Paul Ryan is now polling first in Iowa for the next presidential election. If Ryan is encouraged by this news, he is not much of a student of recent political history. Polling first in Iowa more than two years prior to the state's overhyped, first-in-the-nation caucuses is a bit like being told by the guy at the convenience store that the lottery ticket he just sold you is the winner. Take it with a huge grain of salt.
The year 2013 was a roller coaster of contrasts with some surprises. Here's a best and worst list:
With Democrats cratering in the polls over their collapsing health care law, they are trying to pivot to the only part of their policy agenda that still enjoys broad public support: the minimum wage. But their advocacy and its popularity rest on the incorrect belief that a significant number of families live on the minimum wage. Instead, the primary impact would be to exacerbate a crisis of youth unemployment spurred largely by the last minimum wage increase.
I'm turning into my father.
Like all certainties in life, rules in the Senate change. One of America's most glorified political theatrics, the filibuster, now only exists should the majority party choose.
(Editor Note: This Tyrades! column was originally published in December of 2004)
For farm and ranch families across Kansas, adding flexibility to our agribusiness laws represents a unique opportunity to access new markets, to diversify operations and to attempt a new strategy to invigorate rural communities and offer young people a rural alternative.
The whole world mourns Nelson Mandela. Rightly.
It was 73 and sunny, still two weeks before Thanksgiving, and I was stuck in traffic on the 405. Over the car radio a DJ on KOST-FM was extolling the "holiday spirit." Then he played "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry - a song so old that it doesn't rouse spirits so much as it conjures ghosts of Christmas past.
If 2013 was a year of ups and downs, it was also a year peppered with ironies. Here are just a few:
For those who enjoy lowbrow political theater, it's Christmas come early. Steve Stockman, a Texas congressman so far to the right he's in danger of falling into the Gulf of Mexico, is challenging Sen. John Cornyn in the Republican Primary. Though Tea Party leaders were calling Texas' senior senator a "traitor" who "surrendered" on Obamacare, the conservative case against Cornyn is thin. Stockman's challenge demonstrates that nothing less than absolute faith is sufficient to survive in a radicalized Republican Party that no longer resembles the Party of Reagan, much less that of Lincoln.
Environmentalists and budget critics of California's proposed bullet train may be breathing a sigh of relief.
President Obama's "Mission Accomplished" moment: "We have met the goal" of fixing the Healthcare.Gov website.
A new study has come out that finds men and women really do think differently.
After losing the Virginia governor's race because single women voted for the Democrat by a margin of 42 points, Republicans have found the solution. They will teach their candidates how to, in Speaker John Boehner's words, "be a little more sensitive" to the ladies. But Republicans painting over policy differences with pretty words piles insult on top of offense and will do little to close the gender gap.
How much should the government fine people whose children are deemed by (some) well-meaning bureaucrats as "obese?"
It was one year ago last weekend that a violent coup overthrew the legally elected government of Ukraine. That coup was not only supported by U.S. and European governments -- much of it was actually planned by them. Looking back at the events that led to the overthrow it is clear that without foreign intervention Ukraine would not be in its current, seemingly hopeless situation.
My oldest son is handsome, smart, and, in the words of my old boss Ann Richards, very nearly perfect. I love him boundlessly, so it hurts me to know that his homeland has been at war for every single day of his life except for a few months in 2001 when he couldn't yet crawl. Now he's shaving, and for the first time in his life he might get to witness a real discussion about going to war.
I'd advise you to sit down, pour yourself a beer and take a deep breath. You're about to hear something that will change your life. Forever. Are you relaxed?
Are you an unsung hero? Do those you encounter not appreciate the "real" you? Must you always having the last word?
Jeb Bush insists he's not his brother's keeper, but, alas, he's stuck being his brother's baggage schlepper.
Proponents of President Obama's 332-page plan to regulate the Internet insist they oppose content control. They even style themselves defenders of free speech. But there is a very serious risk that changing the Internet from an unregulated free enterprise into a heavily-regulated public utility will lead over time to content control.
Where does the Obama Administration find these people?
For President Obama and the unlawful immigrants he is determined to reward with work permits, social security numbers, and welfare benefits, last week was triumphant. As the congressional February 27 deadline for funding the Department of Homeland Security draws closer, insiders learn with each passing day that Obama's executive action is much more expansive than originally presented.
Last week President Obama sent Congress legislation to authorize him to use force against ISIS "and associated persons and forces" anywhere in the world for the next three years. This is a blank check for the president to start as many new wars as he wishes, and it appears Congress will go along with this dangerous and costly scheme.
"Boy, here's something we could use more of today: unity among the American people. Americans are so divided."
What would it look like if politics stopped at the water's edge? It wouldn't look like the mess that John Boehner created by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a session of Congress on March 3. By allowing Netanyahu to stage what is effectively a campaign event in the U.S. Capitol, congressional Republicans have not only damaged our relations with Israel but threatened our diplomatic negotiations with Iran.
There was a time when Morris Dees and his Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) were respected.
It's kind of sad being forced to watch the death struggle of these modern-day dinosaurs. Responsible parents should keep their kids from peering over the Plexiglas railing into the tar pits below to see the huge lumbering antediluvian beasts frenziedly dig themselves deeper into the sticky morass that is gay marriage. Not a sight for the queasy or squeamish.
I'll tell you a little story about Bob Simon, the veteran CBS News correspondent who was killed Wednesday night in a car crash after having survived innumerable wars over five decades.