Michael Barone from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:54:11 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Michael Barone from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/michael-barone-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone 96a51de97dd409837af342fa30863072 The Democrats' Faute de Mieux Front-Runner for 10/11/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/19/the-democrats-faute-de-mieux-front-runner Fri, 11 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Is Elizabeth Warren the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination? You can make a strong argument that the answer is yes. You can also argue that she is, at most, a default front-runner and a problematic general election nominee. </p> <p>And you might reasonably conclude that both arguments taken together tell you some interesting things about the current state of the Democratic Party &#8212; the world's oldest political party.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 11, 2019</p> 8489200251047c2a8ab1d1f68580d61e Life Can Improve, Even During Impeachments for 10/04/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/19/life-can-improve-even-during-impeachments Fri, 04 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Underneath the clash and clang of controversy over presidential impeachment, public policy and personal initiative can slowly and seemingly imperceptibly improve life in America. That was the case two decades ago, amid the swirling arguments over the mostly party line impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton and the Senate's mostly party line refusal to remove him from office.</p> <p>This 1998-99 controversy occurred as conservative welfare and crime control reforms were vastly reducing &#8212; far more than their advocates had expected &#8212; welfare dependency and crime control in America's central cities. <p>Updated: Fri Oct 04, 2019</p> 2e859b725fdf94305201d4bea4fe78f3 Democrats' Risky Bet on Impeachment for 09/27/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/19/democrats-risky-bet-on-impeachment Fri, 27 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Precedents abound in a country whose first presidential election took place 230 years ago, that has seen 41 presidential contests between two political parties founded 187 and 165 years ago. Three of our 44 presidents have faced impeachment proceedings &#8212; Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton &#8212; and now it seems Donald Trump will be the fourth. </p> <p>Democrats have been itching to oust Trump from office since the 9 p.m. Eastern hour on election night nearly three years ago, when it became clear he had been elected. High law enforcement and intelligence officials started trying to keep him from the White House starting months earlier and for three years pushed the theory that he and his campaign were acting in collusion with Russia, even though they had little evidence aside from a dossier full of Russia-supplied hearsay, whose lurid claims were never verified. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 27, 2019</p> 9981b7aac02590796e133435bb2348e2 Will Congress Have to Learn to Write Laws Again? for 09/20/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/19/will-congress-have-to-learn-to-write-laws-again Fri, 20 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Congress needs to learn to do a better job of writing laws. That's my conclusion after reviewing the legal debate over whether the Supreme Court should renounce the Chevron doctrine it unanimously promulgated (with three justices not participating) back in 1984.</p> <p>What is the Chevron doctrine, and why does it matter? It arose out of a Clean Air Act case and hinged on whether the court must accept a regulatory agency's interpretation of an ambiguous statute passed by Congress. Yes, said the court. Once the court found the statute (a provision of the Clean Air Act) ambiguous, it must accept the interpretation of the agency (the Environmental Protection Agency) if it is "based on a permissible construction of the statute," even if the judges think it's wrong, even if the agency has, after a change in administration, changed its interpretation, as it had in Chevron. </p> <p>What's wrong with that? The argument is that it makes us subject to laws not passed by Congress and signed by the president but to regulations handed down by unelected, undemocratic bureaucrats. "Chevron," writes my American Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison in his 2018 book, "Judicial Fortitude," "permits agencies to take on the role of Congress."