Michael Barone


March 2006


Checking party IDs

The following comes from the Gallup organization:

Americans are about as likely to identify as Republicans as they are Democrats according to a review of recent Gallup polls. However, once the leanings of independents are taken into account, the Democrats gain an advantage. Democrats have been on ...

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The immigration issue

My U.S. News column this week is on immigration, and since I wrote it (Friday deadline), the playing field has changed. Late on Friday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed, by a 12-to-6 margin, a bill with border-security provisions (less stringent than in the House bill passed last ...

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Why conservatives aren't hired by mainstream media

I greatly admire the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. He covers the media and covers it well. I think he makes every effort to be fair and open-minded and succeeds with only minor exceptions—I'm sure many people would say he does a better job at it than I do. One day some years ago, he wrote an ...

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Charles Murray: Abolish the welfare state

Twenty-two years ago, Charles Murray published Losing Ground, in which he advocated abolishing all welfare payments. Even those who were attracted by its reasoning, and by Murray's always elegant writing, considered it wildly unrealistic and wholly out of line with political reality. I was among ...

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FEC rules on blogs

The Federal Election Commission has passed a rule leaving blogs free of regulation. This is a victory for bloggers both left and right who feared being placed under the federal campaign finance laws. But it could be undone by later regulations, and Congress should pass the pending bill that would ...

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Europe fading

Here is a definitive piece on Europe's problems from the "Brussels Journal" blog. Meanwhile, young French protesters decry the law that would allow people under 26 to be fired in their first two years on a job on the grounds they would have to do what their bosses asked and say that instead, they ...

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Kansas passes concealed-carry

Over the veto of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the Kansas Legislature has passed a law allowing law-abiding citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

By my count, this makes Kansas the 39th state with such a "concealed-carry" law, which requires in most cases that the applicant has no ...

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Kansas passes concealed-carry

Over the veto of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the Kansas Legislature has passed a law allowing law-abiding citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

By my count, this makes Kansas the 39th state with such a "concealed-carry" law, which requires in most cases that the applicant has no ...

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An official secrets act

The lead editorial in the Washington Post today is a thoughtful look at the ramifications of the ongoing prosecution of two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weismann, for disseminating classified information to third parties, including the ...

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Don't ask, don't tell

Here's an interesting post from Dale Carpenter of the Volokh Conspiracy on gays in the military. Carpenter notes that the number of service members discharged for homosexuality fell rather steadily from 1982 to 1994, then rose starting in 1995 (he erroneously says 1994) up through 2001 (with the ...

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Are there any swing voters anymore?

The answer over the past few years has seemed to be no. Both the Bush and Kerry campaigns in 2004 were run on the assumption that there were few swingable voters and that the prime task was to increase the turnout of your own supporters. Both succeeded, one more than the other: John Kerry's ...

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Counterfactual history

What would have happened if we had not taken military action against Iraq in March 2003? Any assessment of the wisdom of that military action needs to take that question into account. Of course we cannot know exactly what would have happened—just as George W. Bush in March 2003 could not have ...

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CEO pay

Regular readers of this blog will know that one issue on which I am still a flaming left-winger is CEO pay. I'm astounded by the huge amounts of money even unsuccessful CEOs take home. In today's Wall Street Journal the always perspicacious Alan Murray takes a look at the issue (subscription ...

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Ed Koch on Saddam, WMD, and the New York Times

I am on the E-mail list of former New York Mayor Edward Koch and read his commentary and even his movie reviews with interest. I thought he made an excellent point in his most recent E-mail and hereby pass it along:

On March 12, the New York Times published the first of two articles on "Saddam's ...

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Friendly reference

There's a nice mention of me in David Keene's column in The Hill, and he is kind enough to remember an incident I had forgotten. Keene thinks we may be looking at another 1994 again, with Democrats recapturing control of the House; I think that's possible, but still less likely than not. I'll keep ...

