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Rethinking Romney

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivers his concession speech during his election night rally in Boston
Credit: Reuters

After making choices, people are always vulnerable to feelings of regret. This is true of our purchases, among other things, and also of voting. Recent polls have indicated that many Americans are regretting the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections. In a July CNN/ORC survey, 48% of Americans believed that President Obama is a “strong and decisive leader,” and only 42% thought that he “can manage the government effectively.” Compare these poll numbers to those from a similar questionnaire in May 2013, and there is a consistent pattern of decline; at that time, 58% of Americans believed that the president was a strong leader, and 52% thought him to be an effective manager of the government. In little over a year, President Obama’s poll numbers in these two areas dropped by ten percentage points each. It is no surprise, therefore, that Emil Henry could write the following passage in a July article for Politico Magazine:

“Call Mitt Romney what you will, but his core competence is just that: competence. Unlike career politicians who tend to rise and fall on the level of their oratory, Mitt is, at his core, a chief executive. No doubt Mitt is more comfortable tackling complex problems and analyzing data than kissing babies or yucking it up on a rope line. But maybe that’s what America needs in 2016, and given the multitude of today’s challenges, maybe […] it’s what we needed all along.”

Have American voters lost so much confidence in the president that they regret even re-electing him, and not electing Mitt Romney? The previously mentioned poll provides an answer: yes. That survey asked respondents how they would vote if the election were held again. The results: Romney – 53%, Obama – 44%. So, given their regrets about the outcome of the 2012 elections, are American voters rethinking Mitt Romney?

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Democrats in Congress Watch the Throne

Credit: Associated Press
Credit: Associated Press

Nancy Pelosi is leading the House Democratic caucus on borrowed time. With the 2014 midterm elections still looming months in the distance, speculation about a potential Pelosi resignation is mounting. On January 30, Josh Kraushaar of National Journal wrote that “as a new generation of Democrats are getting elected around her, she could very well be California’s next member of Congress to step aside.” The next day, John Bresnahan argued in Politico that “the fact that Pelosi has to take time to swat this kind of [retirement] speculation shows how bad things have gotten for House Democrats in the last few weeks.” There is weight to the concerns about the Minority Leader’s hold on her caucus; after being hurled from power in 2010, House Democrats saw moderate gains in 2012, but no return to the majority, and are facing another round of heavy losses in 2014. It would be sheer naiveté to think that control of the House will switch parties this fall, even more so to believe that Nancy Pelosi will one day swing the Speaker’s gavel again. The last Speaker of the House to serve nonconsecutive terms was the legendary Sam Rayburn of Texas, in the late 1950s. However, Democrats traditionally elect their minority leader in the House to serve as Speaker when they gain the majority. One day, Democrats will again control the House of Representatives, but without Nancy Pelosi at the helm. Here is the question: what Democrat will seize the throne? Continue reading Democrats in Congress Watch the Throne

The Democratic Party: Destined for Division?

(Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Joshua Roberts/AP/Charles Dharapak)
(Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Joshua Roberts/AP/Charles Dharapak)

Any party fighting for a third consecutive term in the White House is bound to do some soul-searching. Stick to the outgoing president and his policies (like the GOP in 1988), or treat him like the plague (same party, twenty years later)? At any rate, the Democratic Party is approaching this question, as the Obama Presidency enters its final years, and as the 2016 chatter heats up. Of course, the entire party’s presidential field currently hinges on the choice of one person: Hillary Clinton. This is incredibly convenient for the Democratic Party, because having a presumptive nominee masks over all sorts of unpleasant ideological differences. However, even if a Clinton nomination is practically guaranteed, unity in the Democratic Party is anything but. Take this quote from Andrew Kohut in the Washington Post as an example:

“Even as conventional wisdom coalesces around Hillary Rodham Clinton as the establishment candidate, the success of prominent progressives – Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio come to mind – means the party could face an ideological divide in 2016.”

This article will discuss the growing divisions among Democrats – and what those divisions could mean for the party’s future.

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Pope Francis: My Person of the Year

Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Credit: Wikipedia Commons

This has been a strange year for the papacy. First, Pope Benedict announced his resignation from the highest office in the Catholic Church in February. Then, when Benedict’s successor was chosen, the world was shocked to see Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerge onto the stage in Vatican Square. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, must have been fairly shocked himself. According to The Wall Street Journal‘s Stacy Meichtry and Alessandra Galloni, “Cardinal Bergoglio expected his trip to be brief. He was already carrying in his black leather briefcase the airplane ticket that would return him home in time for Holy Week…” The new Pope had apparently earned the interest of many voting cardinals by “offering the church-after a decade of struggling to overcome the sexual-abuse crisis and years of internal bickering over issues like the liturgy-was a new narrative.” A new narrative, a new Pope. My 2013 Person of the Year. Here’s why.

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