April 28, 2010
Where is it most painful to be a highly visible incumbent politician at this particular moment in U.S. history? Perhaps it’s California, where current economic and budgetary discontents are compounding a growing public fury over chronically dysfunctional state government and an imprisoning constitution.
Republicans Aren’t Sitting as Pretty as They Think
January 24, 2010
Most of the analysis of the impact of Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts has naturally revolved around the Democratic Party. Having lost the “Kennedy seat,” in the bluest of blue states, with health care reform legislation (and the ability to overcome Republican filibusters on other legislation) in extreme peril, and already facing a very difficult midterm election environment, what can the Donkey Party and its leaders do to mitigate the damage? Will they pull together or scatter to the four winds?
The Uneasy Marriage Between Tea Partiers and the GOP
January 14, 2010
Recent polls show their movement is thought of more favorably by Americans than either the Democratic or Republican Parties. Political independents are said to be attracted more each day. Progressive dissenters against the “pro-corporate” policies of the Obama administration pine for alliances with them. But at the same time, Republican politicians constantly ape their rhetoric and seek to deploy them against their Democratic, and sometimes intraparty, enemies. So the question persists: Is the Tea Party Movement an independent “third force” in American politics?
Get Ready For a Cold Iowa Night in 2016
December 31, 2009
On a day normally devoted to examining the past, there's one bit of news affecting the political future. The Democratic Change Commission, set up during last year's Democratic National Convention to deal with accumulated grievances about the presidential nominating process, forwarded its recommendations to the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee. In an extraordinarily unsurprising move, the commission recommended killing the independent voting status of convention superdelegates. In other words, they'll still get a ticket to the convention, and a vote, but will now be dubbed National Pledged
Conservative Crocodile Tears About "Corporatism"
December 21, 2009
TNR published a piece I did the other day examining the ideological underpinnings of the left/center split in the Democratic Party over the propriety of a universal health care system based on regulated and subsidized private health insurers. I suggested there was a burgeoning, if questionably workable, tactical alliance between “social-democratic” progressives and some conservatives to derail much of the Obama overall agenda.
Huck Attacks the "Big Tent"--in Canada!
December 11, 2009
In case you missed it, once-and-maybe-future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee traveled to Calgary, Alberta, Canada the other day and delivered himself of an address (according to his own pre-speech account, reported in the local press) focused on the terrible temptation of conservatives in the United States to tolerate diverse points of view, under the shorthand of a "Big Tent." That would be bad, said Huck, struggling from afar against the vast forces calling for ideological heterodoxy within the Republican Party. As someone who adores our Neighbors to the North, and has made speeches th
Republicans Are Incumbents, Too!
December 04, 2009
An explosive political scandal in my home state of Georgia serves as a reminder that in state elections in 2010, there are many Republicans who are currently in control of statehouses, and could suffer the vicissitudes associated with malfeasance in office and a surly, wrong-track-dominated electorate. Georgia's Republican House Speaker Glenn Richardson resigned today, a few days after his ex-wife in a television interview said she knew for a fact that the conservative solon had conducted an extramarital affair with a utilities lobbyist even as he championed legislation highly beneficial to t
Benefit of the Doubt
November 26, 2009
It’s hardly a secret or an accident that much of politics revolves around the elimination of doubt among voters on public policy issues. Base-mobilization strategies for elections typically involve convincing people with clear preferences but weak civic engagement (or doubts about their own “team”) that any given trip to the ballot box is of epochal importance. Swing-voter persuasion strategies also tend to focus on efforts to convince the undecided that one’s party or candidate will make the country a much happier place.
Throwing Romney to the Wolves
August 27, 2009
Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals. Politics being politics, there's already talk about who would run in a special election in Massachusetts to succeed the late Edward Kennedy, assuming the legislature there doesn't change the system to allow a gubernatorial appointment. And in Republicanland, conservative columnist Peter Roff has created a stir by suggesti
Don't Sweat It
August 20, 2009
As the Dog Days of August descended upon us, there developed across the progressive chattering classes a deep sense of malaise bordering on depression, if not panic--much of it driven by fears about the leadership skills of Barack Obama.