Archive of Articles for May, 2014

Senate Electoral Dynamics In 2014 And 2016

[ Posted Monday, May 19th, 2014 – 17:15 UTC ]

It is an open question which political party will control the Senate after this year's midterm elections. But no matter the outcome -- whether Republicans gain control or Democrats narrowly retain it -- it is worth taking a look at the underlying dynamics of the Senate field for the next two election cycles. Because while 2014 is a year where Republicans have a big advantage, 2016 is going to give Democrats a decided edge.

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Friday Talking Points [304] -- Brain Damage

[ Posted Friday, May 16th, 2014 – 17:24 UTC ]

Karl Rove successfully manipulated the entire news media this week, so we are going to play along today. Rove's specialty is to take what could be considered a reasonable idea, and then twist it beyond recognition while dragging it through the swampiest mud he can dream up. Well, that's admittedly a terrible (and mixed) metaphor, but I think you get the general idea.

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A Stunning First For Native American Women

[ Posted Thursday, May 15th, 2014 – 17:14 UTC ]

The Senate quietly made history on Wednesday night when it confirmed Diane Humetewa as a federal judge -- the first Native American woman to ever hold such a post.

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The VRWC, ODS, And Now CDS?

[ Posted Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 – 15:39 UTC ]

Before there was what we now call "Obama Derangement Syndrome," there was the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy." This month seems to be now be marking a turning point, to perhaps what might be called a new and virulent "Clinton Derangement Syndrome." Or, more prosaically, what we're now seeing can be said to be the real start of the 2016 presidential election season.

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Run, Clay, Run!

[ Posted Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 – 17:20 UTC ]

Right before the 2006 general election took place, I wrote a column titled "Celebrity Candidate Casting Call," which pointed out the disparity between the two American political parties when it came to fielding celebrity candidates. The reason why it was noteworthy was the imbalance tilted exactly the opposite direction that one would assume -- Republican celebrities had jumped into politics, often very successfully, in numbers that far outpaced Democratic celebrities. Since everyone knows Hollywood is a bastion of liberalism, the article was written in a "head-scratching" sort of tone. Why, I wondered, didn't Democrats actually stand up for their beliefs by running for public office, and why were there so many Republicans doing so?

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Grave Robbing Or Archaeology?

[ Posted Monday, May 12th, 2014 – 18:05 UTC ]

Since I did not lose a family member on 9/11, though, I do not even feel qualified to take a personal position on the issue. I simply do not know how I would feel if those unidentified remains contained fragments of one of my own loved ones, to put this another way. So I do not write today to stake out a firm position on the movement of the 9/11 remains this weekend, just to be perfectly clear up front. I'd rather try to make a larger point on the shift in what is considered proper for museums to study and display.

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Friday Talking Points [303] -- Benghazi Frenzy!

[ Posted Friday, May 9th, 2014 – 17:13 UTC ]

What was even more noticeable was what Republicans shifted to instead: Benghazi! Or, more accurately: "Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!" Yes, the Republicans are doubling down on holding yet another investigation -- in the hopes that this time an actual scandal will emerge, somehow. Also, to tarnish Hillary Clinton (always a worthy motive in Republicanland). Watch for this Benghazi frenzy to play out all summer long, since Republicans quite obviously have nothing positive to offer the voters this year.

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The Big Republican Pivot

[ Posted Thursday, May 8th, 2014 – 16:04 UTC ]

The Republican Party's 2014 midterm election strategy was supposed to be simple, since it contained only one plank in the platform: the awfulness of Obamacare. This isn't mere supposition, as Republicans have been freely admitting this for over six months now. They were so sure of their strategy that they didn't even care if everyone knew what it was ahead of time. The midterms would be "all Obamacare, all the time" on the Republican side, and that would usher them into victory. They even convinced themselves to avoid tackling other issues (such as immigration) because doing so would be a distraction from the single-minded focus on Obamacare.

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The Tea Party Is Dead! Long Live The Tea Party!

[ Posted Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 – 17:23 UTC ]

Today's article title is meant as commentary on the media's overreactions to the first big round of primary election results (announced last night), and not any sort of supportive call to arms. Just to be clear up front, in case anyone was expecting a very different sort of article. It really should read "The Tea Party Is Dead / Long Live The Tea Party," since it represents a clear dichotomy in how pundits reacted to the primary results. Since the Tea Party candidates didn't do very well (and even that's putting it charitably) in this first big round of primaries, many are now proclaiming total victory for the Establishment Republican faction of the Republican Party, and an absolute rout of the Tea Party faction. The second way of interpreting the results warns that rumors of the Tea Party's death are premature, and that what really happened was that the Tea Party's takeover bid for the entire Republican Party is now a complete success. The Tea Party won, this way of thinking goes, because they have now become the Republican Party.

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From The Archives -- Cut Congressional Chaplains

[ Posted Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 – 15:29 UTC ]

Paying handsome salaries for full-time religious officials in both houses of Congress is nothing short of an anachronism. Any member of Congress seeking spiritual guidance has many modern methods to communicate with the religious leaders of their choice, without taxpayers having to foot the bill for it. So while the argument rages over opening prayers, my question is a more practical one: why are we still paying these guys to morally instruct our legislators?

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