Midterm Elections

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.

Does Education Policy Stand a Chance in a Republican Congress?
October 27, 2010

This is the fourth 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) Could education be the one policy area where Republicans and Democrats find common ground in a new conservative Congress? Many people, including officials in the White House, think so.

Fired Up?
October 26, 2010

California's ballot-initiative system has a way of touching off culture wars that dwarf the buzz surrounding mere state and congressional elections. (Think of Proposition 8 or Proposition 187.) But even by California standards, this year’s Proposition 19 is becoming something of a legend. In case you haven’t heard, Proposition 19 would legalize the possession and cultivation of small quantities of marijuana, while enabling the state and/or local governments (in theory, at least) to license and tax larger commercial pot-growing enterprises.

Is The Environment Doomed Once Republicans Take Congress?
October 25, 2010

This is the third in an occasional series examining how Republican control of Congress might affect policy debates in the next two years. (Part 1, Part 2) First, a question: Have the last two years, with Obama in the White House and Democrats running Congress, really been that great for environmental policy? It depends how you look at it. There was that debacle in the Gulf, which obviously wasn't handled well. Then the Senate failed to pass a climate bill, and the Copenhagen talks dragged along without much resolution.

So You're Planning To Get Killed On Election Day
October 25, 2010

Benjy Sarlin has the how-to guide: Party officials love brushing off comparisons with blowouts past, telling reporters that they’ve since learned a thing or two about gritty campaigning—not like those screwups who used to run things (cough, 1994, cough). ”It’s no shock that this is going to be a hard cycle,” Jon Vogel, executive director of the DCCC, told The New York Times last spring.

Blanche Lincoln In Autumn
October 25, 2010

A last minute ad acknowledges that she's an underdog but chalks it up to principle: A couple thoughts. First of all, have you noticed that whenever a politician attributes some sentiment to "the experts" -- in this case, that Lincoln is going to lose -- that sentiment is either a straw man that experts don't believe, or is in fact utterly correct?

Why Republicans Will Shut Down The Government
October 22, 2010

I think there's a good chance that Republicans, if they take control of the House, will shut down the government. Listen to this rhetoric by Mike Pence: Republicans aren't interested in compromising with President Obama on major issues if they retake the House or Senate, a senior GOP lawmaker said. "Look, the time to go along and get along is over," said Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference. "House Republicans know that.

Wehner Fallacy, Left and Right Versions
October 22, 2010

On the right, Charles Krauthammer says that the Republican gains in the midterm elections are a pure reflection of the fact that President Obama is more liberal than the country: No fanciful new syndromes or other elaborate fictions are required to understand that if you try to impose a liberal agenda on such a demonstrably center-right country -- a country that is 80 percent non-liberal -- you get a massive backlash. ... The story of the last two years is as simple as it is dramatic.

Tomorrow's Crazy Today
October 22, 2010

Republican House nominee Keith Rothfus seems to have plowed new terrain in crazy: Keith Rothfus, the Republican nominee in Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district, attended a house party in Cranberry Township and discussed his political views for about an hour. At first, he echoed the views of most GOP candidates: if Republicans don’t succeed in repealing the new health care law, they would take the unprecedented step to defund the reforms.

It's The EPA and OSHA, Stupid!
October 22, 2010

This is the second in an occasional series examining how Republican control of Congress might affect policy debates in the next two years. Democrats are warning that if Republicans capture the House—and perhaps also the Senate—in this November’s election, they would abolish cabinet departments, repeal Obamacare, and privatize social security. They might want to do these things, but they won’t be able to overcome a Senate filibuster or a presidential veto.