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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...

Mixed Messages

November 8, 2005 Of all the challenges facing President Bush today, the most perplexing is the public disapproval of his handling of the economy. Preliminary numbers from the Commerce Department on October 28 showed that the economy grew at an impressive 3.8 percent in the third quarter, despite Hurricane Katrina. This improvement was...

On the Defensive

November 1, 2005 Republican Party apparatchiks have dutifully maintained a stiff upper lip in recent weeks, arguing that nothing was really wrong, that next year's election won't be too bad, and that their party will suffer only a few random losses in the House and Senate. They took solace in the relatively large...

Turning the Tide

October 18, 2005 I confess I'm very worried about the future of my home state of Louisiana. What concerns me most isn't the certainty that another powerful hurricane will slam into it someday. Rather, I fear that the past, present, and future decisions made by Louisiana's state and local officials, and by its...

Sending a Message

October 11, 2005 Odd-year gubernatorial elections have a decidedly mixed record of foreshadowing the results of the next year's federal elections. Some have been uncanny in their predictive value; others have been no help at all. This year, the New Jersey gubernatorial contest between Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine and GOP businessman Doug Forrester...

The Last Straw

October 4, 2005 To say that Tom DeLay's indictment was the last thing the Republican Party needed right now is, of course, a gigantic understatement. The original autumn agendas of President Bush and the party's congressional leaders had already been largely trashed by Hurricane Katrina. Now the highly effective DeLay, who has played...

Waiting for the Rebound

September 27, 2005 Anyone who expected that President Bush could fix his Katrina problems by making five visits to the damaged region, delivering a strong televised speech to the nation, launching a belated all-hands-on-deck effort by his administration, and promising to spend untold billions of dollars was surely disappointed by the results of...

Falling Numbers

September 20, 2005 President Bush's job-approval ratings have dropped so low that he could become a real political liability for his party. Ranging from 38 to 46 percent, those ratings are the lowest of his presidency. And they are much closer to those of President Nixon at this point in his second term...

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