E.J. Dionne Jr.
Egypt and the Liberal Realists
February 03, 2011
Washington—The democratic uprising in Egypt has brought into relief a gradual and little-noticed transformation in American politics. Over the last decade, ideological divisions over the role of democracy and human rights in American foreign policy have been scrambled. In the meantime, President Obama has restored foreign policy realism to the White House, giving a liberal gloss to what had traditionally been a conservative disposition.
Make It Work
January 31, 2011
Washington—A cynic might be justified in seeing a call for a sweeping reorganization of the federal government as the last refuge of a politician who doesn’t want to ruffle any ideological feathers. For example, President Obama could have used last week’s State of the Union address to propose a ban on those high-capacity gun magazines that made the recent Tucson tragedy so lethal. But doing this would have brought down the wrath of the National Rifle Association.
January 27, 2011
Washington—Be ready for the paradoxical phase of Barack Obama's presidency. Many things will not be exactly as they appear. Paradox No. 1: Because over the next two years he can't get sweeping, progressive legislation through the Republican-led House, Obama will be doing far more to make the core progressive case that energetic government is essential to prosperity, growth, and equity. Paradox No. 2: His talk about the new, the bold, and the innovative is in the oldest of political traditions.
Legislate, Hold, Build
January 24, 2011
Washington—President Obama faces a choice in this week’s State of the Union message: Does he spend the next two years consolidating the gains he has made, or does he go into retreat? My prediction: He will go for consolidation that conservatives will try to label as retreat, even as they attack him for not retreating fast enough. Obama will deliver his address Tuesday evening in an expectedly strong position.
The New Civility
January 17, 2011
Washington—President Obama’s call for “a more civil and honest public discourse” will get its first test much sooner than we expected. Having properly postponed all legislative action last week out of respect for Rep.
The Problem With the Militarization of Rhetoric
January 13, 2011
Washington—The slaughter in Tucson hasn’t shaken us out of bad political habits. Instead of promoting a sober conversation about the dangers of violent political talk, it has reinforced divisions between left and right.
In Her Own Words
January 09, 2011
WASHINGTON—There is one commentator whose words should enlighten us on the meaning of Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the savage murders that took the lives of, among others, a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
The Conservative Bind
January 05, 2011
Washington—Edmund Burke, one of history's greatest conservatives, warned that abstractions are the enemy of responsible government. "I never govern myself, no rational man ever did govern himself, by abstractions and universals," Burke wrote.
December 31, 2010
WASHINGTON--Welcome to the Republicans who take over the House of Representatives this week. Since it is a new year, let us be optimistic about what this development means for our nation. There is already a standard line of advice to Speaker-to-be John Boehner and his colleagues that goes like this: Democrats overreached in the last Congress by doing too much and ignoring "the center." Republicans should be careful not to make the same mistake, lest they lose their majority, too. This counsel is wrong, partly because the premise is faulty. Democrats did not overreach in the last Congress.
New Year's Resolutions
December 30, 2010
Washington—Was 2010 American liberalism’s Waterloo? How are we to square the achievement of so many goals that have long been on progressive wish lists with the resounding defeat suffered by supporters of these measures in November? Let’s begin with what is a most painful fact for liberals: Conservatism, a doctrine that seemed moribund on election night in 2008, enjoyed a far more rapid comeback than all liberals and even most conservatives anticipated. More than that, the current brand of conservatism is far more zealous than the political disposition of either Ronald Reagan or George W.