Blog No. 59. The State of the Union Address: Barack Obama’s Parallel Universe and the Challenge for Republicans

On the day of the President’s State of the Union address, a writer in The Washington Post was moved to wonder “Do we even need a State of the Union address anymore?” It is unlikely that the writer’s doubts were assuaged by the President’s performance that evening. The President assured us on the one hand that everything was really quite splendid both at home and abroad, but also insisted that our domestic tranquility requires a lengthy and expensive set of initiatives. Indeed, listening to the address, one had the feeling that it might have been titled “No Proposal Left Behind.” In fact, however, the President declined to renew many of the proposals that he had presented a year ago and which had been largely ignored by the 113th Congress. (A PBS NewsHour analysis indicated that out of 18 proposals urged in 2014, only 2 rather minor ones had been adopted.) Now that Republicans control the Senate as well as the House, and enjoy an even larger majority in the House, the President’s prospects for legislative achievements are hardly brighter. […]

Blog No. 36 Free Trade Agreements: Good Policy–and Good Politics for Republicans

Current debate over trade policy revolves around two confusingly similar acronyms: TPP and TPA. The first, TPP, refers to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement among 12 Pacific nations. The second, TPA, refers to Trade Promotion Authority, (sometimes known as “Fast Track”), which provides for expedited consideration of trade agreements by Congress. The two are closely linked because, in the view of many observers, passage of TPA will be essential to concluding and ratifying the TPP agreement. Together, the TPP and TPA provide an interesting mix of policy and politics.BLOG 36 05edsall-map-articleLarge […]