Would Duke Cunningham Get Away With It Today?
June 11, 2012

Not long ago, I wrote in this space about the discouraging fact that no Ohio newspapers had taken the minimal time needed to uncover the FBI’s investigation I stumbled across into highly suspect campaign contributions from employees of a Canton company to a Republican congressman and Senate candidate in Ohio.

How Pundits Are Misreading Wisconsin’s Recall
June 04, 2012

Pretty much all previews of Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin are framing it as a precursor of the November election, and declaring that a win for Scott Walker, the Republican incumbent who is up for recall, would necessarily bode terribly for Barack Obama in Wisconsin and beyond. I don’t buy it. And that goes the other way, too—I don’t think Democrats should take away too much optimism for their fall prospects if Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett pulls off an upset win.

The Battleground
May 18, 2012

Lodge 141 of the Fraternal Order of Police is housed, along with 446 jail cells, inside the Mahoning County Justice Center, a forbidding brick and steel hulk at the edge of the frayed downtown of Youngstown, Ohio. It’s a humble office, but its proprietors have embellished it with a number of rather pointed political decorations.

The Unbearable Weakness of Mitt Romney
March 06, 2012

I'll leave it to others to make the general pronouncements about how Mitt Romney's middling performance Tuesday night against deeply flawed and overmatched opponents showed yet again what an astonishingly weak frontrunner he is. Instead, I want to focus in on a geographic irony that emerged more clearly Tuesday night than it has in the earlier primaries. Namely, that Romney does well in the places where Barack Obama does well, and he does poorly in the places where Obama does poorly.

Why Senator Santonarola Can't Help Himself
February 20, 2012

Rick Santorum spent much of last week saying that the media should stop pigeon-holing him as a social-issues culture warrior. Then he spent the weekend saying a whole lot of things that made him sound like ... a social-issues culture warrior. The highlights: 1. At a Tea Party event in Columbus, Santorum said that President Obama is pushing an environmental agenda that is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible.

The Blooming Foreigner
November 23, 2011

“Something Urgent I Have to Say to You”: The Life and Works of William Carlos WilliamsBy Herbert Leibowitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 496 pp., $40)  William Carlos Williams, among the most aggressively American poets since Walt Whitman, was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1883, to a Puerto Rican mother and an English father, neither of whom bothered to become American citizens after their transplantation from the Caribbean to the poisonous industrial marshes west of Manhattan.

The Truth About Occupy Wall Street: It’s Much Smaller Than It Seems
October 15, 2011

Walter Shapiro examines the media's role in magnifying the proceedings.

Obama Gets It. Do His Followers?
September 16, 2011

A week after introducing his jobs proposal, President Obama has hit a few obstacles. Republican leaders are criticizing the proposal more loudly than before. A failed green energy investment has much of Washington thinking scandal. And the polls still look pretty grim.  So what’s Obama doing now? Exactly what he was doing before: Campaigning loudly, and insistently, for the jobs bill. That’s a really good thing – although he's going to need some help. And he's going to need it soon. The speech Obama gave last Thursday was everything it needed to be.

Thinking About Ditching Your Car? You May Need to Think Again
August 18, 2011

Chances are you're like 91 percent of American households, you own a car. And it’s no wonder. With ever-growing distances between jobs and housing, how else could you reach all the places you need to go? This is certainly my family’s story. We both take transit to work every day, live in a dense, buzzworthy neighborhood--and yet we still own a vehicle. It just makes weekend errands and out-of-town trips that much easier. But what about the 7.5 million American households in large metropolitan area that don’t have access to a car? How do they get around?

Government Jobs and the Economic Recovery in Metropolitan America (Updated June 24, 2011)
June 27, 2011

The current edition of Brookings’ MetroMonitor shows that government job growth is associated with the economic performance of America’s metropolitan areas since the beginning of the recession. Among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the 20 that have done the best since the recession started (taking into account recovery of jobs, output, unemployment rates, and house prices) are Augusta, Austin, Boston,   Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, El Paso, Honolulu, Jackson, Knoxville, Little Rock, Madison, McAllen, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Rochester, San Antonio, and Washington. Of th