Bill Owens

True partisans don’t like to hear this—Texas Democrat Jim Hightower used to say, “There is nothing in the middle of the road, but yellow stripes and dead armadillos”—but American elections are most often battles for the political center. Whoever can marginalize their opponent by identifying them with the far left or right is likely to win. By that measure, the Democrats can be pleased with the results of the May 18 elections.

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From a new cover story on Sarah Palin by Weekly Standard hack Matthew Continetti: Last week, when Joe Biden traveled to upstate New York to campaign for Democratic congressional candidate Bill Owens, the vice president took aim at Sarah Palin. "The fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin thinks the answer to energy was 'drill, baby, drill,' " Biden said.

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Numb

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Tuesday's elections were a rebuke to the right wing and a warning to Democrats.  They were also a timely reminder that President Obama needs to tune up his celebrated political organization and find a way to make Americans feel hopeful again. The night's biggest loser was the national conservative political machine--the wealthy tax-cutters at the Club for Growth and the Palin-Limbaugh-Beck complex.

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Who is Us?

WASHINGTON--Is there room in the Republican Party for genuine moderates? Truth to tell, the GOP can't decide. More precisely, it's deeply divided over whether it should allow any divisions in the party at all. That's why the brawl in a single congressional district in far upstate New York is drawing the eyes of the nation. Conservatives are determined to use the race to prove that there is no place in the party for heretics, dissidents or independents. President Obama set up the fight by nominating the district's former representative, John McHugh, as his Army secretary.

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It's bad enough that, if current trends continue, the GOP is likely to lose what should be a gimme congressional seat in New York's 23rd district next month thanks to a conservative spoiler candidate. Now sparks are flying between the moderate GOP nominee, Dede Scozzafava, and The Weekly Standard, which backs Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman.

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Force of Habit

Ever since the Berlin Wall fell, editorialists, politicians, and policy analysts have been pronouncing the United States military bloated, overpriced, mired in antiquated cold war assumptions, and unready for a "small wars" world. The exact critique varies according to its source--reformers on the left tend to focus on getting rid of large, expensive weapons systems as a way to reduce costs; those on the right see cutting overall troop numbers and deployments as part of a "transformational" commitment to high-tech weapons.

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