Michael-Barone is senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner.
A resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, he is also a
Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of
American Politics. His column is published Wednesdays and Sundays.
One of the Senate’s oldest members, Democrat Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, announced yesterday he will not seek reelection in 2012. He was elected with 54% of the vote in 1990 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Spark Matsunaga, and was reelected in 1994, 2000 and 2006 with 72%, 73% and 61% of the vote. His toughest race was the 2006 primary, when he was challenged by Rep. Ed Case and won by only a 55%-45% margin, not an impressive margin in a primary for a longtime incumbent. Read More
Philip Klein has an excellent piece in the American Spectator on California's proposed high-speed rail line. He shows how astonishingly fast and loose the estimates of costs and potential ridership are. The problem is that San Francisco and Los Angeles are highly dispersed metro areas, and high-speed rail passengers who arrive at a central station will be annoyingly far from their final destinations. Read More
If you have been dispirited by the Obama administration’s response to what has been going on in Libya and are curious about how a strong leader might respond, you should read Prime Minister David Cameron’s report yesterday to the House of Commons. Read More
Sometimes you get an idea of the way opinion is headed by the phrases you don't hear. Read More
Terrific piece by Connecticut lawyer Ironman comparing Barack Obama and 1980s General Motors CEO Roger Smith. Read More
The liberal columnist E. J. Dionne is crying in his column today about the plight of the public sector unions. He accuses Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of seeking “a shift in the long-term balance of political power that undercutting collective bargaining.” But the nub of his complain appears in his last paragraph where he writes, Read More
Everyone has priorities. During the past week Barack Obama has found no time to condemn the attacks that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has launched on the Libyan people.
But he did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television station and weigh in on the dispute between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state's public employee unions. Walker was staging "an assault on unions," he said, and added that "public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens." Read More
Good news from Tallahassee: Florida Governor Rick Scott has rejected the proposed high-speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa and the $2.4 billion that goes with it. “The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risks far outweigh the benefits,” Scott said. As Scott seems to understand, projections of cost and riderships on high-speed rail lines have turned out to be grossly optimistic. Read More
One way to judge the merits of the budget Barack Obama unveiled this week is by the comments of his political allies. "It's not enough to focus primarily on the non-security discretionary part of the budget," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad. Read More
What has Barack Obama got against the Brits? You don’t have to accept Dinesh D’Souza’s theory that Obama is motivated by anti-colonial rage to ask that question. Read More
It looks like 2/11/11 will go down in history with 11/9/89, not 6/4/89. 6/4/89 is when the Chinese military obeyed orders to massacre protesters in Tienanmen Square; 11/9/89 is when East German leaders announced the opening of the Berlin Wall and declined to order border guards to shoot the Berliners who began dismantling the barrier that had stood for 28 years. On 2/11/11, last Friday, as the Egyptian military remained unwilling to fire on the crowds jamming Tahrir Square, Hosni Mubarak resigned after nearly 30 years as president. Read More
Fascinating bit of info from the Economist blog: the number one variable for European sovereign risk is the percentage of men age 25 to 34 living with their parents. The larger that percentage, the greater likelihood perceived by the markets that that country will default on its government debt. “Maybe it hints at a lack of ambition or accountability,” the anonymous Economist blogger writes. Read More
Senator Jon Kyl announced today that he is not running for reelection in 2012. This is, as Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard blog, a major loss for Republicans. Kyl (who must have the shortest name in Senate history) is knowledgeable, hard working, even-tempered. His political instincts are good and he is a paragon of civility. Read More
No sooner do I write a column about “vanishing Democratic moderates,” pegged on the retirement announcements of Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Rep. Jane Harman, than another one announces he’s not running again, Sen. Jim Webb. And I could have added that Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., announced his retirement even earlier. Read More
My Examiner colleague Mark Tapscott notes the financial troubles of the New York Times. The NYT’s share price has gone down from $45.69 in 2004 to $10.56 this month. But there’s another decline not measured by the stock price, a decline in quality. Read More