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‘Just Asking’

Thomas Sowel, realclearpolitics.com

In a recent panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama gave another demonstration of his mastery of rhetoric -- and disregard of reality.

One of the ways of fighting poverty, he proposed, was to "ask from society's lottery winners" that they make a "modest investment" in government programs to help the poor.

Since free speech is guaranteed to everyone by the First Amendment to the Constitution, there is nothing to prevent anybody from asking anything from anybody else. But the federal government does not just "ask" for money. It takes the money it wants in taxes, usually before the people who have earned it see their paychecks    [...more]

The Media’s Sinking Reputation

Howard Kurtz, foxnews.com

By failing to disclose his donations to the Clinton Foundation, George Stephanopoulos has damaged his credibility and tarnished his network.

But you know something? He’s got plenty of company.

What an awful couple of years it’s been for the news business, even by our already-tattered standards.

While ABC’s chief anchor has landed himself in a heap of trouble, this comes at a time when NBC’s chief anchor, Brian Williams, is serving a six-month suspension for fabricating an Iraq war tale and possibly embellishing other reporting exploits. And it comes weeks after Rolling Stone had to retract its horrifyingly irresponsible tale of a gang rape at the University of Virginia.   [...more]

GOP Is the Strongest it’s Been in Decades

Sean Trende and David Byler, realclearpolitics.com

Last fall, RCP Election Analyst David Byler and I put together an index of party strength.  While most journalists look at presidential performance as a measure of party strength (see the ubiquitous “Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections”), we take a broader view of party strength.  Rather than look simply at presidential performance, we look at party dominance at the federal, congressional, and state levels.  One need only look at fights over voter identification laws, redistricting, food stamp benefits, Obamacare expansion, and a multitude of other battles from the last few years alone to understand the importance of non-federal elections. We therefore believe this approach gives a more complete measure of party strength.

In this article, we do three things.  First, we recap our methodology.  Second, we update the methodology for 2014, and we look forward to 2016.  Finally, we run some diagnostics on our index, answering various objections that have been raised.    [...more]