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Bachmannism’s legacy outlandish, baseless charges

Opinion Column

Maybe Bob Dole has more clout in the Republican Party than we think. He suggested on Sunday that the party put up a “closed for repairs” sign for the rest of the year. Then along comes Michele Bachmann declaring on Wednesday that she won’t seek re-election.

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Can this election settle anything?

The most important issue in the 2012 campaign barely gets discussed: How will we govern ourselves after the election is over?

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New policies must get global economy moving

If the United States were still governed under the Articles of Confederation, might California be in the position of Greece, Spain or Italy?

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President Obama: Keep the change

He had just been through the roughest patch of President Obama's re-election struggle and yet senior adviser David Axelrod seemed, if not quite serene, then at least amiably stoic.

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Wisconsin has taught us lessons

The left will make a big mistake if it ignores the lessons of the failed recall of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. The right will make an even bigger error if it allows the Wisconsin results to feed its inclination toward winner-take-all politics.

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The stakes in the Walker recall do matter

Recalls and impeachments are a remedy of last resort. Most of the time, voters who don't like an incumbent choose to live with the offending politician until the next election, on the sensible theory that fixed terms of office and regular elections are adequate checks on abuses of power and extreme policies.

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Catholic church progressing?

There is a healthy struggle brewing among the nation's Roman Catholic bishops.

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Election offers a choice of capitalisms

In this election, we're not having an argument that pits capitalism against socialism. We are trying to decide what kind of capitalism we want. It is a debate as American as Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay -- which is to say that we have always done this. In light of the rise of inequality and the financial mess we just went through, it's a discussion we very much need to have now.

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Obama shows American exceptionalism

Can a Republican primary in Indiana have even the remotest connection to a presidential election in France?

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Nation cares about more than bin Laden

We expect some hypocrisy in politics, but it was still jaw-dropping to behold Republicans accusing President Obama of politicizing the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

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Romney's magical capitalism

It turns out that there is at least one question on which Mitt Romney is not a flip-flopper: He has a utopian view of what an unfettered, lightly taxed market economy can achieve.

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Now's the time to beat Citizens United

We are about to have the worst presidential campaign money can buy. The Supreme Court's dreadful Citizens United decision and a somnolent Federal Election Commission will allow hundreds of millions of dollars from a small number of very wealthy people and interests to inundate our airwaves with often vicious advertisements for which no candidate will be accountable.

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Ending fecklessness on guns

It’s understandable if unfortunate that the controversy surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin has polarized the country along both racial and ideological lines. But there is one issue that should not have any racial connotations: the urgency of repealing “Stand Your Ground” laws.

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When liberals stop being wimps

Conservatives are not accustomed to being on the defensive.

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The right's coup is a stealthy one

Right before our eyes, American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them.

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The Right's etch a sketch imperative

Clarifying moments are rare in politics. They are the times when previously muddled issues are suddenly cast into sharp relief and citizens are given a look behind the curtains of spin and obfuscation.

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Can Europe's left rebound?

A crisis of capitalism is supposed to create an opening for the political left.

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Obama hasn't won it yet

If the election were held right now, President Obama would likely win by about the same margin that propelled him into office in 2008. But how fragile are his current advantages?

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Obama makes sensible compromise on contraception

Politicized culture wars are debilitating because they almost always require partisans to denigrate the moral legitimacy of their opponents, and sometimes to deny their very humanity. It's often not enough to defeat a foe. Satisfaction only comes from an adversary's humiliation.

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Romney’s gloom unappealing to voters

What do Rick Santorum and Clint Eastwood have in common? Sorry Rick, you haven’t made it yet as an Eastwood-style make-my-day cultural icon. But in different ways, Santorum and Eastwood have demonstrated the limits of both an entirely negative slant on politics and a pessimistic take on America’s future.

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Obama should have tried harder to find middle ground

One of Barack Obama's great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health care law.

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So much for a populist GOP

Members of the tea party insisted they were turning the GOP into a populist, anti-establishment bastion.

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Obama’s opponents should acknowledge he is a citizen

This is what progress looks like for a president named Barack Hussein Obama.

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Because of Republicans, Obama has head start

It isn't every day that political candidates get asked whether the 10th Amendment allows states to nullify federal laws, but that was precisely the question Rick Santorum faced at a forum here a few days ago organized by a libertarian-leaning group.

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Obama running as ‘normal’ political leader now

Four years ago this week, a young and inspirational senator who promised to turn history’s page swept the Iowa caucuses and began his irresistible rise to the White House.

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The GOP’s Iowa chaos tells a tale

Is Rick Santorum the next non-Romney to emerge from the pack? Could he conceivably win Iowa?

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Gingrich becoming inconvenient

It is one of the true delights of a bizarrely entertaining Republican presidential contest to watch the apoplectic fear and loathing of so many GOP establishmentarians toward Newt Gingrich. They treat him as an alien body whose approach to politics they have always rejected.

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Obama's abroad -- time for realism

It was gratifying to hear a despotic leader blame the United States for the rise of a democratic protest movement against his regime.

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Obama offers Square Deal

President Obama has decided that he is more likely to win if the election is about big things rather than small ones. He hopes to turn the 2012 campaign from a plebiscite about the current state of the economy into a referendum about the broader progressive tradition that made us a middle-class nation. For the second time, he intends to stake his fate on a battle for the future.

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GOP’s reality show losing ground

The contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has been described as a reality show and a circus. But what’s happening inside the GOP is quite rational and easily explained.

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Moderation may be defeated

The deficit that should most worry us is a deficit of reasonableness. The problems the United States confronts are large but not insoluble. Yet sensible solutions that are broadly popular can’t be enacted.

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Supercommittee's 'failure' actually a success

Here is a surefire way to cut $7.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Do nothing.

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The true conservative scandal

Conservatives need to contemplate what the Rick Perry and Herman Cain stories say about the state of their movement and the health of their creed.

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Examining the politics of the heavenly and unheavenly

We have embarked on yet another presidential campaign in which religion will play an important role without any agreement over what the ground rules for that engagement should be.

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Why Paul Ryan is unhappy

We may be reaching an inflection point, the moment when the terms of the political argument change decisively.

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Taxing the poor just doesn’t work for a nation

It’s one of the strangest things in our politics: The only “big” ideas Republicans and conservatives seem to offer these days revolve around novel and sometimes bizarre ways of cutting taxes on rich people.

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Family issue needs addressing

Lost in the hubbub over Herman Cain's love affair with the number nine during last week's Republican debate were some compelling observations by Rick Santorum about "the breakdown of the American family" and its relationship to poverty.

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Why they all hate Warren Buffett

Maybe only a really, really rich guy can credibly make the case for why the wealthy should be asked to pay more in taxes. You can't accuse a big capitalist of "class warfare." That's why the right wing despises Warren Buffett and is trying so hard to shut him up.

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Socialism rescues captialism

Have you noticed that one of the Obama administration’s most successful programs is also its most “socialist” initiative?

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How much has Obama really learned?

Our political system is not accustomed to the kind of battle that is going on now. President Obama has been slow to adjust to it. The voters are understandably mystified and frustrated by it. In the meantime, the economy sits on the edge between stagnation and something worse.

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Obama: Go big, long and global

Obama should not be constrained by what the tea party might allow subservient Republican leaders in Congress to do.

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The new old Obama is re-emerging

For President Obama, these are the days of never hearing an encouraging word. Not since his own supporters were losing faith in his presidential campaign in the summer of 2007 has Obama confronted so many bad reviews and such widespread frustration and angry criticism from his own side.- E.J. Dionne, syndicated columnist

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