Whom Will The Unions Take Out Next?
April 25, 2012

With Mitt Romney sweeping the table against the sad remnants of the sorriest presidential field in years, the real action last night was in the Pennsylvania congressional primaries, where much of Washington's political press was caught completely off guard. Democratic primary voters knocked out two incumbent congressmen—Tim Holden, who’s represented his district between Harrisburg and Allentown for 20 years, and Jason Altmire, who won his district north of Pittsburgh in the 2006 Democratic wave. Both men found themselves in districts sharply redrawn by Pennsylvania Republicans.

The Titanic And The Virgin
April 13, 2012

I had forgotten, until I picked up my copy of Steven Biel's Down With The Old Canoe: A Cultural History Of The Titanic, that Henry Adams booked passage on the Titanic's return trip. "My ship, the Titanic, is on her way," he wrote in a letter on April 12, 1912, "and unless she drops me somewhere else, I should get to Cherbourg in a fortnight." (Adams, then 74--he would die six years later--mentioned in the same letter that the as-yet-unpublished Education, which he'd forwarded to his correspondent, was "hardly ... fit for any public.

Why Rick Santorum Wasn’t Conservative Enough to Beat Mitt Romney
April 12, 2012

Rick Santorum’s withdrawal from the Republican presidential race earlier this week marked the end of a long, strange trip for the former Pennsylvania senator, who made himself the political vehicle for Christian Right resistance to Mitt Romney. But the lesson of Santorum’s inevitable defeat isn’t that he was too socially extreme. Ironically, it was his record of loyal support for the compassionate conservative agenda of George W. Bush that did Santorum in, not his 1950s-era values.

Against the Rick Santorum Renaissance
April 10, 2012

The news accounts of Rick Santorum’s exit from the presidential race are rife with testimonials about how the former Pennsylvania senator departs the campaign a much larger figure than when he entered it. “It was an impressive performance and it leaves him with an elevated status and a prominent role as a leader for evangelicals and conservatives,” Ralph Reed told The New York Times. “No one can know what the future holds, but my guess is we haven’t heard the last from Rick Santorum.” Er, I’m not so sure.

Farewell To Rick, Who Was Not Mitt
April 10, 2012

Right around the time that Rick Santorum was making up his mind to end (or “suspend”) his campaign for the Republican nomination, it was reported that Mitt Romney’s campaign was pulling a harsh anti-Santorum ad from the Pennsylvania airwaves, out of deference to the fact that Santorum was having to tend to his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, during yet another visit to the hospital for the girl, who was born with the rare chromosomal disorder trisomy 18.

The One Nice Thing About Rick Santorum’s Now-Doomed Campaign
April 05, 2012

The only mystery left in the Republican presidential race is guessing the moment when Rick Santorum bows to the inevitable. It may come with a gesture of face-saving capitulation before his home-state primary on April 24, with a feeling of forgotten-man frustration as Mitt Romney nears a delegate majority in early June, or with a final burst of angry defiance on the eve of the Tampa Convention.

Romney Cleaned Up; It's Still Gonna Cost Him
April 03, 2012

The good news for Mitt Romney is that he comes out of Tuesday night with a boatload of delegates and a symbolically important win in Wisconsin, where it was once tempting to imagine Rick Santorum pulling off an upset.

Newly Discovered Songs By the Legendary Nick Hathaway
March 30, 2012

This Sunday, April 1st, marks the first anniversary of the reported death of Nick Hathaway, the genre- and taste-defying songsmith known for having the kind of talent that is truly not to be believed. For the tens of fans of Hathaway’s music around the world and in his hometown of Chester, Pennsylvania, the past year has been as eventful as any other. Yet eventfulness is hardly the measure of Nick Hathaway's life and work. Nor is quality, that big bugaboo of critics, artists, audiences, and others who like the arts.

Did SCOTUS Hearings End The GOP Primary?
March 29, 2012

We’re talking a whole lot less about the Republican primaries than we were a week or two ago, which my former colleague Chris Cillizza attributes to the endorsements of Mitt Romney by Marco Rubio and others, which Chris suggests have effectively ended the GOP race: In just the last 9 days — since Romney won the Illinois primary — he has been endorsed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former President George H.W.

Occupy Congress
March 29, 2012

On the evening of Wednesday, February 22, protesters pitched tents in front of the district office of Democratic Representative Allyson Schwartz in the small hamlet of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.