WASHINGTON—This year's elections may exacerbate the difference between our two political parties, but not in the way most people are talking about. With incumbent Democratic Senators under threat in two more primaries on Tuesday, the conventional view is that Republicans and Democrats will emerge from this election more ideologically polarized than ever. Primaries will push Republicans to the right and Democrats to the left. That's only half true. Republicans will, indeed, end the year a more philosophically coherent right-wing party.
WASHINGTON— Brace yourself for several months of occasionally biting but essentially meaningless political theater over the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Underlying the fight will be a fundamental divide between liberals and conservatives over the direction of the court. Thus, many senators who supported Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will oppose Kagan, while most who were against Roberts and Alito will be for her. The irony is that the surface similarities between Roberts and Kagan are breathtaking.
WASHINGTON—Britain produced an electoral earthquake all right, but not the one so many expected. The real lessons have less to do with two-party systems than with how economic change has challenged old strategies on both the right and the left. The Conservatives under David Cameron came in first with the most votes and the most seats.
WASHINGTON—Ever heard the one about the guy who hated government until a deregulated Wall Street crashed, an oil spill devastated the Gulf of Mexico, a coal mine collapsed, and some good police work stopped a terrorist attack? Rarely has the news of the day run so counter to the spin on the news of the day. It's hard to argue that the difficulties we confront were caused by an excessively powerful "big" government. Rather, most of them arose from the government's failure to do its job in the first place.
WASHINGTON—"There's something else you need to know about me," declared the earnest young politician, "which is I believe the test of a good and strong society is how we look after the most vulnerable, the most frail and the poorest." This lovely bleeding-heart liberal sentiment was part of the closing statement offered by David Cameron, the leader of Britain's Conservative Party at last week's final debate before this Thursday's election. And after a rocky campaign start, Cameron now leads in the polls and may well become the next prime minister.
Washington—Maybe the next time someone calls Barack Obama a socialist, the president shouldn't issue a denial. He might instead urge his accuser to read the hearing transcript of this week's congressional testimony from the Goldman Sachs guys in their beautiful suits. Capitalism has not taken a hit like this since Mr.
WASHINGTON—The genius of American conservatives over the last 30 years has been their understanding that the most effective way to change the country is to change the terms of our political debate. On issue after issue, they have done just that. Sensible regulation was cast as a dangerous quest for government control. Modest measures to alleviate poverty became schemes to lock the poor into "dependency." Advocates of social insurance were condemned as socialists.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- What does President Obama's visit to California this week on behalf of embattled Sen. Barbara Boxer have to do with passage of the financial reform bill? Far more than you'd imagine. That Boxer is in any trouble says much of what you need to know about this year's election. California has become a Democratic bastion and Boxer has been a liberal institution who never before faced a serious re-election challenge. Now she is seen as sufficiently vulnerable that Obama will come to the state for another fundraiser for her next month.
WASHINGTON -- The tea party is nothing new, it represents a relatively small minority of Americans on the right end of politics, and it will not determine the outcome of the 2010 elections. In fact, both parties stand to lose if they accept the laughable notion that this media-created protest movement is the voice of true populism. Democrats will spend their time chasing votes they will never win.
Washington—You might imagine that if a terrorist attack killed an American public servant and threatened the lives of 200 people, it would have been big news for weeks and an enduring symbol of the risks taken by those who serve their country. Yet when an American named Joseph Stack flew a plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, in February, killing Vernon Hunter, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran, the news reports were remarkably muted, and the story quickly disappeared. Hunter worked for the Internal Revenue Service, which was housed in the Austin building, and according to Stack's suic