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Eye of the Storm

July 29, 2008 This is a strange time in the presidential campaign, a hiatus between the intense skirmishes for the nominations and the battle for the White House. It is a time when voters have largely tuned out the campaign to get on with their lives before returning for another round of the...

Losing Ground

July 22, 2008 One of the less pleasant aspects of writing a political column when one party is having a particularly grim year is that the story gets so repetitive. Some years, the Democrats are in the political toilet. This year, the Republicans are in that unenviable position. In the presidential race, presumptive...

Missing Pieces

July 15, 2008 Two weeks ago, I suggested here that "it is entirely plausible that [John] McCain will attract as many votes as President Bush did in 2004, given that Republicans often vote out of habit or a feeling of civic duty." One reader's reaction certainly grabbed my attention: A highly regarded Republican...

Obama's Odds

July 8, 2008 If you believe the Intrade betting odds, Barack Obama has a 65 percent chance of beating John McCain in November. Similarly, in the Iowa Electronic Markets, Obama has a 64 percent chance of winning. Indeed, a look at much of the polling data might lead one to conclude that Obama...

Ready or Not?

July 1, 2008 Given the closeness of the last two presidential elections and the considerable polling data pointing to yet another tight contest, this November's election seems likely to be a squeaker. Yes, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows Barack Obama ahead of John McCain by 12 points, and a Newsweek poll has...

Generation Gap

June 24, 2008 It finally dawned on me that white Baby Boomers are the group that is really hurting Barack Obama. Of all people, the generation that brought us the Vietnam War protests and the Summer of Love is proving to be a very tough nut for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to...

The Democrat's Bounce

June 17, 2008 In much the same way that people questioned whether conservatives would coalesce behind John McCain once he locked up the GOP presidential nomination, others are now asking whether Democrats (particularly Hillary Rodham Clinton's supporters) will truly rally around Barack Obama. The first poll numbers of this general election campaign suggest...

Chertoff, lawmaker clash over chemical security bill

June 13, 2008 House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has accused Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff of playing "political games" with new chemical security legislation, and says he doubts the department wants to collaborate on a final bill. The dispute erupted this week as the department and Thompson exchanged letters regarding...

Singing the Down-Ballot Blues

June 10, 2008 Considering how bleak Republicans' down-ballot prospects look, it is re-markable that they appear to have a 50-50 shot at holding on to the presidency. What makes this situation particularly unusual is the fact that a party seeking a third consecutive term in the White House generally succeeds only 20 percent...

Gearing Up

June 3, 2008 Much like a car whose gears shift poorly, this presidential contest is making a rather awkward transition to its general election phase. Nevertheless, as it turns into a competition between John McCain and Barack Obama, the race for 270 Electoral College votes is worth a hard look. Keep in mind...