Growth, Not Redistribution
‘A 2008 election widely regarded as heralding a shift toward the more government-friendly public sentiment of the New Deal and Great Society eras seems to have yielded just the reverse.”
So writes William Galston, Brookings Institution scholar and deputy domestic adviser ...
Still Undecided in New Hampshire
We’re three weeks out from the New Hampshire primary, and voters in the Granite State don’t seem to have settled firmly on one of the Republican presidential candidates.
Or so one might conclude after interviewing voters in the ...
Manchester, N.H. — “We’re not going to lose in New Hampshire.” So says Mitt Romney’s state coordinator, Jason McBride.
Stuart Stevens, the Romney campaign’s TV ad-maker, expresses similar confidence. Asked if Romney might finish second in New ...
Obama Abandons the Working Class
Has Barack Obama’s Democratic party given up on winning the votes of the white working class? Thomas Edsall, the longtime Washington Post reporter now with the Huffington Post, thinks so.
Surveying the plans of Democratic strategists, Edsall wrote in ...
Romney: Stuck in the Fifties
One question I sometimes have been asked about this presidential campaign goes something like this: Why does Mitt Romney sound so corny?
Actually, phrasing it that way suggests the answer. “Corny” is a word you don’t hear people say ...
The New Rules of Campaigning
We are in the midst of the eleventh presidential-nominating cycle since party commissions and state laws made primaries the predominant method of choosing national-convention delegates in 1972.
Over the years, politicians and journalists develop rules of thumb to describe how these ...
Obama Has a Knack for Ticking off America’s Friends
The election of Barack Obama, we were told, would bring new respect and friendship for America in the world.
No longer would we be led by a Texas cowboy ignorant of and indifferent to world opinion. Instead, we would have ...
Working for Fun Is No Laughs in Market Capitalism
Some of my friends in the conservative blogosphere have been ridiculing a New Yorker named Joe Therrien. I want to put in a good word for him.
Therrien appears in the lead paragraph of a story in The Nation on ...
Cain Catches Flak, but Will It Shoot Down His Candidacy?
Washington was all a-Twitter (literally) Monday over Politico’s story about the sexual-harassment charges against Herman Cain — and about Cain’s serial self-contradictions.
Faithful Fox News viewers saw him in the afternoon saying he didn’t know the ...
The Revolt Against Experts
At the moment, national polls show Herman Cain leading or tied for the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. This, despite the fact that he has never won an election, has never held public office (except on ...
Letting In Some High-Skilled Immigrants
We’ve been hearing a lot about immigration on the campaign trail, most of it based on outdated assumptions and echoing the arguments made when Congress was considering so-called comprehensive-immigration-reform bills in 2006 and 2007.
But up on Capitol Hill, there appears ...
Congress, Governors Nix Obama’s High-Speed Trains
Dead. Kaput. Through. Finished. Washed up. Gone-zo.
That, I think, is a fair description of the Obama administration’s attempt to build high-speed-rail lines across America.
It hasn’t failed because of a lack of willingness to pony up money. ...
Leadership, said New Jersey governor Chris Christie in his press conference Tuesday announcing he would not reverse his decision not to run for president, is something you can’t be taught or learn. “Leadership today in America has to be ...
Mitch Daniels Dares GOP Candidates to Be Grown-ups
Indiana governor Mitch Daniels did not attract as large a crowd when he spoke at the American Enterprise Institute (where I am a resident fellow) earlier this week as he did several months ago, before he disappointed admirers by announcing ...
What ‘Developing’ Countries Can Teach the U.S.
As Barack Obama huffs and puffs about his tax plan, which is unlikely to pass in the Democratic-majority Senate, much less the Republican-controlled House, Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, has provided a much broader view of where the ...
One factor favoring President Obama’s reelection, according to a recent article by political scientist Alan Lichtman, is the absence of scandal in his administration.
Lichtman may have spoken too soon.
The reason can be encapsulated in a single word: ...
GOP Needs a Frontrunner Stronger Than Candidate X
The race for the Republican presidential nomination finally seems to be gelling. On Wednesday night, candidates debated at the Reagan Library in California — the first of five scheduled debates over the next five weeks.
They are competing for a nomination ...
Obamacare and the Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas
In the glossy pages of The New Yorker, in graceful prose and with good reporting, the dreams and nightmares of the admirers of Barack Obama and his policies lie exposed.
The dreams include Ryan Lizza’s report last ...
Traveling Back to the Future on Inter-City Buses
Not long ago, I wrote about how the private sector outraces and laps government. While governments dither and dispute, the private sector discovers.
