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Preview: - Robert D. Novak -- Columnist - Robert D. Novak -- Columnist


Newt Next Time?

Sat, 08 Nov 2008 00:00:00 EST

In serious conversations among Republicans since their election debacle Tuesday, what name is mentioned most often as the Moses, or the Reagan, who could lead them out of the wilderness, and before 40 years pass?

How a Tumor Is Changing My Life

Sat, 06 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Many people have asked me how I first realized I was suffering from a brain tumor and what I have done about it.

McCain Comes Through

Wed, 03 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Partisan Democrats and many members of the media consider John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate a terrible mistake. But McCain need not worry about their criticism. His unexpected selection satisfied the people he needed to please. Republican conservatives assembling in St. Paul for the party's national convention were "ecstatic" over the choice.

Avoiding a Lieberman Disaster

Thu, 28 Aug 2008 12:35:54 EDT

Reports of strong support within John McCain's presidential campaign for Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman as the Republican candidate for vice president are not a fairy tale. Influential McCain backers, plus McCain himself, would pick the pro-choice liberal from Connecticut if they thought they could get away with it.

Closer Than He Should Be

Mon, 28 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

In the contest for president, Barack Obama is a magnetic candidate supported by a disciplined, well-organized campaign. John McCain seems wooden, with a campaign that appears to be in shambles. Yet Obama's lead in the polls over McCain is fragile because he so far has not won the support of a majority of American voters.

They Fight but Can't Vote

Thu, 24 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Rep. Roy Blunt, the House Republican whip, introduced a resolution on July 8 demanding that the Defense Department better enable U.S. military personnel overseas to vote in the November elections. That act was followed by silence. Democrats normally leap at any opportunity to find fault with the Bush Pentagon. But not a single Democrat joined Blunt as a co-sponsor of the resolution, and an all-Republican proposal cannot pass in the Democratic-controlled House.

In Iraq, and Under the Spotlight

Mon, 21 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

I asked one of the Republican Party's smartest, most candid heavy hitters last week whether John McCain really has a chance to defeat Barack Obama in this season of Republican discontent. "No, if the campaign is about McCain," he replied. "Yes, if it's about Obama." That underlines the importance of Obama's visit to Iraq, beginning weeks of scrutiny for the Democratic presidential candidate under a GOP spotlight.

Friends of Fannie and Freddie

Thu, 17 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

As financial storm signals appeared the past 18 months, some Bush officials urged drastic reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But, according to internal government sources, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson objected because it would look "too political." The Republican administration kept its hands off the government-backed mortgage companies that are closely connected to the Democratic establishment.

Oil Paranoia

Mon, 14 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, back from the Fourth of July break last week, delivered a typical harangue on Republican obstructionism and Democratic virtue that included a promise: By week's end, he would show Republicans his proposal to deal with "this speculation thing" that he calls the root cause of $4-a-gallon gasoline. It would attempt "to end speculation on the oil markets."

Clintonites at Arm's Length

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

"I would say he was pretty underwhelming," a longtime Democratic activist said several days after he and some 200 other big-money supporters of Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign met with the victor, Barack Obama, in Washington on June 26. Gus will support and contribute to Obama as the party's nominee, but he is not enthusiastic about it.

Ultimatum to the GOP

Mon, 07 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

When House Republican leaders left Washington for the Fourth of July break, they felt good about having outwitted the Democratic majority. The feeling was not shared 3,000 miles away, where conservative California Republican activists were drafting an ultimatum. The Lincoln Club of Orange County is telling the GOP leaders of both the House and Senate that it is too late to repent. They must go -- or else lose big money.

Turning Away From Musharraf

Thu, 03 Jul 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Yousaf Raza Gillani, prime minister of Pakistan, will lunch with George W. Bush in the White House on July 28. That will not be merely another of the president's routine meetings with foreign leaders. As Pakistan's democratically elected government and U.S. diplomats understand, the lunch symbolizes a turn away from Washington's attachment to military rule under the discredited Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Obama's Dodge on Handguns

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

After months of claiming he had insufficient information to express an opinion on the District of Columbia's gun law, Barack Obama noted with apparent approval Thursday that the Supreme Court ruled that the 32-year ban on handguns "went too far." But what would he have said had the high court's 5 to 4 majority gone the other way and affirmed the law? Obama's strategists can only thank swing Justice Anthony Kennedy for enabling Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion to take the Democratic presidential candidate off the hook.

The Obamacons Who Worry McCain

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

What is an "Obamacon?" The phrase surfaced in January to describe British conservatives entranced by Barack Obama. On March 13 the American Spectator broadened the term to cover all "conservative supporters" of the Democratic presidential candidate. Their ranks, though growing, feature few famous people. But looming on the horizon are two big potential Obamacons: Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel.

