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Hard Choices

February 28, 2006 When several thousand Republicans gather in Memphis for a joint meeting of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference and its Midwestern counterpart on March 9 to 12, they're likely to spend a great deal of time agonizing over -- or at least privately debating -- whom their party should nominate for...

Popularity Factor

February 21, 2006 A president's popularity, as measured by job-approval ratings, plays an undeniably critical role in determining his Capitol Hill clout and his party's electoral prospects. So whatever influences that popularity is important. Countless factors can cause fluctuations in a president's approval ratings, including interest rates, inflation, unemployment, the general health of...

Real Control

February 14, 2006 A half-dozen years ago, Mel Gibson starred in What Women Want, an inane movie about a guy who suddenly could read the minds of women he came close to. That silly film comes to mind these days when I listen to what Democrats say, because I find myself wondering what...

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...

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