Dick Armey

Who's trashing whom on the right? Here's a handy guide to post-election GOP recrimination.

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Obama's a better president than Clinton, but Clinton's better at explaining why.

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Recently, I asked whether Republican voters would care enough about the crony capitalism evident in Rick Perry's Texas to vote against him. For Tea Party conservatives to do so, I suggested, would mean confronting the disconnect between their populist rhetoric and their willingness, until now, to tolerate Republican coziness with big business. Commenter "Rayward" made another good point to explain why the crony capitalism charge may not take against Perry: "Crony capitalism has no sting anymore because Republicans have neutered the term by calling Obama a crony capitalist.

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At first glance, Labor Day weekend looks like it could be a lot of fun for Rick Perry and his fans. The odds of a Sarah Palin candidacy continue to shrink to irrelevance as she wrestles with incompetent local Tea Party organizers in Iowa over a long-planned appearance just outside Des Moines. Mitt Romney’s temporary triumph in securing top billing at a Tea Party Express event in New Hampshire, meanwhile, is being spoiled by protests from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks organization.

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English Breakfast

English conservatives don’t really take to the streets, at least not with dispatch. In the United States, only eight weeks elapsed between the passage of the 2009 stimulus bill and half the country erupting into Tea Party-themed protests. In Great Britain, the first noteworthy rally in opposition to excessive spending and debt took place this spring, and the offending government, the Labour Party under Gordon Brown, had already been voted out of power a year ago.

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In a normal world, Republicans would look at Mitt Romney, who is announcing his second run for their party’s presidential nomination today, as a sterling example of one of their party’s greatest success stories since the Reagan era. Unfortunately, it’s that very success that his party seems to have willfully forgotten—and the thing that’s most likely to doom Romney’s candidacy. The problem is much bigger than Romney’s health care reform in Massachusetts.

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With a government shutdown likely looming, many Republicans are concerned about the precedent set in 1995 and 1996, when Bill Clinton, then in power, bested the GOP in the politics of two shutdowns. But some conservatives believe that there’s a big difference in their favor this time: the media context, namely the existence of Fox News. “Quite honestly, the major newspapers had a stranglehold on political news in 1995. Now you have cable on both sides,” freshman Congressman Todd Rokita told The New York Times.

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Nude Breach

Eight years ago, officials at Orlando International Airport first began testing the millimeter-wave body scanners that are currently at the center of a national uproar. The designers of the scanners at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offered U.S. officials a choice: naked machines or blob machines? The same researchers had developed both technologies, and both were equally effective at identifying contraband.

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Now that the midterm elections are over and voices of the Tea Party will soon be established in Congress, the movement’s views on foreign policy will come under closer scrutiny, and the results may prove surprising, not least to the Tea Partiers themselves. Those views are far from Republican orthodoxy. On some issues, the Tea Partiers will predictably line up with the Republican leadership, but on others they may find they have more in common with Democrats. They may even provide Barack Obama with unexpected support.

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Matthew Yglesias takes a trip down memory lane to 2001, when Republicans were fierce Keynesians: Once upon a time an asset bubble burst, but there was little leverage involved and the ensuing downturn was relatively mild. The federal reserve had room to run in terms of cutting interest rates, and the previous ten years’ worth of fiscal policy had seen a series of measures, some bipartisan (1990 & 1997) and some partisan (1993) to improve the country’s budget situation.

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