August 12, 2008 | 4:37 AM EDT
Some years back, a newspaper comic strip showed lemmings running toward a cliff. One said to another, “Don’t worry, this was a bipartisan decision.” That, in a nutshell, is how Washington sometimes works. As long as both parties agree to an idea, everyone assumes the idea must be correct. Even if it’s not. Consider spending. For more than a decade the Republican Party controlled the purse strings in Congress. Spending soared during those years, jumping by one third between 2000 and 2006 under a Republican president.
August 11, 2008 | 10:58 AM EDT
Electricity is so commonplace that no one gives any thought to not having access to it. Few give any consideration to how it is generated, but we are now being inundated with the most virulent nonsense about how wind or solar power is “clean” and practically “free.” Every week there’s some new proposal to cover the nation with wind farms and solar panels.
August 11, 2008 | 10:37 AM EDT
“Welcome to the four-day working week,” with apologies to Elvis Costello. That’s right, the four-day work week has arrived – at least according to the media and assorted politicians. High gas prices have given way to a new kind of highway robbery as taxpayers are left with no real choice. They either get a 25-percent increase in taxes or a 20-percent cut in services.
August 8, 2008 | 9:18 AM EDT
This past week we have heard non-stop about the “race card.” This is one of the most long-running uses of it in the political process. I first heard the term used when President Lyndon B. Johnson tried to force a reluctant Congress to pass a Great Society-type program in 1964 by invoking the memory of his predecessor, President John F. Kennedy. “He is using the JFK card,” we were told.
August 8, 2008 | 7:12 AM EDT
In his 1937 “Great Contemporaries,” Winston Churchill wrote, “Whatever else may be thought about (Hitler’s) exploits, they are among the most remarkable in the whole history of the world.”
August 7, 2008 | 11:49 AM EDT
When Congress returns after Labor Day, Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will introduce the American Energy Act. He means it to be the definitive program his party should pursue as it faces the general election in a couple of months. The measure has three distinctive parts. First, there is American-made energy. The bill would open deep-water resources. Blunt projects that this will add three million barrels of oil a day as well as 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
August 7, 2008 | 6:43 AM EDT
The conventional wisdom has it down pat: A bad economy works against the candidate from the party in power, as voters take out their rage and fear on the president’s party and back the challenger, just like they did in 1992. But this is not a normal economic slowdown (or recession), and Obama is not a normal challenger. I think the conventional wisdom may be dead wrong.
August 6, 2008 | 11:30 AM EDT
I spent the period from the late 1980s to 2000 teaching our form of government to the people of the Soviet Union. They were fascinated to hear of a system in which the government worked for the people and not the reverse. I wonder what these eager students of the American Republic think about what happened last week as Congress went home for five weeks without permitting any vote on exploration for oil and gas as people struggle to pay to cool their homes or to fill their gas tanks.
August 6, 2008 | 4:22 AM EDT
The Democratic Speaker of the House and a co-author hired to try to add flavor to bland Beltway establishment oatmeal have penned a self-help book for “America’s daughters” to help them “Know Your Power.” It’s a dreadfully pedestrian text (“As long as we recognize the power within us, we will continue to have choices, and we will continue to lead”), surpassed in its dreadfulness only by the timing of its publication.
August 6, 2008 | 4:17 AM EDT
The 2008 presidential election cycle has been jam-packed with irony. John McCain has been forced to rely on the 527 groups he so despises; Barack Obama has been denounced by members of the black community but embraced by upper class whites; the Clintons have been rejected by the very media that put them in power. But perhaps the most ironic fact of the 2008 election cycle is this: John McCain will win the 2008 election because the war in Iraq was not a war for oil.