Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Honest Services Argument and the Culture of Deceit

My friend Bill Otis is now writing for the Crime and Consequences blog. In this piece, he considers two pending Supreme Court cases in which the issue is whether a defendant may be convicted for fraud under federal law merely for deceit, even if he did not intend economic harm to those he deceived or violate state law. The defendants are newspaper magnate Conrad Black and former Alaska legislator Bruce »

A good night for law and gender studies at IU

The prospects for Dawn Johnsen’s confirmation as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel took a hit last night. When Arlen (“Worse than SMERSH”) Specter had said he would support Johnsen, whom he had previously opposed, it appeared that Johnsen might have the necessary 60 votes. But once Brown takes his seat, she will probably max out at 59. I say this knowing full well that Brown will »

It’s the enemy, stupid

In his remarks at last night’s victory celebration, Scott Brown reiterated one of the winning themes of his campaign in a memorable fashion: “And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation – they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay »

Joel Mowbray: The turnout in Massachusetts

Occasional contributor Joel Mowbray ([email protected]) writes to comment on the Massachusetts election: Turns out that the “special election” was special in one more way. Yesterday’s voting tally shattered all turnout predictions, not just because the race was considered a fait accompli a mere month ago, but for the simple fact that elections for one office rarely generate strong turnout. To give some perspective on just how motivated Massachusetts voters were, »

The Massachusetts miracle

When was the last time a race for the U.S. Senate produced a result as shocking as the one tonight? The answer depends on our point of reference. Tonight’s result wasn’t shocking in relation to how people thought the race would go when the day began. But if we use as our reference point the day that the candidates were nominated, can anyone think of a more surprising result? I’ve »

A salute to Scott Brown

As Barack Obama completes his first year in office, observers may wonder how his hope and change thing is working out. Tonight, Massachusetts voters provided the answer. Americans are hoping for change, alright, but the change they desire is change from the leading policies of the Obama administration. Massachusetts is a heavily Democratic state, arguably the bluest in the country. It has not elected a Republican Senator since 1972. The »

Where do they go from here?

President Obama and the congressional Democrats have at least three options in their quest to pass health care legislation. Two of them don’t seem very promising, but the third one might be. One option is for the House to pass the Senate version of health care legislation. If the House were to do so, it would negate the impact of Scott Brown’s election on the issue. But the House was »

Thank you, President Bush

As I understand the Democratic narrative of today’s election, as explained by Robert Gibbs and others, Scott Brown’s victory is the result of voter anger. That anger, in turn, is the understandable result of President Bush’s policies. Thus, George W. Bush is responsible for the election of Scott Brown. President Obama is just a bystander. »

A Back of the envelope calculation

Rasmussen did some exit polling today. He found that 22 percent of Massachusetts Democrats voted for Scott Brown. If Democrats are 36 percent of voters (which is their representation among those registered to vote), then Brown captures 8 percent of the total vote just by virtue of Dems. If he wins 11 of out of every 12 Republican votes, that would give him another 11 percent of the total vote »

More reliable than Intrade?

The Dow, NASDAQ, and the S&P 500 were all up by more than 1 percent today, with healthcare stocks leading the way. Plainly, as my friend Bill Otis says, the reason is that the market thinks Brown will win and that Obamacare will fail as a result. »

Full speed ahead, Mr. President

Mike Allen at Politico reports that, according to White House staffers, President Obama “plans a combative response if, as White House aides fear, Democrats lose Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts.” Allen explains that “the health care backdrop has given the White House a strong incentive to strike a defiant posture, at least rhetorically, in response to what would be an undeniable embarrassment for the president and his party.” Accordingly, »

Are the Dems turning out Brown voters?

Hoping to salvage Martha Coakley’s campaign, the Dems are working hard to turn out the Democratic vote. But, as Glenn Thrush of Politico reports, their get-out-the-vote operation may be a two-edged sword: A Democratic operative familiar with Martha Coakley and the DSCC’s massive get-out-the-vote operation says that outreach workers in and around Boston have been stunned by the number of Democrats and Obama supporters who are waving them off, saying »

Thinking about the unthinkable, Part Four

I don’t know who will win today’s election in Massachusetts, but there are two things I’m confident of. First, if Brown wins, the Democrats will claim that the result is the product of “local considerations” and, in particular, a poor candidate. Second, this claim will be misleading at best. When Bob McDonnell trounced Creigh Deeds in Virginia, I argued that his victory was largely the result of local conditions and »

Remember the truck!

They scheduled a coronation in Massachusetts and, against all odds, a campaign broke out. They took away the governor’s power of appointment to foil Mitt Romney in the event that John Kerry was elected president in 2004. Thank you, Democrats of Massachusetts. Life is funny that way, and so therefore is politics, every once in a while. Scott Brown is the man of the hour. With coolness and perspicacity, he »

Political correctness and national sovereignty

The Reclaim American Liberty conference last week featured a panel on sovereignty. I find “sovereignty” to be a somewhat abstract term that lacks resonance except for the already “converted.” What we really mean by sovereignty is the right of Americans to govern ourselves, i.e., democracy. In any event, the main theme that emerged from the panel is a crucial one — the primary source of the threat to our sovereignty »

Defense department shows, rather than says, why the Fort Hood massacre occurred

On Friday, the Department of Defense released its report on the Fort Hood Massacre –“Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood.” It is a disgraceful document. Indeed, Ralph Peters does not exaggerate when he says: Rarely in the course of human events has a report issued by any government agency been so cowardly and delusional. It’s so inept, it doesn’t even rise to cover-up level. The report attributes the fact »

If President Obama can’t do the trick, invoke Dr. King

At the Boston Martin Luther King Day Breakfast this morning, Martha Coakley argued that voting for her will help carry on King’s legacy. “Chairman Martha” said: I’m running for the United States Senate because Dr. King’s work is unfinished; his dream is unrealized. Tomorrow we act on the dream and we make sure that we allow me to continue that work. We remember the dream tomorrow and we will act »