May 28, 1984
About two weeks ago President Reagan was in Texas, and while here he said we ought to consider abolishing the deductibility of home interest from our taxes. . . . That I believe is the worst single idea around in tax law. . . . That is the only deduction that is in the tax law at all that does any good at all for the average American. Thus Walter Mondale in the Dallas candidates' debate May 2, using his signature rhetorical device of whiny hyperbole ("worst single idea...only deduction...any good at all") to exploit a recent Reagan gaffe.
The Decline of Oratory
May 28, 1984
The fault is in the speakers, and in the hearers, too.
Celebrating Dr. King's Birthday
January 30, 1984
In his belated support for a day honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan predictably recalled the man as an inspiring—and innocuous—advocate of good will, brotherhood, and harmony. Such a carefully cropped portrait of Dr. King has gained wide popularity, perhaps because it enables the nation to create a comforting icon out of the career of a political iconoclast.
It's a Mad, Mad Verdict
July 12, 1982
If the law truly means what it says, then John W. Hinckley Jr. had to be found not guilty of the attempted murder of the President of the United States. Not because he didn’t do it—and not even because the defense proved that mental illness caused his acts—but because the jury could not help entertaining a reasonable doubt about Hinckley’s sanity at the time of the shooting.
The Mystery of the Free Lunch
May 23, 1981
Michael Kinsley on swanky business expenses.
A House Built on Sand
September 03, 1977
Jungle Beach at Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard used to be the toniest plage in Massachusetts. A haven for bathers clothed and nude, it derived its name from the thick brush that cut it off from the island's south shore road. Reaching the beach involved hacking through the thicket, but the reward was a beach free of the crowding, vendors and photochemical oxidants of more popular spots. That was until a syndicate led by Robert Strange McNamara won control of Jungle Beach in an estate sale.
July 09, 1977
Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing by Frank E. Vandiver (Texas A&M Univ, Press; $35, 2 vols.) Arthur M, Schlesinger, Jr. divides the American military tradition between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers: on the one side, Grant, Marshall, Ridgeway; on the other, McClellan, Patton, MacArthur. Pershing was a Roundhead, although which side he would have chosen between Cromwell or Charles I is a matter of conjecture; he was probably the finest example we have of this better side of American generalship.
July 09, 1977
Why is housing so expensive here? Some special circumstances have held down supply, notably insufficient sewer capacity. But the important factors are on the demand side. Housing prices in Washington are astronomical for the same reason that Bloomingdale's has built two stores in the DC suburbs, its first ventures outride the New York area. It is the same reason Lord and Taylor has three stores hereabouts and Nieman Marcus will be moving in shortly from Texas. Why are there six Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Washington area and only five in Chicago?
Ford At The Wire
November 06, 1976
Philadelphia--Six days before the end of this miserable presidential election campaign, Gerald Ford was half through a road trip that had turned out to be fundamentally phony. In glimpses caught on television screens at stops along the Ford route, Jimmy Carter appeared to be cautious to the point of fright and to be justifying the skepticism about him that reporters traveling with him reflected in published accounts and in conversations. A choice between this unimpressive pair being obligatory, I choose Carter.
The Warren Commission In Its Own Words
September 27, 1975
Exactly 11 years ago—on September 27, 1964—the President’s Commission on the Assassination ofPresident John F. Kennedy issued its final report, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin, thathe acted alone rather than as part of a conspiracy, andthat there never had been any link between him and hiskiller. Jack Ruby. After nearly 10 months of intenselabor, however, the Commission, presided over by theChief Justice of the United States, Earl Warren, wasunable to come up with a motive for the Dallasassassination.