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Using a bludgeon in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE — It is as remarkable as it is repulsive, the ingenuity with which the Obama administration uses the regulatory state’s intricacies to advance progressivism’s project of breaking nongovernmental institutions to government’s saddle. Eager to sacrifice low-income children to please teachers unions, the Department of Justice wants to destroy Wisconsin’s school choice program. Feigning concern about access for handicapped children, DOJ’s aim is to handicap all disadvantaged children by denying their parents access to school choices of the sort enjoyed by affluent DOJ lawyers.

A job for Congress

Even with 3 percent growth last quarter and unemployment at 5.8 percent, the lowest rate since the summer of 2008, Americans still worry about the economy and with good reason.

Obama and the other electorate

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner has said President Barack Obama would “poison the well” for legislative action on immigration reform by unilaterally issuing executive orders. But how can you poison a well that has already been filled with partisan cyanide?

Our gathering storm

WASHINGTON — When Abraham Lincoln first presented a version of the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet, Secretary of State William Seward warned that issuing it after a defeat would look desperate. Better to wait “until the eagle of victory takes his flight” and then “hang your proclamation about his neck.” Lincoln postponed action until after the Union victory (such as it was) at Antietam.

A murderer’s warped idealism

WASHINGTON — Western reflection about human nature and the politics of the human condition began with the sunburst of ancient Greece 2,500 years ago, but lurched into a new phase 70 years ago with the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps. The Holocaust is the dark sun into which humanity should stare, lest troubling lessons be lost through an intellectual shrug about “the unfathomable.”

Help your community improve health care

Every month we will bring you a column on community initiatives to improve the well-being of the people of Hawaii Island. Along with the state and the nation, we have serious challenges in providing quality medical care and improving the health of our population, while bending the medical cost trend downwards. This is often referred to as the “triple aim” in health care: better quality, better health and lower costs. To achieve any of these three aims, we must work on all three, or we will achieve none.

Obamacare vs. Scaliacare

WASHINGTON — Republican leaders in the House and Senate have made clear that they’ll deploy every weapon in the legislative arsenal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They’ll try to chip away at the taxes that support it and abolish the mandates that make its insurance markets work.

Rethinking U.S. foreign policy

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s coming request for Congress to “right-size and update” the Authorization for Use of Military Force against terrorism will be constitutionally fastidious and will catalyze a debate that will illuminate Republican fissures. They, however, are signs of a healthy development — the reappearance of foreign policy heterodoxy in Republican ranks.

Kasich in the spotlight

WASHINGTON — A week after the midterm elections, Republicans are still browsing through the jewelry store of their victories, admiring this bauble and that. Most of their Senate wins were predicted by the electoral map. The victories of many Republican governors, however, were impressive for extending the map, holding hard-earned territory or crossing demographic barriers.

Obama’s big immigration mistake

WASHINGTON — Back in July, when President Barack Obama was deciding whether to take executive action on immigration before the midterm elections, I got into one of those cable news debates that offer the president unsolicited advice from the unqualified.

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Rethinking Hillary 2016

WASHINGTON — Now that two of the last three Democratic presidencies have been emphatically judged to have been failures, the world’s oldest political party — the primary architect of this nation’s administrative state — has some thinking to do. The accumulating evidence that the Democratic Party is an exhausted volcano includes its fixation with stale ideas, such as the supreme importance of a 23rd increase in the minimum wage. Can this party be so blinkered by the modest success of its third recent presidency, Bill Clinton’s, that it will sleepwalk into the next election behind Hillary Clinton?

Why Obama won’t end up vetoing lots of new bills

A strange amnesia has settled over much of the political world. I can’t count the number of articles I’ve read saying that the new Republican Congress is going to pass all sorts of legislation President Barack Obama will veto. The latest example: George Will’s syndicated column urging the Republicans to pass several bills even if it results in “a blizzard of presidential vetoes.”

Lena Dunham’s bare, naked truth

WASHINGTON — Lena Dunham, creator of the sensational HBO series “Girls” — and now the object of overwrought child abuse accusations by boys on the right — seems the perfect antidote to election fatigue.

What Republicans must do now

WASHINGTON — Unlike the dog that chased the car until, to its consternation, he caught it, Republicans know what do with what they have caught. Having completed their capture of control of the legislative branch, they should start with the following six measures concerning practical governance and constitutional equilibrium:

Only Reagan can be Reagan

WASHINGTON — The Republican debate about the shape of the political future has begun, typically for conservatives, as a fight about the past. As President Barack Obama has become a Jimmy Carter-like figure — hapless, luckless and increasingly friendless — most prospective GOP presidential candidates were positioning themselves as Ronald Reagan’s rightful heir. A thick fog of historical analogy has settled over the Republican field.

Moderate thunder out of Kansas

IOLA, Kan. — The several dozen citizens gathered at a street corner just off the main square of this southeastern Kansas town of 5,600 were polite and friendly in the Midwestern way. They did not look in the least like a band of counterrevolutionaries intent on reversing the direction of the government in Topeka.

The stakes on Tuesday

WASHINGTON — Mix a pitcher of martinis Tuesday evening to fortify yourself against the torrent of election returns painting a pointillist portrait of the nation’s mind. Before you become too mellow to care, consider some indexes of our civic tendencies.