WASHINGTON -- After every other conservative alternative to Mitt Romney crashed and burned (libertarian Ron Paul is in a category of his own), from the rubble emerges Rick Santorum. But he isn't just the last man standing.
Commentators both left and right agree that Barack Obama's second inaugural speech Monday was highly partisan, with shoutouts to his constituencies on the left and defiance of his critics on the right.
In his first formal press conference in months, Barack Obama showed that getting re-elected can increase a president's confidence and combativeness. He staked out tough stands on several issues, especially on the looming budget negotiations.
Perhaps the most significant and disappointing theme that has run through not only my decades in politics, but my years afterward as a pollster and analyst, has been the GOP's increasing tendency to shy away from anyone or anything that is bold or unique.