<p>Updated: Fri Sep 20, 2019</p> cf74c4ae63fdb2a3e9d18a72cdd4e6f2 Trump Era Not as Extraordinary as Never-Trumpers Think for 09/13/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/19/trump-era-not-as-extraordinary-as-never-trumpers-think Fri, 13 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Around Washington, in sundry upscale locales, in large quadrants of the internet, you still encounter lamentations about Donald Trump's takeover of the Republican Party and prophecies of the party's approaching doom. Never-Trumpers are less thick on the ground than among ordinary voters, but they have an echo in affluent southern and southwest suburbs that have switched from Republicans to anti-Trump Democrats. And they're eager to tell you that nothing like this has ever happened before. </p> <p>Well, not so fast. I've got a book coming out in October called "How America's Political Parties Change (and How They Don't)," on the history of our 185- and 167-year-old political parties, and I can report that things like this have happened before. One example of many: Franklin D. Roosevelt, undeniably a great president, especially as a war leader, but one whose policies also drove some prominent members of his own party to the opposition and some of whose actions seemed, well, eccentric. Like his sitting in bed in mornings in 1933 and setting a new price of gold &#8212; up 21 cents one day because, as Amity Shlaes recalls in "The Forgotten Man," "it's a lucky number, because it's three times seven." Sounds sort of like setting tariffs in tweets. Or setting up a ramshackle National Recovery Administration charged with setting prices and wages for 700 industries, a law ruled unconstitutional by a 9-0 Supreme Court. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 13, 2019</p> 694d6bcd53076df06ca999c6bb29c71e Elites Abandon Norms and Show Contempt for Voters on Both Sides of the Atlantic for 09/06/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/19/elites-abandon-norms-and-show-contempt-for-voters-on-both-sides-of-the-atlantic Fri, 06 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Wars by the elites on the people are flaring in English-speaking nations on both sides of the Atlantic. It's being waged fiercely in the Palace of Westminster House of Commons and in the House of Lords. And in the newsrooms and greenrooms of American journalism.</p> <p>There's much that can be said about it. <span class="column--highlighted-text">You could argue it's the subject, open or veiled, or almost all recent British and American opinion journalism.</span> But what I find most interesting is that the same elites who proclaim themselves the guardian of accepted mores and norms of civility have been freely, and self-righteously, abandoning those mores and norms without a hint of embarrassment.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 06, 2019</p> acbba97bbbca5434f72987240b2d5b66 Why Democratic Candidates Risk Martin O'Malley's Fate for 08/30/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/19/why-democratic-candidates-risk-martin-omalleys-fate Fri, 30 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Anyone heard anything about Martin O'Malley lately? Four years ago, he was busy out in Iowa running for president. After two successful terms as mayor of Baltimore (homicides fell during his years) and as governor of Maryland, he seemed like a plausible candidate. Strumming his guitar and singing Irish songs, he seemed more likable than either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. </p> <p>Yet <span class="column--highlighted-text">as a candidate, like most of the Democratic candidates running this year, he got just about zero support</span>. In the Iowa caucuses, he won just 0.54 percent of "state convention delegate equivalents" (the Iowa Democrats' metric); it appears that of the 171,000 Democrats who showed up on caucus night, only about 1,000 voted for him. There just wasn't much demand for a white male non-socialist that year. <p>Updated: Fri Aug 30, 2019</p> 0a67349dee87008f4b40cd560db6fc3f The End of America's 30-Year Engagement With China? for 08/23/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/19/the-end-of-americas-30-year-engagement-with-china Fri, 23 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Will the demonstrations in Hong Kong come to be seen as the end of a 30-year period, beginning with the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, of the American-Chinese economic engagement and entanglement christened "Chimerica" by historian Niall Ferguson? </p> <p>Quite possibly, and without regard to what happens in Hong Kong. President Donald Trump's on-and-off tariff threats to China have shown his willingness to upend U.S.-China economic ties. Unlike his predecessors, he regards imports from China as harmful. They may provide cheap clothes and toys to American consumers, but they also seem to have destroyed more American manufacturing jobs than expected. <p>Updated: Fri Aug 23, 2019</p> 3eda6ffdea9b7dcd3a34e76fdd0d7293 Will Fact-Checkers Foil Democrats' Attempts to Play the Race Card? for 08/16/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/19/will-fact-checkers-foil-democrats-attempts-to-play-the-race-card Fri, 16 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Fact-checking journalists lean left, as Mark Hemingway documented in a canonical Washington Examiner analysis that is just as valid today as when it was published in 2011. But as John F. Kennedy once said, when asked why he wasn't supported by an odoriferous Massachusetts Democrat, "sometimes party loyalty asks too much." </p> <p>Case in point: the two solemn statements by Democratic presidential candidates. Last Friday at 2:24 p.m., Kamala Harris tweeted, "Michael Brown's murder forever changed Ferguson and America." Half an hour later, Elizabeth Warren got more specific: "5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri." They weren't the only candidates noting this fifth anniversary, but others carefully avoided the M-word.