George H.W. Bush
April 16, 2011
Ever since Michele Bachmann announced her intention to form a presidential exploratory committee, pundits, including Ed Kilgore at TNR, have been making the case that she has a good chance at winning Iowa—or if not winning, then doing well enough to hurt one or more of the stronger candidates. Republican caucus-goers in the state, they argue, are at least half-nuts, and therefore may well support Bachmann or some other candidate who doesn’t pass conventional standards of seriousness. Certainly, Iowa Republicans are very socially conservative, more so than in some other states.
The Least Defensible Budget Cut
April 05, 2011
Upon leaving office, George H.W. Bush left his successor with only one request: preserve federal support for Points of Light, the foundation he created to encourage volunteerism and civic engagement. Bill Clinton followed through on that appeal and went on to establish AmeriCorps in 1993, which further solidified government support for nationally organized community service. He, in turn, had one request for his successor. “When I was leaving, and George W. Bush was coming in, the only thing I asked him to do was to preserve AmeriCorps,” Clinton said at a recent event in Washington.
Geraldine Ferraro’s Legacy
March 31, 2011
When news reached me this past weekend that Geraldine Ferraro had succumbed to cancer at the relatively tender age of 75, I felt an inexplicable sense of loss. This wasn’t a generic sensation—the abstracted sadness we inevitably feel when public figures die—or a civic mourning for the loss of a champion of women’s rights. Rather, my feeling of loss stemmed from something I never had, a sense of nostalgia for a moment I didn’t experience. Ferraro’s funeral is today, her death justifiably triggering a surge of tributes and recollections about her life and career, including my own.
Obama and American Power
March 28, 2011
Presidents and secretaries of state have not always come entirely clean in explaining why they were doing things, especially military actions. They tend to leave out key motives: Think of Ronald Reagan invading Grenada in 1982 to save medical students who unaccountably found themselves in danger; George H.W. Bush conjuring up Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait, but not mentioning Iraqi control of global oil; or George W.
How the Left Got Libya Wrong
March 22, 2011
I remember sitting by a pool in August 1990 with my friend Fred Siegel discussing George H.W. Bush’s “drawing a line in the sand” after Iraq had invaded Kuwait. “My comrades on the left can’t be against this,” I announced to Fred, but I was dead wrong. Within days, my own publication, In These Times, and others had raised specters of another Vietnam and of U.S. imperialism. I have had a similar experience of shock and awe today as I looked at various blogs and websites that air opinion on the left.
GOP Dissidents Plot (Mostly) In Secret
March 21, 2011
The media attention to the question of whether Republicans and Democrats can agree on some medium-term budget fix is drowning out the more important development, which is that some Republicans are finally questioning their party's anti-tax dogma. As I've written, most recently for Democracy, the Republican Party's embrace of debt-financed regressive tax cuts as its central policy goal is the most important development in the last three decades of American politics.
Obama’s Moment of Truth
March 15, 2011
Each president of the United States enters office thinking he will be able to define the agenda and set the course of America’s relations with the rest of the world. And, almost invariably, each confronts crises that are thrust upon him—wars, revolutions, genocides, and deadly confrontations. Neither Woodrow Wilson nor FDR imagined having to plunge America into world war. Truman had to act quickly, and with little preparation, to confront the menace of Soviet expansion at war’s end.
Mitt Romney Still Dead
March 10, 2011
I've been waiting for my months-long campaign of pronouncing Mitt Romney a dead man walking to provoke some kind of backlash, and it's finally arrived. Steve Kornacki argues that Republicans frequently choose nominees with major ideological apostasies: John McCain, who was championing a Ted Kennedy-backed immigration reform plan when the '08 process began (and immigration was hardly his only problem), is the extreme example. Bob Dole, once dubbed "the tax collector for the welfare state" by Newt Gingrich, was hardly a perfect fit for the rabidly anti-government Republican Party of 1996.
The GOP's Economist Du Jour, A History
March 01, 2011
The debate over whether, and how much, the House GOP budget would reduce employment is a battle of economists: The budget debate in Washington isn't just President Obama's vision against that of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), but Mark Zandi versus John B. Taylor. ... Republicans responded later in the day by sending out a blog post by Taylor, a professor of economics at Stanford whose views they frequently invoke. John Taylor is the man Republicans use to back up their unconventional fiscal program.
Stuff of Legend
February 14, 2011
Has the United States always been an exceptionally free and virtuous nation? If you have to ask the question, you are already well on the road to unpatriotic perdition—or so every Republican about to run for president seems to think. “Don’t kid yourself with the lie,” Rick Santorum recently told a group of college Republicans.