The Kochs And The Marketplace Of Ideas
May 10, 2011
The dismissal of the Koch brothers' absurd lawsuit against a satirist (who had created a fake news release purporting to be from the Kochs, endorsing legislation to fight climate change) highlights once more a defining aspect of their personality: they really don't like criticism. The mini-industry of conservatives and libertarians that has sprung up to defend the Kochs (against, to be sure, a mini industry of liberals assailing them) tells a story of the Kochs as shy, retiring intellectuals yearning only for high-level philosophical discussion in the free marketplace of ideas.
The Lessons of Cairo
February 10, 2011
The spread of democracy around the world is a natural American aspiration, but sometimes the sincerity of that aspiration is tested by the disruptions of democratization. The astonishing events in Egypt are such a test. They are so thrilling in their purpose and so unclear in their outcome. They provoke exhilaration and anxiety. But they demonstrate to a new generation that the democratic longing is itself one of history’s most powerful causes.
Reagan Revisionism And Reagan Mythology
February 07, 2011
Politico has an interesting feature about the fear among conservatives that their campaign to canonize Ronald Reagan has turned their hero into a post-ideological hero, rather than an embodiment of conservative values. A specimen of this fear is Steven Hayward's National Review essay, Reagan Reclaimed," castigating liberals for an ideological kidnapping of Ronaldus Magnus. Before I wade into this, I should summarize my view of Reagan. I don't think he was a great president.
The Will to Believe
January 27, 2011
Decision Points By George W. Bush (Crown, 497 pp., $35) The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment Edited by Julian E. Zelizer (Princeton University Press, 386 pp., $29.95) George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait By Dan P. McAdams (Oxford University Press, 274 pp., $29.95) It’s worth listening to the audiobook version of Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father, because not so long ago Obama had both the time and the inclination to spend many hours voicing the recording himself.
December 22, 2010
The last few months of 2010 have been illuminating when it comes to the priorities of the Republican Party. By jumping at the Obama-McConnell tax deal, Republicans underscored the fact that protecting the marginal tax rates of high earners—not reducing the federal deficit, and not even denying Obama legislative success—is their party’s primary focus at the federal level. It says something that most conservatives who opposed the tax deal did so on the grounds that it was not permanent, or that it did not completely eliminate the estate tax.
December 08, 2010
It is difficult, in these partisan times, to find any common ground in the debate over U.S. counterterrorism policy. But, on one matter, there seems to be almost uniform agreement: that President Obama has largely continued President Bush’s security policies.
July 20, 2010
Is Qaddafi's hip, globe-trotting son for real?
Obama Is Talking Jobs. Is Anybody Listening?
July 15, 2010
You've heard it a million times: The problem with President Obama is that he hasn't spent enough time talking about jobs. Maybe that's true and maybe that isn't. But the last 24 hours has me wondering whether anybody is even listening. The administration on Wednesday released another report on the economic recovery, such that it is. By its accounting, the stimulus package Obama and the Democrats passed in 2009 created between 2.5 and 3.6 million jobs, raising gross domestic product between 2.7 and 3.2 percent.
In Defense of Michael Steele
July 07, 2010
WASHINGTON–It's easy to understand why Democrats want Michael Steele to stay in the news. The Republican National Committee chairman is a wonderful distraction, a constant source of gaffes, laughs, clarifications and denials. But Steele recently scored a victory of sorts, even though you wouldn't know it from the coverage: His comments on Afghanistan got Democrats to recite GOP talking points from the Bush era.
Greenwald Switches Methods
June 22, 2010
Last week I pointed out that it's folly to insist that President Obama could conjure a tough cap and trade bill through the Senate merely by giving a powerful speech, acting more determined, or using legislative procedures that turn out not to exist. In response, Glenn Greenwald pulled out a pure ad hominem argument.