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Within Reach

February 7, 2006 A year ago, with Republican victories in the 2004 elections still fresh and with President Bush's job-approval ratings still above 50 percent, Democrats' chances of capturing the House looked fairly slim. Today, however, with Bush's approval ratings hovering around 42 percent, the possibility of a Democratic takeover -- although less ...

Worth Watching

January 31, 2006 The Senate races in Hawaii and Missouri have taken interesting and potentially important turns. Of the two, the Aloha State's was the real shocker. Two-term Rep. Ed Case's Jan. 19 announcement that he is challenging 81-year-old Sen. Daniel Akaka in Hawaii's September 23 Democratic primary certainly dropped jaws among political ...

Uncivil Discourse

January 24, 2006 I am deeply troubled by the tenor of current political discourse in this country. More and more Republicans don't just disagree with Democrats, they despise them -- and vice versa. People don't just challenge someone's views -- they challenge the other person's integrity. Enjoyable, informative, and civil discussions between people ...

Leadership Shuffle

January 17, 2006 Sometimes, individuals make decisions voluntarily; other times, decisions are forced upon them. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's decision to permanently relinquish his leadership post and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's decision to depart at the end of the year will force congressional Republicans to make choices about significant changes ...

Ripple Effect

January 10, 2006 With lobbyist Jack Abramoff's guilty plea to charges of conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion, the first question on political minds inside and outside the Capital Beltway is, what does this mean? The short answer: It depends. It depends upon what Abramoff is telling prosecutors and what he is willing to ...

Larger Than Life

December 20, 2005 Acknowledging the congressional giants of bygone eras tends to be much easier than recognizing the larger-than-life qualities of those who still walk among us. But as I sat in the audience that overflowed the mammoth National Building Museum on October 26, and I listened to the tributes to and accomplishments ...

Escaping Blame

December 13, 2005 Side-by-side articles in last Tuesday's New York Times raised an interesting question. One reported a vow by Lowell Weicker, who served in the Senate as a Republican before winning Connecticut's governorship as an independent, to find an anti-war candidate to challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, or to run himself. The ...

Leadership Vacuum

December 6, 2005 All second-term presidents eventually become lame ducks, but President Bush is looking more and more like a truly crippled duck. He is plagued by miserably low approval ratings, an unpopular war, a stalled legislative agenda, gigantic federal budget deficits, and several scandals within his administration and party. Historian Joseph Ellis ...

A Powerful Wind

November 22, 2005 Democrats' chances of capturing the House of Representatives depend on the answers to two questions. First, will the 2006 political environment and issue agenda enable their party to win a large portion of the competitive races? Second, are there enough reasonably strong Democratic candidates running against vulnerable Republicans and for ...

The Snowball Effect

November 15, 2005 Republicans who had hoped that this year's almost relentless stream of bad news would be broken by a GOP victory either in the New Jersey or Virginia gubernatorial contests were disappointed again. As the Morton Salt slogan goes, "When it rains, it pours." These days, the Bush White House and ...