Saddam And Gerald Have A Talk
December 31, 2006
by Richard Stern Saddam and Gerry The buzzard never says it is to blame. The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean. When the piranha strikes it feels no shame. If snakes had hands, they'd feel their hands were clean... On this third planet of the sun Among the signs of bestiality A clear conscience is Number One. Wislawa Szymborska, "In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself" In the Anteroom of the Eternal sit two former heads of state.
Making An Example Of Nixon
December 29, 2006
Despite a flood of articles on Gerald Ford's decision to pardon Richard Nixon, I haven't seen anyone put forth the best reason for prosecuting Nixon all-out: deterrence. Wouldn't it have been valuable to throw a president in jail, or at least see him convicted of serious criminal charges? I know, I know, it might have prevented our country's "healing" so soon after Watergate and Vietnam. But seriously, a lot of American presidents have done a lot of bad things. Wouldn't the example of Nixon have served as a nice warning? --Isaac Chotiner
Ford On Kissinger
December 28, 2006
Bob Woodward's not-so-shocking scoop in this morning's Washington Post, that Gerald Ford felt the decision to invade Iraq was a mistake, is mildly interesting (the late president revealed this to Woodward in July of 2004). But it is overshadowed by Ford's thoughts on Henry Kissinger, invariably the most colorful (if you'll pardon the euphemism) aspect of every story he is involved with. Here's Woodward: Most challenging of all, as Ford recalled, was Henry A.
November 13, 2006
These days, the diplomatic energy spent on Iraq isn't coming from Foggy Bottom or the Pentagon, but from an office building near Dupont Circle, where the 76-year-old Baker and nine other Washington establishmentarians have spent the last eight months working on Iraq policy options to be presented sometime before February. Technically, Baker is merely the co-chairman of the commission, which is officially known as the Iraq Study Group.
February 26, 2005
Imagine that God were to appear on Earth for the unlikely purpose of settling, once and for all, our disputes over economic policy. And suppose that, to my enormous surprise, he announced that every empirical claim advanced by conservatives was correct. Cutting taxes produces such great economic growth that even the poor benefit. Privatizing or eliminating social programs like Medicare and Social Security will cause the elderly to save more money and enjoy higher living standards.
March 03, 2003
"Ideas have consequences," the conservative intellectual Richard Weaver wrote half a century ago. The truism comes to mind as another group of conservative intellectuals, this one guiding foreign policy inside the Bush administration, prepares to launch a war in the Middle East--not for oil or geopolitical advantage but on behalf of an idea. The idea is liberalism. According to President Bush, "Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause," and, as such, he routinely casts the impending war as an effort to bring democracy to a land that has known only dictatorship.
January 17, 1999
These days you can barely walk down the street in Washington without being accosted by some Wise Man hawking scandal advice. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is selling his complicated censure scheme. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford are marketing their own censure proposal. Sundry other formers—Lloyd Cutler, Richard Ben-Veniste, Robert Drinan—have weighed in authoritatively as well. Now that Bimbroglio has graduated to the Senate, it's not surprising that these old lions (or perhaps "old badgers") have been joined by Democratic Senator Robert C.
A Constitutional Crisis
October 05, 1998
"There is Substantial and Credible Information that President Clinton Committed Acts that May Constitute Grounds for an Impeachment," Kenneth Starr declares in his report to Congress. But the independent counsel does not explain how, precisely, he has decided to define "acts that may constitute grounds for an impeachment." Starr clearly believes that impeachable offenses are not limited to violations of criminal law, since he includes acts, ranging from bathroom trysts to more formal exercises of executive privilege, that not even he suggests are illegal.
May 05, 1997
A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law by Antonin Scalia (Princeton University Press, 159 pp., $19.95) Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution by Jack N. Rakove (Knopf, 420 pp., $35) We are all originalists now. That is to say, most judges and legal scholars who want to remain within the boundaries of respectable constitutional discourse agree that the original meaning of the Constitution and its amendments has some degree of pertinence to the question of what the Constitution means today.
October 14, 1996
Then Jackie Kemp came on and we seemed to collapse, offensively and defensively. The final score was 50-20. It was the most humiliating moment of my life. I had never lost a game by that kind of score, even in high school. --O.J. Simpson, The Education of a Rich Rookie (1970) September 23 & 24: I am in Jack Kemp's press pool today mainly because no one else wants to be; no one else wants to be because tagging along with the running mate of a presidential candidate who trails by sixteen points with forty-three days to go is not journalism but a death watch.