Gwen's Take

History's Romance: Why Politics Past Beats Politics Present

Posted: May 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Is it just my imagination, or have politics and politicians grown smaller?

I've been flirting with this conclusion after diving into two enjoyable presidential history books by night while covering 2012 politics by day. The books, Robert Caro's "The Passage of Power" and "The President's Club" by Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, take us inside the West Wing in a way screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s fictional White House never could.

The Big Straddle: Why Compromise Can Be Hazardous to One’s Political Health

Posted: May 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

“There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

Jim Hightower, a committed liberal and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, liked to say this so much that he finally used it as a title for a book.

I was reminded of this tart assessment this week as I watched two skilled politicians attempt to negotiate a growing chasm opening under their feet. One of them, Indiana GOP Sen. Richard Lugar, slipped and fell. The other, President Obama, appeared to leap nimbly to the other side of the sinkhole just before it swallowed him up.

The Advantage of Incumbency

Posted: May 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Mitt Romney’s May Day plan seemed pretty reasonable for a man who had been systematically and successfully clearing his path to the Republican nomination for more than a year.

Republicans had been quietly dinging President Barack Obama throughout the previous weekend for appearing to be taking a victory lap leading up to the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

When’s a Campaign Not a Campaign? (See Obama, Gingrich)

Posted: April 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside, it turns out the campaign lull we thought had just begun hasn’t occurred at all.

We were assured by the Democrats that the president’s travels to three battleground states this week were absolutely, positively, not about politics. Ignore those arenas full of students shouting “Four more years.” This was all about policy, they insisted.

The Curse of the Political Surrogate: When Silence Should Be Golden

Posted: April 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

It took the 2012 presidential campaign to throw Democrat Hilary Rosen and conservative Ted Nugent into the same sentence.

Rosen made more of a splash last week than she ever did in 17 years at the powerful Recording Industry Association of America, including five years as chief executive officer.

And Nugent, revered mostly among those who know how to hum “Cat Scratch Fever,” was suddenly on the lips of every politico in Washington.

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