House

Dixie Shtick

There can be no beginning without an ending. Everyone seems to agree that Barack Obama's victory marks a new chapter in American political history. What is not so obvious is that it ends not just one era, but two. First, of course, Obama's victory brings the movement toward racial equality that grew out of the Civil War to its logical political conclusion. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, by guaranteeing every citizen equal protection under the laws, institutionalized modern liberal democracy as we know it. But its promise remained long unfulfilled.

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Blue Grass

Kentucky swings the other way.

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Pin Prick

Ryan Lizza on George Allen's race problem.

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Loan Shark

When scandal-plagued Tom DeLay finally gave up his quest to regain the leadership of congressional Republicans, the preternaturally tan Ohio Republican John Boehner sat down and drafted a 37-page political manifesto to win the votes of his colleagues. Boehner, himself long known as a friend to K Street, issued a tempered critique of the Republicans’ sale of indulgences to lobbyists like Jack Abramoff.

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Notebook

A REFORMED REFORMER The race to succeed Tom DeLay as House Republican Majority Leader isn't exactly a study in contrasts. Both candidates, Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri and Ohio Representative John Boehner, are hard-line social and business conservatives with similar voting records. Seeking some toehold against Blunt, Boehner has ingeniously chosen to cast himself as a reformer who can lead a battered House Republican caucus past the Jack Abramoff scandal.

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Wooden Frame

It's show-and-tell day in 50 Birge Hall. At least as close to it as you get at an elite university like Berkeley. George Lakoff, the instructor for this introductory cognitive science course, has asked students to bring in examples of popular "texts" containing hidden metaphorical meanings--the kind that play subtle tricks on the human mind. First out of the gate is a British student who holds up an ad for Splenda, the sugar substitute. The ad features a young girl sitting on her father's shoulders and covering his eyes with two large cookies. "Lucky girl," it reads. "You've got a Splenda dadd

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Face Plant

The White House has a new favorite Democrat. President Bush and his aides can't stop talking about a guy named Robert Pozen. The investment executive from Boston has been making the rounds at Washington editorial boards and think-tank forums flacking—what else?—a Social Security plan. Bush launched Pozen into the headlines at his March 16 news conference when, apropos of nothing, he noted that "one of the interesting ideas [on Social Security] was by this fellow—by a Democrat economist, name of Pozen.

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Last summer, President Bush and the Republican congressional leadership had a problem. The legislative linchpin of the president's reelection effort, a bill to add prescription-drug coverage to Medicare, lacked the votes in Congress, where conservative Republicans were chafing at the expense. GOP leaders finally secured a bare majority by consenting to the demands of 13 Republican House members, who agreed to vote yes if the cost would not exceed $400 billion over ten years.

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Gut Check

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION consistently lowballs the cost of major legislation, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are no exception. The pattern is by now familiar: The White House offers up a cost estimate just high enough to promise members of Congress they won’t have to cast another tough vote, but not so high that voters question the cost of the war. Before the war in Iraq, former Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels estimated the total cost of the conflict at $50 to $60 billion.

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The day after the Super Tuesday primaries, it looked as if Vice President Al Gore had wrapped up not only the Democratic nomination but also the presidency. He seemed poised to capture the great political center from Texas Governor George W. Bush, who, in order to secure his party's nomination, had mortgaged his convictions to the religious right. But since then the Bush campaign has made a fundamental transition—from a primary-election strategy based on party activists and interest groups to a general-election strategy based on wooing a broad electorate. The Gore campaign has not.

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