Independence

Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. I DON’T REMEMBER the missionaries’ names, only that one was blond and one was dark, one was from Oregon and one was from Utah. They arrived at our house on secondhand bicycles carrying bundles of inspirational literature. They smelled, I remember, of witch hazel and toothpaste.

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 I never imagined I would suspect Jonathan Chait of political naïveté. But his recent post, “How To Fight the Tax Cut Wars,” leaves me no choice. Chait gleefully maintains that Democrats “hold the whip hand” in the upcoming battle in Congress over whether to retain the Bush tax cuts that provided a windfall for the richest Americans. If the Dems try to extend the cuts only for taxpayers with incomes under $250,000, Chait argues, the GOP will seem like lackeys of the rich for filibustering the bill. And if no bill passes, the nation would revert to the more equitable rates of the 1990s.

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It was predictable. That even the faculty, or a large portion of it, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas would have qualms about having the George W. Bush Presidential Library on campus. It was obvious. Now, SMU has not actually been designated as the querulous host. Baylor University in Waco and the University of Texas, not in Austin, God forbid, but Irving are also in the running. Or maybe trying to escape. Ralph Blumenthal spins out the somewhat intricate tale in today's Times, "Faculty at S.M.U.

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