Fiscal Medicine Man

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

When John McCain met privately with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin after a political event in the Milwaukee suburbs on May 29, the Republican presidential candidate might not have realized that he had just come face to face with an opportunity and a test. Ryan showed him his plan to reform the economy. McCain expressed interest and said he would turn it over to his campaign's economists.

My Friend and My Source

Thu, 19 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

A 26-year-old political operative from Buffalo on Daniel Patrick Moynihan's staff in 1977 was overshadowed by the all-star cast accompanying the newly elected senator to Washington. Not for the last time, Timothy J. Russert surpassed famous contemporaries. His first noteworthy feat was saving Moynihan from sure defeat for reelection, enabling an illustrious 24-year Senate career.

The Fed's Rates Dilemma

Mon, 16 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Speculation that the Federal Reserve is about to begin inflation-fighting interest rate increases appears to be dead wrong. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is worried more about runaway oil prices contracting the global economy than inflating it through a wage-cost spiral. According to sources close to him, America's leading central banker has no plans for a raise.

Decline of the Senate

Thu, 12 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Sen. Arlen Specter, age 78, was feeling miserable Monday following chemotherapy the previous Friday. But believing the best antidote was hard work, Specter took the Senate floor with a speech that contrasted sharply from the partisan oratory now customary in the chamber.

McCain's Evangelical Problem

Mon, 09 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Shortcomings by John McCain's campaign in the art of politics are alienating two organizations of Christian conservatives. James Dobson's Focus on the Family is estranged following the failure of Dobson and McCain to talk out their differences. Evangelicals who follow the Rev. John Hagee resent McCain's disavowal of him.

Playing for the No. 2 Spot

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Just when it seemed on the last Tuesday of the presidential primary season that Hillary Clinton would bow to the inevitable, she enraged Democrats who expected her to start strengthening Barack Obama as their party's nominee. During a conference call between Clinton and other New York members of Congress, Rep. Nydia Velazquez suggested that only an Obama-Clinton ticket could secure the Hispanic vote. "I am open to it," Clinton replied, according to several sources.

Parroting the Democrats

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

In Scott McClellan's purported tell-all memoir of his trials as President Bush's press secretary, he virtually ignores Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's role leaking to me Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA employee. That fits the partisan Democratic version of the Plame affair, in keeping with the overall tenor of the book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception."

Clinton Crosses a Line

Thu, 29 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

When Hillary Clinton said, "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California," she was not saying anything she had not publicly declared earlier. Yet those words sparked a political firestorm, raising among Democrats new levels of anti-Clinton sentiment and concern about Barack Obama's viability in the general election.

A Pro-Choicer's Dream Veep

Mon, 26 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, whose Roman Catholic archdiocese covers northeast Kansas, on May 9 called on Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to stop taking Communion until she disowns her support for the "serious moral evil" of abortion. That put the church in conflict with a rising star of the Democratic Party who is often described as a "moderate" and is perhaps the leading prospect to become Barack Obama's running mate.

McCain Stakes His Turf

Thu, 22 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

When one of the Democratic Party's most astute strategists criticized John McCain this week for attacking Barack Obama's desire to engage Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I asked what the Republican presidential candidate ought to talk about in this campaign. "Health care and the economy," he replied. That is a sure formula for a Democratic victory, but it is one that McCain's campaign rejects.

The GOP at the Trough

Mon, 19 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, 38 and having served less than five terms, did not leap over a dozen of his seniors to become the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee by bashing GOP leaders. But an angry Ryan delivered unscripted remarks on the House floor last Wednesday as the farm bill neared passage: "This bill is an absence of leadership. This bill shows we are not leading."

A Column's 45 Years

Thu, 15 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

On May 15, 1963, Rowland Evans and I published our first column. That makes today the 45th anniversary (the first 30 years under the Evans & Novak byline) of the nation's current longest-running syndicated political column.

McCain's Christian Problem

Mon, 12 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

John McCain, who as the Republican candidate for president has spent the past two months trying to consolidate right-wing support, has a problem of disputed dimensions with a vital component of the conservative coalition: evangelicals. The biggest question is whether Mike Huckabee is part of the problem or the solution for McCain.

Tests Ahead for Obama

Thu, 08 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Buyer's remorse was beginning to afflict supporters of Barack Obama before Tuesday's primary election returns showed he had delivered a knockout punch against Hillary Clinton. The young orator who had seemed so fantastic, beginning with his 2007 Jefferson-Jackson dinner speech in Iowa, disappointed even his own advisers over the past two weeks, and old party hands mourned that they were stuck with a flawed candidate.

The Speaker Unchecked

Mon, 05 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Operating outside public view, the House Democratic majority is taking extraordinary steps to maintain spending as usual while awaiting the arrival of a Democratic president. Remarkably, the supine House Republican minority hardly resists and even collaborates with its supposed adversaries.