Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Classic Congressman


In one respect, the people of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, have had it pretty good. The same goes for the residents of Prudenville, Lake George, and Big Rapids.

They’ve had Dave Camp represent them in Congress. They may have not always taken him seriously. He’s never quit looking like he’s twelve. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee formally hung Camp’s portrait on the wall of the main hearing room. I’ll bet if you brushed in more blonde hair it wouldn’t look much different from his high school yearbook picture.  Continue reading

No Use Holding Holder in His Job

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Republicans should do their best to allow Eric Holder to depart the Justice Department as quickly as possible. He has been as bad an Attorney General in his way as Alberto Gonzales was in his way.

Justice ought to be blind and it ought to be color-blind, but that’s not how Holder viewed his job. He viewed everything through the prism of black and white. Continue reading

Why Tip O’Neill’s Father Was Wrong


In a well-argued essay, “Taking the Long Way,” Yuval Levin, the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and editor of National Affairs, reminds us that “disciplines of the soul” are the basis of a free society. In other words, if citizens of a democracy do not develop and then adhere to the orderly habits of virtuous behavior, then the blessings of liberty are in peril. This is not an original thought.

In George Washington’s Farewell Address, he wrote: “Of the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.”     Continue reading

Obama’s Smart War

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My personal bible of modern political thought is, of course, the Hollywood Reporter.

The HR (as we entertainment insiders like to call it) ran a piece detailing the celebrities who are against going to war. Among them are: Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, The Dixie Chicks (at least one of them), Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Kim Basinger, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Lange, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Gere

There were others, but you get the drift. Continue reading

Fleeting Gain, Lasting Worry

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Originally published in The Hill

As the Senate wrapped up work before departing for the elections, Republicans forced a vote on the issue of immigration, wanting to put Democrats on record on the controversial issue of the president’s executive authority to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

It’s obvious that, through the short-term lens of the coming election, this proved to be a smart political maneuver. In fact, four vulnerable Democrats sided with the Republicans and against the president because they were so worried about the political volatility of the vote.  Continue reading

Derek Jeter: King of the Bi-Racial Age

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We live in an age of bi-racial heroes.

It started with Tiger Woods, who took the golf world by storm and must rank as one of the top three golfers of all time (Jack Nicklaus, Tiger, Bobby Jones). Tiger called himself cablanasian (Caucasian, Black, Asian).

Barack Obama won election and reelection as President, the first person of African descent to do so. His mother was a white woman from Kansas. Continue reading

In Ways Only America Can Do

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President Barack Obama spoke about the Ebola outbreak in west Africa during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week:

“Faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to us, the United States. And it’s a responsibility that we embrace. We’re prepared to take leadership on this to provide the kinds of capabilities that only America has and to mobilize the world in ways that only America can do. That’s what we’re doing as we speak.”

I thought about that phrase: “that only America can do,” and wondered why “only America” can do it. Continue reading

Of Flags, Constitutions, and Civil Wars


“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave”

This third stanza of the poem Defence of Fort McHenry was presumably written on a September day in 1814 in the Indian Queen Hotel in Baltimore, MD, by a lawyer and amateur poet named Frances Scott Key.

Key began writing the poem on the bow of a ship in the Baltimore Harbor, watching and waiting as American troops endured 25 hours of bombardment by British ships of war under the Continue reading

Net Neutrality

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I know there is a lot going on in the world, but I want to spend today on the concept known as Net Neutrality.

Before we begin, I have to remind you that I am a consultant to a 300-member Internet coalition known as Broadband for America. As I am paid by them to write about Internet-connected (is that a redundancy?) topics you need to filter this through that lens.

Today is the final day to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission for or against the concept. By the end of the day it is likely that more than 1.4 million comments will have Continue reading

On the Passing of Ian Paisley

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I can’t decide if Ian Paisley was the George Wallace of Northern Ireland or the Strom Thurmond.

Paisley was a bigot.

When St. John Paul II visited the European Parliament in 1988 (the Pope who brought down communism in alliance with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), Paisley heckled him saying, “I denounce you, Anti-Christ! I refuse you as Christ’s enemy and Antichrist with all your false doctrine.” Continue reading

Congress Should Be Careful on ISIS Authorization

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At The Hague Convention of 1907, the British, Germans, French, Russians, Americans and other world powers met to try to figure out how the major powers should act in the 20th century.

One of the breakthroughs was an agreed-upon procedure to declare war on one another, which of course, would come in handy during the bulk of the 20th century, where there were plenty of wars going on. Continue reading

Breaking News: Communism is “Over”


The New York Times Book Review on Sunday, September 7, carried an interview with best-selling novelist Ken Follett. He was asked: “What’s the one book you wish someone else would write?”

His reply: “Now that Communism is over, and we’re not obliged to have that argument any longer, someone should analyze the achievement of Karl Marx as a philosopher. Like Freud and Darwin, he changed the way we all think, even conservatives.”

What follows is what might have been said in an international conference call on the same day. The participants are: Raul Castro of Cuba, Xi Jinping of China, and Kim Jong-un of North Korea: Continue reading

What Surprise Can We Expect in October?

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Lyndon Johnson announced that he planned to halt the bombing of North Vietnam in October of 1968.

Richard Nixon announced that “peace was at hand” in the Vietnam War in October of 1972.

Jimmy Carter tried to announce the return of the Iranian hostages in October of 1980, but according to several sources (who may or may not be lying), Reagan campaign officials made certain that that was not going to happen. Continue reading

Classroom Lessons for the Ruling Class


All right class, another school year has begun and it is a good time to go over some basic information you might have forgotten over the summer. Barack Obama, stop slouching in your seat and get that supercilious look off your face. Hillary Clinton, I trust you remember that “What difference does it make?” is not an acceptable answer in my class.

Fact One: The United States of America is composed of three separate but mutually dependent parts. First, the people and the work they do, second, the communities and organizations the people voluntarily form, and third, the government the people choose. Continue reading

Privacy: Going, Going, Gone


The woman sat behind her desk, her face buried in the computer screen, busily scanning, clicking, and shuffling her mouse in one direction and then another–you know with that pounding and scraping sound you make when you’re not happy with what you’re seeing.  She scanned the screen some more. Then she turned to me.

“What is your cell phone number?” she asked.

I told her.

“What are the last four digits of your Social Security number?” she asked.   Continue reading

In Defense of Deliberation


“Obama sets own pace as global crises erupt,” said a front-page headline in the Washington Post on August 31. “Deliberative approach to foreign affairs fuels criticism as world’s problems multiply.”

With all due respect to the Post, it seems to me that what our country needs is more, not less, deliberation in the making of public policy, especially in foreign affairs. Deliberation is prudence in action, and prudence is one of the bedrock virtues of conservatism.  Continue reading

Who Are These Guys?

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Who are these guys?

That’s the famous line from the classic movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” It could also be asked of the Sunni insurgency that has overtaken a healthy portion of Iraq and Syria.

They are called alternately ISIS or ISL which stands for either the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or the Islamic State of the Levant. Continue reading