July 10, 2006
At dawn, the sky over Baghdad turns red for a few minutes before sunlight breaks through the dust. Combat engineers have been clearing IEDs from the streets of Amiriyah since 3 a.m., but the 500 American soldiers about to descend on the western Baghdad neighborhood wait for the sun. Just as it rises, Apache helicopter gunships arrive overhead, and, in the blinding light above them, two F-15 attack aircraft begin circling in a wide arc. The radio chatter quickens as the Bradley Fighting Vehicles on the ground and the aviation units above check in with one another.
February 06, 2006
IN DEMOCRATIC CIRCLES these days, there is much talk of 1994—with good reason. The president’s approval ratings are bad, Congress’s are even worse, and, most importantly, scandal is sweeping the nation’s capital. The atmosphere is poisonous enough that some Democrats believe it could produce the kind of electoral storm last seen twelve years ago, when Republicans retook Congress by railing against corruption in Washington. Of course, the 2006 Democrats differ in many ways from the 1994 Republicans. One key difference may well be the lack of Newt Gingrich—or, rather, a liberal version of him. G
December 12, 2005
Once upon a time, the Democratic family consisted of two basic types of politicians--those who supported the Iraq war and those who were against it. As the war dragged on and the political climate changed, however, varied new species began to evolve, with all manner of ideas and opinions about the occupation. For months, these different Democratic factions lived more or less in harmony. But Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha's dramatic call last month for a fast U.S. exit from Iraq was like a climate-altering asteroid event.
July 25, 2005
Whatever else is at stake in President Bush’s nomination of the successor to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the character of American conservatism certainly is. The sober truth is that, barring a scandal or an act of Intelligent Design, the president will get the judge he wishes: He owns the executive and legislative branches of government, and the Democrats have only the under-inflamed leadership of Harry Reid and the over-inflamed advertisements of MoveOn upon which to rely.
February 07, 2005
If George W. Bush's Social Security reform fails, people may look back at January 18 as the day the wheels really started to come off. That was the afternoon House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas pronounced Bush's plan a "dead horse" that Congress would not pass. Thomas also suggested that any changes to Social Security would involve elaborate tax reform of the sort that can take more than a year, far longer than the few weeks the White House is hoping to devote to Social Security.
January 24, 2005
It is getting increasingly difficult to find any Democrat who backs President Bush's plan for partially privatizing Social Security. Private accounts are now officially out of favor even among New Democrats, the most obvious source of potential administration support. The Democratic Leadership Council and a new centrist policy shop called Third Way both recently announced their opposition. Over in the House, many have been eyeing Adam Smith, the leader of the New Democrat Coalition, which has 67 members in the House.
April 21, 2003
TOM'S WAR Every now and then, a politician will, through accident or poor judgment, say something that tells you everything you need to know about him. (It is usually a him.) Bill Clinton's contention that "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" captured forever his evasiveness and moral relativism; Dan Quayle's mangling of the United Negro College Fund motto, "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful," couldn't help but suggest that he perhaps spoke from experience. Recently, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay joined this proud fraternity.
The INS Mess
April 13, 1992
"No, no, I do not know what is the number of the form. It is the one for a person who has a family to bring to the country. Do you have that one? The one for relatives?... No. I tell you. I do not know the number of the form." It was early afternoon on a Wednesday in December, and the line at the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service's regional office in Northern Virginia was backed up to the door.