Perot

David Jungerman of Raytown, Missouri has attracted attention for a large sign by the highway calling Democrats the "party of parasites": The Kansas City Star reports that Jungerman himself falls into the parasite category: The Raytown farmer who posted a sign on a semi-truck trailer accusing Democrats of being the “Party of Parasites” received more than $1 million in federal crop subsidies since 1995. But David Jungerman says the payouts don’t contradict the sign he put up in a corn field in Bates County along U.S.

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Goes to Ross Douthat: It’s true that under most political circumstances, a party that seems “unreasonable, petty and not fit to govern” is unlikely to achieve sweeping gains in a midterm election. But most elections are not fought amid 9-10 percent unemployment, to say nothing of 9-10 percent unemployment that’s lasted for more than a year, which is where we’ll stand in November if the current projections hold up.

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Blue's Clues

  It's about time. After a series of frustrating election nights for Democrats, dating back to the Florida boondoggle in 2000, this year's election is a clear triumph. But was it, like the Watergate election of 1974, simply the result of correctible mistakes by the opposition? Or have the Republican scandals and the Bush administration's misadventure in Iraq brought to the surface trends that will lead to a new political majority? It's too early to say for certain, but it seems this election has at least provided Democrats with an opportunity to build a lasting congressional majority. Whether

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She took a sip of red wine, then set the glass down on the bedside table. Unceremoniously, she pulled her top over her head and dropped her skirt. She was wearing nothing beneath. Still in her high heels, she walked toward him....

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Correspondence

WELFARE'S WELFARE YOUR EDITORIAL BIZARRELY ASSERTS that, of the $40 billion budget reconciliation bill, "the vast majority of cuts affect the poor" ("Standard and Poor," February 20). When did student loans ($12.6 billion), spectrum receipts ($7.4 billion), Medicare ($6.4 billion), corporate pension fees ($3.6 billion), or farm subsidies ($2.7 billion) become programs for the poor? Sure, Medicaid reforms ($4.7 billion, which will reduce the program's five-year growth rate from 45.5 percent to 44 percent) count as antipoverty reforms, but that is not the "vast majority" of $40 billion.

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Active Faith: How Christians Are Changing the Soul of American Politics by Ralph Reed (The Free Press, 311 pp., $25) The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness by Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore (W.W. Norton, 191 pp., $22)   Ralph Reed is Pat Robertson's boy, but his new book contains not a trace of such Robertsonian concerns as Armageddon, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Warburgs and the Rothschilds, or, for that matter, God. Rather than propose that the United States become a theocracy, Reed heatedly renounces the idea.

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Thomas Paine: Collected Writings edited by Eric Foner (The Library of America, 906 pp., $35) Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom by Jack Fruchtman Jr. (Four Walls Eight Windows, 557 pp., $30) Thomas Paine: A Political Life by John Keane (Little, Brown, 644 pp., $27.95) I. Every twenty-ninth of January, Thomas Paine's admirers assemble at his old farm in New Rochelle, New York, to celebrate his birthday and to lay a wreath on his monument.

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Clintonomics 101

From The Editors: In his State of the Union address Wednesday, President Obama outlined his vision for economic recovery--and many of his ideas bore striking resemblance those Bill Clinton proposed when he was running for president in 1992. In a TNR article penned that year, Robert Reich (who would eventually become Clinton’s labor secretary) described the Democratic nominee’s economic plan. “The centerpiece of the Clinton plan is a major increase in public investment in education, training, and infrastructure,” Reich wrote. Sound familiar? It’s a lot like Obama’s stimulus plan.

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