The Week: Most Recent Politics Posts recent posts.en-usThu, 24 Apr 2014 13:42:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Politics Posts from THE WEEKThu, 24 Apr 2014 13:42:00 -0400Why Democrats still have a chance to hold the Senate seat in Arkansas<img src="" /></P><p>On the Political Wire podcast, we spoke to Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, for a discussion on Arkansas' unique politics and how they could impact the state's marquee U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races.<br /><br />Here are five takeaways from the discussion:<br /><br /><strong>1. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) isn't in as much trouble as former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) was in 2010.</strong> Conventional wisdom holds that Pryor is highly vulnerable because he represents a red state in a low-turnout year that's expected to have a GOP-favorable electorate. The race has drawn some comparison to the 2010 race in...</p> <a href="">More</a>Taegan GoddardThu, 24 Apr 2014 13:42:00 -0400Why conservatives see rural America as the 'real' America<img src="" /></P><p>In a recent column, my colleague Ryan Cooper raised a good point on the myth of rural powerlessness: While rural areas may posture themselves as noble victims, they enjoy outsized political influence in Washington.</p><p>There are many reasons for this rural favoritism &mdash; some dating back to compromises made during America's founding. But one explanation surely has to do with the myth of rural <em>superiority </em>&mdash; the idea in many conservative circles that rural America is somehow the real America. This is a phenomenon that has immense political consequences, especially for Republicans facing a...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:10:00 -0400How the anti-Keystone movement can win -- even if the pipeline gets approved<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">The Obama administration just delayed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the election. Jonathan Chait, who has already gone several rounds with several writers more sympathetic to the anti-Keystone XL movement, is always ready for a fight:</p><p >Indispensable <em>New York Times</em> climate reporter Coral Davenport has a story in today's edition explaining that the Keystone pipeline, which has dominated the climate-change narrative, is substantively trivial, while existing and prospective regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency are massive. The Keystone pipeline would add 18.7 million...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryan-cooper" ><span class="byline">Ryan Cooper</span></a>Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:06:00 -0400Democrats aren't dead in the South<img src="" /></P><p>A new set of polls from the <em>New York Times</em> and Kaiser Family Foundation have political observers buzzing this morning because they show Democrats still have a fighting chance in four key Southern Senate races. <br /><br /><strong>Arkansas</strong>: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 46 percent, Tom Cotton (R) 36 percent<br /><br /><strong>Kentucky</strong>: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) 44 percent, Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) 43 percent<br /><br /><strong>Louisiana</strong>: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 42 percent, Bill Cassidy (R) 18 percent<br /><br /><strong>North Carolina</strong>: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) 42 percent, Thom Tillis (R) 40 percent</p><p>These results are a big deal because the battle for control of the Senate will almost certainly...</p> <a href="">More</a>Taegan GoddardWed, 23 Apr 2014 09:46:00 -0400Why we shouldn't be afraid to talk about 'Grandma' Hillary<img src="" /></P><div><p dir="ltr">When Chelsea Clinton announced her pregnancy last week, the attention quickly turned to whether or not this will affect mother Hillary's decision to run for president.</p><p dir="ltr">Outlets including <em>The Christian Science Monitor</em> and <em>USA Today</em> speculated as much, as did the usually sedate <span class="aBn" data-term="goog_2044084630" tabindex="0"><span class="aQJ">Sunday</span></span> news show <em>Meet the Press</em>.</p><p dir="ltr">This is, without a doubt, ridiculous and sexist. It is inconceivable that having a grandchild would be the deal breaker for Clinton, and suggesting as much implies that there is an inherent conflict between being a competent mother or grandmother and being a professional. There isn't. Indeed...</p></div> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elissa-strauss" ><span class="byline">Elissa Strauss</span></a>Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:11:00 -0400Obama doesn't have a manhood problem -- but conservatives certainly do<img src="" /></P><p>It seems beneath my manly dignity to give David Brooks a hard time for his comments decrying Obama's "manhood problem in the Middle East." He made them on a Sunday talk show, after all, and we know that no one watches them. And anyway, people accidentally say stupid things on television all the time.</p><p>And yet, I suspect that Brooks actually meant it. Because even though he's distanced himself from the conservative movement in all kinds of ways over the past six years (basically, since George W. Bush's presidency went down in flames), one thing that's remained consistent with him since his days...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:06:00 -0400Why conservatives are trying to strangle solar energy<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">As my colleague John Aziz wrote a few days ago, an alliance of right-wing operatives and Big Carbon barons are mounting a huge effort to try and throttle the solar industry in the crib. As the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> explains:</p><p >The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and some of the nation's largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina, and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states. [<em>Los Angeles Times</em>]</p><p dir="ltr">The Kochs and their allies...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryan-cooper" ><span class="byline">Ryan Cooper</span></a>Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:10:00 -0400Obama could be on the verge of pardoning hundreds of inmates -- and it's about time<img src="" /></P><p>"The quality of mercy is not strain'd," wrote William Shakespeare in <em>The Merchant of Venice</em>. Obviously, the Bard never experienced pardon politics in the modern era.</p><p>The power of governors and presidents to pardon people or commute their sentences is nearly absolute. Even the most bitterly opposed pardons have no recourse, as those who attempted to reverse Bill Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich discovered. Some states offer constraining mechanisms before sentences can be pardoned or commuted &mdash; such as a requirement to consider recommendations from a panel &mdash; but once given the action is...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:11:00 -0400Cliven Bundy and the myth of rural 'powerlessness'<img src="" /></P><p>Over at <em>National Review</em>, David French has penned the latest in a series of conservative quasi-defenses of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who is in the midst of an armed standoff with federal authorities after Bundy refused to pay grazing fees for his cattle. While acknowledging that Bundy is on the wrong side of the law, French bemoans the "powerlessness" of Bundy and his ilk, arguing that the incident is further evidence that rural America is being trodden under the boot heel of Big Urbanism:</p><p >As government grows ever larger, majority rule becomes more consequential for minority populations...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryan-cooper" ><span class="byline">Ryan Cooper</span></a>Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:10:00 -0400Why we need a maximum wage<img src="" /></P><p>The debate about rising economic inequality that's been building since the financial crisis of 2008 has approached a boiling point in recent weeks thanks to the publication in English of French economist Thomas Piketty's <em>Capital in the Twenty-First Century</em>. The book has already received a rave review by Paul Krugman in <em>The New York Review of Books</em> (headlined "Why We're in a New Gilded Age"), and has been the focus of a cover story in <em>The Nation</em> as well as both an op-ed column and news article in <em>The New York Times</em>. (The book, which uses a rich trove of data to track long-term trends in inequality...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:09:00 -0400