O Frenzy of Frenzies!

Our National Fascination with Scandal...And How It Could Affect the 2006 Midterm Elections

Your humble servant at the Crystal Ball is embarrassed but compelled to admit that he is drawn to political scandal as others are to pornography. Over the decades I have published several books devoted to the subject, with the lurid titles of Feeding Frenzy, Dirty Little Secrets, and Peepshow. Yes,...

The 2005 American Democracy Conference

Setting the Table: The 2005 Off Year Elections and the 2006 Midterm Elections

The Crystal Ball will return soon with updated commentary and analysis for next year's 2006 midterm elections, as well as another look to the 2008 presidential contest. In the meantime, quench your thirst for perspicacious political ponderings and predictions by attending the 8th Annual American Democracy Conference, presented by the...

Bush’s Long Road Back

Changing Trends in Presidential Popularity

Urgent MEMO to THE PRESIDENT (Or, if he is unavailable: any ol' staffer, even the Assistant Gofer to the Under-Secretary to the Chief of Staff) From: The Crystal Ball Subject: How You Can Recover Things are bad, Mr. President. Really bad. We can tell you already know that, since it...

Hurricane Katrina: Lessons for a Participatory Democracy

When a national emergency strikes, we can depend on our country to come together and display unparalleled generosity and thoughtfulness. We watch as stories of personal triumphs mix with unimaginable tragedies. Those whose lives have been forever altered turn to friends, communities, congregations and the nation as a whole for...

Storm Clouds over 1600

A White House Engulfed by Troubles

Sooner or later, second-term Presidencies go downhill. But George W. Bush's is going downhill a little too quickly for his comfort. Of the post-World War II Chief Executives, only Richard Nixon's second term produced a sharper growth in disapproval than Bush's. Table 1. Second Term Presidential Approval Ratings President Poll...

The Summer Wind in American Politics

Domestic Events Overshadowed by Foreign Terror Acts

"The summer wind came blowin' in from across the sea," as Frank Sinatra famously sang, and clearly the single most significant political development of Summer 2005 has come from abroad. No, not Iraq--there has been no change there in the dismal story of well intentioned plans gone awry, thanks to...

Supreme Questions

The Draft Lottery for a Chance to Ride the Bench

The big story of the moment--there's always a "big story"--is the pending appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor's successor to the Supreme Court. While the NBA held its draft last week, the White House is now moving faster than the New York Knicks' front office to select the best lottery pick...