WASHINGTON -- "It is a great advantage to a president," said the 30th of them, "and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know he is not a great man." Or, Calvin Coolidge would say today, a great woman. While today's incumbent advertises himself as an "extremely stable genius" and those who would replace him promise national ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Randolph Bourne (1886-1918) said, "War is the health of the state." James Madison said, "War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement," and the executive almost is the American state, Congress now being more theatrical than actual. Advocates of an ever-larger state, remembering Franklin Roosevelt's first ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The earnest improvers at the College Board, which administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test, should ponder Abraham Maslow's law of the instrument. In 1966, Maslow, a psychologist, said essentially this: If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The College Board wants to solve a complex social problem ...Read more
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Concord Hymn"
WASHINGTON -- After the morning bloodshed on Lexington green, on the first day of what would become a 3,059-day war, there occurred the ...Read more
OMAHA BEACH, Normandy -- On a bluff above the sand and a half-mile from the ocean's edge at low tide, which was the condition when the first Allied soldiers left their landing craft, a round circle of concrete 5 feet in diameter provides a collar for a hole in the ground. On the morning of June 6, 1944, the hole was Widerstandsnest (nest ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- If congressional Democrats will temper their enthusiasm for impeachment with lucidity about the nation's needs and their political self-interest, they will understand the self-defeating nature of a foredoomed attempt to remove a president for aesthetic reasons. Such reasons are not trivial but they are insufficient, particularly ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The cascading effects of U.S. protectionism on U.S. producers and consumers constitute an ongoing tutorial about what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called "iatrogenic government." In medicine, an iatrogenic ailment is one inadvertently caused by a physician or medicine. Iatrogenic government -- except the damage it currently is doing is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Difficulties with Iran will recur regularly, like the oscillations of a sine wave, and the recent crisis -- if such it was, or is -- illustrates persistent U.S. intellectual and institutional failures, starting with this: The Trump administration's assumption, and that of many in Congress, is that if the president wants to wage war...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "We're cutting out some of this ear hair that you get when you get older," said the 46-year-old manchild who is auditioning to be Skateboarder-in-Chief. Live-streaming his visit to an El Paso barbershop, Beto O'Rourke continued: "It grows out of your ears, and if you don't get it cut, it can be nasty."
You might respond to this, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Republican James G. Blaine (1830-1893) was a House speaker, senator and two-time secretary of state, but he is remembered, if at all, for this doggerel: "Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine/ the continental liar from the state of Maine." His lasting legacy, however, is even more disreputable than his involvement in unsavory business ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Briefly suspending their warnings about the rising tide of socialism, a large majority of Senate Republicans recently joined with almost all their Democratic colleagues in affirming the essence of socialism, which is government allocation of capital. The Senate's revival of the Export-Import Bank is a redundant reminder that the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- A man who worked in a boxer's corner in a 1962 match against Cassius Clay, as he still was known, explained why the referee stopped the fight in the fourth round: "Things just went sour gradually all at once." It can be like that when government dabbles in protectionism.
U.S. industrial capacity has never been larger -- it is 66% ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The progressive catechism teaches that there is "too much money" in politics. A codicil to this tenet, written in fine print, is that the term "money" does not apply to money from George Soros, government employees unions, private-sector unions, trial lawyers, Democratic-oriented private-equity firms and white-shoe law firms, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- While constitutional lawyers, ethicists and theologians -- in descending order of importance in the abortion debate -- have been arguing in the 46 years since the Supreme Court attempted to settle the debate, some technologists have been making a consequential contribution to it. They have developed machines that produce ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- At 96, James Buckley still is, like good cheddar, sharp and savory. Buckley, whose life has been no less accomplished than his brother Bill's, recently said at a National Review gathering that his speech there would be his last public appearance. Let us hope not.
He adorned all the government's branches -- senator; undersecretary ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Three days before Joe Biden dove back into the deep end of the political pool, a rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the terrorist who bombed the 2013 Boston Marathon, and everyone else in America's prisons, should be allowed to vote, lest the "chipping away" of voting rights leave America "running down a slippery slope." Such ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Pursed lips and clucked tongues signaled disapproval among the wise and responsible when, at a recent televised event, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the "democratic socialist" from Vermont, did not plausibly explain how he would pay for "Medicare for all." The remarkable thing, however, is the quaint expectation that any political person ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The oral arguments the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday will be more decorous than the gusts of judicial testiness that blew the case up to the nation's highest tribunal. The case, which raises arcane questions of administrative law but could have widely radiating political and policy consequences, comes from the Enlightenment ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Some government foolishness has an educational value that compensates for its considerable cost. Consider the multibillion-dollar federal electric-vehicle tax credit, which efficiently illustrates how government can, with one act, diminish its already-negligible prestige while subtracting from America's fairness. Sen. John Barrasso...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Democrats' presidential aspirants seem determined to prove that their party's 2016 achievement -- the election of the current president -- was not a fluke that cannot be repeated. But the Republican Party, whose last remaining raison d'etre is to frustrate Democrats, seems to be thinking: We are determined to lose the 2020 ...Read more