“The constitutional amendment before us,” Harry Reid said Tuesday, describing a proposal to give federal and state governments the authority to regulate political giving, “isn’t about limiting free speech.”
Harry Reid, may I present the American Civil Liberties Union. I am sure you two have met before.
“We can fix these problems,” Paul Ryan tells me. He’s referring to the sluggish economy, the rising cost of living, broken immigration and health care systems, burdensome regulations, and stifling tax code. What would it take? The Republican Party has to win the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016.
F-16s grounded. Blackhawks covered in foam. Just two Army brigades combat ready. Half the cruiser fleet rendered inoperable. New nukes delayed—for two years. The percentage of the economy devoted to defense at pre-9/11 levels. Bipartisan experts terrified of the consequences. America’s deterrent—our ability to discourage and respond to aggression—is gone.
It was thrown away. First, President Obama cut defense massively, constraining the Pentagon and hollowing out the force. He was helped not only by Democrats in Congress but also by Republicans, who agreed to the budget sequester in 2011. Democrats want more money for social programs; Republicans want to cut the deficit. They are both guilty of short-term thinking.
The headline was brutal. “Bam’s Golf War: Prez tees off as Foley’s parents grieve,” read the cover of Thursday’s New York Daily News. Obama’s gaffe was this: He had denounced the beheading of James Foley from a vacation spot in Martha’s Vineyard, then went to the golf course. Seems like he had a great time. Such a great time that he returned to the Farm Neck Golf Club—sorry, membership is full—the next day.
Jeff Bell was a reform conservative before it was cool. He’s spent his career arguing with a risk-averse Republican establishment. He pushed Ronald Reagan to embrace the supply-side doctrine of tax cuts before deficit reduction. He spent the 1990s warning the GOP that its tax policy favored investment capital over human capital, corporate interests over working families. He designed a family-friendly flat tax that reduced payroll taxes, increased the child tax credit, taxed capital gains and regular income at the same rate, and ended business expensing. Payroll tax relief and a generous child tax credit are elements of today’s reform conservatism. Bell was there first.
Some of the best actors make the worst movies. Robin Williams, who killed himself Monday, made clunkers like Popeye, Bicentennial Man, What Dreams May Come, and Jumanji. But that isn’t a difference between Williams and actors of similar caliber such as Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. It’s a similarity.
Three. That is the number of times Israel has fought Hamas since 2007, when the terror group seized control of the Gaza Strip. There was Operation Cast Lead in 2008, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and now Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In all three cases the story has been the same: Israel is attacked; Israel responds; Israel is condemned; Israel ceases fire. Hamas is weakened. Hamas recovers. The rockets return. Rewind and repeat.
Slandered, despised, insulted, degraded, Israel is nonetheless winning its war against Hamas. The number of rocket attacks launched by the terror group each day has been halved. The IDF is uprooting the underground tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle weapons, contraband, and terrorists in and out of the Gaza Strip. On Wednesday evening, Israel’s Channel Two newscast carried footage of Hamas terrorists surrendering to the IDF. The jihadists carried white flags. They stripped to their shorts, proving they were not wearing suicide belts. These are facts Hamas does not want you to know, images Hamas does not want you to see.
“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.
Clemens Wergin is something of a contrarian. A German editor of the Die Welt newspaper group, he often found himself defending American foreign policy against European criticism. He would chide his countrymen for neglecting their dependence on the U.S. armed forces. He would lampoon the European belief that moral grandstanding makes for a foreign policy. He would praise American leaders for having the courage to make costly decisions.