Those with sympathies for Bill Clinton might be tempted—perhaps rightly—to view last Tuesday's election returns as an unmitigated disaster. Never mind sympathies; condolences seem in order. Newt Gingrich as speaker? Pete Wilson re-elected handsomely; moderate Democrats like Dave McCurdy and Jim Cooper humiliated; icons like Ann Richards and Mario Cuomo smashed. Worse still, Senator Alfonse D'Amato now controls the Banking Committee and the governor of New York. Let the Whitewater hearings begin!
Every culture has its preferred description of the human distinction. These descriptions are analytical and homiletical. We call ourselves not only what we are, but also what we seek to be. This is stirring, but it is also corrupting. It allows us to see the one in the other, to mistake what we aspire to be for what we are. A good rule of thumb is: we are never already what we should be. In our culture, the preferred descriptions have included: the soul, the nous (and other appellations for the mind), the self, the ego, the person. In our time, the preferred description is: identity. In Americ
Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property.... —Marx and Engels Polls show that about two-thirds of Americans believe Bill Clinton has raised their taxes. In fact, the Clinton budget deal of 1993—the only tax legislation of his presidency—raised income taxes on just 1.2 percent of American taxpayers, or about 1.4 million filers, and lowered income taxes—through expansion of the earned income tax credit—on 13 percent, or about 15 million.
I flew to Oregon to pick pears with migrant workers. We had a month to kill, and wanted an adventure that combined rugged physical exertion with a hint of social conscience. But the expedition ended badly. When we arrived in Medford, suspicious foremen, convinced we were muckrakers or immigration agents, insisted they had no work. After a week of rejections, we were reluctantly hired by a small company, and soon discovered why we were the only American citizens in the field.
It was in the 1970s, as a young lawyer, that I began to notice something odd. Democratic presidencies would thin to ashes. Everything President Jimmy Carter wanted seemed to come out of the House of Representatives. Yet nothing ever seemed to emerge from the Senate. Why did the U.S. seem as dysfunctional as a French republic in one of the lower digits? It had something to do with the Senate, but what? Then it came to me, like a firebell ringing pointlessly in 1789: we don't have majority rule. Of course, when I began to say this to my friends, they would laugh nervously.
It's a few minutes to six on a Thursday evening in October, and the corridor outside the House chamber, thick with bodies a week ago, is a lazy parlor for a team of guards kicking back on swivel chairs bolted to the marble floor. Afternoon light sifts through windows painted shut since Truman was president, smoothing a coat of gold over the sculpted walls and vaulted ceiling.
The New Republic does not include footnotes, which is unfortunate in the case of Murray and Herrnstein. For by examining the citations in Chapter 13 of The Bell Curve, from which much of this article is adapted, readers can more easily recognize the project for what it is: a chilly synthesis of the findings of eccentric race theorists and eugenicists. Murray and Herrnstein cannot be held to account for all the views of these scholars. It is useful, however, to examine the sources, which are disclosed in their book but not in these pages. Murray and Herrnstein's discussion of white-Asian i.q.
Rick Santorum has the cut of a Sun Belt Republican. He's young (36), married (two kids), religious (Roman Catholic), non-Ivy League-educated (Penn State), a workaholic (employed full-time while in law school) and very conservative (Reaganite, 1990s vintage). Only he's running for the Senate in Pennsylvania, not Arizona. Santorum's self-characterization sounds like a description of Newt Gingrich: "aggressive, a roll-up-your-sleeves guy, an activist ...
President Clinton isn't the only drag on Democrats in the midterm election on November 8. There's something worse: partisan realignment. The same trends that have given Republicans an advantage in electing presidents for more than two decades--an advantage George Bush frittered away in 1992--are now at work in races for the House of Representatives. What gop pollster Richard Wirthlin once called a "rolling realignment" is rolling again.