Archives for Politics

The South: The GOP’s last stand?

In a nation turned blue, the South remains largely red. That's the takeaway from the 2008 election, and the Republicans' best hope for resurrecting their party.

John McCain, for all his political waffling and personal idiosyncrasies, still held on to the South. Except for Virginia and Florida (two states heavily infiltrated by Northerners) and North Carolina (a race so close it couldn't be called until three days after the election), the South remained solidly in the GOP column.

From Florida's Panhandle to Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee, McCain actually garnered a higher percentage of votes than George W. Bush did in 2004.


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Heading for isolation

Inexorably, the cocoon that Barack Obama will live in for the next four or eight years is tightening around him.

Already in Chicago there are concrete barriers around his house. The streets in the immediate neighborhood are closed to outside traffic. Worshippers at a nearby synagogue must go through metal detectors. And would-be renters in the neighborhood have to be cleared by the Secret Service. He no longer goes to the barber; the barber goes to him. And he travels in an armored limousine in a red-light-running motorcade.

And the cocoon will only get tighter.


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Private school may be the only choice

The moment president-elect Barack Obama and our new first lady began to shop around Washington, D.C., for a private school for daughters Malia and Sasha, proponents of school choice already had their eyebrows well prepared for elevation.

Columnist Cal Thomas commends the Obamas for resisting potential pressure from teachers unions to place their kids in one of Washington's "miserable" public schools. But he criticizes them for exercising a choice that -- he says -- they're willing to deny to millions of Americans who don't have enough money to send their own kids to private schools.


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Obama’s chance to really fix something

As America's strategic dialogue with Russia shifts into reverse over our planned missile defense in Eastern Europe, President-elect Obama has an opportunity to curtail this foolish turn of events, but only if he doesn't fear being labeled "soft" by hardliners hell-bent on protecting that astronomically costly boondoggle.

After spending vast sums, America now fields missile defense sites in Alaska and California that even ardent program defenders admit are rudimentary. If the envisioned program is completed deep into the next decade, missile expert Scott Ritter estimates the total cumulative cost could top a trillion dollars.


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Obama meets with McCain today

Once campaign rivals, President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are ready to talk about how they can collaborate on issues facing the country.

A private meeting, slated for Monday at Obama's transition office in Chicago, will be the first since Obama beat McCain, the Republican candidate, in the Nov. 4 election.

The meeting comes as Obama, who resigned his Senate seat on Sunday, has been interviewing some of his one-time political opponents to help him run the country.

Advisers to the former candidates have said they don't expect Obama to consider McCain for an administration job.


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John Podesta has seen it all

John Podesta, a leader of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, was the Clinton administration official who worked to douse scandals, outmaneuver Republicans and keep Bill Clinton popular even through impeachment. He's now in charge of a 450-person staff whose experts — including Podesta himself — aren't always in sync with those of his new boss.

Podesta has proposed a different way to pay for universal health care than Obama — even though they both support a huge expansion of coverage. Both men say they also favor a transparent, open government that protects civil rights and liberties, but have different ways to get there.


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Obama reaches out to former rivals

Presidents typically say they want to be surrounded by strong-willed people who have the courage to disagree with them. President-elect Barack Obama, reaching out to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republicans, actually might mean it. Abraham Lincoln meant it. He appointed his bitter adversaries to crucial posts, choosing as war secretary a man who had called him a "long-armed ape" who "does not know anything and can do you no good." You could say his Cabinet meetings were frank and open. Richard Nixon didn't mean it. "I don't want a government of yes-men," he declared. But among all the president's men, those who said no did so at their peril. He went down a path of destruction in the company of sycophants.
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Hillary as Secretary of State?

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is among the candidates that President-elect Barack Obama is considering for secretary of state, according to two Democratic officials in close contact with the Obama transition team. Clinton, the former first lady who pushed Obama hard for the Democratic presidential nomination, was rumored to be a contender for the job last week, but the talk died down as party activists questioned whether she was best-suited to be the nation's top diplomat in an Obama administration. The talk resumed in Washington and elsewhere Thursday, a day after Obama named several former aides to President Bill Clinton to help run his transition effort.
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So, what’s in store for Obama?

The last two presidents have been notable for the fury they aroused in their opponents. Bill Clinton's critics were so angry about his marital infidelities -- and about his Vietnam-era draft dodging and pot smoking, among other issues -- that they hounded him throughout his two terms, culminating in his impeachment. And George W. Bush's opponents have been so fired up during his eight years that columnist Charles Krauthammer invented the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome" to describe the condition.
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The weird Obama-Clinton relationship

I recommend to you an article on Politico.com that reports on the latest contretemps between the Obamas and the Clintons---a tricky-track of a relationship if ever there was one. It describes a phone call from Michelle Obama soliciting advice from Sen. Hillary Clinton about how to raise children while living in the most glaringly public fish bowl in the world: the White House. Odd, on the one hand, that Michelle Obama, who never veiled her venom for Hillary Clinton during the primary contest, would now be soliciting her advice. Maybe not, says Politico.com:
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