A close vote in Ohio keeps the race tough for Mitt Romney and allows the former Pennsylvania senator to stay in the delegate hunt.
STEUBENVILLE, OHIO -- Mitt Romney's people thought Mitt Romney was going to win Ohio on Super Tuesday. Rick Santorum's people thought Mitt Romney was going to win Ohio, too.
But in the end, the result was closer than anyone anticipated, with Romney pulling narrowly ahead late Tuesday night by a margin of a single percentage point. Santorum, who had led early returns for much of the evening, had clearly given Romney a bad scare, and it was enough for him to claim a moral victory.
"We've won races all over this country against the odds," Santorum told a few hundred supporters who gathered in a high-school gymnasium in this Ohio Valley steel town, not far from Pittsburgh on the other side of the Ohio River. "When they thought, 'OK, he's finally finished,' we keep coming back. We are in this thing."
Santorum nearly won this pivotal state despite having been outspent by a wide margin. In the other states that voted, Romney also underperformed somewhat. He won Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia, but Santorum took Oklahoma, Tennessee, and North Dakota, while Newt Gingrich ran away with Georgia.
Santorum's chief strategist, John Brabender, said GOP voters were sending a message to Romney: Not so fast. "He's saying, 'It's halftime, I'm winning, let's call the game.' And people aren't buying it," Brabender said.
The Republican race has taken on a Groundhog Day quality. Every state that votes seems to reset the clock from zero. Every step toward victory by the ostensible front-runner gets greeted by an equal and opposite backlash.
Santorum has proven to be an unexpectedly resilient candidate. Unlike Romney's previous chief rival, Newt Gingrich, he has declined to implode on his own, despite a penchant for regrettable statements and a slapdash campaign operation. The barrage of attacks from Romney and his super PAC do not seem to have convinced voters he's unacceptable.
"He has something you can't buy and can't make up, and that is he's got the ability to connect with people," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who switched his support from Romney to Santorum, his former Senate colleague, a couple of weeks ago. "He may mathematically lose tonight, but he has won."
Romney, meanwhile, "is not improving. He's no better a candidate than he was four years ago," DeWine said.
In his speech here Tuesday night, Santorum signaled he plans to continue his focus on Romney's health-care record, using new evidence of Romney's recent support for federal health-insurance mandates to paint him as not only a traitor to conservatism but deceptive as well. Santorum has yet to explain his own imperfect record on the issue, but it's a topic that undoubtedly resonates with primary voters.
Michael Foit, a 58-year-old delivery truck driver in Amsterdam, Ohio, who came to see Santorum in Steubenville, said he saw Romney's pursuit of health-care reform as indicative of a dangerous openness to government intrusion in people's lives. "I'm leery when it comes to people with socialistic ideas," he said. "We are not a socialistic country."
How big a setback Romney has really been dealt remains to be seen. Next on the calendar come primaries in Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi, all of which could be difficult territory for Romney. Though Gingrich remains a wild card, his failure to perform in Tennessee and Oklahoma -- he finished third, behind Romney, in both states -- doesn't bode well for his supposed strategy of doing well in the South. Santorum hopes that even if Gingrich stays in, voters will now abandon his candidacy as unviable.
Nonetheless, Romney retains a sizable advantage in terms of delegates and will get more delegates out of Ohio because Santorum failed to file delegate slates in some counties. If he does manage to pull it out, it seems clear it will be not with a bang but a whimper. As in Ohio, it will be narrowly, down to the wire, and with the maximum amount of stress and suffering.
Biology textbooks tell us that lichens are alliances between two organisms—a fungus and an alga. They are wrong.
In 1995, if you had told Toby Spribille that he’d eventually overthrow a scientific idea that’s been the stuff of textbooks for 150 years, he would have laughed at you. Back then, his life seemed constrained to a very different path. He was raised in a Montana trailer park, and home-schooled by what he now describes as a “fundamentalist cult.” At a young age, he fell in love with science, but had no way of feeding that love. He longed to break away from his roots and get a proper education.
At 19, he got a job at a local forestry service. Within a few years, he had earned enough to leave home. His meager savings and non-existent grades meant that no American university would take him, so Spribille looked to Europe.
Many point to unromantic 20-somethings and women’s entry into the workforce, but an overlooked factor is the trouble young men have in finding steady, well-paid jobs.
TOKYO—Japan’s population is shrinking. For the first time since the government started keeping track more than a century ago, there were fewer than 1 million births last year, as the country’s population fell by more than 300,000 people. The blame has long been put on Japan’s young people, who are accused of not having enough sex, and on women, who, the narrative goes, put their careers before thoughts of getting married and having a family.
But there’s another, simpler explanation for the country’s low birth rate, one that has implications for the U.S.: Japan’s birth rate may be falling because there are fewer good opportunities for young people, and especially men, in the country’s economy. In a country where men are still widely expected to be breadwinners and support families, a lack of good jobs may be creating a class of men who don’t marry and have children because they—and their potential partners—know they can’t afford to.
A long time ago, beds were expensive—but there's more to it than that.
With a guest in town occupying the second bedroom of our Manhattan apartment, my three-year-old son, a notorious sideways sleeper, bunked with my pregnant wife and me. Too many snores and little feet in the back of my neck, I relocated to the sofa, where I was blessed with the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months.