The example I mentioned then was energy. For years, governments, national and local, have been promoting wind ...
Pundits lately have been comparing Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter, suggesting he is a likely loser in 2012. But my American Enterprise Institute colleague Norman Ornstein, writing in The New Republic, compares Obama to Harry S. Truman, suggesting he may outperform ...
Debate Leaves GOP Field Unaltered
Never before has there been a televised presidential candidates debate so short a time before the Iowa Republicans’ Ames Straw Poll. Last night’s debate, co-sponsored by the Washington Examiner and Fox News Channel, provided plenty of spirited conflict and ...
How Iowa’s Straw Poll Can Lead to the Presidency
Why Iowa? It was the 29th state to be admitted to the Union, it is the 30th state in population, it has given the nation Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. It has long ...
Chasing Votes by Promising to Do Impossible Things
‘Leading from behind.” That’s what an unnamed White House aide told the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza that Barack Obama was doing on Libya.
It’s an apt description of Obama’s feckless handling of the debt-ceiling debate. He ...
The Republican Generation?
Most presidents affect the standings of their political parties. Ronald Reagan advanced his party’s standing among young voters. So did Bill Clinton.
In his first term, George W. Bush helped Republicans equal Democrats in party identification in the 2004 exit ...
Will College Bubble Burst from Public Subsidies?
When governments want to encourage what they believe is beneficial behavior, they subsidize it. Sounds like good public policy.
But there can be problems. Behavior that is beneficial for most people may not be so for everybody. And government subsidies ...
New Reality Emerging on Illegal Immigration
The United States is a country that has been peopled largely by vast surges of migration — from the British Isles in the 18th century, from Ireland and Germany in the 19th century, from Eastern and Southern Europe in the early 20...
Racial Quotas, Speech Codes, and the Thought Police
It’s racially discriminatory to prohibit racial discrimination. That’s the bottom line of a decision issued last Friday, just before the Fourth of July weekend, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
The case was ...
Why the Civil Service Is No Way to Run a Business
What’s the fair way to run a large organization? That’s a question that is squarely, and interestingly, raised by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, a Supreme Court case decided last week.
Feds Crack Down on Campus Flirting and Sex Jokes
When I was growing up, it was widely believed that colleges and universities were the part of our society with the widest scope for free expression and free speech. In the conformist America of the 1950s, the thinking ran, few ...
Romney Leads, Bachmann Gains on Pawlenty
Barack Obama did not watch the Republican presidential candidates’ debate in Manchester, N.H., on Monday night, we are told. He was busy addressing a campaign-fundraising event in Miami.
If Obama had Tivoed the debate, he would have seen a ...
Free Market Drives the Energy Boom
There’s an awful lot that’s stale in the debate on government energy policy.
Some stale arguments are nevertheless valid: It’s dangerous to depend heavily on Middle Eastern oil. Others have increasingly been seen as dubious: that global ...
Defense Secretary Robert Gates leaves office this month as widely respected as any public figure in America today, appreciated for his willingness to return to public service at a moment of high danger in Iraq and to faithfully serve presidents ...
Question: What do the following have in common? Eckert Cold Storage Co., Kerly Homes of Yuma, Classic Party Rentals, West Coast Turf Inc., Ellenbecker Investment Group Inc., Only in San Francisco, Hotel Nikko, International Pacific Halibut Commission, City of Puyallup, ...
Gingrich and Romney Run Against the GOP
Exit Mike Huckabee. Enter Newt Gingrich. Exit Donald Trump. It’s been a busy week in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
A few questions remain to be answered. Enter Mitch Daniels? Exit Sarah Palin? But already two of ...
History Weeps at the Partition of India and Pakistan
When you get into discussions about the Middle East with certain people, you start hearing that the great mistake was the partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. If that had somehow just not happened, ...
To Get Bin Laden, Obama Relied on Policies He Decried
Let’s cheerfully and ungrudgingly give credit to Barack Obama for approving the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.
In my column last Monday, I criticized Obama’s foreign policy, which was characterized by one ...
The GOP Race, Post-Barbour
Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s abrupt withdrawal from the race for the Republican presidential nomination — after hiring a top-notch New Hampshire campaign manager and planning to fly around the country next week — has naturally inspired a lot of punditry on ...
Taxing the Rich Won’t Increase Revenues
Did Barack Obama take Tax 1 in law school? I did, and I remember the first day of classes, when mild-mannered Prof. Boris Bittker asked a simple question, “What is income?”
