Eleanor Clift

Stories by Eleanor Clift

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    Hillary, Meg and the 'Whore' Slur

    It used to be that you couldn’t attack a female candidate without helping her. Barack Obama’s comment during a debate that Hillary Clinton was “likable enough” helped cost him the New Hampshire primary.
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    What Obama Should Say After the Midterms

    How President Obama adjusts to the new reality on Capitol Hill will determine not only his reelection chances, but the staying power of the progressive agenda that he has begun to put in place. Whatever happens on Election Day, it’s evident that Obama will have to find a new legislative strategy.
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    Obama’s Failure of Leadership

    I’m loath to admit it, but I think there’s been a failure of leadership in this White House. Why else would a party on the verge of extinction less than two years ago be poised to take over one or perhaps both chambers of Congress?
  • Democrats Are Facing an Identity Crisis

    Tea Party types are not the only ones boiling mad. President Obama’s supporters are angry at a White House they think has grown insular, and at a president who’s lost his touch. The African-American woman who told Obama in a CNBC town-hall meeting this week that she was tired of defending him expressed the searing disappointment that so many Democrats feel.
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    Social Safety Net Greases Wheels of Capitalism

    Unlike '94, which was a top-down revolution led by Newt Gingrich and his deputy Dick Armey, today's revolution is marked by bottom-up disgust with both parties, and with ideas that are as unworkable and unrealistic as Armey's rants against government benefits. If the Tea Party ever got its way, a lot of people would be left with a broken tea cup.
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    Midterms About Lack of Faith in Elected Officials

    The upcoming election has nothing to do with the Republicans. They’re the beneficiaries of a completely unearned gift, and if they behave true to form, they’ll squander it. They’re like someone who’s won the lottery. They’re getting a windfall, but they haven’t put forth any serious ideas about legislating, or governing.
  • Challenges for China's Westernized Communism

    The country's economy may be booming, but the Chinese have to look no further than America to see what will happen if they don’t curb their energy appetite and address the growing gap between rich and poor.
  • Midterm Election Will Be Referendum on Obama

    Like it or not, the midterm election is shaping up as a referendum on President Obama. His dizzying descent from the stratosphere of popularity to the kind of middling job approval associated with lesser talents could cost Democrats their majority in the House as well as effective control of the Senate. The only saving grace for Democrats is the roster of fringe candidates the GOP has served up, and the hope that voters will reject the change these Tea Party insurgents represent.
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    Reviving Us-Versus-Them Politics

    In defending the right of Muslims to build an Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero, President Obama said the right thing, but sometimes the right thing is not enough. Perhaps forgetting he is no longer a constitutional law professor and that his words would be amplified by the context in which he said them, Obama seemed genuinely surprised at the parsing of his words.
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    DeLay's Justice Probe Ends With a Whimper

    After six years, the corruption investigation of former Republican power broker Tom DeLay is dropped by Obama's Justice Department. Why that could be good for Democrats.
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    Dan Rostenkowski: Classic Chicago Pol and Bipartisan Figure

    As a kid who grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago, the son of an alderman, and a Democratic committeeman, Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski had a heightened appreciation for the symbols of power and wealth. One of his most prized possessions was a Camp David jacket presented to him by President George H.W. Bush.
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    Ted Stevens: Loyal Defender of Alaska

    Ted Stevens was born in Indiana, but it was Alaska and its rugged terrain that he identified with and that shaped his career, and his life. He chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee for many years, and from that perch he was able to steer an extraordinary amount of federal largesse to Alaska.
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    Freshman House Democrats Struggle to Save Seats

    Two freshman Democrats from Virginia, swept into office on the wave of enthusiasm generated by Barack Obama, are now struggling to stay afloat in a sea of discontent about the president.
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    The Rise and Fall of Charles Rangel

    The powerful Ways and Means chairman may have thought his colleagues would cut him some slack. They didn't. Rangel's long and storied career now stands at a sad impasse.
  • Campaign Financing Disclose Act Stalls—for Now

    There wasn’t any real suspense about how the Senate would vote today on the Disclose Act, which would require a corporate or union sponsor of a campaign ad to physically appear in it so the public knows where the backing is coming from. So why was President Obama in the Rose Garden making an urgent appeal for passage?
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    Left Pushes Hard for Elizabeth Warren at CFPB

    There’s a 2.0 version of health care’s public-option debate, and her name is Elizabeth Warren. She’s the Harvard law professor who’s been giving Treasury Department insiders heartburn over their excessive generosity to Wall Street bigwigs. Liberals are lobbying hard for Warren to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, warning the White House that failure to do so would rival the left’s disappointment over President Obama’s refusal to fight for a public option.
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    Are Sarah Palin's 'Mama Grizzlies' Feminist?

