Gambier, Ohio—Ohio's U.S. Senate campaign offers an excellent preview of what this fall's midterm elections will be like: Everyone in the race wants to be an outsider, everyone pledges to break with politics as usual, and everyone is talking about jobs. Those running against Washington include Republican Rob Portman, even though he was elected to Congress in 1993 after working for the first President Bush and then held two high-level jobs in George W. Bush's administration.
WASHINGTON -- There is a dispiriting and, yes, heartbreaking sameness about how we respond to mining disasters. The catastrophe at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, W.Va., has taken at least 25 lives. An entire community stands in solidarity with the families of the victims, and hopes that some miners still trapped may yet be rescued. We celebrate the stoic sturdiness of mine workers who pursue their craft with pride, bravery, and full knowledge of the risks it entails. Then we get to the questions about what might have been done to avert the disaster.
WASHINGTON -- Toward the end of the health care battle, a beleaguered Obama staff member sent me an e-mail that ended with the words: "Sisyphus was a sissy compared to what we've been through!" Yes, the fight for health care seemed very much like the Greek myth: Every time the White House found itself on the verge of rolling the health care stone up the hill, some event -- say, Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts -- would force it to start over with a new strategy. Alas for President Obama, this will not be the last moment that invites comparisons with Sisyphus.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was precisely the sort of event that Gov. Charlie Crist loves: a nonpartisan, non-ideological chance to boost Florida, its people and its weather. Ironically, it was also a moment rooted in partisanship, a news conference on Tuesday capping an effort by leaders from around Tampa Bay to persuade Republicans to bring their national convention here in 2012. Crist happens to be in a tough Republican primary for a U.S.
WASHINGTON -- How in the name of God can the Roman Catholic Church put the pedophilia scandal behind it? I do not invoke God's name lightly. The church's problem is, above all, theological and religious. Its core difficulty is that rather than drawing on its Christian resources, the church has acted almost entirely on the basis of this world's imperatives and standards. It has worried about lawsuits. It has worried about its image. It has worried about itself as an institution and about protecting its leaders from public scandal.
WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to use an attack on health care reform to bring us back to the 1830s. Cuccinelli, to cheers from the Tea Party crowd, went to court this week to overturn the new law, which he says conflicts with a Virginia statute "protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance." "Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government," he said, "but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia's law should prevail." The Republican attorney general's move reveals how
WASHINGTON--Every nation needs an intelligent and constructive form of conservatism. The debate over the health care bill, which mercifully came to a close on Sunday night, was not American conservatism's finest hour. In its current incarnation, conservatism has taken on an angry crankiness. It is caught up in a pseudo-populism that true conservatism should mistrust--what on Earth would Bill Buckley have made of "death panels"? The creed is caught up in a suspicion of all reform that conservatives of the Edmund Burke stripe have always warned against.
Here is the ultimate paradox of the Great Health Care Showdown: Congress will divide along partisan lines to pass a Republican version of health-care reform, and Republicans will vote against it. Yes, Democrats have rallied behind a bill that large numbers of Republicans should love. It is built on a series of principles that Republicans espoused for years. Republicans have said that they do not want to destroy the private insurance market. This bill not only preserves that market but strengthens it by bringing millions of new customers.
Washington—One of the tragedies of the viciously politicized battle over health care reform is the defection of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops from a cause they have championed for decades. Indifferent to political fashions, the bishops were the strongest voices in support of universal health coverage, a position rooted in Catholic social thought that calls for a special solicitude toward the poor. Yet on the make-or-break roll call that will determine the fate of health care reform, bishops are urging that the bill be voted down.
LONDON -- Could Prime Minister Gordon Brown become the Harry Truman of British politics? For many long months, Brown and his Labor Party were written off as sure losers in this year's election, likely to be called for May 6. David Cameron, the young, energetic and empathetic Conservative Party leader, was all but handed Brown's job by the chattering classes, so consistent and formidable had been his lead in the polls. But suddenly, Cameron doesn't seem quite so inevitable. One recent poll showed Brown's party within two points of Cameron's.