I was pretty confident I could come up with a ...
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank attracted some attention when he promised not to mention Sarah Palin for a month. He kept his promise. The republic and the Post survived.
I’ve got a similar proposal for political columnists and reporters. ...
‘My worst experience was the financial crisis of September 2008,” responded House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan yesterday to a reporter’s question about Democrats’ attacks on the budget he unveiled earlier in the day.
“What if the president and your ...
Has the wind gone out of the sails of the small-government movement? Is the Tea Party going through a hangover?
You can find some evidence for these propositions. In Washington, Democrats such as former party chairman Howard Dean gleefully anticipate ...
The Damning Contradictions of Obama’s Attack on Libya
Let’s imagine that all goes well in Libya. The rebels, protected by air strikes, recapture lost territory and sweep into Tripoli. Moammar Qaddafi and his sons one way or the other disappear.
Leaders propose a democratic and secular constitution ...
On Libya and Budget, Obama Votes ‘Present’
In the Illinois legislature, state senator Barack Obama voted “present” 129 times. Today, he seems to be voting present on two major issues — Libya and the budget.
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told reporters Thursday that the United States and other ...
Who’s to Blame for Union Woes?
The labor-union movement is in deep trouble. Only 6 percent of private-sector employees are union members.
Voters are beginning to realize, thanks to governors like Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, that public-sector unions have negotiated unsustainable ...
Why Support the Tea Party?
It’s a question that puzzles most liberals and bothers some conservatives. Why are so many modest-income white voters rejecting the Obama Democrats’ policies of economic redistribution and embracing the small-government policies of the Tea Party movement?
It’s not ...
As congressional Republicans mull whether to address the government’s long-term fiscal problems — House Republican leaders are being pushed by the 87 freshmen to do so, while some Senate Republicans are seeking some bipartisan accords with Democratic colleagues — two Republican governors ...
It looks like 2/11/11 will go down in history with 11/9/89, not 6/4/89. 6/4/89 is when the Chinese military obeyed orders to massacre protesters in Tiananmen Square; 11/9/89 is when East German leaders announced the opening of the Berlin Wall and declined to order border ...
Most campaign rhetoric and political punditry is underpinned by an assumption that perfect solutions are possible, if only people would have the good sense to adopt the candidate’s or the pundit’s course of action. Alas, that is not ...
Numbers can tell a story. Looking back on Barack Obama’s second State of the Union message, and looking forward to the congressional session and the 2012 elections, they tell a story that should leave Democrats uneasy.
Start off with the ...
Shriver, Lieberman, and JFK
Last Thursday was the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, and while the anniversary did not go unmentioned, it got less attention than I had expected. I suspect that those of us who can remember that snowy ...
The world usually turns out to work differently from what American presidents expected while campaigning.
Franklin Roosevelt campaigned on domestic issues in 1932 and ran a more isolationist foreign policy for his first years in office than any of the Republican ...
A Democrat Reaches Across the Aisle
It’s highly unusual in a presidential debate for two Republican candidates — the two leading in current national polls — to heap praise on a liberal Democratic senator.
But in the Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Thursday night, both ...
Barack Obama, his job approval languishing in the low 40s, delivered a much-heralded speech in Osawatomie, Kan., framing the choice between the parties in class-warfare terms.
That’s a risky strategy. Democrats haven’t won a presidential election on class ...
Newt, the Perseverant Autodidact
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about Newt Gingrich, as he leads in polls for the Republican presidential nomination nationally and in Iowa and South Carolina, and may be threatening Mitt Romney’s lead in New ...
Entitlements, Not Tax Cuts, Widen the Wealth Gap
What should be done about income inequality? That basic question underlies the arguments hashed out in the supercommittee and promises to be a central issue in the presidential campaign.
Supercommittee Democrats argue that income inequality has been increasing and can ...
Supercommittee members Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Jeb Hensarling are taking flak from some conservatives for proposing a deal including increases in “revenues,” and a Washington Post reporter had some fun insinuating that they were backing a tax-rate ...
Tea Partiers, Like Peaceniks,
It irritates members of both groups when I note the similarities of the tea-party movement that swept the nation in the 2010 election and the peace movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
But they are similar. Both movements represent ...
Upset Political Order
Herman Cain, beleaguered by charges of sexual harassment, was all over Washington last week — an odd choice of venue, considering that the Iowa precinct caucuses are now just 58 days away and the New Hampshire primary 65.
But as I learned when ...
