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Steve Benen

Entries by Steve Benen

A Party of Bunnings

(26) Comments | Posted June 25, 2010 | 9:44 AM

With Senate Republicans having killed an important jobs bill yesterday afternoon, it seems like a good time to take a quick stroll down memory lane -- to about four months ago.

The Senate was getting ready to approve a jobs bill that extended unemployment benefits to jobless Americans. It...

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Scream Bloody Murder

(283) Comments | Posted January 29, 2010 | 10:33 AM

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) chatted with reporters yesterday, and sounded a little frustrated. He wasn't just concerned about reflexive and unprecedented Republican obstructionism, but also with what he sees as a double standard.

Referring, for example, to Republican opposition to funding U.S. troops last year, Durbin...

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How the Parties Handle Setbacks

(12) Comments | Posted January 20, 2010 | 1:49 PM

Political parties are going to experience highs and lows, victories and setbacks. And while the ebbs and flows of shifting electoral fortunes are hard to avoid, how a party responds to adversity says something about their commitments and fortitude.

With that in mind, consider a few examples from recent history.

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A Tale of Two Responses

(399) Comments | Posted January 8, 2010 | 12:50 PM

To hear conservatives tell it, the White House's handling of the failed Christmas terrorist plot has been inadequate. President Obama, the Right has argued, waited too long to speak publicly about the incident, and hasn't taken the matter seriously enough.

Of course, the obvious response is probably the most...

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President Grown-Up

(273) Comments | Posted December 30, 2009 | 9:56 AM

It's probably too soon to say whether Republicans' truly ridiculous attacks against President Obama on counter-terrorism are going to have an effect. The daily tracking polls haven't shown much of a shift as of yet, and much of the public is enjoying the holiday season and may not be fully...

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The Long Overdue Debate

(256) Comments | Posted December 17, 2009 | 12:22 PM

The United States was supposed to have had a great debate this year about one of the most important domestic policies of them all. With a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address a dysfunctional health care system, the left and right, Democrats and Republicans, would bring their A games, and the public...

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Hurting Dick Cheney's feelings

(11) Comments | Posted August 31, 2009 | 9:35 AM

Former Vice President Dick Cheney offered quite a bit of nonsense on "Fox News Sunday" yesterday, but perhaps the most entertaining thing was hearing him talk about how the Obama White House has hurt his feelings. Apparently, the current president was supposed to seek out the former vice...

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The Five Opponents of Health Care Reform

(71) Comments | Posted August 14, 2009 | 10:27 AM

In the midst of angry protests, offensive placards, and ridiculous conservative talking points, it's hard not to wonder what, exactly, motivates opponents of health care reform.

After all, improving the fundamentally flawed system would have broad benefits for all Americans. Some of Rush Limbaugh's listeners are one serious illness away...

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Why Obama Must Truly Hate Bush

(481) Comments | Posted May 15, 2009 | 10:23 AM

I can only assume President Obama wakes up every morning and thinks, "God, I just hate George W. Bush." It would be an understandable emotional reaction under the circumstances.

There's been considerable debate of late over Bush/Cheney-era torture policies, and what, if anything, to do about them. Obama clearly wants...

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We Already Went Through Our 'Banana Republic' Phase

(216) Comments | Posted April 24, 2009 | 11:21 AM

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, Republicans keep using the phrase, "Banana Republics," but I don't think it means what they think it means.

On Tuesday, Karl Rove argued on Fox News that accountability for Bush administration officials who broke the law would make United States "the moral equivalent of a...

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A Pre-Recession Mindset

(57) Comments | Posted March 6, 2009 | 10:22 AM

About a month ago, the New York Times' Frank Rich, commenting on the Republican Party's approach to the economy, said, "The nightmare is that we have so irrelevant, clownish and childish an opposition party at a moment when America is in an all-hands-on-deck emergency that's as trying as war."

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Karl Rove's Odd Advice

(9) Comments | Posted August 8, 2008 | 11:56 AM

Back in April, in a Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove urged John McCain to be less reserved about his personal life and background, and run more on his biography. "[I]t is clear," Rove wrote, "that Mr. McCain is one of the most private individuals to run for president...

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The Perils of Pinata Politics

(110) Comments | Posted August 1, 2008 | 11:30 AM

Have you ever been to a child's birthday party in which there's a pinata? It's a pretty straightforward exercise -- the birthday boy/girl gets blindfolded, is handed a big stick, is spun around to cause minor disorientation, and is then encouraged to swing the stick wildly in every direction, in...

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When McCain Starts To Crack Under Pressure

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2008 | 11:51 AM

In the modern political era, voters have come to expect presidential candidates to be, well, presidential. There's an expectation of respect and decorum. Candidates are going to go on the attack on occasion, but Americans have a reasonable expectation that would-be presidents aren't going to fly off the handle. After...

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Jukebox John Keeps Changing His Tune

(47) Comments | Posted July 11, 2008 | 11:22 AM

It's obvious that the McCain campaign and the RNC have decided to go after Barack Obama as a flip-flopper. What's equally obvious, though, that Republicans couldn't have chosen a worse narrative.

McCain & Co. seemed to stumble on this line of attack almost by accident. They'd experimented with a...

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Pick a Meme, Any Meme

(109) Comments | Posted June 27, 2008 | 11:18 AM

As a rule, Republicans appreciate the value in defining the Democratic presidential nominee, and the GOP is usually pretty good at it. In 2000, Al Gore, they said, was an "exaggerator." This was not only effective, thanks to a quick embrace by the media, it was also part of a...

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Republicans' Bizarre Rediscovery of Osama bin Laden

(96) Comments | Posted June 20, 2008 | 11:10 AM

For quite a while, it looked as if the Republican Party had just about given up on taking Osama bin Laden seriously. During his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney took a surprisingly passive attitude towards the terrorist responsible for 9/11, saying, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions...

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McCain's Confusion Has Nothing to do With His Age

(52) Comments | Posted June 13, 2008 | 12:11 PM

I can appreciate the fact that the McCain campaign and Republicans in general are a little touchy about the senator's age -- running to be the oldest president in U.S. history will do that -- but that's no reason to characterize every critical adjective in the language as some...

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When the Focus of the Campaign Becomes Campaigning

(91) Comments | Posted April 1, 2008 | 12:57 PM

Looking over the coverage of Hillary Clinton's pitch this week, I can't help but think she's off message. Today in Philadelphia, for example, Clinton is emphasizing the need to keep the presidential campaign going.

In excerpt of a speech she's set to give to the AFL-CIO in the City...
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The Benefits of Taking on McCain

(72) Comments | Posted March 13, 2008 | 1:44 PM

It's been a long while since one of the Democratic presidential candidates went after the Republican presidential candidate, so this was a very welcome development.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama said Thursday that Sen. John McCain reversed his position on President Bush's deep tax cuts in order to win the...

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