Tales from the Trail

White House healthcare summit plans take shape

February 24, 2010

BUSH/President Barack Obama’s bipartisan healthcare summit is taking on the trappings of a diplomatic visit, complete with a gilt-edged setting at Blair House, the federal style mansion where foreign heads of state stay when they’re in Washington.

Obama hits back at Republicans over stimulus

February 22, 2010

OBAMA/

The White House is stepping up its efforts to call out Republicans for what Democrats see as hypocrisy over the $787 billion stimulus package.

Obama healthcare on political operating table

February 22, 2010

Last year, President Barack Obama tried to get Congress to pass healthcare legislation that came from the minds of  lawmakers.

Congress bracing for anti-incumbent anger among voters

February 17, 2010

WEATHER-USA/

By the look of things, the American public just might vote Congress out of office this November – Republican and Democrat alike.

Bayh wonders if partisanship will encourage a new Ross Perot

February 16, 2010

Evan Bayh wants out of Washington but wonders if the partisan bickering he leaves behind will one day be swept aside by a new PEROTRoss Perot riding a third-party tidal wave of public anger.

Political dynasties shift in election-year tremor

February 12, 2010

After the November election, there will not be a Kennedy in Congress for the first time in almost half a century because Representative Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, has decided to retire from his Rhode Island seat.

Democrats can’t escape questions about Sarah Palin

February 11, 2010

Democrats can’t go anywhere these days without being asked about Sarah Palin, and some of them are not overwhelmed.

Bipartisanship: can words be put into action in election year?

February 9, 2010

The president wants it. The public wants it.

But when it comes to bipartisanship, words are easier than action — especially in an election year. OBAMA/

Gingrich once again at head of Republican pack

February 4, 2010

Once, a first-term Democratic president failed to deliver on healthcare reform and found his party USA-POLITICS/swept from office by a wave of voter anger that brought Republican Newt Gingrich to the forefront of American politics. Could this history lesson from the Clinton era be repeated?

With jobs the priority, Obama invites culture war?

February 3, 2010

AFGHANISTAN/Has President Obama opened a Pandora’s Box marked “Culture War” by moving — however slowly – to repeal the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays in the military?
    
Conservative punditry hasn’t weighed in yet. But  there’s no reason to doubt  the issue will be red meat for those who want to sink the Obama agenda and send congressional Democrats to the unemployment office in November.
    
“Our service members wear the uniform to fight and win wars, not serve as liberal-social-policy guinea pigs,” Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, tells Time magazine.
    
Sen. John McCain, a top Republican on military affairs, accused the administration of acting by fiat to circumvent Congress and the military’s chain of command after the Pentagon announced a year-long review of the policy.
    
“You’re embarking on saying it’s not whether the military prepares to make the change but how we best prepare for it, without ever hearing from members of Congress, without hearing from the members of the Joint Chiefs, and of course, without taking into consideration all the ramifications,” he told Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen at a Senate Armed Services hearing yesterday.
 
Polling data show most Americans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military. But the risk for Obama is that Republicans and their talk-show allies will cry up the issue and steer the now palpable frustrations of voters against him and his fellow Democrats.
    
Democrats, who got a taste of that voter frustration in Massachusetts last month, now hope to win favor by making the economy their USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSItop priority.
    
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer favors repeal but seems happy to let the Pentagon take the lead until after this year’s election.
    
“What I want members to do in their districts? I want them to focus on jobs and fiscal responsibility. Those are our messages,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters. “The American public clearly wants us focused on growing the economy, adding jobs. That is a principle responsibility.”