    Palin has George W. Bush’s disdain for intellectual elites, and she lives the rhetoric. She’s undisciplined intellectually, but she’s got street smarts, and they count.
  • Can Obama Persuade Voters to Stay the Course?

    Confidence in President Obama as the agent of change to restore the economy and chart a positive course has deteriorated to the point where nearly six in 10 voters say they “lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country,” according to the latest Washington Post/ABC poll.
  • Inside the GOP, a Shadow Battle for Control

    The prospect of the November elections becoming a replay of 1994 has Democrats running scared everywhere except, apparently, at the White House, where the famous Obama cool keeps everyone’s emotions in check. Sure, losses are expected in the first midterm of a new president, but let’s not lose too much sleep over it.
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    Byrd’s Way

    The late senator from West Virginia was a stickler for following the rules. It made him one of the most powerful legislators of the last century.
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    Will Obama Turn Around Jobs Outlook?

    Obama, stymied by the GOP, seems at a loss when it comes to creating jobs. The administration can turn around the bleak job numbers in time for his reelection, but not in time for Democrats this fall.
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    What Would the Tea Party Do?

    They object to Obama. Fine—but it’s worth asking how they would handle something like the gulf oil spill.
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    Helen Thomas’s Pioneering Career

    The trailblazing journalist will be 90 years old on Aug. 4. She has been a fixture in Washington and an undisputed pioneer. It's her storied career that should be remembered, not just a few moments of a YouTube video.
  • How Obama Should Respond to the Gulf Crisis

    Rather than naming yet another commission to examine what happened in the Gulf of Mexico, the president needs to do something more visibly demonstrative to address the problems caused by the catastrophe.
  • The Gores Run Aground

    Separate interests have led to separate lives. And a definitive end to political life.
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    2010 Likely to Bring a Crop of One-Term Senate Wonders

    Calculating the impact of the BP spill on the midterm elections is almost as hard as measuring the flow of oil from the hole in the ocean floor. Everybody’s got their own assessment. As President Obama scrambled to prevent the burgeoning ecological crisis from turning into a political nightmare, late-night talk-show host Jay Leno observed that among the species facing extinction as a result of the spill, “the odds-on favorite is Democrats.”
  • Democrats May Hold House, Not Senate

    Democrats had a very good night on Tuesday, dampening, at least for now, Republican boasts about taking back control of the House. Democrat Mark Critz, a longtime congressional aide, held the Pennsylvania House seat of his former boss, the late and legendary logrolling politician John Murtha, calling into question GOP claims that Republicans would sweep blue-collar swing districts in key states across the country and return the party to power.
  • The Earnest Shaun Donovan Takes Questions

    Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan was one of Mayor Bloomberg’s whiz kids before he joined the Obama administration. Meeting with reporters Thursday morning to tout glimmers of good economic news, he recalled the scene in the famous Bloomberg bullpen in New York when the first stimulus bill failed in Congress. As everyone watched the vote tally go down on a big screen, the mayor declared, “The world is ending.” With that as his yardstick, Donovan put the best face he could on an improving economy. He talked about the lessons learned from the housing crisis, among them the need to “rebalance” housing policy to make renting more attractive and affordable, and with less focus placed on homeownership as a pure good. At 40, Donovan is the youngest member of the cabinet, and clearly one of the brightest and most earnest about the mission he has been handed. He answered every question in detail and with great seriousness. He said the communities hurt the most by the mortgage crisis tend to be...
  • Kagan's Abortion Memo Shows Pragmatism

    When it comes to the abortion issue in a Democratic Supreme Court nomination, everybody plays their preassigned role. Pro-choice groups say they are encouraged by what they’ve heard and want to hear more. The opposing side says it’s deeply concerned. The nominee says she respects judicial precedence, stare decisis, and all that, and won’t answer hypothetical questions. And the president says he doesn’t have a litmus test.