Damned If You Do...
February 22, 2012

The debate over contraception and health insurance got a lot of people's attention. But it wasn't the first time the conflicting imperatives of Catholic health care institutions -- to heal the body and to nurture the spirit -- have come into conflict. Controversies have been popping up all over the country, frequently over questions of reproductive health. I write about this in the latest issue of TNR, starting with this anecdote about a hospital in Arizona: Sierra Vista is a rural community about 80 miles southeast of Tucson and about 20 miles north of the Mexican border.

Unholy Alliance
February 22, 2012

When the Obama administration decided that birth control coverage would be mandatory for all insurance policies, even those provided to employees by large religious institutions, the outcry from Catholic leaders and social conservatives surprised a lot of people. But conflicts between health care and religion, particularly Catholicism, are not news in many parts of the country. Just ask physicians in Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Sierra Vista is a rural community about 80 miles southeast of Tucson and about 20 miles north of the Mexican border.

Romney's Veteran Problem
February 10, 2012

[Guest post by Thomas Stackpole] In the wake of Santorum’s bolstering victory in Colorado Tuesday night, where he carried the state by 5 and a half points, Michael Moschella of the Truman Institute, started circulating the theory that one of the deciding factors was the cluster of military personnel in the areas that Santorum carried (veterans make up 19 percent of the population in El Paso County, against a national average of 10 percent), and raising the inevitable question: Does Romney have a problem with veterans? Moschella argues: El Paso County is home to Colorado Springs and a top “mili

The Art of the Comeback: The Case For Newt's Continued Campaign
February 03, 2012

The irresistible human impulse is to find meaning amid the chaos of the cosmos. But some external events defy rational categorization. So it was with Thursday afternoon as Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney—an event so bizarre that the tight-lipped Romney was forced to admit, “There are some things you can’t imagine in life.

The Telling Details Of Jan Brewer's Body Language
January 26, 2012

Believe it or not, President Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer don’t like each other very much—or so their acrimonious meeting yesterday would suggest. When the president landed in Phoenix for a post-State of the Union event, he was confronted by Brewer on the airport tarmac. Brewer brought up her recent book, Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure the Border (foreword by Sarah Palin!), in which she criticizes Obama and accuses him of being “patronizing” during an Oval Office meeting.

Just Call Him Barack O'Tarmac
January 26, 2012

What is it with Barack Obama, contentious blonde political rivals and airport tarmacs? Obama's testy encounter yesterday with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer out on the blacktop at the Phoenix airport put me in mind of his famous showdown at Reagan National Airport with Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.

The Wrong Way to Fix Citizens United
January 20, 2012

At the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision, there can no longer be any doubt—the political world has been changed in profound ways, and for the worse. If there’s a general sense in this election cycle that anything goes—at least in terms of political money and advertising—it’s in part because  that Supreme Court decision, which struck down limitson  independent political spending by corporations.

Finally, One State Gets It Right On Immigration
January 13, 2012

There’s been no shortage of attention to the wave of recent laws in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and elsewhere that have ordered police to check detainees for proof of legal residence, required school officials to check the legality of students’ immigration status and prohibited employers from hiring undocumented aliens and landlords from renting to them. According to the conventional wisdom, it’s Washington that’s ultimately responsible for these draconian laws: The federal government forced local government’s hand by failing to address comprehensive immigration reform.

Supreme Anxiety
January 11, 2012

In late 2010, before the midterm elections, a few thousand people across the United States went online to learn some surprising news. The Supreme Court, they were informed, had recently issued a decision guaranteeing a constitutional right to gay marriage.

The Great Granite State Getaway
January 08, 2012

ROCHESTER, N.H. -- Four years ago, the Republican candidates for president met for a final debate before the New Hampshire primary. Mitt Romney had been the presumed frontrunner but was no longer -- he had been embarrassed by Mike Huckabee in Iowa and was facing a resurgent John McCain in New Hampshire. Yet his rivals could not resist going after him, even in his weakened state. They ganged up on Romney in a tag team, taking turns with their shots and cackling in glee whenever someone else landed a hit.