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Rand Paul the Dove Never Stood a Chance Among the Hawks

February 3, 2016 More than two years ago, in May 2013, I followed Rand Paul to Iowa and New Hampshire. Just six months after Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, Paul had begun touring the country to lay the groundwork for his own presidential run—and for a new style of Republican politics. I planned...

Are GMO Labels Coming to Vermont?

December 22, 2015 Last year, Vermont became the first U.S. state to pass a law requiring labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. The mandate was scheduled to take effect in July 2016. The Vermont law was the tip of the spear for an aggressive and passionate—if scientifically dubious—grassroots political movement against GMOs,...

Bill de Blasio vs. Inequality

November 16, 2015 This past may, Bill de Blasio, the first-term mayor of New York City, traveled south from his home turf to Washington, D.C. He had come to solve America’s problems. “What I’m trying to do with the progressive agenda goes far beyond the boundaries of the Democratic Party,” he told me,...

from govexec

Is Ben Carson the New Republican Frontrunner?

November 12, 2015 MILWAUKEE—Ben Carson came out to address the media after Tuesday night’s debate, emerging in the spin room with his typical air of beatific nonchalance. He was immediately engulfed by dozens of microphones and cameras; a reporter for the Daily Mail began shouting questions about new factual discrepancies in his autobiography....

from govexec

The Candidate Who Wanted to Kill Federal Employee Unions Has Left the Presidential Race

September 22, 2015 Every failed presidential campaign is a how-the-mighty-have-fallen story: a politician once strong or deluded enough to think he could lead the nation, humbled by the reality of the electorate’s indifference. But Scott Walker’s fall was especially precipitous. The Wisconsin governor’s campaign lasted just 70 days. He came in as the...

from govexec

Meet the New Hillary

September 16, 2015 MILWAUKEE—I am here to see the New Hillary. Hillary Clinton, the once-inevitable Democratic nominee, has lately hit some snags. She is plummeting in the polls; her campaign lacks direction. So Hillary—I’m going to call her Hillary, like it says on her signs—would like to start over. She’s rolling out a...

from govexec

Can Joe Biden Be an Alternative to Hillary Clinton?

August 31, 2015 “I think panic is the operative mode for the Democratic Party,” David Axelrod, who has been on the receiving end of panic mode many times over the years, told me this week. I had asked Obama’s political guru how bad the current panic was for Hillary Clinton—bad enough for the...

from govexec

The End of the Obama Era

December 22, 2014 As you may have heard, 2014 was a good year for Republicans. They won a lot of elections! They won big elections and small elections, elections in red states and elections in blue states, elections everyone knew they would win and elections virtually no one expected them to win. They...

from govexec

A Republican Wave Sweeps the Midterm Elections

November 5, 2014 LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Republicans took the Senate majority in a commanding sweep on Tuesday, winning nearly every contested race across the country, gaining governor's mansions and adding to their majority in the House of Representatives. For weeks, pundits had debated the semantics of what would constitute a "wave" election, but when it...

from govexec

Does Hillary Clinton Have Anything to Say?

September 19, 2014 Everywhere Hillary Clinton goes, a thousand cameras follow. Then she opens her mouth, and nothing happens. Clinton made a much-ballyhooed appearance in Iowa over the weekend, giving a speech widely noted for its substancelessness. She “had no explicit message of her own,” Politico noted, while The Economist pronounced it “underwhelming.”...