Don’t Campaign Against the Supreme Court, Mr. President
April 05, 2012

If the Supreme Court overturns key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, it will precipitate the largest confrontation between the Court and a president since the mid-1930s. Yes, the Court prevented Truman from seizing the steel mills and forced Nixon to give up the tapes. But in those instances the decision ended the controversy because the President chose not to prolong it. Not so this time: President Obama has signaled his intention to make the Court a central issue in the fall campaign if it guts his signature policy achievement.

Defending (George) Romney And "Mad Men"
April 02, 2012

Devotee though I am of Mad Men, I haven't had a chance to catch up with the first two episodes of its new season, so I'm hearing second-hand that Henry Francis, the aide to New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller who earlier rescued Betty from her marriage to Don (and now kind of regrets it because Betty's such a head case) last night--which is to say, in 1966, when this new season is set--called Michigan Gov. George Romney "a clown." Francis is shown saying into a telephone, "Well, tell Jim his honor's not going to Michigan.

Ross Douthat's Rule of Three
January 22, 2012

[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] In his Sunday Review column “A Good Candidate Is Hard to Find,” Ross Douthat argues that successful presidential candidates must possess no fewer than two of three key characteristics. They need: “the gift of management,” the power of persuasion, and the ability to effectively demagogue opponents. Those who possess the “trifecta,” as Franklin Roosevelt did, are unstoppable. Those who master two of the three (Clinton and Reagan lacked management skills; Nixon was unpersuasive) do fine. Those who possess only one of the three (H.W.

Tax Tactics
December 14, 2011

On November 22, Mitt Romney published an “open letter” to President Obama in three New Hampshire newspapers. The letter didn’t get a lot of attention, because it was overshadowed by a Romney TV ad released the day before that featured Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” The audio was from the 2008 campaign and Obama was quoting the McCain campaign. The fraudulent editing and Romney’s brazen refusal to retract it became the day’s big story, and rightly so.

High Crimes: How Israel Is Experiencing Its Own Watergate Affair
November 14, 2011

Jerusalem—The Israeli Supreme Court ruled last week that, on December 7, the country will lose a little bit more of its innocence. For the first time in its history, the nation will witness a former president—Moshe Katsav—entering the gates of a prison, where he will begin serving a seven-year sentence for multiple counts of rape and sexual misconduct.

Stanley Kauffmann on Films: Truths, Mostly
October 26, 2011

It takes a lot of courage to call a film Happy, Happy, and the young Norwegian director Anne Sewitsky manages to justify it. Her first feature film fixes on the very idea of happiness: what it is or is thought to be, and what happens to it. Other directors of her generation have been likewise concerned, but with Ragnhild Tronvoll’s supple screenplay, Sewitsky puts a story before us that is both recognizable and sufficiently probing. Kaja and Eirik are a young couple who live in the countryside with their son.

Should We Fear Even Successful Military Interventions?
August 22, 2011

Reason editor Matt Welch warns of a "success curse" in foreign policy: Today's Team Blue dethroning of a tinpot dictator lowers the bar for tomorrow's Team Red assault on Iran, which of course will be confirmation that when it comes to the Constitution, President Perry (should he wrest the nomination from the more deserving Texan) is worse than Nixon and Hitler combined. Team Blue will once again regain the White House on an "anti-dumb war" campaign; a scattering of Republicans will then exhume their deference to the War Powers Act, and the U.S.

Obama’s in Good Company: All Presidents End Up Unpopular
August 20, 2011

In Washington, on both left and right, a new piece of conventional wisdom is hardening into place: Barack Obama’s presidency is slowly collapsing under the burdens of a bad economy, a rudderless foreign policy, and confusion about how the man who once twinkled with charisma wants to change the country. Even if the president manages to get re-elected, his chance to “win the future,” pundits agree, is probably over.

The Lottery That Made Some Boomer Men Liberal
June 24, 2011

Via John Sides, a paper finds that Vietnam war-era males with low draft lottery numbers tended to become more liberal and more Democratic than those with higher draft lottery numbers: Among college-bound men—the group most affected by the institution of the lottery in 1969—those with lower draft numbers had more negative views of the Vietnam War when they were interviewed in a 1973 survey.  This is not due to actual military service, but seems to reflect a general emotional reaction to the prospect of service. Lower draft numbers also made these men more liberal and more Democratic.  This tren

Can Democrats Win Back the House?
June 01, 2011

Charlie Cook points to reasons for historical caution: There is no historical precedent for the party of a president seeking reelection scoring a net gain of more than 15 seats; presidential re-election coattails do not exist. Franklin Roosevelt’s Democrats only picked up 11 seats in 1936, Dwight Eisenhower’s Republicans lost two in 1956; Republicans under Richard Nixon picked up 12 seats in 1972 and 14 seats in 1984 under Ronald Reagan.   In the last two reelection years, Democrats gained nine seats in 1996 under Bill Clinton and Republicans three in 2004 under George W. Bush.