Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Trump administration blasts Russia’s handling of protests

Featured image This weekend featured anti-government protests in Russia, the largest since 2011. Tens of thousands of people are thought to have participated nationwide. In Moscow, the number probably exceeded 5,000, of whom almost 1,000 were arrested. The size of the protests wasn’t large by Western standards. On the other hand, in the U.S. and Western Europe one does not risk arrest and worse by participating in peaceful protests. The protesters hoped »

The Obamacare replacement blame game

Featured image From the Washington Post: President Trump cast blame Sunday for the collapse of his effort to overhaul the health-care system on conservative interest groups and far-right Republican lawmakers, shifting culpability to his own party after initially faulting Democratic intransigence. His attack — starting with a tweet that singled out the House Freedom Caucus as well as the influential Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America — marked a new »

A Yemen dilemma

Featured image Michael Ledeen wonders whether President Trump has “a strategy to win the global war.” Michael discerns none. Instead, he sees our enemies and adversaries making inroads, while the U.S. counters mostly with words and, in the case of Russia, “the usual sanctions.” What is our policy? It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer. We say we want Iran out of Syria, but we’re in league with the Iranians in some »

Anti-Trump protesters use pepper spray on pro-Trump marchers [UPDATED]

Featured image A “Make America Great Again” march today in Huntington Beach, California turned violent when anti-Trump protesters, who were trying to block the march, used pepper spray against march participants. According to this report from the Orange County Register: As the marchers, many in MAGA hats or carrying American flags, walked down the bike path from Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue, about a dozen protesters wearing black masks formed a »

Court strikes down Guam’s racist voting scheme

Featured image Six years ago, retired Air Force officer Arnold Davis, a resident of Guam, tried to register to vote on a plebiscite regarding Guam’s future. His application was rejected and marked as “void” by the Guam Election Commission Why? Because Guam banned residents from registering or voting unless they are Chamorro “natives,” which to the territorial government means people whose ancestors were original inhabitants of Guam. Chamorros constitute only about 36 »

How to reverse this week’s Obamacare defeat

Featured image My take on the political implications of the House’s failure to pass the GOP’s repeal-and-replace bill differs a little bit from John’s. In my view, the Democrats have good reason to be pleased by that failure, as things stand now. The Democrats’ argument is straightforward. As Scott says, Republicans have been running against Obamacare for years — promising to repeal and replace it. Yet, with a big majority in House »

Trump administration strongly backs Israel at U.N.

Featured image The news obviously wasn’t good for conservatives this week on the Obamacare front. On the spy vs. spy front, the news was mixed and confusing. However, there was plenty for conservatives to be happy about. First and foremost, Neil Gorsuch was terrific at his Senate hearing, and the Democrats seem determined to maximize the damage his confirmation will inflict on them. In addition, President Trump’s approval of construction of the »

Perception is reality. . .

Featured image for a few weeks. Then, something happens and perception changes. I agree with John that the failure of the House to pass Obamacare replacement legislation this week doesn’t necessarily mean GOP House members won’t be able to pass important legislation on other fronts. Health care legislation represents a special challenge because it is so complex, because the stakes are so high, and because Obamacare screwed things up so badly. However, »

Georgetown fires John Thompson III

Featured image After 13 seasons as the coach of Georgetown’s basketball team, John Thompson III is out. Firing JT3 was a big call, considering his father’s stature at the school. John Thompson, Jr. took a middling, at best, basketball program — one that in a good year might get an NIT invite — to the pinnacle of the sport. His Georgetown teams appeared in three Final Fours and won a national championship. »

Trump demands Friday vote on Obamacare

Featured image My mantra on health care reform has been that it’s more important to do it right than to do it fast. President Trump disagrees. He insists that the House vote on Speaker Ryan’s (and his) flawed legislation tomorrow. After negotiations broke down today, Trump delivered an ultimatum: Pass the bill tomorrow or I’m moving on from Obamacare repeal. Congress can repeal and replace Obamacare even if the president moves on. »

Everyone behaving badly

Featured image One of my favorite law professors once said, after returning from a conference in Las Vegas, that the place made him wonder not just whether America will survive, but whether it should. America survived the Las Vegas of the early 1970s, and I believe we will survive the Washington of the mid 2010s. But I wonder. Consider the last weeks of the Obama administration. The New York Times has reported »

Trump and Ryan still coming up short on AHCA [UPDATE — vote canceled]

Featured image Normally, when a new president and a House Speaker engage in heavy-duty arm-twisting over a piece of legislation, and they have a big enough majority to withstand 21 or 22 defections, the legislation passes the House. That’s all the more true if the legislation pertains to a vital issue and the president and the Speaker reasonably perceive that its defeat will have major adverse political consequences for them and their »

We may be the stupid party, but are we that stupid?

Featured image Politico reports that “a group of Senate Democrats is beginning to explore trying to extract concessions from Republicans in return for allowing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed.” What concessions? The deal Democrats would be most likely to pursue. . .would be to allow confirmation of Gorsuch in exchange for a commitment from Republicans not to kill the filibuster for a subsequent vacancy during President Donald Trump’s term. »

Sheldon Whitehouse — “dark money” hypocrite

Featured image Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse devoted his first day of questions to Neil Gorsuch to the subject of “dark money.” He meant money that goes to politicians and political causes from contributors who aren’t identified. Whitehouse complained about a $10 million campaign in support of confirming Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. According to Whitehouse, “dark money” is being used to finance this campaign. Whitehouse did not claim that Judge Gorsuch is involved »

“The most powerful person in Washington”

Featured image That’s what Eli Lake calls James Comey. Why? Because with the FBI’s investigation of alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Comey “will in a practical sense determine the legitimacy of our elected president.” When President Trump, just a few days after taking office, decided to retain Comey as FBI director, I questioned whether this was a good decision from Trump’s perspective: Comey, independent and stubborn as hell, has »

Tom Cotton nails it on the AHCA

Featured image Sen. Tom Cotton announced today that he will not vote for the American Health Care Act in its present form. He released the following statement: Despite the proposed amendments, I still cannot support the House health-care bill, nor would it pass the Senate. The amendments improve the Medicaid reforms in the original bill, but do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making »

Observations on the Gorsuch hearing, Part Two — Al Franken strikes out

Featured image Sen. Al Franken has become something of a hero to the left because it was in response to one of his questions that Attorney General Sessions said he “did not have communications with the Russians.” Franken never asked Sessions whether he had. Instead, Sessions volunteered this information. So this wasn’t Al Franken getting Sessions to misstate something in response to withering questions; this was dumb luck. (It is also lucky »