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Entries in Erick Erickson (5)


US Politics Analysis: Trotsky's Icepick and the Fight within the Republican Party

House Speaker John Boehner speaks on Wednesday about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations

The murder of Leon Trotsky at Stalin's behest in Mexico in 1940 --- with an icepick that made his ears burn --- has become synonymous with the tendency of supporters of the same political ideology to act more as enemies than friends. The history of Communist movements worldwide, and in the US, is rife with infighting and intrigue, splits and divisions.

Trotsky's Icepick has now reached the conservative movement in the US. The immediate sign is the division over how Republicans should approach the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, but there are also internal recriminations about how and why Mitt Romney managed to lose a winnable Presidential election.

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US Elections Analysis: A "Game-Changer" for Obama or Romney? Assessing the 1st Debate and Good Numbers on Jobs

It has been a strange and unexpected week in the American Presidential election, with twists in the established narratives of the Obama and Romney campaigns.

First, the debate on Wednesday night in Colorado dispelled the Obama team's line that Mitt Romney does not represent all Americans. Whether he does or not is beside the point; Romney's performance –-- aided by the non-performance of the President –-- conveyed concern for the problems faced by everyone, nor just the "makers" rather than the 47% who are the "takers".

Then the job numbers released on Friday, with a drop in the headline unemployment rate from 8.1% to a more palatable 7.8%, spiked the guns of the Romney attack that the economy is just not working under Obama.

Are either of these a game-changer? With just over four weeks to go in this campaign probably not. However, despite the welcome job numbers for the Democrats, Republicans have had much the better week. Last Saturday Obama appeared a near-certainty for re-election; now those who have already placed a bet on the President will be silently sweating about the outcome.

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US Elections Analysis: Your Guide to the 3 Biggest "Swing States" and the Challenge for Mitt Romney

President Obama in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Thursday

After the electoral votes from these near-certainties, the election comes down to seven or eight "swing states". Of these, three --- Florida, Ohio, and Virginia --- are vital because their larger number of votes in the Electoral College. To win the election, Romney needs to triumph in two of the three. That is why more than half the money spent by both campaigns has been devoted to the trio of battlegrounds.

The cold challenge for the Romney campaign is that the polls put Obama ahead in all three. Florida is close, with President Obama enjoying a narrow 4% advantage, but in both Ohio and Virginia his lead is about 8%.

So why, despite these numbers, are Republicans hopeful that Mitt Romney can still win?

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US Opinion: Learning The Ideological and Political Lessons of "Armadebtdon 2011"

When a deal is finally reached on this occasion, who is optimistic that in a year's time, or a decade from now, politicians will have found a way to put aside partisan differences exacerbated by outside groups and face the tough fiscal choices facing the country?

Perhaps it is time for some changes in the way American government operates to meet the modern reality that compromise, on the important matters, is virtually impossible in Congress. Without them --- and it might be as simple, if controversial, as ending the filibuster --- it is impossible to see how Washington can avoid lurching from impasse to impasse.

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US Politics Analysis: Darkness Before An Agreement on the Federal Debt?

With the usual disclaimer that it could all change tomorrow, there is hope that the adults in Washington can get beyond the "weasel" rhetoric and accusations of childishness to hammer out a deal that moderates on both sides can swallow as a necessary evil.

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