20 Years Later: How Bill Clinton Saved Liberalism From Itself
October 01, 2011
October 3rd marks the twentieth anniversary of Bill Clinton’s announcement of his candidacy for the presidency. The distance of time permits some perspective on what Clinton was attempting to do when he set out on his quest. Since the end of World War II, every Democrat who has sought the presidency has attempted to update the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Left Behind: How Democrats Are Losing the Political Center
September 24, 2011
If you don’t think ideological perceptions matter in American politics, you need read no further. If you do and you’re a Democrat, there’s something to worry about. Even as the terms of the political debate in Washington, in the eyes of many Democrats, have moved steadily to the right, the electorate is increasingly likely to see itself as ideologically closer to the Republican Party than to Democrats.
In the war of words over Barack Obama’s presidency, one important asset for conservatives has been the ability to identify at least a few self-styled “centrists” to periodically support the standard Republican claim that Obama is a dangerous leftist who is recklessly expanding the federal government beyond any past precedent or reasonable expectation.
Rick Perry's Record on the Environment: Is it Bad, or Awful?
September 06, 2011
In April 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had found that carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases, though not pollutants in themselves, were subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act, because of the threats they pose to human health via climate change. It was not the sort of finding that Texas governor Rick Perry—long a skeptic, even outright denier, of anthropogenic climate change—was liable to welcome.
The Sharpton Renaissance: How the Reverend’s Reputation Got Refurbished
September 06, 2011
There was a time, not long ago, when the dominant arbiters of public opinion relegated Al Sharpton to the outskirts of serious, respectable discussion. Sure, he was a fixture on the Ebony magazine list of the 100 “top” black Americans. Sure, journalists called him when they needed a provocative quip. Sure, Democratic Party politicians courted him. But “the Rev” was unmistakably relegated to the black ghetto of celebrity activism. No one thought to ask his opinion regarding issues other than those perceived as directly pertinent to aggrieved blacks.
Yes, Perry and Bachmann Are Religious Radicals
August 31, 2011
While few in either the mainstream media or the conservative commentariat have been so bold as to deny that the Republican Party is a lot more ideologically rigid than it was four or twelve or thirty years ago, there has been some regular pushback against attaching such terms as “radical” and “extremist” to the party’s views. Some conservatives like to claim that they just look extreme when compared to a Democratic Party dominated by a radical socialist president.
The Democratic Jobs Debate As Mass Denial
August 30, 2011
The debate within the Democratic Party over President Obama's incipient economic relief program is being conducted between two sides that totally misunderstand its purpose. On the one side, you have administration centrists who support a sufficiently narrow plan that can pass Congress: Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact.
In the popular imagination of large portions of the pundit class, Rick Perry is not only a popular Republican governor of Texas, but a legendary campaigner the likes of which the nation hasn’t seen for years. Here is a man, we’ve been told, who has never lost a single race, a person whose personal charm and keen political instincts had proven, time and again, irresistible to voters. But, a closer look at his history on the stump reveals that, while it’s true that Perry is undefeated in electoral contests, his mythic reputation isn’t entirely earned.
How the Debt Committee Could Turn Republican Against Republican
August 02, 2011
Grover Norquist is always filled with triumphalist theories, and his book elucidates one favorite Norquist claim, that shrinking revenue will turn the Democratic coalition (the "Takings Coalition") against itself in a cannibalistic orgy: The Takings Coalition can hold together as long as there is more money flowing into the state to finance the demands of each constituent group.
The Corn Ultimatum
July 28, 2011
On August 13, the Iowa State campus in Ames will become the center of the political universe, as thousands of Republicans participate in what is frequently ballyhooed as the season’s most important campaign event. The GOP activists will wolf down free barbecue, enjoy musical acts, watch their children be diverted by clowns, cheer political speeches, and cast ballots in a mock election designed to preview next February’s Iowa caucuses. We are, of course, talking about the Iowa Straw Poll.