Autiello: Will True Christianity Please Stand Up?

Nick Autiello, Contributor

The notion that homosexuality is a sin and un-Christian is one that is less than a hundred years old. It is wrong, and has no basis in scriptural or historical reality.

SASSO: The Coming New Year

James Sasso, Associate Editor

As the tumultuous 2011 comes down to its final day, this column could contain an obnoxious summary of the year’s extraordinary events. Rather than once again discussing the protests around the world, the death of Osama Bin Laden, Fukushima, America’s political ineptitude, Europe’s demise or the increasingly frightful weather patterns, here I attempt to predict what 2012 holds in store.

SASSO: Kicking the Can

James Sasso, Associate Editor

For one of the first times in his tenure as Speaker, John Boehner has made a statement with which every American, Republican or Democrat, should fully agree; the two-month Senate bipartisan extension of the payroll tax cut fails to fix the nation’s problems sufficiently. Providing a short-term band-aid to a long-term dilemma contradicts what a responsible government should accomplish, but fits the pattern of contemporary American politicking.

CIOCCI: A Foolish Consistency

Mitt Romney is guilty of serial hypocrisy, Newt Gingrich is guilty of being a public intellectual constantly scrutinized by the media and others, and Ron Paul never ceases to remind me about one of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

AKMAN: Jon Huntsman’s Meaningless Campaign

Josh Akman, Columnist

Jon Huntsman did not participate in the CNN Debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Short of his family and small (and getting smaller) campaign staff, no one really noticed. In a bizarre and counterproductive effort to impress New Hampshire voters Huntsman skipped the debate to protest Nevada moving its caucus ahead of New Hampshire’s, which has always been the nation’s first primary. It’s bizarre because no one else skipped the debate. It’s counterproductive because right now, Jon Huntsman is polling 6% in New Hampshire.

SASSO: The 99% Rising

James Sasso

Associate Editor

For the past month a movement has grown out of Zuccoti Park in New York with the potential to grab at the very heart of America’s problems. “We are the 99%” is not simply a catchy phrase used by frustrated jobless Americans , but a commentary on the disgraceful economic inequality that has arisen in the United States since the 1970s.

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LIFSON: Everything Republicans Say About the Economy Is Wrong

Matthew Lifson, Columnist

As Republicans continue to stifle our recovery by obstructing emergency spending and conflating unemployment and deficit reduction, Americans should begin to ask whether their agenda merely reflects a stunning scorn for mainstream economics or a villainous willingness to sacrifice the economy for political gain.

LIFSON: Huntsman Is the Real Deal

Matthew Lifson, Democrat

Jon Huntsman is the champion that Republicans have been waiting for. Staff assistant to President Reagan, Ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush, and Deputy Trade Representative for President George W. Bush, Huntsman resigned early in his second term as Governor of Utah to accept President Obama’s appointment as Ambassador to China. Now he has returned to the United States, ready to challenge his former boss.

LIFSON: No Daylight Between Birtherism and Racism

Donald Trump has been pressuring President Obama to release a long-form birth certificate. Releasing the long-form document, however, will solve nothing. The existing evidence that President Obama was born in the US is already incontrovertible, so birthers will find new and even more ridiculous reasons to rationalize their continued disbelief. More importantly, to surrender the long-form certificate will mean caving to racists and their wranglers who never would have questioned the birthplace of a white president.

LIFSON: NPR Hit Job Has No Credibility

House Republicans voted in an emergency session last Thursday to prohibit National Public Radio’s member stations from using federal funds to buy NPR programming. Sponsor Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) each hailed conservative activist James O’Keefe’s recent NPR sting during the lead up to the vote, but O’Keefe’s distortionary editing practices and pathological politics disqualify him as a reputable source.

LIFSON: The Challenge of Rational Ignorance

As the networks announced Republican victory in district after district, incoming House Speaker John Boehner offered his interpretation of the night’s events: “The American people spoke and I think it’s pretty clear the Obama-Pelosi agenda is being rejected by the American people.” In his recent State of the Union speech, however, President Obama was just as eager to explain that Democrats are the true agents of the American people. Such worship of the American voter has allowed us to forget the powerful incentives for ignorance among our body politic.

LIFSON: Once More with Feeling, Democrats!

For communication, the stereotype goes that the Democratic Party gives lectures while the Republican Party prints bumper stickers. Not coincidentally, the messaging tactics witnessed in the modern political era tell the same story. Compare Ronald Reagan’s It’s Morning in America ad and George H.W. Bush’s covertly racist Willie Horton attack to thediscomforting answers of Michael Dukakis and the famously tedious speeches of Al Gore and John Kerry. A classic study of consumer psychology reveals that the complexity of our political debates makes the Democrats’ strategy a losing one.

LIFSON: Pick Pelosi

Matthew Lifson, Columnist

Half of the Blue Dog Coalition failed to win reelection in the miderms — but progressives were largely untouched, meaning the makeup of the Democratic caucus will be significantly more liberal than it has been in recent years. As the most prominent liberal in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is the leader Democrats need to deliver them from the political wilderness.

LIFSON: Writing Off Murkowski

Matthew Lifson,

The real challenge to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s write-in bid is twofold: voters who walk into the polling booth with unformed preferences will break for the other candidates and many voters who prefer her will ultimately not vote for her.

LIFSON: Obama’s Next Two Years

Matthew Lifson, Columnist

When Republicans storm Congress, we will learn whether Obama is a leader capable of growing his office or just a lucky figurehead temporarily enabled by overwhelming Democratic majorities.

LIFSON: Our Political Genes

Matthew Lifson, Columnist

In another blow to the illusion of rational politics, an evolving body of research built on surveys of twins reveals that our opinions are in our DNA.

LIFSON: Tea Party Calculus

Matthew Lifson, Columnist
As liberals brace themselves for game-changing losses this November, some hold out hope that independent Tea Party candidates will blunt the onslaught by splitting the Republican vote. Democrats, however, are grasping at straws if they are counting on Tea Partiers to siphon support away from the GOP because the presence of a second conservative party will also drive moderate voters into the Republican column.

LIFSON: Winners Look the Part

Matthew Lifson, Columnist

John McCain loves to joke that if he had John Thune’s face, he’d be president right now. Maybe he’s right. Psychologists, political scientists and economists agree: winners look the part.

LIFSON: A Team of Rivals

Matthew Lifson, Columnist

Between the post-Watergate nomination of Jimmy Carter, Al Gore’s loss in 2000 after eight years of prosperity, and the fumbling of the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, Democrats have a well deserved reputation for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Recent infighting between Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), however, suggests that Democrats have no monopoly on dysfunction and the GOP may not have the discipline to continue their unified front beyond November.

LIFSON: Incumbent Mind Tricks

Matthew Lifson, Columnist
Americans tell each other they can’t stand career politicians, but there is no better predictor of electoral success than incumbency. Over the last ten years, the average reelection rate was 96% for congressmen and 85% for senators. Even during extraordinary election years like 1994, when Republicans took back Congress armed with their Contract with America, the reelection rate for incumbents was 90% in the House and 92% in the Senate.

LIFSON: House Leadership Deserves Blame for Endangered Majority

Matthew Lifson, Columnist

Last Congress, Pelosi went out of her way to shield vulnerable Democrats. She allowed votes on offshore drilling and the DC gun ban while permitting caucus members to vote against the party on procedural motions to recommit. Her current legislative strategy, however, is a reminiscent of the missteps of then-House Speaker Tom Foley before Democrats lost the House in 1994.

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