WASHINGTON -- How in the name of God can the Roman Catholic Church put the pedophilia scandal behind it? I do not invoke God's name lightly. The church's problem is, above all, theological and religious. Its core difficulty is that rather than drawing on its Christian resources, the church has acted almost entirely on the basis of this world's imperatives and standards. It has worried about lawsuits. It has worried about its image. It has worried about itself as an institution and about protecting its leaders from public scandal.
The current crisis in the Obama-Netanyahu relationship should propel both leaders to reassess their basic policies toward Palestine. They must redefine their targets, to think realistically but also creatively. Ending the conflict between Israel and Palestine is not an attainable goal. What is attainable is a clear and dramatic decrease in tension in the conflict—a goal that would, indeed, serve the necessities of American foreign policy on Iran, Afghanistan, and Yemen.
WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to use an attack on health care reform to bring us back to the 1830s. Cuccinelli, to cheers from the Tea Party crowd, went to court this week to overturn the new law, which he says conflicts with a Virginia statute "protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance." "Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government," he said, "but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia's law should prevail." The Republican attorney general's move reveals how
When Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law yesterday, it became official: health care was not to be, as certain Republicans promised, the president’s Waterloo. Republicans quickly swung to predicting that health care would instead be a deceptively successful but actually disastrous victory—more like Napoleon’s conquest of Moscow, say, which launched his bloody winter march from power.
The attacks on the Justice Department lawyers who had represented Guantanamo detainees angered me for several distinct reasons. They typified a growing culture of incivility in the politics of national security and law that I have always loathed and have spoken against repeatedly. They sought to delegitimize the legal defense of politically unpopular clients and to impose a kind of ideological litmus test on Justice Department service. They were also, at least in part, about friends and professional acquaintances.
There was a piece in Politico last week that did an impressive job of simultaneously capturing and embodying why so much of America thinks our political system sucks. The headline read “Elite Donors Dodge the DNC,” and the gist was that the Obama administration has so badly bungled the care and feeding of big-money contributors that fat cat Dems aren’t flocking to write their party big checks at the same rate rich Republicans did when the Bushies ran this town.
Sunday night’s House vote on health reform clarified the contours of the mid-term elections. The contest has been nationalized, with two dominant issues—the economy and health care—and one overriding theme: the proper role of government. The administration and Democratic congressional leaders should not believe that the new health care legislation will speak for itself. In fact, the debate over the next eight months may well be as robust and consequential as was the debate during the past eight months.
Cape Wind, the Massachusetts pioneering and environmentally daring enterprise trying to build 130 turbines in Nantucket Bay, is now facing its last hurdle. Or breathing its last breath. All of this is in a fascinating dispatch by Beth Daley in the Boston Globe. I've written about this undertaking several times as the initiative was put through the ropes of both privilege of the very rich and the antiquated technologies of protected corporations.
WASHINGTON--Every nation needs an intelligent and constructive form of conservatism. The debate over the health care bill, which mercifully came to a close on Sunday night, was not American conservatism's finest hour. In its current incarnation, conservatism has taken on an angry crankiness. It is caught up in a pseudo-populism that true conservatism should mistrust--what on Earth would Bill Buckley have made of "death panels"? The creed is caught up in a suspicion of all reform that conservatives of the Edmund Burke stripe have always warned against.