John B. Judis

Off Center

When Bill Simon Jr. won California's Republican gubernatorial primary last month, it was widely viewed as an embarrassment for the Bush administration. The White House, after all, had publicly backed Simon's opponent--former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan--on the assumption that the moderate Riordan stood the best chance of victory against incumbent Gray Davis in the overwhelmingly Democratic Golden State.Some commentators were quick to deny any wider political significance to Riordan's defeat.

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Dirty Deal

It's not hard to figure out why the Bush administration and the Republican congressional leadership are wooing the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. They want the union to lobby for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling. And they really want support and endorsements in states like Michigan and Ohio, where the union's members may hold the balance of power in key House and Senate races—and even in the 2004 presidential election. Less well understood is why Teamster President James P.

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Purchasing Power

John Judis argues not to be afraid of the euro.

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The day after the Super Tuesday primaries, it looked as if Vice President Al Gore had wrapped up not only the Democratic nomination but also the presidency. He seemed poised to capture the great political center from Texas Governor George W. Bush, who, in order to secure his party's nomination, had mortgaged his convictions to the religious right. But since then the Bush campaign has made a fundamental transition—from a primary-election strategy based on party activists and interest groups to a general-election strategy based on wooing a broad electorate. The Gore campaign has not.

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Ross Perot's reform party is about to do something no third party has done in a century: transcend its founder. And it will be thanks to Pat Buchanan. Although Buchanan won't give either major candidate a scare in this year's presidential election, he'll probably line up enough disenchanted social conservatives, blue-collar workers threatened by imports, and disillusioned independents to win 7,000,000 votes.

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Temporary Help

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS--Americans spend a lot of time debating whether to let immigrants into the United States. They don't spend a lot of time debating how. And that's a problem, because while immigration supporters have been congratulating themselves for keeping America's doors open, they've barely noticed that the terms of entry are changing.

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Favorite Son?

Phoenix, Arizona--The outcome of Arizona's February 22 Republican primary isn't in doubt. Although George W. Bush led here last summer, home-state Senator John McCain had surged ahead even before his victory in New Hampshire. Indeed, with the latest polls showing McCain up by almost 20 points, Bush has all but conceded defeat. He has a skeletal staff in the state, and he's run ads only sporadically. Bush's Arizona campaign manager, Mike Hull, doesn't claim that his man will win--just that he'll hold McCain to a smaller-than-usual margin for a favorite son.

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Open Door

On November 15, when President Clinton's weary negotiators agreed to back China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), they set the stage for the last great struggle of this presidency. The battle lines are clear. Arrayed behind the administration is the entire political establishment: the four leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, every living former secretary of state and secretary of the treasury, and every major business lobby and farm lobby in Washington, D.C.

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Gold Man

Newark, New Jersey "Did i sound like I was a liberal and a progressive?" Jon Corzine asked me as we pulled out of the parking lot of a senior citizens' center in Monroe, New Jersey, where Corzine, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, had just addressed the local Democratic club. Corzine wasn't worried that he sounded too liberal and progressive. He was worried that he might not have sounded liberal and progressive enough.

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Taxing Issue

Government-appointed bipartisan commissions have played an important role in recent American politics. The social security commission in the early '80s and the commission on closing military bases in the early '90s both helped resolve thorny issues that legislators, beholden to special interests, couldn't settle on their own.

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