Ed Kilgore

Sharron Angle's Self-Parody vs. Harry Reid's Missed Chances UPDATED
October 14, 2010

Having just watched the long-awaited, one-time-only debate between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican nominee Sharron Angle, I have to say I can’t imagine too many voters were swayed one way or another by what they saw, though the post-debate spin could change things. The debate format was unusual, to say the least: Every question was essentially a viewer-suggested attack line offered up by the moderator to one candidate or another; indeed, he articulated them with visible emotion, alternatively identifying with angry Tea Partiers or angry progressives. Reinforcing the sense of K

California's Insulting, Slimy, Pretty Good Gubernatorial Debate
October 13, 2010

As a fellow Californian, I can certainly understand T.A. Frank’s disgust with last night’s California gubernatorial debate, which featured a continued preoccupation with two recent candidate “gaffes” (Meg Whitman’s relations with a Latina domestic worker who was illegally in the country, and an overheard comment by a Brown campaign staffer, in his boss’ presence, calling Whitman a “whore”).

That Old 2007 Feeling
September 24, 2010

One intriguing thing about the Republican Party's "Pledge to America" is that it doesn't include that many goodies for the Tea Party—or, more precisely, that it concedes far more to the Tea Party in terms of rhetoric than actual policy. Here's the breakdown: The preamble and foreword are dominated by dog whistles and direct appeals aimed at the Tea Party movement.

McCain To 2012ers: It’s Easy! Skip Iowa!
September 22, 2010

So you want to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012? Here’s a hot tip from 2008 nominee John McCain: Citing his own experience as the Republican nominee for president in 2008, McCain said the still-strong Republican presence in New Hampshire helped catapult his campaign toward the nomination.

Is It “Demagoguery” To Compare the Two Parties?
September 21, 2010

Jay Cost is one of those conservative political writers whom I’ve always respected for his interest in empirical analysis and reasoned debate. But in a Weekly Standard column published this week, which pushes back against Democratic efforts to highlight the growing radicalism of the GOP, he made a frankly offensive statement that strays from analysis to agitprop: At best, this strategy might help swing an odd election here and there to the Democrats—e.g. Delaware and (maybe) Nevada—and increase the historically low levels of Democratic enthusiasm by a point or two. But that's it.

Abortion and the Tea Party
September 16, 2010

In most of the discussions of why Mike Castle lost the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware to the wacky conservative insurgent Christine O’Donnell, commentators emphasize that Castle crossed conservatives by voting for gun control, climate-change legislation, and TARP … as well as being pro-choice. In none of the analyses I've read has this last factor been emphasized, or treated as anything more significant than another indicator of his “moderation.” Ignoring abortion as an issue is an inveterate habit of the chattering classes, particularly on the progressive side of the aisle.

Understanding a Mad, Mad Primary Season
September 15, 2010

Christine O’Donnell is not someone you’d expect to be a Republican nominee for a competitive U.S. Senate contest, particularly in the staid state of Delaware, and particularly as the choice of primary voters over Congressman Mike Castle, who up until yesterday had won twelve consecutive statewide races. O’Donnell is a recent newcomer to Delaware and, since arriving, has managed to get into trouble with her student loans, her taxes, her mortgage, and her job. She also unsuccessfully sued a conservative organization for gender discrimination.

Good News for Democrats Where? Delaware!
September 13, 2010

Among Tuesday’s primaries is a suddenly red-hot contest in usually mild-mannered Delaware, where Republicans have been counting on picking up Joe Biden’s old Senate seat since the day Congressman Mike Castle announced for the race. But now Castle is suddenly looking vulnerable to a right-wing uprising which, in turn, could make Democratic candidate Chris Coons the front-runner going into November.

Washington, D.C.'s Racial Polarization Is Not That Bad
September 10, 2010

It’s still a close race, but the odds are that Washington, D.C., mayor Adrian Fenty will lose to D.C. Council chairman Vincent Gray in the dispositive Democratic primary next Tuesday.

Your Guide to the New Hampshire Political Slugfest
September 09, 2010

In most of the major competitive Republican primaries this year, three interrelated factors—money, ideology, and influential backers—have been on display in eyecatching ways. The political furies of 2010 have lured an unprecedented number of self-funding neophytes onto the ballot; Meg Whitman, Rick Scott, and Linda McMahon being just the most profligate examples. It’s the rare Republican primary where most, if not all candidates decline to call themselves “true conservatives” and impugn the ideological purity of their opponents.