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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.

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?

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Liberty opportunity for the court

WASHINGTON — Come Tuesday, the national pastime will be the subject of oral arguments in a portentous Supreme Court case. This pastime is not baseball but rent seeking — the unseemly yet uninhibited scramble of private interests to bend government power for their benefit. If the court directs a judicial scowl at North Carolina’s State Board of Dental Examiners, the court will thereby advance a basic liberty — the right of Americans to earn a living without unreasonable government interference.

A question of leadership

WASHINGTON — Disloyal or not, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has delivered a root-and-branch critique of President Barack Obama’s approach to the Middle East.

Is Christie running?

NEWARK, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie could be forgiven if he had chips on both shoulders as big as those shoulders. This year, the first of his second term, has been overshadowed by often partisan investigations, more protracted than productive, of the involvement of several of his former aides — he fired them — in the closing of some access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

Gratitude? Fuggedaboutit

WASHINGTON — As Ken Burns’ superb documentary on the Roosevelts reminded us, “Happy Days Are Here Again” is one of the most evocative anthems in the history of the Democratic Party. You have to ask: Why aren’t the Democrats, and the country, singing it loudly now?