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.
God bless America, and how's everybody?
We must stop them.
Hide your wallets and shield the children, because they're voting down in Texas. Texas Republicans will be testing the strength of the Tea Party as they pick their first post-Rick Perry slate of statewide candidates since the 1980s. But Texas Democrats might end up missing Perry, as there is a decent shot that Republicans will nominate not their best-qualified, most-electable candidates but an entire clown car full of crazypants.
Hollywood and Washington: Both entertaining, often boring and far too often irresponsible.
For all those who have spent the last couple of months shoveling out a car, you should know we're at the tail end of awards season. And best be advised to hunker in a bunker wearing a Kevlar overcoat, because gold plated statues are being tossed about like air kisses at a gown fitting. Like clouds of bathroom hair spray during Oscar nominee luncheons. Like jaded eyes at a press screening of "Transformers 4."
Is Bill Clinton still president?
Is the United States inevitably on the path to Hillaryland?