Election 2012

Can Tammy Baldwin Win?

Over at TheAtlantic.com, I look into the question of whether openly lesbian Tammy Baldwin can become Wisconsin's senator. Pop quiz: What's the " L-word" that's likely to hurt her most? Hint: It's not this one . Here's an excerpt: In 1998, Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay candidate to be elected to the U.S. Congress as a non-incumbent, winning a seat representing liberal Madison, Wisc., in the House of Representatives. Now the leading candidate to become the Democratic nominee to replace retiring Senator Herb Kohl, Baldwin would become the first out U.S. Senator in American history if she wins election in November 2012. And in a kind triumph for the gay rights movement, it turns out "lesbian" isn't the L-word most likely to be used against her in a race defeat either likely Republican opponent, whether Mark Neumann or Tommy Thompson. In Wisconsin, the fighting L-word these days is "liberal" -- and, observers say, that's the territory on which her race will be won or lost. .....

Rick Perry Wins Without Showing Up

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Last night's Republican presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire was the first to feature the full cast of GOP presidential hopefuls, but that doesn't mean it featured a full slate of ideas. The debate ran through familiar Republican tropes about the evils of taxes, regulation, and abortion. But early debates aren't meant to showcase policy; they're meant to influence party elites. Tim Pawlenty invoked his childhood at every opportunity, so much so that it's safe to say "I grew up in a blue-collar town" will become the new "My father worked in a mill." Mitt Romney attacked the president on job creation: "He's failed the American people both on job creation and the scale of government, and that's why he's not going to be re-elected." And Michele Bachmann re-upped her promise to repeal "Obamacare" upon entering the White House. All the candidates participating in the debate -- which also included Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain -- pledged their support...