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Cautionary Tales

May 16, 2006 Every few years, Capitol Hill weathers a blizzard of scandals that leaves all who work in Congress or who watch it shaking their heads in dismay. Not that long ago, scandalous revelations rocked the House Bank, the House Post Office, the Keating Five, then-Sen. David Durenberger, then-House Speaker Jim Wright,...

Pumped Up?

May 9, 2006 Few would dispute that if gasoline prices go substantially higher and remain there for a sustained period, they will hurt President Bush and damage his party in the midterm elections. But how much have near-record gasoline prices hurt the Republicans so far? A clue might be found in the results...

Financial Hurdles

May 2, 2006 The last thing I wanted to do this week was to write yet another "President Bush and the Republicans are going down the toilet, and their majorities are doomed" column. But then two things changed: First, a sequence of six polls indicated that Bush's popularity may have fallen through what...

The Intensity Factor

April 25, 2006 At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I feel compelled to report the latest signs that Republicans ought to be very worried about this fall's congressional elections. A Gallup Poll this week showed President Bush with a job-approval rating of just 36 percent -- tying his previous low...

Courting Conservatives

April 18, 2006 As Sen. John McCain of Arizona begins moving to the right to maximize his chances of winning the 2008 Republican presidential nomination -- before making an equally inevitable move back toward the middle if he reaches the general election -- it will be fascinating to see how deftly he maneuvers....

Motivational Challenge

April 11, 2006 The loudest sound in Washington this week was the huge sigh from Republican officials relieved that their chances of holding Tom DeLay's congressional district have improved from, at best, 50-50 to more like 90-10. To be sure, few partisans ever like to see a former leader, no matter how controversial,...

Second-Rate Candidates

April 4, 2006 Almost every day seems to bring a new storm warning for Republicans. The current national political climate is undeniably awful for their party. A report released last week by the Gallup Poll's Jeffrey Jones said that in elections from 1974 to 2002, when the approval rating for Congress as an...

Structural Advantage

March 28, 2006 Structural barriers are protecting the GOP's majorities like seawalls, and would likely withstand the surge from a Category 1, 2, or 3 storm. Despite national political trends indicating that the GOP is in serious trouble, a race-by-race "micro" analysis suggests that Democrats cannot easily seize control of the House or...

The Big Picture

March 21, 2006 Are the Republicans in serious danger of losing both the House and the Senate? Or would the Democrats have to get extremely lucky to take control of either chamber? At least for the moment, the forecast depends on whether contests are examined race by race -- the "micro" approach --...

Bench Strength

March 14, 2006 No one would mistake me for the president of the Howard Dean fan club. I can't even count the number of times that the chairman of the Democratic National Committee has said things that I considered a bit over the top and that I thought contributed to the caricature that...

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