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Up Front

Shock and Aaaugh! I've never been a swing voter before," mused David Brooks a few weeks after the election. He was far from the only dejected partisan who'd grown confused trying to process the GOP's thumping. On November 30, the conservative Hudson Institute held a panel wondering if it wasn't "time for conservatives to reexamine their own intellectual infrastructure in light of the progressive network's success." Those of us old enough to remember all the way back to 2004 recall the Democrats' endless conversations about how to counter the "right-wing noise machine" while simultaneously convincing Red America that progressives, too, adored the Baby Jesus. Did all that hand-wringing and confabbing actually work? Let's assess: In 2004, Democrats could be described as muddled critics of the Iraq War who believed the federal government should do more to protect against the vagaries of the global economy while taking a permissive attitude toward social behavior. In 2006, they were...

Up Front

The Odd Couple The 110th Senate will be comprised of 49 republicans, 49 Democrats, and two Independents -- more specifically, two Jewish men in their mid-60s from New England states who will caucus with the Democrats but hold out the possibility of breaking with them. I speak of Connecticut's Joe Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders. Those wondering when we might expect the Independent Caucus to put forth its own issue agenda could be in for a long wait. Lieberman's election-night proclamation that his was a victory of "the mainstream over the extreme" was aimed more at Ned Lamontist Democrats than the GOP. By contrast, avowed socialist Sanders' declaration that "we are sick and tired of the right-wing extremists who have been running this country" presumably didn't pertain to crunchy liberals. Lieberman wasted no time after the election making clear he was "beholden to no political group." Sanders, too, stressed his independence, but did so by explaining his intention to push...

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