Archive of Articles for September, 2015

Snap Debate Reactions

[ Posted Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 – 22:24 UTC ]

After having just sat through over five hours (!) of Republicans debating each other, I have to say my brain is somewhat numb. So I'm not going to try to do any high-level analysis of the 25 pages of notes I took, but instead rely on just snap reactions to what I've just witnessed at the Shrine of Saint Ronald of Reagan's Magic Airplane. I write these snap reactions for a reason, and the reason is to see how differently I saw the debates from all the professional pundits out there. Come tomorrow, I'll read what everyone else has to say, and if the past is any measure, I'll be astonished at what settles in as conventional inside-the-Beltway wisdom. All quotes are transcribed by me hastily, and may not be exact, I should mention in passing, too.

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In Defense Of Horserace Reporting

[ Posted Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 – 17:27 UTC ]

We are over a year away from voting who will be America's next president. Summer's not even over, and the first primaries will be held in the bitter cold of next winter. Most people simply aren't paying much attention to politics yet, and won't for some time to come. I truly do understand all of that, but at the same time I've been writing more than my fair share of "horserace" stories already -- a trend which will only accelerate in the coming months (especially when I crank up the 2016 version of my "Electoral Math" column series, which tracks polling from all 50 states). So I wanted to take today to offer up a proactive defense of the concept of watching the polling around the "horserace" that is the presidential contest.

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Debate Prep

[ Posted Monday, September 14th, 2015 – 18:02 UTC ]

The second debate of the Republican nomination race is fast approaching, so in preparation I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the entire GOP field once again. First, though, a word about the debates themselves.

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Friday Talking Points [361] -- Bye-Bye, Rick

[ Posted Friday, September 11th, 2015 – 17:15 UTC ]

Breaking news! Rick Perry drops out of presidential race!

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Time To Punt

[ Posted Thursday, September 10th, 2015 – 16:11 UTC ]

Today, as all political pundits know, is the opening of football metaphor season! Since football is getting underway tonight, it becomes entirely appropriate and seasonal to once again start talking about politics in the language of the gridiron.

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GOP Gang Still Can't Shoot Straight

[ Posted Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 – 16:10 UTC ]

September is always an amusing time of year for politics-watchers, because inevitably Congress will return from their five- or six-week-long paid vacation and then immediately start whining that there is so much on their plate that they simply won't have time to get everything done. Without, of course, ever seeing the irony of such statements (after taking all of August plus a week or two off). This year is no different, of course. Congress is back and they're already moaning about how much they have to do in September. After all, they've got an upcoming budgetary train wreck to create, the Pope is going to visit, and -- first on their list of looming deadlines -- they're supposed to vote on the Iran nuclear deal. It now seems the Republicans are going to fumble this one badly, due (once again) to the intransigence of the House hardliners.

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GOP Presidential Polling, Then And Now

[ Posted Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 – 16:58 UTC ]

Labor Day weekend is over, meaning the world of political punditry heaves a collective sigh of relief because, according to the calendar they use, this marks the end of the summer "Silly Season" and the point where the public starts to actually pay some attention to politics once again -- specifically, the presidential race. There's some truth to this, although people in Iowa and New Hampshire have likely already begun considering political presidential candidates, and there are plenty of people elsewhere who won't get interested until we get a lot closer to actually voting in primaries and caucuses. Still, with the second Republican presidential debate due next week, I thought it'd be a good time for a quick review of where the Republican field now stands and where it could go in the very near future. My personal feeling is that Donald Trump might just be approaching a point where he becomes unstoppable, which started as a gut feeling but looks entirely plausible, given the data.

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Program Note

[ Posted Monday, September 7th, 2015 – 21:15 UTC ]

There will be no column today, as I played hooky and enjoyed myself instead. Hope everyone else had a happy Labor Day! New columns will resume tomorrow.

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Friday Talking Points [360] -- North, To Alaska!

[ Posted Friday, September 4th, 2015 – 16:29 UTC ]

President Obama had some fun this week, and by doing so actually forced the media to tackle a serious subject on his agenda. The fun part was taking the whole press corps up to Alaska, and even filming an episode of Bear Gryll's celebrity survivalist show. I certainly never thought I'd type a sentence linking President Obama and Bear Grylls, but then we certainly do live in strange times. In a more normal political (but no less partisan) atmosphere, Obama might have been roundly criticized for acting almost Putin-like, being photographed as a tough guy in the great outdoors. Who knows, when the episode airs, he still may face such carping from Republicans. But seeing as how the Republican presidential race is currently redefining the term "cult of personality" in a major way, I don't think the charge is going to carry much weight. It's hard to argue that the dignity of the Oval Office means not appearing in a reality television show when the guy leading the pack on your side is a reality-show television star, after all.

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Iran Nuclear Deal Win For Obama

[ Posted Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 – 17:05 UTC ]

Senator Barbara Mikulski became the 34th Senate Democrat to indicate she'll stand with President Obama on the Iran nuclear deal, which is significant -- although, in all likelihood, also merely symbolic. The media are reporting it is significant because it assures Obama that his veto won't be overturned, but what they're mostly missing is that a Senate veto-override vote likely wouldn't even have to happen.

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