Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

If at first you don’t succeed. . .

President Obama has re-nominated to the federal bench four individuals who were too controversial to be confirmed by the outgoing Senate. The four are Goodwin Liu, Edward Chen, Louis Butler, and John O’Donnell. We have discussed Liu’s radicalism on several occasions. Hans Bader highlights the problems that stood in the way of the confirmation of the four, even by an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate. It’s difficult to see how any of »

NPR exec who fired Juan Williams follows him out the door

NPR announces that an “independent review” of its firing of Juan Williams has been completed and that its Board has taken certain actions in response to the findings of that review. These actions include “appropriate disciplinary action with respect to certain management employees involved in the termination” of Williams. One manager involved in the termination is Vivian Schiller, the CEO. NPR says in its announcement that the Board is “concerned” »

Annals of mindless hyperbole

Glenn Beck claims that raising the debt ceiling would be the beginning of the end of the Republican party. The GOP survived the presidencies of Harding, Hoover, and Nixon, as well as George H.W. Bush’s about face on “new taxes.” I suppose it will survive a vote to prevent the U.S. government from defaulting on its obligations. Allahpundit has this issue nailed: From the myopic standpoint of what’s more likely »

Judge Reinhardt purports to explain himself

Judge Stephen Reinhardt has at last issued a memorandum explaining why he declined to recuse himself from the three-judge panel reviewing Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision striking down California’s Proposition 8, which provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The motion by Proposition 8′s proponents to disqualify Judge Reinhardt argued that his impartiality in the matter might reasonably be questioned because “his »

Jim DeMint says hell no

Sen. Jim DeMint has declared that even with a balanced budget amendment, he will not vote to raise the debt limit because he did not help create the debt problem. DeMint also encourages freshmen Republican members of Congress not to support raising the debt celing for the same reason. From an analytic standpoint, I don’t think DeMint’s position makes much sense. Legislators should support the best practically available response to »

Early fireworks in the new Congress, Part Three

A reader who has first-hand experience from the 1990s playing “chicken” with debt ceiling votes tells me that “there’s no useful political leverage” to be gained from the exercise. He compares threats to withhold raising the debt ceiling with threats to nuke the old Soviet Union – “superficially powerful, but actually too dreadful to seriously consider.” This was my initial thought, and it was probably a good one, whatever Lindsey »

Going rogue, where rogue equals shallow

Sarah Palin has “re-tweeted” a message from Tammy Bruce about the repeal of DADT. The message Palin re-tweeted was this: “But this hypocrisy is just truly too much. Enuf already-the more someone complains about the homos the more we should look under their bed.” It is comforting to see a potential top-tier presidential candidate give voice (without critical comment) to such deep thinking about an issue pertaining to our national »

Early fireworks in the new Congress, Part Two

Last night, I speculated about a possible “grand bargain” pursuant to which the Democrats would agree to major spending cuts in exchange for Republican agreement to fund the government (i.e., pass a budget) and raise the debt ceiling. Noting the obvious, however, I pointed out that such a bargain will probably be extremely difficult to broker. For the deal to gain Republican assent, the Democrats presumably would have to agree »

A breath of fresh air in Maryland GOP politics

Last month, Alex Mooney ’93, my comrade in the Dartmouth alumni wars, was elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. Alex, who also directs the invaluable National Journalism Center, ran for the chairmanship as the unabashed conservative he is. Among those he defeated was Mary Kane, a more moderate Republican who ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 2010. Alex isn’t just about ideology, though. He’s a tested politician who was »

John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi — compare and contrast

From today’s Washington Post: Nancy Pelosi brought camera crews and dignitaries into her childhood Baltimore neighborhood where a street was being renamed in her honor, while John Boehner is bringing his 11 siblings from working-class Ohio to Washington for a private reunion. Pelosi was feted at the Italian Embassy as Tony Bennett sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Her Republican successor was invited to the posh W Hotel »

Early fireworks likely in the new Congress

The 112th Congress will convene on Wednesday and, as the Washington Times observes, it won’t be long before the fireworks begin. In February, Congress will either pass a massive spending bill or see the federal government shut down. And in March, Congress will either raise the debt ceiling or see the government go into default. Actually, it may not be quite as stark as that. Congress can perhaps buy time »

Is Romney miscast as the GOP frontrunner?

Lindsey Graham has declared Mitt Romney to be the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. “He’s got his problems, but so does everybody else,” Graham helpfully explained. But not all problems are equal, and Romney’s seem fundamental. One of them is that he is suspected by the Republican base of not being very conservative, and this suspicion coalesces around a vital issue — health care reform. In »

An optimistic forecast for the new year

Economist Irwin Stelzer finds that the U.S. economy is in much better shape at the end of 2010 than it was 12 months ago. 2010 was a banner year for corporate profits. As Stelzer observes, “third-quarter pre-tax profits topped their 2006 peak, as firms continued the cost cutting that has seen unit labor costs declining at a rate not seen for 50 year.” The problem, of course, has been the »

Barack Obama and the paradox of progressivism

I encourage those of our readers with a philosophical bent to take the time this weekend (it will require about an hour) to read Peter Berkowitz’s excellent essay “Obama and the State of Progressivism, 2011.” Peter links the political difficulties President Obama has encountered to the “paradox of American progressivism, old and new,” a paradox “rooted in the gap between its professed devotion to democracy. . .and its belief that »

The late 1970s want their American foreign policy back, Part Two

A few days ago, we noted the strange fact that the Obama administration is pleased with Colombia’s new president for cozying up to Hugo Chavez, the long-time sworn enemy of Colombia. Never mind that the Venezuelan tyrant is also the sworn enemy of the United States. And never mind that he reportedly is now receiving Iranian missiles with which to threaten portions of the Western Hemisphere. For Obama, the friend »

How do they like him now?

I think it’s clear that the Democrats expected George W. Bush to be the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to electoral politics. Frankly, I expected this as well, albeit to a lesser degree than the Dems did. But that’s not how things are turning out. It’s not just that Democratic efforts to make the 2010 election a referendum on the Bush presidency failed (predictably enough). There is »

The early returns on Obamacare

The Washington Post reports that Obamacare is off to a rocky start. One of its key early features — the one that allows people who are already sick to obtain insurance — is attracting few customers and costing more than expected. As to the first matter, the chief actuary of the Medicare program predicted earlier this year that 375,000 people would sign up for the new pool plans by the »