E.J. Dionne Jr.

NEW YORK —Having long been one of the proud tough guys of New York politics, Andrew Cuomo, the state's attorney general, finds himself with a Republican opponent in this year's governor's race who makes him look like St. Francis of Assisi. To call Carl Paladino brash and a loudmouth understates the case.

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Marx and Spencer

WASHINGTON—The 2010 election is turning into a class war. The wealthy and the powerful started it. This is a strange development. President Obama, after all, has been working overtime to save capitalism. Wall Street is doing just fine and the rich are getting richer again. The financial reform bill passed by Congress was moderate, not radical. Nonetheless, corporations and affluent individuals are pouring tens of millions of dollars into attack ads aimed almost exclusively at Democrats. One of the biggest political players, the U.S.

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Atlas Slugged

DANVILLE, Va.—Rep. Tom Perriello is this election's test case of whether casting tough votes is better than ducking them, and whether a progressive who fashions an intelligent populism can survive in deeply conservative territory. On the face of it, Perriello should be the year's most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. In 2008, he won his sprawling, largely rural district—it stretches from academic Charlottesville down to this gritty former industrial stronghold on the North Carolina border—by all of 727 votes out of a total of some 317,000.

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WASHINGTON—Here is another piece of conventional wisdom about this year's election that is being rendered patently false. It's been said over and over that no Democrats are running on the health care bill. Actually, more and more of them are proudly campaigning on what the plan has achieved—and they should.  In a fight for his political life in Wisconsin, Sen.

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Lefty, Come Home

WASHINGTON—A couple of hours before President Obama offered a boffo revival of his 2008 campaign persona during a boisterous rally at the University of Wisconsin, Sen. Bernie Sanders was analyzing why the president was in a political pickle in the first place. Sanders, the independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, speaks warmly of Obama.

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Rockefeller’s Ghost

BOSTON— "Where are our plans for a New Deal or a Great Society?" asked Edward W. Brooke, the legendary Massachusetts Republican. It's not a question anyone in today's Republican Party would dare get caught even considering, but Brooke had the temerity to raise it in The Challenge of Change, a book published in 1966, the year he became the first African American elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction. The midterm election that year was very good for Republicans in general, including a Californian named Ronald Reagan.

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Is the tea party one the most successful scams in American political history? Before you dismiss the question, note that word “successful.” Judge the tea party purely on the grounds of effectiveness and you have to admire how a very small group has shaken American political life and seized the microphone offered by the media, including the so-called liberal media. But it’s equally important to recognize that the tea party constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its numbers. Yes, there is a lot of discontent in America.

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Tax and Surrender

WASHINGTON—In any athletic contest, winning teams play their own game and force the other side to play that game too. The same being true in elections, it's remarkable how timidity leads Democrats to fight this year's campaign on Republican terms. Nowhere is this more obvious than on taxes, where the entire debate revolves around what to do about the cuts enacted under George W. Bush. Almost no one is talking about extending the progressive tax cuts that were included in President Obama's stimulus program.

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WILMINGTON, Del.--On the eve of the primary that would end his electoral career, Rep. Mike Castle was in a reflective mood.

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Citizens Confounded

WASHINGTON -- Imagine that your neighbors started getting letters describing all sorts of horrific deeds you had allegedly performed. Wouldn't you feel you had the right to know who was spreading this sleaze—especially if the charges were untrue? Now imagine a member of Congress telling a lobbyist from Consolidated Megacorp Inc. that she would do all she could to block an extra $2 billion in an appropriations bill to purchase the company's flawed widgets for the federal government.

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