Clinton

After embracing stridently partisan positions during the primaries, campaigns traditionally etch-a-sketch to the center after securing the nomination. But while Romney adopted his fair share of conservative positions to squeeze passed Santorum, he has yet to move back to the center: He hasn’t discovered any new centrist positions, he hasn't attempted to co-opt any Democratic strengths, he hasn’t established an independent-minded theme, and he hasn’t found a Sister Souljah moment.

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The Universalist

Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. ALONZO KING is not a celebrity. He is virtually unknown outside the dance world, and even to insiders he is something of an outsider, a choreographer-monk working away with a small troupe of devoted dancers in San Francisco. It is not that his work has gone unrecognized: he has won dozens of awards and made ballets for companies as diverse as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the Royal Swedish Ballet.

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The day that Barack Obama went up with his most devastating ad of the 2012 campaign—quite possibly the most devastating Democratic general election ad in years—I happened to be reading Bill Marx’s review of a new Ambrose Bierce collection in the Columbia Journalism Review. It included this quote from Bierce (best known for his oft-anthologized "An Occurrence At Owl Creek") speaking about the power of ridicule:  “Ridicule, as I venture to use it myself,” wrote the author in the Chronicle in 1890, “seems to me to be the most excellent of offensive weapons because it hurts without damaging.

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With ad spending increasing each week, it's clear by now what the battleground states are—and it's clear that Minnesota isn't one of them. It may not be surprising that neither campaign has aired ads in the North Star State, as Minnesota is perhaps best known in politics as the state with the longest consecutive streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates, having last voted Republican in 1972.

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Howard Kurtz has some big breaking news today: Lanny Davis, the former Clinton strategist, and Michael Steele, the former RNC Chairman, are upset about partisanship, and have decided to open up a new lobbying firm to combat the vicious negativity in Washington. (Viewers are encouraged to watch the video of Kurtz “interviewing” the two men, which includes Kurtz exclaiming, “You're both very attractive guys!”) The best part of Kurtz’s piece was this quote from Davis: “I get more heat and more vitriol from my side than from conservative Republicans,” says Davis.

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I’ve spent too much of the past week trying to rein in Beltway overreaction, adding in the context necessary to keep my fellow ’12 correspondents from spinning off into the ether. No, Barack Obama did not accuse the Polish people of genocide. No, Bill Clinton’s wandering off the rhetorical reservation is not particularly newsworthy. No, Scott Walker’s win in Wisconsin does not necessarily spell doom for the Democrats. But I’ll abandon that scolding, buzz-killing mode this afternoon to pour some fuel on the latest news of the day—the Republicans’ big fundraising haul.

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“Repeal and Replace"—the slogan is as meaningless as it is catchy. The Republicans have zero intention of replacing the Affordable Care Act with a law that would make insurance available to everybody, regardless of income or pre-existing condition. That was obvious before an article that appeared in Politico on Thursday.

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Now we know what the doomsayers feel like when the decreed day of judgment passes by without thunderbolts or second comings. Americans Elect, which was going to save our benighted political system with the ultimate deus ex machina—a bipartisan, third-choice presidential ticket borne from an online nominating process funded by leveraged-buyout tycoon Peter Ackerman and other deep-pocketed centrists—announced at midnight that the savior has not yet made his or her appearance.

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London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, known simply as Boris to his ardent fans in Britain, seems all but certain to reclaim his post in the mayoral election scheduled for Thursday.  But the enthusiasm Johnson inspires is only partly related to the policies he’s pursued in office; it has as much to do with his shaggy hair, quirky personality, quick wit, and idiosyncratic habits. Londoners, however, aren’t the only ones who have a quirky mayor to call their own.

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