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Collegiality in 110th Congress Enhanced by Rosie-Donald Junk News Feud

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As Democrats took control of Congress this week, a few reports have emerged of an apparent camaraderie between the outgoing Republicans and the incoming Democrats. Some of these reports deal with the trivial—such as Democrats taking a break from the new session as per outgoing new House Minority Leader John Boehner's request (Boehner, from Ohio, stressed the importance of a session delay due to Monday's Ohio State-Flordia BCS championship game). Other reports have linked the policy positions of Senate Republicans to their Democratic counterparts, speaking together in a more unified, outspoken critical fashion about George W. Bush's plan in Iraq (notably Norm Coleman (MN), Gordon Smith (OR), Olympia Snowe (ME), and, as he has for several months, Chuck Hagel (NE)). Reports even emerged (mostly on the Internet) that Senator Snowe would back the Democratic caucus to prevent a GOP takeover of the Senate, in the event SD Democratic Senator Tim Johnson could not convene with the new session and was replaced by a Republican by SD GOP Governor Tim Rounds.

Whether or not there is a new, true esprit de corps on Capitol Hill is doubtful, but the collegiality of Congress in its first week is enhanced by the fact that the news media—even the borderline 'straight' news media and prominent commentators like Bill O'Reilly—are spending at least as much air time covering the battle royale between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell. The alternately inane and humorous exchanges between these headline-hungry personalities have made the opposing parties in Washington, D.C. seem like bosom buddies in comparison. Now that quasi-serious news journalist Barbara Walters has been dragged into the Rosie-Donald fight, the story likely has legs through another few news cycles. As a result, Congress is experiencing a true "Honeymoon" period. As the news media becomes more preoccupied with entertainment non-news, the amount of ink and airtime spent on the serous political debates and differences between the parties on Capitol Hill seems to take a backseat.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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