Politics

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Why has the selection process for speaker of the House as well as the Republican Presidential race been so heated when so many Republicans agree on so many issues? 

"I see this as sort of a division over purity. And also a kind of emphasis on using the primary process to kind circumvent party elite," says Marquette University political science professor Julia Azari.

Walker
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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ended his campaign for President yesterday.  Walker had until recently polled at or near the top among GOP hopefuls, both nationally and in key states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, and had attracted international media attention.  But after some missteps and limited success in two Republican debates, Walker’s poll numbers had fallen to near zero in the last few days.

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While the large field of Republican candidates for President is grabbing most of the headlines, it will be one of the Democratic hopefuls making a case to voters in Milwaukee today. Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, former U.S. Senator and former First Lady, will speak at an event at UW-Milwaukee late this afternoon.

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One candidate who was not a part of last night’s debate was James Webb.  That makes sense, since he’s a Democrat.  The DNC announced its primary debate schedule yesterday, which includes a total of six debates, including one in Wisconsin.  Webb announced his candidacy just before Independence Day, which Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr thinks is significant:

Webb’s Vietnam War novel “Fields of Fire,” published in 1978, is generally recognized as one of the best to result from that war.

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Political analysts describe Wisconsin as purple – neither liberalism’s traditional blue, nor conservatism’s typical red.  The state’s deep political divides are well-documented, but often in terms of political party or philosophy.

A Wisconsin researcher is looking at a divide of a different kind. Kathy Cramer, a political science professor at UW-Madison, has been researching the rural-urban gap and how it affects Wisconsin politics.

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A lot has happened in foreign policy this past month. The Greek economic crisis continues and the International Monetary Fund is warning of a gloomy outlook for the Eurozone; the Iran nuclear arms deal has been accepted by all parties; and the United States and Cuba continue to move ever closer to normal diplomatic relations after decades.

In addition, President Obama has been on a state visit to Africa since last Friday. Foreign policy contributor Art Cyr comments on the President's message to Africa and the many other recent events underway across the Atlantic:

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Over the course of the budget process that was recently completed, questions were asked about whether Governor Walker’s presumptive Presidential campaign affected the negotiation process.

Now that Walker’s campaign is no longer just presumptive, more questions are being asked about the campaign’s implications for public policy in Wisconsin.

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Governor Scott Walker's official presidential campaign announcement is receiving plenty of national attention - including from National Public Radio.

While NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley was in Wisconsin to cover the announcement, he stopped by Lake Effect to chat about Walker's presidential run.

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The fight against the so-called "Islamic State" movement in the Middle East dominates much of the world news headlines, along with the crises in South Sudan and in Syria. But there are several other international stories that haven't drawn as much attention in the media in this country.

Among them is the looming economic crisis in Greece. Professor of political economy and world business at Carthage College Art Cyr starts his update on foreign policy issues with Greece.

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House and Senate conferees are in the process of working on a revised federal budget package that will eventually come before the respective houses of Congress for a vote.

As is often the case, Republicans are seeking cuts in domestic spending while some increases in spending on defense programs. Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping to preserve a variety of social service programs.

Analysts say an uncommon atmosphere of compromise is in the background as the work goes on.  But will that spirit enter the budget talks?

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As the debate over Governor Walker’s proposed budget continues in the Wisconsin legislature, the statewide story is getting an unprecedented amount of national coverage.

Meanwhile, Scott Walker’s probable presidential bid has led many local media outlets to turn reporters normally on a Wisconsin-specific beat into national political reporters.

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As many had predicted for some time, Hillary Clinton finally, officially, threw her hat in the ring as a candidate for president in 2016.

That long-anticipated candidacy is, for some, more evidence of the rising stature of women in political life.  But Dorothy Thomas would contend there is a lot more to the prominence of women in society than any one candidate, or potential candidate.

Arizona Theatre Company performance
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Rick Cleveland cut his teeth as a playwright working in Chicago – he went on to big things, like winning an Emmy for his writing on the political drama, The West Wing.  Later it was the TV series Six Feet Under, and more recently, the new political drama House of Cards.

Despite his success on the small screen, Cleveland’s latest work combines his interest in Presidential politics with his love for writing for the stage.

Congress is taking up a one trillion dollar spending bill that would keep the federal government in business through the end of the fiscal year. But that news is unlikely to signal a watershed new era in bipartisan cooperation in the capital.

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It’s been just over a month since sweeping victories by Republican candidates around the country, and here in Wisconsin. 

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