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Analysis and perspective about what's happening in the political realm.

The President Again Tries to Right the Ship

With the coun­try shaken by the blood­shed in Par­is, nervous about at­tacks at home, and con­cerned about an in­flux of refugees from the Middle East, many pres­id­ents would take to the air­waves for a prime-time ad­dress to re­as­sure an anxious na­tion. But that is not Pres­id­ent Obama’s pre­ferred way to use the bully pul­pit.

In­stead, after a week out of the coun­try and out of sight for most Amer­ic­ans, Obama on Tues­day used his third press con­fer­ence in eight days to per­suade Amer­ic­ans it is safe to fol­low their daily routines and to re­as­sert his com­mand of the war against ter­ror­ism.

Bask­ing in praise from vis­it­ing French Pres­id­ent Fran­cois Hol­lande, who stood at an ad­join­ing lectern in the East Room, the Amer­ic­an pres­id­ent found him­self play­ing catch-up in the wake of the mul­tiple as­saults in Par­is and the rising in­tens­ity of the polit­ic­al cri...

Forget the 2016 Polls: Nobody Knows Anything Yet

Ima­gine in­ter­view­ing for a top-level job where the hir­ing com­mit­tee hasn’t got­ten around to read­ing your re­sume, but HR keeps polling its mem­bers any­way to see if you should be brought back for the next round of in­ter­views—and all the while, you’re sink­ing to­ward bank­ruptcy.

Even worse, ima­gine that the hir­ing com­mit­tee is in­stead lean­ing to­ward a TV game show host and a mo­tiv­a­tion­al speak­er, neither of whom has any ob­vi­ous rel­ev­ant ex­per­i­ence for the job.

A dozen Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates don’t need to ima­gine any of this. They’ve been liv­ing it most of this year—the po­ten­tial vic­tims of sur­veys that shouldn’t ac­tu­ally mat­ter yet.

“The polls are not pre­dict­ive of where we’re go­ing to be in three months,” said Lee Mirin­goff, dir­ect­or of the Mar­ist In­sti­tute for Pub­lic...

Is Ben Carson the New Republican Frontrunner?

MILWAUKEE—Ben Carson came out to address the media after Tuesday night’s debate, emerging in the spin room with his typical air of beatific nonchalance. He was immediately engulfed by dozens of microphones and cameras; a reporter for the Daily Mail began shouting questions about new factual discrepancies in his autobiography. “Did you attack your mother with a hammer, or did she attack you?” the reporter shouted. “Are you running away from this question?” Carson simply ignored him and kept walking.

Off to the side of the surging mass of media, Carson’s campaign manager, a heavyset career operative named Barry Bennett, was exuberant. Had Carson won the debate? “I only care about the bank account, and we did well with that,” he said. The former neurosurgeon’s campaign had already taken in $6 million since the beginning of the month, $1 million the day of the debate alone.

The media are starting to call Carson the new frontrunner. He had a one-point lead over Donald Trump in the latest national poll. The past week saw him pass his first major test with surprising deftness, making a plausible defense against accusations he stretched the truth in his bestselling memoir...

Biden to Clinton and the Rest of DC: Stop the Madness

“I be­lieve we’re out of time,” Joe Biden said Wed­nes­day of his op­por­tun­ity to seek the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion. Then the vice pres­id­ent warned Wash­ing­ton’s polit­ic­al class that its time was run­ning out.

Stop fight­ing, he said. Stop the mad­ness.

“I be­lieve that we have to end the di­vis­ive par­tis­an polit­ics that is rip­ping this coun­try apart. And I think we can. It’s mean-spir­ited, it’s petty, and it’s gone on for much too long,” Biden said in the Rose Garden along­side his wife, Jill, and Pres­id­ent Obama. “Four more years of this kind of pitched battle may be more than this coun­try can take.”

The bulk of his speech was an af­firm­a­tion of Obama’s pres­id­ency and the in­creas­ingly lib­er­al Demo­crat­ic agenda: Re­duce the in­come gap, in­crease so­cial mo­bil­ity, elim­in­ate large and secret cam­paign dona­tions, ex­tend pub...

Does Hillary Clinton Have a Problem With Male Voters?

When Hil­lary Clin­ton entered the pres­id­en­tial race, she ex­pec­ted to win over­whelm­ing sup­port among wo­men in her bid to be­come the first fe­male pres­id­ent. In­stead, she’s find­ing out that an un­pre­ced­en­ted level of res­ist­ance to her can­did­acy among men is un­der­min­ing the con­ven­tion­al wis­dom that she’d be the strongest Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee in the gen­er­al elec­tion.   

Put an­oth­er way: Clin­ton is now nearly as un­pop­u­lar with men as Don­ald Trump is with wo­men. That’s say­ing something.

The latest round of polling for Clin­ton is bru­tal. This week’s NBC News/Wall Street Journ­al/Mar­ist sur­vey in Iowashows her fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ing with men at a mere 27 per­cent, while two-thirds view her un­fa­vor­ably. Her minus-39 net fa­vor­ab­il­ity with men is 28 points worse than Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden and 27...