"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."--Ronald Reagan, January 20, 1981 "We have a responsibility that, when somebody hurts, government has got to move."--George W. Bush, September 1, 2003 Conservatism isn't over. But it has rarely been as confused. Today's conservatives support limited government. But they believe the federal government can intervene in a state court's decisions in a single family's struggle over life and death. They believe in restraining government spending.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that as a nation's politics grow more regressive, its arts tend to become more rambunctious. This is especially true in the theater. At the same time that the newly re-elected Bush administration is eliminating all traces of opposition from its Cabinet and its agencies, the volume of dissent is being turned up again on the American stage. Let us savor this precious privilege. An administration so eager for conformity in its inner circles will eventually try to impose it on the culture and the citizenry at large.
Richard Holbrooke knows about foreign policy feuds. In the late '70s, he was assistant secretary of state for Asia in the Carter administration—a young bull in the China shop. One morning, he answered his phone at 6:30 and received a tooth-rattling attack from National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was bent on cutting Cyrus Vance's entire (as Brzezinski saw it, leak-prone) State Department out of his forthcoming trip to Beijing.
"He talks a great game, and right now 55 percent of the people view him as a moderate. We need to change that. That's why we're talking about his liberal judges." --Bob Dole, The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 1996. Judicial bashing, by and large, is a wholesome tradition in American democracy. Jefferson's attacks on the "sappers and miners" of the Federalist judiciary helped to chasten a rabidly partisan Justice Samuel Chase. FDR's saber-rattling hastened the "switch-in-time" that saved the New Deal.
Americans today own 63 million cats and 54 million dogs, on whom they rain more than $17 billion a year--and business is booming. These facts should give us paws. More and more we live in proximity to small animals. People come home dog-tired from work, and they find release and consolation in pets: it is medically proven that they lower blood pressure and heal the mentally distressed. Cats have recently become more popular than dogs in this country.
George Stephanopoulos turned up at the Supreme Court last week, sitting next to Joel Klein, the deputy White House counsel. Their joint appearance seemed to illustrate the administration's anxiety about the case, Adarand v. Pena, in which the Court is being asked to strike down racial preferences in the construction industry that have been endorsed by every president since Nixon. But Klein assured me afterward that Stephanopoulos, who had never seen a Supreme Court argument before, had come along purely out of curiosity. He picked a good day.
Ross Perot lives on Strait Lane in a world of his own. On the most exclusive street of millionaires in North Dallas, he has surrounded himself with alarms and sensors, fences and security guards. He has frequently deployed private investigators to uncover personally discrediting material about competitors. Those determined to humiliate and destroy him, he has explained, publicly and privately, include terrorists, drug lords, the CIA, and a criminal cabal of high officials in the Reagan and Bush administrations in which the president of the United States is complicit.
ON A WARM AND SPRING SUNNY day Bonnie Newman, then assistant to the president for management and administration of the Bush White House, ate lunch at the Occidental restaurant with two former presidential aides, Jonathan Miller and Christopher Hicks. The restaurant is one block from the White House. As 2 p.m.
ON A WARM and sunny spring day Bonnie Newman, then assistant to the president for management and administration of the Bush White House, ate lunch at the Occidental restaurant with two former presidential aides, Jonathan Miller and Christopher Hicks. The restaurant is one block from the White House. As 2 p.m. neared Newman announced that she had to get back to attend a Cabinet meeting. Miller and Hicks offered to walk her back. No need, she said.