Politics

The Active Authoritarianism of Teddy Roosevelt

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Bully Boy by Jim Powell (Crown Forum, 2006); 329 pages, $27.50. Most historians rank Teddy Roosevelt as one of America’s great or near-great presidents. That is mainly because he is regarded as a “progressive” — a trustbuster, a proponent of government regulation of the ... [click for more]

Executive Orders and the Decline of Law, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 The longest-lasting legacy of Lincoln is not the War Between the States or even the violent way in which slavery ended in the United States. Lincoln was able to use brute force to “settle” the various arguments regarding the centralization of political power in this country. As the late Shelby Foote said during an ... [click for more]

Bush’s Doublethink

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The most peculiar passage in President Bushs much-dissected surge speech was this: I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraqs other leaders that Americas commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people. What could the president have meant by ... [click for more]

Bipartisanship? Bah!

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One of our smartest political philosophers, Will Rogers, had it right: Be thankful were not getting all the government were paying for. I think of that whenever I hear politicians and commentators praise bipartisanship. I also think of this saying: Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Where did all the wise heads get the idea that Americans ... [click for more]

What Exactly Did Gerald Ford Heal?

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Over the last several days former President Gerald R. Ford has been repeatedly praised for healing the nation in the aftermath of Richard Nixons Watergate scandal. Democrat, Republican, and solemn pundit alike paid extravagant tribute to the man who, in their view, saved the American people from disaster. But is that what Ford really did? Lets recall the context. The ... [click for more]

Executive Orders and the Decline of Law, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 During his presidency, Bill Clinton would conclude his trips abroad by telling his advisors that he was determined to use the powers of his office. Those “powers,” of course, included what are called “executive orders,” which are orders that come from the office of the president of the United States and have the ... [click for more]

The Repudiation of Bush

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Power tends to corrupt, Lord Acton famously said. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. The voters apparently agreed. Its reasonable to conclude from the election results that most voters felt the Republicans had been in power too long. The hopeless war in Iraq, the culture of corruption and incompetence, the spending binge (which includes the war), the grating social conservatism, and ... [click for more]

They Deserved to Lose

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Having lost control over the U.S. House of Representatives and possibly also the U.S. Senate, Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. They deserved to lose. For years, Republicans have used libertarian rhetoric in their political campaigns. We favor freedom, free enterprise, limited government, and responsibility, Republican candidates have so often proclaimed. Were opposed to big government, they loved ... [click for more]

Page Scandal: Political Corruption Precedes Sexual Corruption

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For the sake of those vulnerable 16-year-old boys and girls who come to Washington each year, we should abolish the congressional page program immediately. I’m not referring only to the danger posed by the sexual predators in Congress. There’s a more widespread danger that hardly anyone cares about: the congressional page program encourages high ... [click for more]

Conservatives and the Courts

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It is always amusing to watch conservatives react to court decisions they don’t like. They were firmly in character last week when Federal District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the Bush administration broke the law and violated the Constitution when it began wiretapping, without warrants, international phone calls between Americans and “suspected terrorists.” She’s ... [click for more]

Theodore Roosevelt Is No One to Emulate

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We shouldn’t be surprised that President George W. Bush’s Svengali, Karl Rove, is an admirer of Theodore Roosevelt. TR is hot these days. He made the cover of Time magazine, heralding a series of hagiographic articles, including Rove’s, that make him out to be the first modern American president. In Time’s view, that ... [click for more]

The Cowardice of the Conservative

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Conservatives are an interesting bunch. In a desperate attempt to differentiate themselves from liberals, they like to mock folks on the Left while talking as if they themselves were in agreement with libertarians. “I just vote Republican because they’re the lesser of two evils” is a common excuse for their continued support of that ... [click for more]
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