After the last Republican debate, the press was giddy with talk of negativity. Smackdown! The claws come out! GOP candidates duke it out! You would have thought Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney doffed their shirts and engaged in a good old-fashioned bare-knuckle brawl, with teeth flying and blood dripping from swollen fists.
These are not good times for American workers. Real wages are lower today than they were before the recession of 2001, and barely higher than they were thirty-five years ago. Health insurance is more expensive and harder to obtain than ever before. Manufacturing jobs continue to move overseas. The unions whose efforts might arrest these trends continue to struggle under a sustained assault that began when Ronald Reagan fired striking air-traffic controllers in 1981, in effect declaring war on the labor movement.
To hear the press tell it, the best moment of last night's debate was when Mike Huckabee answered a question about whether Jesus would support the death penalty by saying, "Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office." Reporters were in awe. The Washington Postcalled it "the best line of the night.The Chicago Tribunesaid Huckabee hit the question "over the fence." It was the only quote from the debate Mara Liasson included in her NPR report.
Who are our potential presidents hoping to run against in the general election? Here's a rundown of the front-runners' ideal match-ups. And, on TAPPED, Dana Goldstein, Scott Lemieux, Kate Sheppard, and Rob Farley discuss match-ups.
We are, at long last, nearing the time when the two parties will be choosing their nominees, and more than one candidate is thinking about whom they'd most like to face in the general election. Fortunately for us political junkies, the races on both sides present a fascinating cast of characters, full of strengths and weaknesses. While some carry more of one than the other, there are no obvious losers among each party's leading contenders, none whose supporters seem destined to say, "How on earth did we nominate that joker?" (Although you never know what next fall may bring.)