W.W. Norton Books

Remember the town hall meetings with Congress members in 2009 where people screamed their opposition to Obamacare?  A year later, Republicans wiped out Democrats in the mid-term elections at all levels of government. 

The impact was especially profound in state legislatures, and GOP control of many of those gave the party the ability to control the process of re-drawing district lines after the 2010 census. 

In a book with a title we can't say on the air--Ratf**ked--Salon Editor-in-chief David Daley writes of the convergence of political players and dark money that made redistricting an enduring Republican victory. 

The Frayed Knot Of America

Jun 3, 2016
Basic Books

You know that thing Americans do, coming together in a time of need?  Not happening at the moment, it can be argued.

And there's plenty of evidence of need... for better-paying jobs, cheaper housing, and general resuscitation of the middle class. 

Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, calls the situation--and his latest book--The Fractured Republic

In Levin's analysis, both left and right are looking back to "good old days" when they should be looking forward.

Riding Nerdy: Liberals In Limousines

Jun 2, 2016
Basic Books

Time for a question: has anyone actually known a welfare queen or a limousine liberal?  Both are terms wielded, or at least once wielded, by the American right wing to impeach the thinking and policies of political opponents. 

Historian Steve Fraser, in a new book called The Limousine Liberal, focuses on that particular term. 

Fraser says understanding its birth and use is central to understanding the opposition to liberal elites, even today. 

Allen Alley Runs For Oregon Governor

May 9, 2016
Allen Alley Campaign

You'd need a small bus to carry all the people running for Oregon Governor in the May 17th primary. 

John Kitzhaber's departure a month into his term put Kate Brown in office and triggered an unusual election for a two-year term in this election cycle. 

Former state Republican chair Allen Alley is one of a handful of GOP members running. 

His chief opponent, Bud Pierce, joined us previously. 

Surprises in Senate District 28

Apr 15, 2016
Shaundd via Wikimedia Commons

What looked like a ho-hum reelection in the Oregon Senate turned suddenly interesting the day AFTER the filing deadline in March. 

Republican Senator Doug Whitsett in district 28 announced his retirement and withdrawal from the race. 

Scant minutes before the filing deadline, former Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum had filed to run in the Republican primary.  He remains the only candidate officially on the ballot. 

The action ruffled feathers across the district, which includes parts of Jackson and Klamath Counties. 

Write-in campaigns quickly mounted for former Jackson County Commissioner C.W. Smith, Michael Stettler of Christmas Valley, and Klamath County Museum Director Todd Kepple

Surprises In House District 56

Apr 15, 2016

The same maneuver that appeared to clear the way to the Oregon legislature for a Republican in Senate District 28 also happened in House District 56. 

Gail Whitsett--whose husband represents the Senate district--announced her withdrawal from the race the day after the filing deadline. 

Fellow Republican Werner Reschke filed minutes before the deadline, sparking allegations of "insider trading." 

Two other candidates seek the seat, Jonah Hakanson as a general election non-affiliated candidate, and former Klamath County Commissioner Al Switzer as a Republican write-in. 

Another Dumb Voter Story

Feb 4, 2016
Basic Books

Rick Shenkman has already made some money underestimating the intelligence of the American voter*.  His 2008 book is called Just How Stupid Are We?

Apparently, he's still looking for an answer to that question, or at least getting lots of responses to it. 

Note the picture of the swinging monkey on the cover of his latest book, Political Animals

There might be an evolutionary reason for the way we make choices about political leaders. 

A Look Back To Campaign 2012

Aug 25, 2015

Before we get completely carried away by the latest on Donald Trump's mouth and Hillary Clinton's server, can we pause for just a moment?  

The White House race for 2016 is plenty interesting, but it's not even 2016 yet.  We take a look back, revisiting an earlier interview with Washington Post Chief Correspondent Dan Balz.  

He is the author of Collision 2012, a book about the internal workings of the campaigns in the last presidential election.  

Remember Obama-Romney and the greatest hits of that race?  

Oregonians Share More Than They Think

Oct 16, 2014

Our country is deeply divided politically, and Oregon is just like any other state.  Or is it? 

When you ask people around the state about the values they hold dear, the answers are often similar, despite factors like political party. 

The Oregon Values Project discovered this in its most recent once-a-decade assessment of values among the state's citizens. 

Sorry About That (Or Are They?)

Jun 30, 2014
Oxford University Press

Did you hear the one about the politician who apologized?  Yeah, neither did we. 

Public official apologies are usually along the lines of "I'm sorry if anyone took offense..."  Notice the careful construction. 

Linguist Edwin Battistella of Southern Oregon University certainly noticed. 

Freedom And Dialogue In A Polarized World

Mar 19, 2014

To understand a person, walk a mile in their shoes. 

Not a lot of shoe-swapping going on in the world today, is there?  Historians assure us there have been other periods of polarization in American history (see: Civil War), but we have to live in this one.  Unless we can do something about it. 

Women and Politics and Winning

Jan 20, 2014

It's often been said of the legislative process that (like sausage-making) it's best not to watch.

Now just imagine the process of getting a candidate elected.

T.R.'s Roots: "Heir To The Empire City"

Dec 12, 2013
Perseus Books

Any discussion of American President Theodore Roosevelt often goes straight to his tough-guy image. 

Yes, he charged up San Juan Hill in Cuba with a unit called The Rough Riders. 

Turning Against The Christian Right

Oct 17, 2013

Frank Schaeffer is the black sheep of his family. 

His mother is the evangelical writer Edith Schaeffer, and his family had a profound impact on Christianity and politics in America. 

Jackson County Oregon county commissioners may become non-partisan. The county's Board of Commissioners is considering a ballot measure that would change the current partisan set-up of the governing body. 

The Mail Tribune reports that if the measure makes it to the May 2014 ballot and is passed, the language of the county's home rule charter would be amended to make commissioner seats nonpartisan by the May 2016 primary election.

Inside the 2012 Race to the White House

Sep 5, 2013

Before the talk about the 2016 presidential election turns serious, can we look back?  Washington Post correspondent Dan Balz enjoyed great access to both major-party campaigns during the last election cycle, and he shares the access with readers in his book Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America.