Not all important public policy reforms come from Washington. Really lasting reforms can percolate from the bottom up, brewed by citizens with a grievance pushing state and local governments to act.
Consider the case of Right to Try legislation. These are state laws that allow doctors to prescribe investigational medicines being safely used ...Read more
Sherlock Holmes famously solved the mystery of the Silver Blaze by noting the dog that didn't bark in the night. It strikes me that in this wild and woolly campaign cycle there have been numerous dogs not barking in the night, or in the daytime either.
Start with the race for the Democratic nomination, which has not unrolled as predicted. ...Read more
In November 1964 a crowd of 5,000 attended the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, then the longest suspension bridge in the world. Presiding were New York Mayor Robert Wagner, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and transportation and parks czar Robert Moses. Also in the crowd was a teenager named Donald Trump.
Trump later told a New York Times ...Read more
Scott Walker's abrupt withdrawal from the Republican presidential race Monday afternoon shows how different, in ways noticed and unnoticed, this campaign cycle is from those of recent years.
One obvious difference is the size of the Republican field -- 17, before Walker's withdrawal and Rick Perry's withdrawal 10 days before. That has made ...Read more
As the 2016 presidential selection process proceeds, there is increasing evidence that the political patterns we have grown used to, that we have come to consider permanent, might be suddenly changing.
Those patterns include a polarized and closely divided electorate, with partisan preferences highly correlated with degree of religiosity, ...Read more
Human beings are hard-wired to protect young children. That's the easiest explanation of the rush of Europeans -- especially, but not only, elites -- to welcome huge numbers of refugees after publication of the picture of a dead three-year-old boy on a Turkish beach.
In response, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would take in 800,000 as ...Read more
In this presidential cycle, voters in both parties, to the surprise of the punditocracy, are rejecting experienced political leaders. They're willfully suspending disbelief in challengers who would have been considered laughable in earlier years.
Polls show more Republicans preferring three candidates who have never held elective office over 14...Read more
Some time in the early evening of Wednesday, London time, Queen Elizabeth II broke a record: she became the longest-serving monarch in British history, beating her great-great-grandmother Victoria's reign of 63 years and 216 days. She is also, at 89, by a solid stretch the longest-lived British monarch.
And still busy at work, with hundreds ...Read more
I've seen this movie before. And for the last 25 years, I thought I'd never have to watch it again. But now it's playing, not in theaters, but all over mainstream media, with something like rave reviews from the president and his administration.
The theme of the movie is that there is an epidemic of racist white policemen, gunning down ...Read more
Aside from the court-ordered dribbling out of Hillary Clinton's classified-material-filled emails, the big presidential campaign news of the summer has been the boom for Donald Trump in the race for the Republican nomination. Trump has risen from 3 percent in the polls (when he announced on June 16) to where he now stands at 26 percent -- 14 ...Read more
In my last column, I looked at the possibility of two impossible things -- impossible things in the sense used by Alice and the Red Queen -- happening in the already turbulent 2016 presidential cycle. Here I'll look at another: the possibility that the partisan division lines that have endured with little change for two decades might suddenly ...Read more
"One can't believe impossible things," Alice objected.
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," the Red Queen replied. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
You may be reading this sometime after breakfast, and six is a pretty large ...Read more
Reporters and voters have so far gotten few glimpses of Hillary Clinton speaking candidly. One of the few examples available is in the videotape and transcript of her meeting with Black Lives Matter protesters in New Hampshire last week.
Clinton handled herself adeptly, but her effort to propitiate the protesters spotlights a problem ...Read more
Donald Trump's six-page platform on immigration may not be, as Ann Coulter wrote, "the greatest political document since the Magna Carta." But given the issue's role in elevating the candidate to leading Republican polls, it merits serious attention.
And at least some of the platform's planks are serious. Trump calls for nationwide use, ...Read more
In 1935 George Dangerfield published "The Strange Death of Liberal England, 1910-1914," a vivid account of how Britain's center-left Liberal Party, dominant for a century, collapsed amid conflicts it could not resolve.
The Liberal Party had appeared impregnable. Its cabinet in 1910 included Herbert Asquith (in the midst of the longest ...Read more
August is traditionally a vacation month, and East Coast elites, following European tradition, are thick on the ground in the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard (the Obamas' choice) and Nantucket.
But news -- in some cases, shattering news -- keeps breaking out all over, at home and abroad this August. Actually that's not unusual. Saddam Hussein ...Read more
Thursday was the biggest night of the political year so far, for what happened on the stage at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena and for what happened offstage as well.
The stage was the scene of the first two Republican presidential debates, hosted by Fox News, which together lasted some 200 minutes between 5 and 11 p.m. EDT. What happened there...Read more
Why did Fox News decide to schedule two Republican presidential debates rather than one? Simple arithmetic: 90 minutes divided by 17 candidates equals 5 minutes and 29 seconds apiece. That's scarcely enough time for the oral equivalent of a few tweets.
There won't be a similar problem for the Democratic debates, with only five declared ...Read more
"Faute de mieux." That means "for want of something better" in Secretary of State John Kerry's second language. It's also the best case made by its journalistic defenders for approval of the nuclear weapons deal Kerry negotiated with Iran. Or to be more exact, for rallying 34 votes in the Senate or 146 votes in the House to uphold a presidential...Read more
As the presidential campaign heats up, and we head into the first debate among the 16 declared Republican candidates, there is an asymmetry between the two political parties.
Republican voters have been seething with discontent toward their party's officeholders and have not become enchanted with any one of 15 more or less conventional ...Read more