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.
A 6th grader in East Texas recently challenged state lawmakers to do what she and every other public-school kid have to do during testing season: "Sit in a room for up to four hours, without talking, writing, drawing, reading, or using your cell phone." Because millions of children are taking Common Core standardized tests this time of year, I did her one better. I took a 4th-grade English Language Arts practice test. The good news is I passed.
The old grocery store in my neighborhood is closing next month. Boy, does that make me sad.
Twelve years ago last week, the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq, an act the late General William Odom predicted would turn out to be "the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history."
You might want to stuff your pants pockets with sand and hang onto the rail as the ship of state lurches towards the distinct possibility that the next election to command the helm will be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. The brother versus the wife. Sounds like a probate lawsuit.
On April 13, 2005 the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly, 272 to 162, to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, also known as the death tax. But in the ten years since, they have all but dropped the issue. A stunning 236 of the current members of the House have never had an opportunity to vote on it. Fortunately, the Ways & Means Committee under Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will soon consider a bill, H.R. 1105, written by Reps. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) that would repeal the death tax. House leadership should bring it to the floor ...
Last week a political bloodbath unfolded on Capitol Hill.
One of my college roommates had a propensity for dismissing a rule (or someone else's interests) with "Pish posh! That's for lesser mortals!"
"What about the children?"
The country breathed a collective sigh of relief following Hillary Clinton's masterful press conference last week, held in response to the controversy surrounding her email troubles. "It's all fine. Don't worry about it. We got it covered. Easy peasy lemon squeezy."
The Republican opposition to striking a nuclear deal with Iran puzzled me, until my friend Truman explained that it's exactly like the famous tractor scene from Kevin Bacon's 1984 class movie, "Footloose."
As Iran continues to take an active role in helping Iraq fight the Islamic State group (ISIS), many neocons are upset that the U.S. military is not over there on the ground doing the fighting. They want Americans to believe that only another U.S. invasion of Iraq – and of Syria as well – can defeat ISIS. But what is wrong with the countries of the region getting together and deciding to cooperate on a common problem?
We all know that some people, for genetic or other reasons, experience depression more frequently and deeply than normal. At the other end of the spectrum are people like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor who, despite having experienced painful losses and disadvantages that would understandably depress a normal person, achieve success and a life of remarkable accomplishment.
How would you like a free refund of your last three years' of taxes? A promise that you won't have to pay any possible back taxes or penalty? Would you have any objection if the IRS chooses not to ask for income verification?
This year marks the 20-year anniversary of Hillary Clinton's speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women titled, "Women's Rights Are Human Rights." It was 1995 when then-First Lady Clinton went to Beijing and challenged the world to see women's issues as not separate from the rest of humanity.
Senator Bob Menendez will soon be indicted on corruption and obstruction of justice charges stemming from his relationship with Salomon Melgen, a West Palm Beach eye doctor. Melgen thought he could get away with Medicare fraud because he gave Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's Super PAC $700,000 and lavished Menendez with private jet flights to his luxury resort. Given the known public facts, Harry Reid should return Melgen's money to the taxpayers he stole it from and should ask Menendez to resign.