The Washington Post

Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall election probably doesn’t tell us much about the state of the presidential campaign. But it probably tells us a lot about the state of American politics. If you’re a progressive or somebody suspicious of corporate power, the message is not good. Walker got elected and set out to attack the public employee unions—not to extract concessions from them, mind you, but to undermine them an economic and political force. The unions perceived Walker’s effort as a mortal threat, rallied to defeat him, and failed.

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Amid the big mood swings last night as exit polls gave way to real vote tallies, one question began to rise above the din: how to reconcile Scott Walker’s victory with exit polls showing that a majority of voters—52-43 percent, according to the Washington Post—would vote for Barack Obama in November? We can argue about just how much those exit polls can be trusted, given that they suggested a stronger result for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett than he ultimately received. Still, it’s clear that there was a crucial sliver of voters who backed Walker but plan to support Obama in the fall.

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I generally have a pretty steely stomach for political machinations (seven years in Washington will do that to a person—I hear tolerance only increases), but there was something a little nauseating about watching the pre-determined defeat of the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate yesterday. (“Paycheck Fairness fails in the Senate, as expected,” reported The Washington Post. “Senate Democrats knew they had little chance of passing the Pay Fairness Act on Tuesday,” said NPR.) This legislation addresses the wage gap between men and women.

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Wisconsin by the Numbers Scott Walker cruised to a 53-46 win in the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall, stunning Democrats expecting a tight race after early exit polls. Walker's victory was built on a GOP-friendly electorate, even whiter, older, richer, and less Democratic than the 2010 midterms, let alone 2008. Seniors represented 18% of the electorate, up from 16% in 2010 and 14% in 2008. The non-white share of the electorate fell from 11% in 2008 to 10% in 2010, to 9% in 2012. 20% of voters made more than $100,000/year, up from 16% in 2010 and 19% in 2008.

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Well, so much for Barack Obama's reelection campaign talking at all about Mitt Romney's career at Bain Capital. The private equity firm has proven a great vulnerability for Romney in the past and it exemplifies the economic vision Romney is running on, but Obama better lay off it for the rest of the campaign.

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The New York Times, May 27: In a new effort to halt more than a year of bloodshed in Syria, President Obama will push for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad under a proposal modeled on the transition in another strife-torn Arab country, Yemen. The Washington Post, May 29: Across the vast, rugged terrain of southern Yemen, an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States. Associated Press, May 29: [U.N.

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In the current issue of TNR, I suggested that the health care decision represents a “moment of truth” for John Roberts because, if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act by a 5-4 vote, Roberts’s "stated goal of presiding over a less divisive court will be viewed as an irredeemable failure.” This observation was intended as nothing more than a statement of the obvious. It has nonetheless provoked an outraged reaction from conservative commentators.

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In the run-up to the first round of Egypt’s presidential elections, which concluded on Thursday, the Muslim Brotherhood’s downfall was widely anticipated.

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Ties That Bind

On April 19, Republican Senator Marco Rubio appeared at a policy breakfast in Washington. The ostensible topic was his proposal for a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act, but it wasn’t long before the conversation drifted to vice presidential talk. Since the start of the Republican primary, Rubio has been named at the top of nearly every short list of likely running mates—and for good reason. He is young, charismatic, and popular with both the Tea Party and the GOP establishment. He has a reputation for being serious about policy.

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When the New York Times reported last month that Wal-Mart had brazenly been bribing government officials in Mexico, the public responded with anger. According to the Washington Post, the outcry forced the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to slow its campaign to water down the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the 1977 law that bars payoffs to foreign decision-makers in exchange for business. The agitation also led to a 5 percent drop in the price of Wal-Mart stock. But one group seemed decidedly less bothered by the reports of Wal-Mart’s misdeeds: corporate America.

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