Michael Barone

November 2006

The Balance in the Senate

In 2004 George W. Bush carried 31 states, which elect 62 U.S. senators. Yet there will be only 49 Republicans in the Senate that takes office January 3. Why the shortfall? The answer, I think, is unforced errors. Let me make a list of them here.

Arkansas. Republican Tim Hutchinson, elected in 1996,

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Let's start with Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism: America's Charity Divide; Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters, by Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University's Maxwell School. Brooks, a political scientist who grew up in Seattle in what he says was a ...

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Medicare Part D

Sunday's Washington Post had an excellent front-page story on Medicare Part D, the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Part D, which took effect at the beginning of this year, seems to have been a success. Some 22.5 million seniors have enrolled, and the cost–$26 billion–has turned out to be ...

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Does Gates's History Mean Continuity or Change in Iraq?

I've just finished reading Robert Gates's memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War. It's a well-written, thoughtful book, leavened by occasional injections of nerdy humor. Gates was a career CIA employee on the analysis rather than the ...

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Latin American Politics: Leftism Repudiated

There's a great article by John Lyons on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal, headlined "Populism Loses Appeal for Voters In Latin America." At this time last year, with elections looming in Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, many analysts were ...

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The Draft

Rep. Charles Rangel, now about to become a member of the majority party again after 12 years, has revived his proposal for a military draft. This is about as absurd a public-policy proposal as I can imagine. Contrary to Rangel's claims–talking points recycled from the Vietnam era, when we did have ...

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The Pentagon's New Plan

The lead story on the front page of Monday's Washington Post will not come as a total surprise to readers of this blog. In that post six days ago I focused on the review of military operations in Iraq initiated by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace last September. The Post story by reporter ...

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Health Savings Accounts Expansion

The lame-duck legislature in Ohio is considering a bill by state Sen. Lou Blessing, a Cincinnati Republican, to require that all public employees be given an option of at least three health savings accounts. My sources tell me that it has an excellent chance of passing and being signed by outgoing ...

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Getting Out of Iraq?

The papers are full of speculation that the Iraq Study Group chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton will recommend that we get out of Iraq or at least make moves in that direction. The ISG is said to be recommending that we seek help in stabilizing Iraq in negotiations with the governments of Iran ...

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The Basic Political Balance

A couple of numbers from the EMR exit poll. Party identification was 38 percent Democratic, 36 percent Republican. That's only a point different from 2004's 37 percent Democratic, 37 percent Republican. Republicans did worse because they had less support from independents this time.

On ideology, 36 ...

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George Allen's Withdrawal

George Allen, as I am writing, is delivering a graceful concession speech. Under Virginia law, he was entitled to a state-financed recount of his 7,000-vote loss, a recount that would have lasted into December and that would have at least left open the question of whether Democrats would have a ...

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The Political Marketplace Does Its Work

Apocryphal story: the late Morris Udall, standing up at the podium on election night after finishing second in the fifth presidential primary in a row.

"The people have spoken," he said solemnly. "The bastards."

Thoughts like that may be going through Donald Rumsfeld's mind. Yesterday the Republicans ...

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Thoughts in the Wee Hours of Election Night

I have just returned to my hotel room after spending 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the decision desk room at Fox News Channel headquarters in New York. Because I was spending much of my time analyzing the tabulated vote as it was coming in for the obviously crucial House and Senate elections, I do not know ...

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Polls Begin to Close in West

9 p.m. Poll Closings

  • New York: Lots of possibly close congressional races upstate, from the Massachusetts border to Lake Ontario.
  • Rhode Island: A close Senate race between Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and incumbent Republican Lincoln Chafee.
  • Idaho: The western district is competitive, a late surprise.
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    A Tip of the Hat to Exit Pollers

    Before the returns are even counted, give a smart vote and tip of the hat to the folks who handle the exit polls.

    No information leaked out during the day as journalists and political junkies scrambled for even a rumor. The silence was marvelous.

    Remember 2004, a debacle for the forecaster since a ...

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    Bellwether District in Kentucky Leans to Dem

    With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Kentucky Rep. Anne Northup is narrowly trailing Democratic challenger John Yarmuth in a district long considered a national bellwether. As of 7:50 p.m., Yarmuth, the former publisher of an alternative weekly newspaper in Louisville, had 50.4 percent to ...

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    Kerry's Words Betray Democrats' Attitudes

    You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.

    Those two sentences, spoken by John Kerry last week, tell a lot about the attitudes of many–not all, but many–Democrats who ...

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    The Weekend's Numbers

    On the way to Fox News's New York headquarters for the election night dress rehearsal on Saturday, I ran into a young analyst at a Democratic polling firm.

    "I've never seen numbers like this," he said enthusiastically. He was citing results showing Democrats competitive in heretofore solidly ...

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    In Tight Fight Over Home-State Values, Gay Marriage Is Surrogate

    Some of the biggest surprises of this unusual midterm election season have come from Indiana, a usually reliable red state that is looking suddenly blue, with as many as three GOP House members in peril. National discontent with Republican rule is partly to blame, but Democrats may have also found ...

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    Iraq Did Have WMD Programs

    A story in the New York Times this morning reveals that captured, translated, and, finally, released Iraqi documents show that the Saddam Hussein regime was within a year of being able to build nuclear weapons.

    This is in line with information that we obtained after the 1991 Gulf War and with ...

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    Our Next Intelligence Committee Chairman?

    Ruth Marcus has an excellent column in the Washington Post on Nancy Pelosi's apparent determination to make Alcee Hastings chairman of the Intelligence Committee if Democrats win a majority in the House. Hastings, as you surely know by now, was the federal judge who was impeached by the House and ...

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