Terence Samuel

Terence Samuel is a Prospect senior correspondent and the author of The Upper House: A Journey behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate, published in May by Palgrave Macmillan. Follow him on Twitter.

Recent Articles

A Harry Situation

It was a day that produced endless sad narratives for Democrats. Still, watching Tom Daschle concede defeat had to be among the toughest moments. Democrats, who'd watched their Senate leader stand up and poke his finger in the eye of the Bush White House time and time again, were suddenly forced to watch as he sank over the horizon. It was Daschle's willingness -- some would say belated willingness -- to confront the White House that had provided Democrats with their only real political leverage in Washington over the last four years. And it was Daschle who (with apologies to Howard Dean) began the broad critique of the president's handling of the Iraq War that dominated the presidential campaign. And that's why he was became the GOP's top target in this cycle of congressional elections. Daschle will soon be gone, and Republicans will have padded their advantage by winning all five southern seats being vacated by Democrats in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida...

Senate Scenarios

George W. Bush approaches the end of his first term beset by policy and political troubles that have severely compromised his chances for re-election. Iraq, of course, tops the list, with the anemic economy an unchallenged second. But it's worth remembering that the president's troubles didn't begin on September 11 or when he chose to invade Iraq in response. It began in the U.S. Senate in the spring of 2001, when Jim Jeffords, taken aback by the aggressive conservatism of the administration, decided to abandon the GOP in what one Republican colleague described as a “pure repudiation” of the president and his strong-arm ideological tactics. The Jeffords moment permanently altered the course of the Bush presidency -- prompting smaller tax cuts and bigger fights on judges -- and could only have been overshadowed by something as epic as 9-11 or a war. We got both, but the White House didn't forget what it was like having Tom Daschle as the majority leader for 18 months. That's why the...

Dirty Deeds

CLEVELAND -- Are you ready for the dirtiest week and a half of politics since Eve got talked into that bite of the apple? A man in Defiance, Ohio, has been arrested for registering false Democratic voters in exchange for crack cocaine. The charge is election fraud, which the GOP says it is gravely concerned about. This smells -- and not just of smoke, either. Meanwhile, at the other end of the state, John Kerry's name was deleted, accidentally , from absentee ballots that were delivered to the Forest Park neighborhood, a predominantly black section of Cincinnati. There was never any question about how ugly, dirty, or nasty this campaign for president was going to be. But there are some ads on radio stations in Ohio that would embarrass you in the company of your mother. This is particularly true on black radio, where the GOP, acknowledging a huge vulnerability if there is high black turnout, is trying to hold those numbers in check. (Among the charges: Democrats and liberals are...

Registering a Hit

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- We have now entered some altered universe where a lot appears familiar but everything feels somehow different. With three weeks to go before election day 2004, our national macro politics are essentially the same as they were three weeks after election day 2000: We are now, as we were then, a country sharply divided, deeply partisan, and evenly balanced in regard to rage and rancor. It is ironic that after the great upheaval -- September 11 and anthrax, Afghanistan and Iraq, Enron, Saddam Hussein, and Howard Dean -- we are in many ways right back where we started: deadlocked. Which might suggest that we are headed for an election as close and as contentious as the last one. But if the political cleavages run along the familiar fault lines, they have grown deeper and more intensely felt in ways that have changed us. And that makes this campaign hard to analyze and the election impossible to call. The intensity has created a set of circumstances that make history...

The Out-of-Towners

Among Dick Cheney's most effective moments in his debate with John Edwards was when he said he had never met Edwards, even though he was on Capitol Hill nearly every Tuesday when the Senate is in session. Using his typical boulder-off-the-mountain delivery he said: “The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.” This, of course, is now widely known to be false. They have met at least twice before. Once when Cheney in his capacity as president of the Senate issued the oath of office to Elizabeth Dole, Edwards' North Carolina colleague in the Senate, and another time at a prayer breakfast. Tim Russert reports a third meeting when they both appeared on his show Meet The Press on the same Sunday morning. More interesting, however, was Edwards' decision not to correct the error or respond to the larger criticism embedded in the quip: namely, that Edwards and John Kerry have not been in Washington doing their jobs as United States senators. No doubt it seems that,...

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