Not this year

President Obama’s stumping at universities has come too late.  The 2008 youth voters have left campus, changed addresses, or just dropped out. In my politics class only a third of the students expressed an intention to vote on November 2.


The Big Question: How can Obama re-ignite his message of change?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer insight into the biggest questions burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

In a new poll from The Hill,  most likely voters say Obama has not changed America for the better.

What should President Obama do to change this view by November 2012?

Read here.


To vote is power

This year, Latino voters like many voters, are angry and anxious.  But they aren’t stupid.  As has been reported widely, a conservative third-party group called “Latinos for Reform,” recently released an ad in which the narrator says: "Don't vote this November. This is the only way to send [Democrats] a clear message. You can no longer take us for granted." That’s right - now that the sleeping giant has awoken, a shady third party group is telling it to take a nap. 


The audacity of nonjudgment

It may be an inopportune time to recall that one of the most refreshing characteristics of Barack Obama is his aversion to judgmentalism.  He described how he was far more impressed by the hopes, worries, and basic decency the people he met in his travels around Illinois had in common than the beliefs that divided them in The Audacity of Hope.  He claimed to see the good in people of all viewpoints.  In his first State of the Union address, he promised not to question the benevolent intent of political opponents while disagreeing with their politics.  Other presidents have tried to avoid public aspersions of ill will, but Obama explicitly pledged to avoid it.  


Making the case: Democratic agenda wrong for America (Rep. Michele Bachmann)

For months, Democrats have been on a reckless spending spree, passing the dangerous job-killing agenda of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and President Obama. They have disregarded Republicans’ amendments and pleas, but now they are faced with opposition, which can’t be ignored: outcry from the American people.


What rage? ‘Disappointment’ and ‘frustration’ outdistance ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ by 275 percent

Reports of “anger” and “rage” at the economy, incumbents or President Obama himself as the main theme of the 2010 midterm elections have been greatly overstated, possibly for political motivations. In an analysis of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2010 midterms, Global Language Monitor (GLM) has determined that the words “anger” and “rage” and their various combinations comes in a distant second to words associated with “disappointment”, “frustration” or being “let down” by the actions of the administration.


David Brooks is wrong: Campaign donors expect a return

So it turns out that money doesn’t really matter in politics.

That’s what New York Times columnist David Brooks, generally a sensible fellow, argued on Tuesday.

Recalling big spending losers from days past like Phil Gramm and John Connolly, and more recently defeated but lavishly-funded candidates like Mike Castle and Lisa Murkowski, Brooks argued that the current media interest in campaign spending, particularly secret gifts made through groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is unimportant.


Living and dying through party politics

There are more than a few lessons to be drawn from the 2010 midterm elections, even before the results come in.  First, for all those who have been decrying the rise of partisan politics in Congress this election shows that you can succeed in passing legislation by standing on firm party ground, but at a steep electoral cost.  And Republicans clearly reread their 1990’s political history by copying Gingrich’s oppose everything strategy (except NAFTA) in the 103rd Congress and it looks very likely they will benefit electorally to the same extent or even more.  To a student of democratic government, this election is exactly what you want in a two party system:  one party is held accountable for the policies it passed, and the other party has offered consistent opposition to those policies. There has been little compromise, and no blurring of philosophies to confuse the voter.   An additional bonus is the clear evidence that the incumbency advantage is not nearly as entrenched a component of congressional elections as people think: given the right combination of money, appealing candidates, and bad external conditions, voters have already demonstrated in this primary season that they will show anyone and everyone the door.


Republicans looking for key wins in Arkansas

Republicans are looking to make some key Congressional pick-ups in the state of Arkansas this November. At the top of their list: the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts and Blanche Lincoln’s Senate seat. They feel good about their chances – nearly every county in the state split more heavily for McCain over Obama than it did for Bush over Kerry and in Pulaski County, home to the capital of Little Rock and the electoral fortress of the Arkansas Democratic Party, support for the top of the Democratic ticket in 2008 barely exceeded 2004 numbers.