Is it safe to say "liberal" again?
Not long ago, Republicans used "liberal" as an epithet, Democrats hid from it, and conflict-averse news outlets avoided it. That's changed.
Presidents use their inaugural addresses as an opportunity to talk about the future.
When West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller announced this morning that he won't seek reelection to the Senate in 2014, political commentators immediately downgraded Democrats' chances of holding his Senate seat. Politico wrote that Rockefeller’s retirement put the seat in deeply conservative “in play,” while The Fix’s Sean Sullivan said that Rockefeller’s retirement "boosted" Republican hopes.
Just a few weeks ago, Beltway tongues were gossiping about Vice President Joe Biden being a second-term neuter. See, for instance, the Politico article, "Joe Biden waits on sidelines," which opened like this: "Vice President Joe Biden walked the halls of Congress and hosted top-level talks at Blair House during the last fiscal showdown. This time, he’s roaming the aisles of Costco." Then, all of a sudden, Obama gave Biden charge of the gun violence task force he formed in the wake of the Newtown massacre.
The adoption of so-called "right to work" legislation in Michigan, of all places, represents an historic setback for organized labor. First, Republicans went after public employees in the birthplace of public unions, Wisconsin. And now they have taken the fight to private employee unions in the cradle of modern industrial unionism.