The argument is being made in some quarters that, however unsuccessful Barack Obama’s domestic policies have been, his record in foreign policy has been successful. But when you examine the claims of success, they seem a bit peculiar.
Cult of Global Warming Is Losing Influence
Religious faith is a source of strength in many people’s lives. But religious faith when taken too far can prove ludicrous — or disastrous.
On Oct. 22, 1844, thousand of Millerites, having sold all their possessions, climbed to the top of hills ...
Romney Buoyed by Good Luck — and Hard Experience
Napoleon is supposed to have said that the quality he most valued in his generals was luck. In the current race for the Republican presidential nomination, Napoleon’s favorite would clearly be Mitt Romney.
One lucky break after another has ...
Pres. Barack Obama obviously is scrambling in his attempt to win reelection. He has proclaimed himself the underdog and has given up his pretense of being a pragmatic centrist compromiser in favor of harsh class-warfare rhetoric.
But it’s worth ...
Is Herman Cain a Contender?
Is Herman Cain a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination? It’s a question no one in the pundit world was asking until the past week.
Cain has never held public office. When he ran for the Senate in ...
The GOP Still Needs a Candidate
The Republicans’ presidential debate Thursday night sponsored by Fox News and Google gave primary voters and caucus-goers at least one good reason to reject every candidate on the stage. The interesting question now is whether someone else will enter the ...
President of the Unionized States
Barack Obama has been at pains to convince voters that he cares about jobs. It seems to be a hard sell.
But he can definitely demonstrate that he cares about certain jobs — the 7 percent of private-sector jobs and 36 percent of ...
The President's Pathetic, Pedestrian Speech
What is there to say about Barack Obama’s speech to Congress Thursday night, and the so-called American Jobs Act he said Congress must pass? Several thoughts occur, all starting with P.
Projection. That’s psychologist-speak term for projecting your ...
Obama’s Jobs Speech: The Audacity of Weakness
I can’t remember a more stunning rebuke of a president by a congressional leader than House speaker John Boehner’s refusal to agree to Pres. Barack Obama’s demand — er, request — that he summon a joint session of Congress ...
The Price of Entitlements
Some of a society’s most intractable problems come not from its failures but from its successes. Often you can’t get a good thing without paying a bad price.
A prime example is our public old-age-pension system, Social Security. ...
Our Gay-Marriage Experiment
One of the few issues on which opinion has moved left over the last few years is same-sex marriage. In 1996, Gallup found that Americans opposed it by a 68 percent to 27 percent margin. Last May, Gallup found Americans in favor by 53 ...
Ames, Iowa — This has been quite a week or ten days for Republicans. As this is written, down in South Carolina, Rick Perry has just announced he’s running for president, while here in Ames, most of the votes have ...
Des Moines, Iowa — Things look different in the Midwest. Back in Washington, people are talking about Pres. Barack Obama’s poor showing this past week. (Did you see that Maureen Dowd has turned against him?) In Iowa, they’...
Why aren’t voters moving to the left, toward parties favoring bigger government, during what increasingly looks like an economic depression? That’s a question I’ve asked and one that was addressed with characteristic thoughtfulness by Democratic pollster Stanley ...
Leadership and the Debt Ceiling
Everyone seems pretty cross at this juncture in the fight over raising the debt limit. As this is written, the House has just passed the bill that Speaker John Boehner yanked from the floor Thursday night and then revised with ...
To Get a Mandate, GOP Must Win Another Election
Those who consider themselves constitutional conservatives should take care to consider not only the powers that the Constitution confers on the different branches of government and reserves to the states and the people, but also the schedule that the Constitution ...
What the Debt-Limit Battle Is All About
It’s hard to keep up with all the arguments and proposals in the debt-limit struggle. But what’s at stake is fundamental.
The bedrock issue is whether we should have a larger and more expensive federal government. Over many ...
Some of us called it the man-cession. In the deep recession that lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, many more men than women lost their jobs.
The imbalance was huge. The Bureau of ...
A Property-Holders’ Democracy
One of the interesting things about our country, the independence of which the Founders declared 235 years ago today, is that we have been a property-holders’ democracy.
This is not something the Founders originally advocated. While they protested taxation by a ...
Which past leader does Barack Obama most closely resemble? His admirers, not all of them liberals, used to compare him to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.
Well, Obama announced his candidacy in Lincoln’s hometown two days before Abe’s ...
Responding to the Recession
Two years ago, in June 2009, the American economy emerged from recession, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. But as this week’s Economist noted, with typical British understatement, “The recovery has been a disappointment.”
And it ...