As a self-diagnosed insomniac, a good night’s rest for me lasts anywhere from three to five hours. I generally break up the slumber with walks around the apartment, followed by lying awake and unearthing inconsequential paranoia that, come morning, will not live up to the hype. When I hear people claim they get eight hours of sleep each night, they might as well be talking about the Loch Ness Monster, or alien life. All three are things I suppose it’s possible someone may have encountered, but I cannot personally confirm their existence.
The transcript of the president’s conversation with The New York Times throws his shortcomings into greater relief than ever before.
“Now Donald Trump has finally done it” is a sentence many people have said or written, but which has never yet proven true. As Trump gained momentum during the campaign season, errors that on their own would have stopped or badly damaged previous candidates bounced right off.
These ranged from mocking John McCain as a loser (because “I like people who weren’t captured”), to being stumped by the term “nuclear triad” (the weapons of mass destruction that he as U.S. president now controls), to “when you’re a star ... you can grab ‘em by the pussy” (my onetime employer Jimmy Carter had to spend days in the 1976 campaign explaining away his admission to Playboy that he had sometimes felt “lust in the heart”), to being labelled by an in-party opponent a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” and “a narcissist at a level I don't think this country's ever seen” (the words of his now-supporter Ted Cruz). I kept my list of 152 such moments in the Time Capsule series as the campaign went on.
Why some progressives are minimizing Russia’s election meddling
When it comes to possible collusion with Russia, Donald Trump’s most interesting defenders don’t reside on the political right. They reside on the political left.
Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich aren’t defending a principle. They’re defending a patron. Until recently they were ultra-hawks. Now, to downplay Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections, they sound like ultra-doves. All that matters is supporting their ally in the White House.
For left-wing defenders like Max Blumenthal and Glenn Greenwald, by contrast, ideology is king. Blumenthal and Greenwald loathe Trump. But they loathe hawkish foreign policy more. So they minimize Russia’s election meddling to oppose what they see as a new Cold War.
The president also angrily lashed out at the media and his critics.
President Trump lashed out at the media in a Saturday morning tweetstorm, insisting his authority to issue pardons is “complete” and expressing frustration over stories that revealed Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have lied about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.
“A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions. These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!” the president tweeted, following up by stating that “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS.”
The tacit acknowledgement the president has been thinking about his pardon power in relation to the Russia investigation, and the qualification that no crimes but leaks had been revealed “so far” raised eyebrows among media observers.
The Senate parliamentarian’s rejection of important provisions of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill puts its status in further jeopardy.
On Friday, Senate Democrats released a list of provisions in the Republican health-care bill that the Senate parliamentarian holds can pass via a simple, filibuster-proof majority vote. Among those provisions that didn’t meet her scrutiny are the bill’s plans to defund Planned Parenthood, restrict tax-credit funding for insurance plans that provide abortions, and a six-month “lockout” period from purchasing insurance for people who don’t maintain continuous coverage.
If this preliminary guidance holds, the Better Care Reconciliation Act—which is already in dire straits—seems likely to fail.
The final assessment of the parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, is a critical step in the GOP’s strategy for passing their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Republicans have opted to pass their health-care legislation via the special reconciliation process, under which they can cut debate short in the Senate and thus eliminate indefinite filibusters, which Democrats would certainly use in order to block any attempt to repeal Obamacare. But bills have to follow a certain procedure—called the Byrd Rule—in order to pass by reconciliation.
What’s gained and what’s lost when religion becomes an individualist—or even consumerist—endeavor?
Two perceived qualities of Orthodox Judaism—authenticity and ancientness—are enticing people outside this religious tradition to pay for the chance to sample it. In Israel, secular citizens and foreign visitors willing to fork over $20 to the tour company Israel-2Go can embark on a trip to an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood, where they’ll watch men in black hats and women in long skirts buying challah bread from a kosher bakery while a guide narrates the scene. They can also pay to take a tour of the menorahs in Jerusalem’s Old City alleyways during Hanukkah; eat a five-course Friday night Shabbat meal in the home of an observant family; or hear a lecture about the different nuances of the black-and-white garb worn by men from various ultra-Orthodox sects.
One story that should not slip underneath the radar, however, is a report that the Trump administration has apparently entrusted a small group at the White House to undermine the Iran nuclear accords over the objections of the Departments of State and Defense.
The news says a lot about two very narrow ways in which the administration sees not only Iran but the greater world. First, some members of the administration have failed to see the admittedly very real challenges presented by Iran outside the binary U.S.-Iranian contest for influence in the Middle East. Second, and most importantly, some members of the administration still do not understand that much of what the United States has been able to accomplish over the past two decades has been achieved through coalitions that could actively resist U.S. efforts to roll back those accomplishments.
On Flower Boy the rapper suggests he’s not straight—and struggles with a stigma he helped propagate.
Tyler, the Creator became famous, in part, for being hateful. When his rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (“Odd Future” is fine) caught buzz around 2010, it was because of their delirious energy and Eminem-like love of mayhem. But it was their threats against women and “faggots,” delivered in song and on social media, that elevated them from subculture phenomenon to become essay prompt and political flashpoint. The likes of GLAAD and the band Tegan and Sara declared Tyler poisonous and asked the music industry to stop supporting him. Theresa May, back when she was home secretary of the U.K., took the extraordinary step of banning him from her country because his lyrics “encourage violence and intolerance of homosexuality.”