The Corner

‘Pinkerton’s Law of Political Regression’ Remains in Force

John Boehner’s debut speech as Speaker was both cheerful and humble. He was upbeat about what could be done in the 112th Congress, but humble about his place in the world, citing his Catholic faith’s injunction toward personal humility.

He also cited old Republican verities, such as the need for economy in government — even as he made clear that past GOP leaders had not always lived up to that limited-government tradition. After the Bush years, the Republican party does, indeed, seem to be returning to its businesslike approach to governance.

So far so good. But Pinkerton’s Law of Political Regression says, “Things are never as bad as you fear — or as good as you hope.” There was never much danger that Barack Obama was going to succeed in remaking a center-right country into a green-left version of Hyde Park, Chicago. And similarly, there isn’t much prospect that the mid-20th-century pillars of the welfare state are going to be repealed.

The change we need will come, if it comes, from the usual suspects: innovation and mass production. Few politicians, in either party, can ever see that change in advance, but we don’t need them to. 

— James P. Pinkerton, a domestic-policy aide in the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, is a Fox News contributor and the editor of the Serious Medicine Strategy blog.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More