of the winning films, but Sandra Oh, who became the first person of Asian descent to host the awards show. She acknowledged the momentous history of the occasion, giving a “speech [that] was undeniably moving, even for those who’ve grown accustomed to viewing the industry’s glitzy gatherings with cynicism.”

The average man in the U.S. has about five and a half hours of free time a day—30 minutes more than the average woman, according to government data. What are men doing with all this extra time? This gap has widened as women, and especially mothers, have entered the workforce in droves over the past century, so one possible explanation is that mothers still assume the lion’s share of the child-care and housework responsibilities in families.


Movies to look forward to in 2019
Our critic David Sims picks 25 exciting movies releasing in 2019, from the expected parade of sequels and remakes to new takes on action thrillers to some exciting original projects. (Still: Brie Larson as Captain Marvel)

Evening Read

This is the untold story of how America’s political leaders crossed the aisle to stave off financial collapse in 2008. As a historian, John Lawrence took notes on previously private conversations that unfolded between members of Congress during the economic crisis; many of these talks are revealed here for the first time:

Later, in the car returning to the Capitol from the meeting, Pelosi told me that Bush had said, “I told you you’d miss me when I am gone!”

“No,” Pelosi had dryly responded, “I won’t.”

After McCain concluded, vacuously urging, “concerns must be addressed,” Obama snapped, “That’s not an answer!”

“I don’t know what your proposals are,” pressed Frank.

Even Bush threw up his hands, declaring, “I don’t know what the hell they are!”

As the meeting broke up, McCain awkwardly edged past Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and staff people who were clustered in the narrow corridor leading to the West Wing reception area. Concerned that their discussion might be overheard, we moved into the nearby Roosevelt Room. Obama’s communications chief, Robert Gibbs, began sketching out a summary to offer the waiting press, who quickly reported that the meeting had been inconsequential.

Read on.

What Do You Know … About Education?

1. A recent investigation found that this New Orleans private school, which became well known through viral videos of its students opening acceptance notices to elite universities, seemed to have massaged or outright faked some of its students’ profiles—a scandal that also exposes American colleges’ desire for “miracle students.”

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. The student outcomes of many of America’s urban schools have been improving over the years. The public-school system in this city, deemed in the 1980s to have the “worst school system” in the country, ranks first in the nation for academic growth, according to recent data.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: T.M. Landry / Chicago

Dear Therapist

Every week, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions in the Dear Therapist column. This week, an anonymous reader from Richmond, Virginia, writes in:

I recently received some feedback at work, and I’m having trouble adjusting to it. Apparently, some of the things I do at work come off as belittling or arrogant to some of the people I work with. However, I wasn’t given any information regarding what exactly I said or did to cause those feelings.

I don’t want to do this to anyone, and had no idea that what I was doing was coming off this way. But I feel like without specific feedback, I can’t effectively change. I asked for more information, but my supervisor (in the name of anonymity) couldn’t tell me much more. As a result, I feel kind of helpless. I want to improve and be a better co-worker, but short of shutting down my personality, I don’t really know what to do.

Read Lori’s response, and write to her at

Looking for our daily mini crossword? Try your hand at it here—the puzzle gets more difficult through the week.

Concerns, comments, questions, typos? Email Shan Wang at

Did you get this newsletter from a friend? Sign yourself up.