John Conyers

Under the Radar

The drab Amtrak depot in Detroit, Michigan, was recently the venue for a truly surreal scene: A Republican governor accepted—gratefully—a check from the Obama administration. This was not just any federal funding, either, but $200 million for that most Europhiliac of abominations: passenger rail. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich, and Florida’s Rick Scott had all rejected the money. But here was Rick Snyder, the state’s new Republican governor, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Carl Levin, John Conyers, and John Dingell, beaming genially and brandishing a giant check.

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Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. I have before me two tomes. The longer one is a somewhat rushed and tedious product whose guiding ideological vision and fuzzy presentation of crucial details repelled independent voters the last time it was put to an electoral test. The second document is somewhat more succinct and engaging but remains open to criticism for its embarrassingly padded margins and large print that makes it seem so much longer than it actually is.

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!Viva Chai!

Throughout history, political movements have often developed informal social headquarters alongside their official central commands. The eighteenth- century London Tories had a pub called Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. The 1930s French rightists had the Cafe de Flore. George W. Bush’s polo-shirted young Republicans had Smith Point, a preppy bar in Georgetown.

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During his successful and unprecedented run for a third term in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (or his speech writers Robert E. Sherwood and Judge Samuel Rosenman) coined a syncopated neologism that somehow became instant coinage for the isolationist and reactionary Republican party. It certain helped FDR defeat his not so isolationist or reactionary opponent Wendell Wilkie.A Bay Stater, Joseph Martin served in the House of Representatives for 42 years, four of them as Speaker. He was the vivid crackled face of the GOP, a cheery political Neanderthal.

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House Arrest

0 0 1 1251 7132 Duke University 59 16 8367 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-language:JA;} On the eve of losing the House, the Republican National Committee sent journalists a frantic e-mail. "Who is Rep. Joh

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Full Court Press

Bill Keller can't sleep. It is four o'clock on a sticky morning in the summer of 2007, and the executive editor of The New York Times is pacing his home, cursing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Here is the root of his insomnia: A few months earlier, the Democrats recaptured the House.

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Shooting Blanks

It's early December and Chris Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, is describing the exotic hunting trophies--from assorted skulls to giant warthog hooves that serve as bookends--that decorate his Capitol Hill office. "The Kudu. The Livingston Eland. The Blue Wildebeest," says Cox in his mellifluous Jackson, Tennessee, accent, ticking off the creatures he has downed. He pauses, then beams, "And the Cape Buffalo. It's one of the Big Five--one of the five most dangerous animals you can hunt in Africa."   But there's one recent kill that Cox isn't bragging about.

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Adaptation

Once upon a time, the Democratic family consisted of two basic types of politicians--those who supported the Iraq war and those who were against it. As the war dragged on and the political climate changed, however, varied new species began to evolve, with all manner of ideas and opinions about the occupation. For months, these different Democratic factions lived more or less in harmony. But Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha's dramatic call last month for a fast U.S. exit from Iraq was like a climate-altering asteroid event.

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The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks by Randall Robinson (Plume, 262 pp., $13) I can buy a big house in an exclusive neighborhood. I can buy a fancy car or two. I can send my kids to private school. I can work hard and empower myself. Oprah Winfrey pulled herself up by the bootstraps.

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