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Economic class-warfare politics

In a thoughtful column, E. J. Dionne addresses the claims that rich elitists tend to vote Democratic. It's true, he admits, in the relatively rich states, most of which John Kerry carried in 2004. But, citing and crediting a paper by political scientists, he points out that in relatively poor ...

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Plamegate

"Plame's identity, if truly a secret, was thinly veiled," reads the headline on a story by John Crewdson in Saturday's Chicago Tribune.

When the Tribune searched for Plame on an Internet service that sells public information about private individuals to its subscribers, it got a report of more ...

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Why we fight with one arm tied behind our backs

As a postscript to Michael Ledeen's House testimony on encouraging peaceful revolution in Iran, here's a post from Belmont Club's Wretchard. It features three writers, of different views, whom I respect greatly: Oxford Prof. Timothy Garton Ash, who did such brilliant reporting and writing on the ...

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Tolerating intolerance

According to powerlineblog.com, the following article was removed from the London Telegraph Web site "for legal reasons." It's an account of Guyana-born Muslim-turned-Christian Patrick Sookhdeo's view of Muslim clerics and their strategy of seeking to have Muslim enclaves in Britain subjected to

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Puerto Rico stands up for freedom of expression

Here's a heartwarming story from the World Baseball Classic. At a game in San Juan between Puerto Rico and Cuba, a fan held up a sign that said, "Abajo Fidel"—down with Castro. It was visible on the TV feed to Cuba. The response:

The top Cuban official at the game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San ...

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Looking back on 1994

Looking back on 1994

In the lead on my U.S. News column on the House elections, I noted that I was the first writer in the national press to write, in July 1994, that the Republicans had a serious chance of winning a majority in the House elections that November. I noted in that article that three ...

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Sirius comes to terms with Fox News

Sirius satellite radio has evidently come to terms with Fox News Channel and will start carrying Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio on March 14. I wrote before lamenting Sirius's refusal to pay Fox's standard price to carry the Fox News audio. Maybe Sirius got the message: There are some of us ...

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Blogging off my column

My column in next week's U.S. News is about the 2006 House elections, with a look back at the 1994 elections when Republicans captured control of the House. The column form has certain limits: You have only 750 words, you can't reference statistical materials, and you can't link to other writings.

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What to do about Iran?

Here's Michael Ledeen's testimony before the House International Affairs Committee. Read the whole thing. Michael draws from his extraordinary knowledge of Iran, accumulated over the years, and provides the kind of clarity that only a deep thinker with great knowledge can do. The first ...

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Negative impression of Islam increasing

That's the headline in today's Washington Post on a story reporting some results from a Post/ABC News poll. The story, by Claudia Deane and Darryl Fears, takes a tut-tutting sort of tone. Some 46 percent of Americans have a negative impression of Islam, the story says, 7 percentage points more ...

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Parochialism at General Motors

An interesting article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning (subscribers only) on the parochialism of the giant, sclerotic bureaucracy of General Motors. The lead paragraphs encapsulate the problem.

In December, General Motors Corp. ran a series of ads across the U.S.

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Mainstream media on the attack

If you're looking for an example of mainstream media bias, you won't find anything more egregious than the recent stories on the tape of George W. Bush being briefed on August 28, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The lead was taken by the Associated Press. The videotape was ...

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Memo to the Supreme Court

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Texas congressional redistricting case. Here's an account from USA Today, and here is one from Slate.com. There's a pretty strong consensus in press accounts that most justices were unswayed by the arguments of the lawyer for the Democrats ...

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The reach of the Espionage Act

Here's a fascinating issue, and one of great importance for the news business: whether the government should prosecute newspapers for printing classified information and government employees for divulging it. Specifically, should the New York Times be prosecuted for its Dec. 16, 2005, story on the ...

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The long view

That's what I tried to take in my column in this week's U.S. News, measuring George W. Bush's foreign policy against the national security strategy he set out in September 2002. Here's another long-view piece, in Thomas Barnett's blog, which takes a similar view—if in snappier prose. Barnett's ...

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