Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

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 »

Anybody but Steele

Next month, the Republican National Committee will elect its chairman. According to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, the three front-runners are Reince Priebus, state party chairman in Wisconsin; Saul Anuzis, former state party chairman in Michigan; and Ann Wagner, former state party chair in Missouri. Priebus can point to Republican electoral successes in Wisconsin this year. Anuzis, who also ran two years ago, is said to have expertise that »

Hey Barack, it’s the late ’70s calling; they want their American foreign policy back

“Colombia’s new leader seen as good for U.S.” So reads a headline on the front page of today’s Washington Post. Why is Columbia’s president Juan Manuel Santos seen as good for the United States? I figured it must be because, like his immensely popular predecessor Alvaro Uribe, he is maintaining excellent relations with the U.S. and standing solidly against the loathsome Hugo Chavez. But I was wrong. According to the »

The uses of Pfc Manning

Jed Babbin argues that Bradley Manning, the Army private alleged to have provided WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of State and Defense Department classified e-mails, has become the left’s “new face for the ‘injustice’ committed in America’s name.” Jed argues that Manning is perfect for the role because he enables leftists to indulge two of their pet views: that our justice system oppresses dissenters and that America, and by extension »

A decline in anti-semitism in America

Harvard sociology professor Robert Putnam has concluded that anti-Semitism in the United States is at an all-time low. He bases this view in part on a survey in which a cross-section of 3,000 Americans rated Judaism as the most popular religion (I assume respondents weren’t allowed to name their own religion). He also finds that incidents reflecting anti-Semitism are down from what they were in the past. However, Abe Foxman »

A good year in Iraq

The Washington Post’s editorial board describes what it calls “a good year in Iraq.” The Post cites (1) a national election judged to be free and fair, “a rare event in the Middle East;” (2) the eventual formation of a coalition government led by Shiite parties, but with Sunnis and Kurds in major positions; (3) a significant decrease in violence; and (4) a much improved economy that, at least in »

“Hub fans bid kid adieu”

Somehow, I managed to exclude Ted Williams’ last at-bat from my series of anniversary posts about the 1960 baseball season. On Wednesday, September 28, 1960, Williams hit a home run off of Jack Fisher into a wicked Fenway Park wind. The following season, Fisher gave up another famous home run — Roger Maris’ 60th, on September 26, 1961. Only 10,454 fans attended Williams’ final game. Fortunately, John Updike was one »

A level playing field?

Charles Krauthammer argues that, as a result of passage of the tax deal, the New START treaty, and DADT repeal, the battles of the next Congress begin on a “level playing field.” This is true, I think, in the Senate, where there are only 47 Republicans, several of whom Obama has gained momentum in dealing with. But it isn’t true in the House, where liberal legislation will be dead on »

NCAA football — Looking out for number one

In writing about FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, I’ve mentioned the corruption that, I believe, plagues that outfit. A subtext of this commentary is my view that international bodies frequently suffer from this infirmity, and that the U.S. should resist ceding power to them, at least when it comes to matters more serious than sports. Without backing down from these conclusions, I’m bound to acknowledge that corrupt sports-governing »

Why do they hate us?

“If it’s freedom we hate, why didn’t we attack Sweden?” So asked Osama bin Laden in 2006. He was attempting to show that the 9/11 attacks were about America’s “imperialist” foreign policy, not hatred of freedom. And, as Alana Goodman points out at Contentions, “this statement seemed like watertight logic to a certain species of non-interventionists, who immediately began quoting the terror leader as if he was a dependable, trustworthy »

A Mississippi childhood

Haley Barbour is embroiled in controversy over comments he made to Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard about growing up in segregated Mississippi. Barbour said he didn’t remember things being “that bad.” And he praised the local White Citizens Council for keeping the Ku Klux Klan out of his home town. In reality, things were very bad in Mississippi (as elsewhere) back then for African-Americans and, in moral terms, for »

More bad news on the door step

With Everton languishing in 14th place in the English Premier League, and with their struggles due mostly to an inability to score — Evertonians have been hoping that U.S. star Landon Donovan will return to the club on loan in January. However, Donovan has decided not to. He explained: While I enjoyed my time at Everton last season and still appreciate all the support their fans have given me, I »