Lee Atwater

Former House Speaker Tom Foley died today at age 84. Foley led the House of Representatives between 1989 and the Republican revolution of 1994. A few days before he became speaker, a scandal erupted over a Republican National Committee memo entitled "Tom Foley: Out of the Liberal Closet" and comparing the Spokane Congressman to openly gay Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank.

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1988 all over again? Romney accuses Obama of cultivating a welfare "base."

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Organization Man

Just four years after he slid out of the White House as the embattled Rasputin to a flailing president, Karl Rove has reinvented himself as the dominant private citizen in the Republican Party. He is today a driving force behind both the powerful advocacy organization Crossroads GPS and its even more influential sibling, American Crossroads, the largest SuperPAC on the right.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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Obama needs to learn Reagan's lessons from 1982.

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From today's Maureen Dowd column on Barack Obama's unfortunate middle name: The Republicans are expert at tying Democrats to villains. Mr. Rogers's bad-boy mentor, Lee Atwater, yoked Willie Horton to Michael Dukakis. Mr. Atwater and his successors also liked to present their side as being more American. Traveling on the campaign trail with Bush Senior in '88, Loretta Lynn made fun of Mr. Dukakis's ethnicity, noting, "Why, I can't even pronounce his name." And a Bush 43 campaign adviser trashed John Kerry for looking French. [emphasis added] The coal miner's daughter was an Atwater disciple?!

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Swimming with Sharks

Everyone who watched this summer's race for College Republican National Committee (CRNC) chair with any detachment has a favorite moment of chutzpah they admire in spite of themselves. Leading the count are the following: speaking sotto voce of your opponent's "homosexuality"; rigging the delegate count so that states that support your candidate have twice as many votes as those that don't; and using a sitting congressman to threaten the careers of undecided voters. I can understand the perverse appeal of each of these incidents.

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Ghosts

David Grann examines George W. Bush’s scorched-earth tactics against John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary.

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Southern Comfort

The budget stalemate has quickened Democratic hopes and Republican fears of a new congressional majority in 1996, but the fate of both parties is more likely to be sealed by the latest judicial battles over racial gerrymandering. Faithfully applying the Supreme Court's recent command that race can't be the "predominant factor" in districting decisions, a federal appellate court last week proposed to eliminate two of Georgia's three majority black congressional districts.

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