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 16, 2019</p> 7f807ebf5c12aaa05524775f86bf5bfb Analyzing the Pieces of the Democratic Puzzle for 08/09/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/19/analyzing-the-pieces-of-the-democratic-puzzle Fri, 09 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"No candidate received a polling bump as a result of the Detroit debates," writes Morning Consult analyst Anthony Patterson this week. That's a big disappointment for the dozen or more candidates struggling to make the Democrats' 2 percent cutoffs for further debate appearances, as well as for the pundits weary after six or so hours of debates and post-debate interviews. </p> <p>Actually, it appears that Kamala Harris sunk a bit from her numbers after her school busing hit on Joe Biden in the Miami debate, and Elizabeth Warren's post-Detroit numbers are up a bit. In the most recent national polls, Biden is still in first place; Bernie Sanders and Warren are competitive for second; and Harris follows in high single digits, with Pete Buttigieg trailing behind. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">What may be more interesting is how the polling differs from previous patterns.</span> In 2016 primaries, white non-college graduates in communities with low social connectedness thronged to Donald Trump, while college graduates shunned him. That was a new pattern, I wrote in a March 2016 Washington Examiner column, and one predictive of how Trump would switch 100 or so electoral votes and win the presidency in November.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 09, 2019</p> 322054cc5c540d26bc6792ff48cbe71e Nationalism, Rightly Understood, Is a Necessary Ingredient of Political Success for 08/02/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/19/nationalism-rightly-understood-is-a-necessary-ingredient-of-political-success Fri, 02 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Nationalism has a bad name. For many Americans, mention of the word summons up visions of Hitler and Nazism. Some condemn nationalism as thoughtless bragging that your nation is better than others, which should be discouraged just as second graders are told not to brag, lest they hurt classmates' feelings. </p> <p>Historical and international perspective is supplied by one of the conveners of the well-attended National Conservatism conference in Washington last month, Israeli think tank head Yoram Hazony, in his 2018 book, "The Virtue of Nationalism." Hazony argues that nationalism first emerged in the northwest corner of Europe, in Tudor England and in the Dutch republic rebelling against the overlordship of the king of Spain. These were small maritime nations, growing rich through international trade even while threatened by massive monarchies. In the years of religious wars, they were the most religiously diverse and tolerant polities in Christendom.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 02, 2019</p> 6e85d67ad397b12ccafe3241b4f96d31 Both Parties Are Misbehaving in Line With Their Historic Character for 07/19/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/19/both-parties-are-misbehaving-in-line-with-their-historic-character Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The air is thick with lamentations that our two political parties are tearing themselves &#8212; and the nation &#8212; to pieces. The Republican president has picked a Twitter fight with four Democratic freshman congresswomen, and the Democratic speaker has chosen to violate House rules to pick a fight with the president. </p> <p>Donald Trump's conduct has been treated as unprecedented by Democrats and legacy media, as has Nancy Pelosi's by Republicans and Trump supporters. That's true in a trivial sense. Twitter didn't exist before 2006; only seven current House members, not including Pelosi, were serving the last time a House speaker (Tip O'Neill) was called out (by Newt Gingrich) for violating House rules, in May 1984. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 19, 2019</p> 48b2877296cfa9c8751e440ef8630532 Democrats: Prisoners of the Past on the Economy for 07/12/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/19/democrats-prisoners-of-the-past-on-the-economy Fri, 12 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">We are all, to some extent, prisoners of the past. Things that have already happened &#8212; or that we remember as having happened &#8212; constitute the world that we know. Anything else is a product of imagination.</span><br></p> <p>But it can also be a pitfall for politicians, particularly for those seeking national visibility when they're running for president. <span class="column--highlighted-text">It's jarring to see candidates ignore recent changes and describe a world that no longer exists, as when they were asked leadoff questions about the economy in the first two Democratic debates.</span><p>Updated: Mon Jul 15, 2019</p> 7bd5c0efddfb933bf6d6bb8017cb07a8 Chief Justice Wisely Gets Courts out of Redistricting Politics for 07/05/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/19/chief-justice-wisely-gets-courts-out-of-redistricting-politics Fri, 05 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Partisan gerrymandering is nothing new," writes Chief Justice John Roberts near the beginning of his opinion in Rucho v. