Meshoppen Postcard: Choker
October 02, 2006

It’s Labor Day at the Wyoming County Fair in Meshoppen, Pennsylvania, and the campaign season is underway. At the Wyoming County Democrats booth, Chris Carney, an earnest young Naval Reserve commander-turned-professor who is running for Congress, entertains a steady stream of voters. Carney, the challenger, is stumping hard—there’s speculation that if he can win in the strongly conservative Tenth District, Democrats can take back the House—and, soon, his booth runs out of yard signs. One might expect a similar scene at the GOP booth a few yards away.

Mood Indigo
September 25, 2006

Colorado and Ohio turn left.

Growing Pains
September 04, 2006

FOR ALL INTENTS and purposes, the only national political story on August 8 was Ned Lamont's defeat of Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic Senate primary. But all that Nedrenaline obscured another anti-incumbent surprise the very same night. In Michigan's Seventh District, Republican Representative Joe Schwarz was knocked off by a conservative primary challenger. It was an ominous sign of the national mood for sweaty-palmed Washington Republicans. But it was also significant for another reason: The Club for Growth had finally scalped its first incumbent.

Jack in the Box
June 26, 2006

A moderate Democratic representative is on the phone, relating a thought he had a few days earlier about his party's prospects for winning back the House in November. "Things look really good," he had mused to himself. "You've got to wonder how we're gonna screw it up." As if on cue, House Democrats--who had been coasting on GOP scandal and disunity--turned against one another. Last Friday, Pennsylvania Democrat Jack Murtha picked a leadership fight over the central issue that splits his party: Iraq.

Base Running
May 29, 2006

Rick Santorum has enough trouble in his reelection race. The incumbent GOP senator has trailed his opponent, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey, by double digits almost since Casey declared his candidacy. Santorum's campaign has been mired in questions about why Pennsylvanians pay to homeschool his six children in Virginia and about his involvement with the now-infamous K Street Project. Even Republicans have privately started to refer to Santorum's campaign as a lost cause and are lobbying party leaders to shift money to more promising contests.

Magic Bullet
February 06, 2006

IT WAS A cold night in December, and Patrick Murphy was standing in the back room of a downtown Philadelphia bar. As usual, he was telling war stories. It had been nearly two years since Murphy returned from Iraq, where he served as a JAG officer in the 82nd Airborne, but the memories of his time there were still fresh, and, as he mingled about the room, he shared them with many of those he met. He told of leading convoys through a section of Baghdad called “Ambush Alley” and of prosecuting cases before Iraq’s Central Criminal Court. “When I was in Iraq,” Murphy would almost invariably say at

December 12, 2005

Once upon a time, the Democratic family consisted of two basic types of politicians--those who supported the Iraq war and those who were against it. As the war dragged on and the political climate changed, however, varied new species began to evolve, with all manner of ideas and opinions about the occupation. For months, these different Democratic factions lived more or less in harmony. But Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha's dramatic call last month for a fast U.S. exit from Iraq was like a climate-altering asteroid event.

Nice Disguise
November 14, 2005

In this 2005 piece, Andrew Siegel argues that Samuel Alito's personality makes him a more dangerous Supreme Court nominee.

Crash Course
November 07, 2005

The danger of consumer-driven health care.

Blocking Move
March 21, 2005

AT A TOWN-HALL meeting last month in Philadelphia, Rick Santorum, the stalwart conservative senator from Pennsylvania, was pitching President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, speaking the reassuringly nonideological language of insolvency dates and rates of return. It fell to a sympathetic college student in the audience, blessedly unversed in the arts of message discipline, to state what conservatives truly think—and have always thought— about Social Security. “I want to know what problem everybody has with taking care of themselves,” she said.