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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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A Bell-ringer in New Jersey

PRINCETON, N.J. — Every 36 years, it seems Jeff Bell disturbs New Jersey’s political order. In 1978, as a 34-year-old apostle of supply-side economics and a harbinger of the Reagan Revolution, he stunned the keepers of the conventional wisdom by defeating a four-term senator, Clifford Case, in the Republican primary. Bell, a Columbia University graduate who fought in Vietnam, lost to Bill Bradley in the 1978 General Election, but in 1982 he went to Washington to help implement President Reagan’s economic policies that produced five quarters of above 7 percent growth and six years averaging 4.6 percent.

Discipline along with love

CLEVELAND — Ginn Academy resembles no urban public school I’ve ever visited: all male, dress shirt and tie, the Socratic method employed in classrooms. School spirit seems imported from the prep school; discipline from the playing field; aspiration from the church pew. Students file in to their weekly assembly to the hymn “You’re Just Right for a Miracle.” One gives a public reading of an essay about his mother: “She sees my potential. She sees what others can’t.” Inspirational speakers often stop by; a West Point graduate from the neighborhood recently left a strong impression.

A better side of America

WASHINGTON — In the first days of the Iraq war 11 years ago, Army reservist Jay Briseno was shot in the back of the head at a Baghdad market. The bullet left him blind, brain-damaged, paralyzed from the neck down and unable to communicate, eat or breathe on his own.

Runaway Obamacare costs will hurt Senate Democrats

As we start the final stretch before the midterm elections, many analysts are convinced that Obamacare isn’t the hot political issue it once was. While the flood of negative publicity about the law has subsided of late, a majority of people still oppose it, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls taken from Sept. 2 to 15. And I’ve always believed the voters’ negative impressions of the law were “baked” into their assessments of Democratic incumbents.

Holder and RFK’s legacy

WASHINGTON — When he announced his leave-taking last week, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke of Robert F. Kennedy as his inspiration for believing that the Justice Department “can and must always be a force for that which is right.”