Marco Rubio

If there is one thing that remains untarnished in the Obama legacy thus far, it is that the man has raised the bar for public speaking in American political culture. Until a couple of years ago, this was a country where the last time anyone had made a speech worthy of anthologizing was Mario Cuomo in his “City on a Hill” speech way back in 1984.

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Also, somewhere along the line, the Tea Party stars appear to have been taught that effective speechmaking requires regular incantation of swaggery little jabs of a “Make My Day” redolence. Presumably Ronald Reagan is the model, reinforced by Sarah Palin’s fondness for lines about pit bulls and reloading. But this works best when there is a certain “there” there to back it up; call it star quality, which all will admit even Palin has. Poor Ms. O’Donnell does not.

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The months leading up to an election always involve a rush of frantic activity. There are key states to visit and swing voters to court. And so, late this summer, Michael Steele was paying timely visits to crucial battlegrounds . . . in Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Perhaps those aren’t considered key states in the elections that most Republicans care about, the 2010 midterms.

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So let’s say you’re a Republican politician who’s been working the far right side of the political highway for years, getting little national attention other than the occasional shout-out in Human Events. Or let’s say you’re a sketchy business buccaneer with a few million smackers burning a hole in your pocket, and you’ve decided that you’d like to live in the governor’s mansion for a while, but you can’t get the local GOP to see you as anything more than a walking checkbook who funds other people's dreams. What do you do?

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Even a purist like Marco Rubio wants to keep some popular provisions: I’m with a small group of reporters in a D.C. coffee shop, chatting with Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio. He just mentioned that there are two parts within the Obamacare legislation that he doesn’t want repealed*.

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The Democrats' best chance to beat Marco Rubio for the Florida Senate seat lies in consolidating all the center-left vote behind Charlie Crist, who is rapidly moving leftward. Previously they had been concerned about billionaire gadfly Jeff Greene defeating Kendrick meek in the Democratic primary.

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In a night of big political developments, the one that will echo for some time is the victory by Rand Paul in the Kentucky Republican Senate primary. Why? Well, for one thing, it’s not often that someone leapfrogs a still-active and very famous congressional father to get a short track to the U.S. Senate.

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Tory Magic

WASHINGTON—"There's something else you need to know about me," declared the earnest young politician, "which is I believe the test of a good and strong society is how we look after the most vulnerable, the most frail and the poorest." This lovely bleeding-heart liberal sentiment was part of the closing statement offered by David Cameron, the leader of Britain's Conservative Party at last week's final debate before this Thursday's election. And after a rocky campaign start, Cameron now leads in the polls and may well become the next prime minister.

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The Florida Circus

The first thing you need to understand about Florida's political climate is that its seemingly endless summer of Boom Times seems to be coming to a close. The vast migration to the state that caused its population to increase over 16 percent since the 2000 census seems to be winding down, and last year, shockingly enough, it actually lost population. The state's economy is suffering from problems that are deeper than any business cycle: Its 2.7 percent drop in per capita personal income has pushed the state near the bottom of rankings by percent change of personal income data.

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The Florida Circus

The first thing you need to understand about Florida's political climate is that its seemingly endless summer of Boom Times seems to be coming to a close. The vast migration to the state that caused its population to increase over 16 percent since the 2000 census seems to be winding down, and last year, shockingly enough, it actually lost population. The state's economy is suffering from problems that are deeper than any business cycle: Its 2.7 percent drop in per capita personal income has pushed the state near the bottom of rankings by percent change of personal income data.

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