South Carolina

The results of the Iowa caucuses illuminate the basic structure of today’s Republican Party and offer clues about what’s to come between now and the end of January. Pew’s “political typology,” the latest iteration of which appeared last May, provides the best point of departure. That report used a statistical technique known as cluster analysis to identify four major pro-Republican groups: Staunch Conservatives (11 percent of registered voters), Main Street Conservatives (14 percent), Libertarians (10 percent), and “Disaffecteds” (11 percent).

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The end of 2011 brought discouraging news for advocates of effective goods movement policy, as evidenced by new developments in the standoff between the ports of Charleston and Savannah. As reported by the Charleston Post & Courier (h/t to Peter T.

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Today, millions of Americans (who, unlike your humble blogger, are still on vacation) are trading the champagne of December 31st for the six-packs of January 2nd. That’s right: It’s time for college football. Today, Houston and Penn State play in the TicketCity Bowl, Ohio State and Florida play in the Gator Bowl, Michigan State and Georgia play in the Outback Bowl, Nebraska and South Carolina play in the Capital One Bowl, Wisconsin and Oregon play in the Rose Bowl, and Stanford and Oklahoma State play in the Fiesta Bowl.

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It’s very tempting to dismiss the Iowa caucuses as much ado about almost nothing: As Iowa goes, so goes . . . Iowa, and little more. But, despite its inherent myopia, the early part of the 2012 primary season has managed to be clarifying. Indeed, by combining the most recent survey evidence, we can learn a great deal about the state of the contemporary Republican Party. Put simply, its dominant concerns are economic—especially the federal budget deficit.

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I was one of the quickest to write Gingrich off when he started losing altitude earlier this month. I still think he has almost no chance of winning the nomination. Given the distinct absence of a campaign apparatus, or really any trappings of a bona fide campaign, I think Newt’s only shot was to peak right before the Iowa caucuses and basically run the table.

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The Republican field is crowded and fluid right now, but it won’t be for long. By January 11th, there will be at most three remaining contenders, and we’ll have a much clearer understanding of how the race will develop. There are seven candidates with a pulse, and only six of them—divided into two groups of three—are competing in Iowa. For two of the three denizens of the lower tier—Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum—failing to finish among the top three on January 3rd would spell the effective end of their candidacies.

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The hullabaloo over primary season endorsements is bad enough -- the reporting of them as decisions independently made by the endorser, when in fact they are in most instances the product of lengthy negotiations, with the timing of their announcement determined by the endorsee. Worst of all, though, is the willful disregard for the blatantly transactional terms that lie behind the announcements. In their reports of South Carolina Gov.

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It was reported in the business pages today, but the big deal between Boeing and the machinists' union to build a new line of 737s in Washington state should be noted briefly for its political implications: namely, the loss of a potent weapon for Republican candidates in 2012. The deal will almost certainly make moot the move by the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Lafe Solomon, to block Boeing's plans to shift Dreamliner construction to a nonunion plant in South Carolina, a shift that Solomon charged was being done in retaliation against the machinists' union representi

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Here is what President Obama said on Saturday while speaking to business leaders at the APEC summit in Hawaii when asked by a moderator about impediments to foreign investment in the U.S.: “[T]he United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity—our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture. But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades.

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The clichéd phrase “debate season” is inescapable. There was a Republican debate on CNBC Wednesday night. Tomorrow will see another shootout, this one down in South Carolina. But these events seem to have won few fans. They are being mocked and denounced by everyone from Bill O’Reilly to MSNBC contributors.

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