Midterm Elections

Lisa Murkowski's Moderate Mission
November 02, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska—It’s the Saturday afternoon before Election Day, and El Tango, an Argentine restaurant in midtown Anchorage, is packed for a campaign event. About 50 people, mostly women, are bustling around and chatting about immigration reform, education, and, occasionally, how extreme the Tea Party movement is. One person sits in the back of the room reading about the foreclosure crisis. The attendees are from numerous ethnic groups; everything from Spanish to Somali is being spoken.

Why Is Obama So Calm Right Now?
November 02, 2010

A lot of liberals are going to be panicking on Tuesday night. President Obama probably won’t be one of them. At least, that’s the impression I get from Ron Brownstein’s latest column for National Journal. Brownstein compares two interviews he did: one with then-President Clinton, just before the 1994 midterms, and one with Obama, just last month. Brownstein recalls a “tormented” Clinton lashing out at congressional Republicans, second-guessing his own strategic decisions, and cursing the distance his office placed between him and the voters.

Alaska Senate Race Madness
November 01, 2010

Over the weekend, leading Republicans have expressed concern over Tea Party favorite Joe Miller's collapse in Alaska, even going so far as to express tacit support for Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign to stave off a win by Democrat Scott McAdamas. But now in the latest poll, Miller is ahead, 37-30-30. What's crazy is that this is happening despite Miller's utter rejection by the electorate, and despite McAdams being the most popular candidate of the three by far: Miller is winning despite having the worst personal favorability numbers of the three candidates.

The Tragedy of Russ Feingold
November 01, 2010

Here are some of the phrases people have used to describe Democratic Senator Russ Feingold: “A humorless scold.” “Insolent, arrogant, aloof.” “A holier-than-thou prig.” And it’s not terribly surprising. Feingold has made a habit of annoying his colleagues, like the time in October, 2001, when he introduced a bill to freeze congressional pay and end automatic cost-of-living increases. “I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t win a Mr. Popularity contest,” Feingold told a reporter many years ago.

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.

Is There Any Reason to Be Optimistic About Economic Policy in a GOP Congress?
November 01, 2010

This is the sixth and final installment in an occasional series examining how Republican control of Congress might affect policy debates in the next two years. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) Many political scientists believe the economy is the single biggest factor in determining election outcomes. It will likely cause Democrats to lose big on Tuesday. And, if conditions don’t improve, it could cause Democrats to lose big again in two years.

Blue Phase
November 01, 2010

BRISTOL, Pa.—It was just four years ago that the Democratic Party began its comeback in what now seems like another country. The economic collapse was not in anyone's imagination, but the nation's political mood was sour. A substantial majority was fed up with George W. Bush, weary of the Iraq War and ready to vote for Democratic congressional candidates who pledged themselves to "a new direction," a nebulous but useful slogan. Democratic constituencies were united as never before.

Forget About Boehner. Try Republican Governors
October 29, 2010

This is the fifth in an occasional series examining how Republican control of Congress might affect policy debates in the next two years. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) Supporters of health reform are asking how President Obama might find common ground with House Republicans should Tuesday's elections go badly. Count me as a pessimist on this front. House Republicans have perceived little reason to compromise on health reform or much else.

Why John Boehner’s Life Is About To Become a Living Hell
October 29, 2010

Three surveys released in the past week—Pew, Bloomberg, and CBS/New York Times—illuminate what the American people want from the new Congress that convenes next January.

Four Myths About the Tea Parties
October 28, 2010

On the eve of the November elections, we are suddenly awash in books, articles, and monographs about the Tea Parties. Some of these—I would single out Sean Wilentz’s historical piece in The New Yorker—deepen our understanding, but most of them don’t get it right. They are too quick either to dismiss or to stigmatize the Tea Parties.

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