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Midterm Anxiety

February 22, 2005 There is a palpable nervousness among Capitol Hill Republicans these days. They are well aware that history has been unkind during midterm elections to the party of second-term presidents: In such elections since the end of World War II, the president's party has lost an average of 29 seats in ...

Performance Assessment

February 15, 2005 What with President Bush's State of the Union speech, the ongoing debate over his efforts to change Social Security, his federal budget proposal, and the Iraqi elections, political junkies have had plenty to chew on in recent weeks. To top it off, we can mull former Sen. John Edwards's never-too-soon ...

The Hunt for Willing Volunteers

February 8, 2005 Diane Farrell is the Democrat who last November held longtime Republican Rep. Christopher Shays (CT-04) to the lowest winning percentage (52 percent) of his career. She was in Washington recently to check in with top House Democrats and fundraisers. She's hesitant to commit to challenging Shays a second time, despite ...

Fork in the Road

February 1, 2005 House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., may well be the prickliest and most explosive lawmaker on Capitol Hill, but the White House would be well advised to listen to him on Social Security and tax reform. What Thomas may lack in social graces, he makes up for ...

Follow the Leader?

January 25, 2005 Now that both President Bush and the 109th Congress have been sworn in, the real work is just beginning. It's hard to remember when a new Congress and a re-elected president faced such monumental challenges under such difficult circumstances. Many Republican members of Congress -- particularly those in potentially competitive ...

Rallying Cry

January 18, 2005 Saying that the next major speech to be given by a president is "the most important of his career" has become a tired cliche. After all, no president gets the job without having delivered a number of very important speeches. But George W. Bush's second inaugural address truly will be ...

The Unbeatable

January 11, 2005 In the world of politics, whenever an assumption is almost universally accepted, you can generally count on its being wrong or greatly exaggerated. Such may well be the case with the common explanation for the decline in the number of competitive congressional districts. Many political observers are certain that, during ...

The Finish Line

January 4, 2005 With last month's conclusion of two House runoff elections in Louisiana, the 2004 campaign was officially over, with Republicans having picked up a net gain of three seats in the House for a 232-203 majority, counting independent Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont as a Democrat. Before the Nov. 2 general ...

Up or Down

December 21, 2004 At some point in the next few months, Senate Republicans will decide whether to exercise the so-called "nuclear option," which would end the use of filibusters to block judicial nominees. Fights over presidential appointments to the federal bench are nothing new. Two of the most notable involved President Nixon's failed ...

Election 2006

December 14, 2004 Early in the 2004 election cycle, it became clear that Senate Democrats were in an unenviable situation. Even though Republicans held just a shaky one-seat majority, the playing field was decidedly tilted in the GOP's favor. Not only did the Democrats have to defend 19 seats, compared with 15 for ...