Exit Newt Gingrich. Well, not quite yet, officially. On his Facebook page, Gingrich says he will endure “the rigors of campaigning for public office” and “will carry the message of American renewal to every part of this great land, whatever ...
Unsurprising Jobs Numbers
Last week, I noted that various forms of the word “unexpected” almost inevitably appeared in news stories about unfavorable economic developments.
You can find them again in stories about Friday’s shocking news, that only 54,000 net new jobs were created ...
As megablogger Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, has noted with amusement, the word “unexpectedly,” or variants thereof, keeps cropping up in mainstream-media stories about the economy.
“New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed,” reported cnbc.com May 25.
Obama Channels W. Except on Israel and Palestinians
‘The State Department is a fitting venue,” declared Barack Obama at the beginning of his speech on the Middle East last Thursday.
That’s curious because in three-quarters of his speech Obama repudiated most of what has been traditional State ...
Obama, Hypocrisy, and Immigration
Barack Obama’s immigration speech in El Paso on May 10 was an exercise in electioneering and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy because, while Obama complained about “politicians” blocking comprehensive immigration bills, he was one of them himself.
In 2007, when such a bill was ...
What the GOP Can Learn from Canada’s Conservatives
Some years ago, the columnist and editor Michael Kinsley sponsored a contest to come up with the most boring headline. The winner was “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.”
Well, Canada held an election last Monday, and the result was anything but boring. ...
Sometimes a sympathetic and perceptive journalist paints a more devastating portrait of a public figure than even his most vitriolic detractors could. A prime example is Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker article titled “The Consequentialist,” and subtitled “How the Arab ...
The End of the Defined Benefit
The defined benefit is dying. Barack Obama is struggling to keep it alive, but it’s apparent that it’s something that even as bounteously rich a society as ours can’t afford.
Yes, I know that “defined benefit” is ...
Barack Obama is a politician who likes to follow through on long-term strategies and avoid making course corrections. He believes that’s how he won in 2008, and since then he has shown that he’s not much into details.
Spending Cuts Are Hot in the Political Marketplace
One of the things that fascinate me about American politics is how the voices of the voters as registered in elections and polls are transformed into changes in public policy. It’s a rough-and-ready process, with plenty of trial and ...
Demographic Death for the GOP?
Are whites on the verge of becoming a minority of the American population? That’s what some analysts of the 2010 Census results claim. Many go on, sometimes with relish, to say that this spells electoral doom for the Republican party.
Home Is Where the Growth Is
The Census Bureau last week released county and city populations for the last of the 50 states from the 2010 Census last week, ahead of schedule. Behind the columns of numbers are many vivid stories of how our nation has been changing — ...
The Problem with Primaries
The weakest part of our political system is the presidential-nomination process. And it’s not coincidental that it’s the part of the federal system that finds least guidance in the Constitution.
There is no provision in the Constitution that ...
What do they put in the water cooler at NPR? First, they fire Juan Williams in October for comments he made on Fox News Channel — and Vivian Schiller, the CEO of public radio, smilingly suggests he needs to have his ...
Government-Shutdown Blame Game
Sometimes you get an idea of the way opinion is headed by the phrases you don’t hear. A case in point: In all the discussion and debate these past weeks about a possible government shutdown if Congress and President ...
Everyone has priorities. During the past week, Barack Obama has found no time to condemn the attacks that Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi has launched on the Libyan people.
But he did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television ...
One way to judge the merits of the budget Barack Obama unveiled this week is by the comments of his political allies. “It’s not enough to focus primarily on the non-security discretionary part of the budget,” said Senate Budget ...
Vanishing Democratic Moderates
Political pundits of a certain stripe have been lamenting the disappearance of Republican moderates for years. It’s time now to lament the disappearance of moderate Democrats.
Last month, Sen. Joseph Lieberman announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. He lost ...
Obama’s Antique Vision of Technological Progress
Barack Obama, like all American politicians, likes to portray himself as future-oriented and open to technological progress. Yet the vision he set out in his State of the Union address is oddly antique and disturbingly static.
“This is our generation’...
Old Rules Won’t Determine GOP Presidential Candidate
The weakest part of our political system, by a considerable margin, is the presidential nominating process. It tends to exclude from consideration those with the greatest experience in areas that are uniquely the president’s responsibility: foreign policy and military ...
A High-priced Train Wreck
Where can the new Congress start cutting spending? Here’s one obvious answer: high-speed rail. The Obama administration is sending billions of stimulus dollars around the country for rail projects that make no sense and that, if they are ever ...