Let’s give Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt: He didn’t really mean it when he said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Or, let’s just say he cares about them no less than he cares about the rest of us.
Team Newt: Meet the Men Who Actually Run the Gingrich Campaign
January 30, 2012
Since the better part of Newt Gingrich’s staff jumped ship back in June, when he jetted off to Greece, the campaign has been a bare-bones operation. Even as the Gingrich campaign was flying highest at the polls, it was still beset with ineptitudes like failing to qualify for the Virginia ballot. So who’s been running the campaign these days?
During the 1960 West Virginia primary, John Kennedy campaigned in tandem with Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. to claim that he—and not liberal stalwart Hubert Humphrey—was the rightful heir to FDR. The biopic shown at the 1992 Democratic Convention showcased difficult-to-locate footage of Bill Clinton shaking hands with JFK at the White House in 1963 as an Arkansas delegate to Boy’s Nation. Even by these bygone standards of the-torch-is-passed iconography, it is hard to top the battle for Ronald Reagan’s legacy being waged in the Florida primary.
Bob Dole's Sweet Revenge
January 26, 2012
In 1985, shortly after Sen. Bob Dole, R.-Kan., became majority leader of the upper body, a little creep called Newt Gingrich publicly branded him "the tax collector for the welfare state." Dole had previously been chairman of the finance committee, in which capacity he had overseen a tax cut in 1981 and a tax increase in 1982. In those days Republicans were allowed to be in favor of tax increases if circumstances warranted it, as they certainly did in 1982. President Ronald Reagan, before whose graven image every contemporary conservative must genuflect, signed the bill into law.
Five Things To Watch For In the State of the Union
January 24, 2012
Given the blizzard of White House briefings to eager reporters in recent days, we already have some sense of what the president will say in tonight’s State of the Union address. But in considering the speech, we shouldn’t forget to judge it in its full political context—most of all, the fact that this is an election year. Here are five things to listen for: For better or worse, an incumbent president’s record is at the heart of his reelection prospects. President Obama cannot run away from his record; he must run on it.
Why Does the Media Keep Underestimating Newt?
January 20, 2012
CHARLESTON, S.C.—Thursday night’s four-top GOP debate made it official: The South Carolina primary has become a referendum on Newt Gingrich. Just 10 days after he was left in a dustbin labeled “Yesterday’s Man” after dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich has confounded the experts yet again. The oft-derided and consistently under-estimated House speaker has now bested Jesus in his sheer number of resurrections—an association that can only help as the South Carolina primary vote looms.
Can Rick Santorum Pull Off an Upset in New Hampshire?
January 05, 2012
BRENTWOOD, N.H.—During all those lonely months in Iowa, wandering from Pizza Ranch to dingy motel, wondering if 10 voters would show up at the next event, Rick Santorum must have fantasized about his return to New Hampshire, powered by a stunning upset in the caucuses. Somehow, though, it is doubtful that Santorum imagined that his first event in the state would be held in the auditorium of a nursing home. Or that maybe a third of the crowd would drift away before Santorum finished speaking. For nearly 90 minutes, Santorum answered random voter questions.
January 02, 2012
Nothing happening right now in Iowa is as important or as revealing (not to mention as entertaining) as the outburst by Eric Cantor's press secretary during a 60 Minutes interview that aired on Jan. 1. You won't find it on Politico's home page (yet), but it really happened. Scroll to the bottom of this item to watch the relevant portion (assuming you have the patience to sit through a commercial first). Here's the transcript: Leslie Stahl: So are you ready to compromise? Cantor: So I have always been ready to cooperate.
"I'm Sorry, You're Too Stupid To Collect Unemployment"
December 19, 2011
The House "reform" of unemployment insurance, which is included in its payroll-tax extension bill, is actually a reduction in benefits. Right now you can collect unemployment insurance up to 99 weeks. Under the House bill, you can collect only up to 59 weeks. By this logic, if you have a loaf of bread and I slice off two-fifths of it then what you're left with is reformed bread. You're welcome! Or so I thought. But it turns out that this Republican measure actually does include, in addition to the 59-week limit, a few changes to how unemployment insurance is handed out.
Brokered Conventions, Last-Minute Comebacks, and Other Crazy Ways the GOP Could End Up With a Nominee
December 16, 2011
Has there ever been a worse year for the conventional wisdom in handicapping a presidential primary race? Sure, the pundit pack has been grotesquely wrong before, from over-hyping Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2008 to smugly dismissing Howard Dean’s potential to galvanize anti-war Democrats in 2004. But never have the political railbirds so frequently compounded their errors as they reeled from one smug, but erroneous, prediction to another.