Presidential race will thwart progress in Congress

Very knowledgeable politicians speaking in Boston last Monday expressed qualified hopes that Congress could actually get something done.  They pointed to the recent "doc fix," a remedy for the unrealistic curtailment of Medicare payments to providers.  The bill passed by the House and awaiting Senate action even reauthorized CHIP (the children's health plan) and provided some …

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Ideological purity no help to the body politic

Most of us probably find ourselves somewhere around the center of contemporary political thought, whether it's to the right of center or left of center. Our movement in elections often determine outcomes, and we're usually out of touch with outliers in both parties.  We are unsettled by a Congress now with an increasingly hollowed out center, …

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Obama speech strategically crafted

President Obama's state-of-the-union speech is a reminder that most of what we'll remember was how it was said, not what was said. Smart beginning, high energy, powerful ending.  It was brilliantly crafted to make the most of a not-great situation: low approval ratings (37%, 40%), Congressional resistance to doing almost anything, election-year jockeying, the cusp of …

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