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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 ...

The Dealmaker

December 7, 2004 Much has already been written lamenting the retirement of Democratic Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana, who for years has been an important bridge between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, in a polarized and bitter Congress. Breaux's moderation, personality, manner, and legislative style enabled him to develop close relationships on ...

Taming the Wild Cards

November 30, 2004 One of the most fascinating shows to watch for the next two years is a drama focusing on what Republicans will be able to do with their unexpectedly large 55-45 majority in the United States Senate. While most observers anticipated that Republicans would hold onto their majority, or maybe increase ...

Wide Open

November 23, 2004 The 2008 presidential campaign promises to be the first White House contest since 1928 with neither an incumbent president nor vice president in the running. What's more, neither side has an heir apparent, meaning that we face the truly extraordinary prospect of wide-open contests for both major parties' nominations. As ...

No Transformation

November 16, 2004 Even though President Bush and his Republican Party won a decisive victory, Election 2004 was hardly the transformational contest that some are making it out to be. If the country has gone from being a 49-49 nation, as the Almanac of American Politics' Michael Barone noted two years ago, to ...

Near-Perfect Campaign

November 9, 2004 In a really competitive race, there is rarely just one reason for a victory. But an important factor in President Bush's triumph surely is that the Bush-Cheney reelection effort was perhaps the best planned, best executed, most disciplined, and most strategic presidential campaign in history. The Bush campaign team was ...