The Predictable Demise Of Dick Lugar
February 22, 2011

When you see a primary challenge against a long-time member of Congress, the incumbent usually enjoys the advantage of at least nominal support from the party establishment.

Culture Shock
February 19, 2011

Many Beltway insiders seem to have convinced themselves that abortion doesn’t matter anymore. Just look at the press clippings from CPAC, where Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels wowed his D.C. cheerleaders with a speech doubling down on his earlier call for a “truce” over culture-war issues like abortion. Chris Christie came into town a few days later, and excited a lot of the same people with a speech focused almost exclusively on the idea that entitlement-spending cuts are the nation’s top priority.

The Romneyfication Of Mitch Daniels
February 11, 2011

Here is a story that captures everything that's good and everything tragic about Mitch Daniels. At heart, he is clearly an intelligent, sane man.

Discovering Equality
January 13, 2011

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery By Eric Foner (W.W. Norton, 426 pp., $29.95) I. As we begin a raft of sesquicentennials that will carry us through at least the next half-decade—the secession of Southern states, the formation of the Confederacy, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Appomattox, and so on—I confess to feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. These are all signal events in our history, the roadblocks and thoroughfares in the making of modern America, and at a time of general crisis they are especially important to revisit.

Conservative Crosshairs
December 15, 2010

Republicans are poised to take over the U.S. Senate in 2012. This isn't contingent on a GOP presidential win, or even a particularly good campaign year, but rather on the extremely tilted Senate playing field created by the 2006 Democratic landslide. Yet, oddly, that is no comfort for many sitting Republican senators, who may face savage primary challenges if they are even perceived to slight the conservative base.

Burying the (State Budget) Hatchet
November 18, 2010

States are cutting their budgets like mad in an effort to close deficits that often pass the billion dollar mark. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal provides a grim catalog of state spending cuts: Most states have either hiked fees or chopped services for the disabled and the elderly.

Was It Worth It? Cont'd
November 04, 2010

Did President Obama and the Democrats do too much? Was health care reform, in particular, a mistake? Lots of people are making that argument right now. Among them is Evan Bayh, the retiring Democratic senator from Indiana, who in a New York Times op-ed on Wednesday concluded that "Democrats over-interpreted our mandate." As I’ve argued previously, I think the evidence of over-reach is a great deal more shaky than it seems. The structural realities of a midterm election, particularly given Obama's reliance on young and minority voters, made large Democratic losses inevitable.

A Comprehensive 2010 Election Guide
November 01, 2010

This is your comprehensive hour-by-hour guide to Election Night 2010. It will help you follow all of the bellwether indicators throughout the day and interpret the returns. So what are you waiting for? Print it out and keep it close during every minute of the agonizing countdown.   What to Look for Early on Election Day: There will be lots of anecdotal reports during the early hours of voting about turnout and the expectations* of both parties and many candidates. It’s colorful, but don’t believe any of it.

Are Supply-Siders Writing News Stories For Politico?
October 18, 2010

Politico reports that conservatives are burning Indiana governor Mitch Daniels at the stake for suggesting the possibility of replacing an income tax with a Value-Added Tax. (Conservatives actually tend to like the idea, but fear the result would be to add a VAT on top of the income tax.) Anyway, Politico's story includes this odd bit of conservative talking points: Many of the countries in Europe that implemented value-added taxes, including Greece, stagnated.

Year of the Nutjob
September 14, 2010

How does the class of 2010 stack up against its lunatic predecessor, of 1994? There are the well-known data points—Rand Paul’s alleged kidnapping of a college classmate; Sharron Angle’s assertion that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress—that suggest we’ve reached a new zenith of crazy, making Newt Gingrich’s bunch look like sensible establishmentarians by comparison. But Paul and Angle only begin to capture the strangeness of candidates out there who may soon be occupying your Capitol and governor’s mansion.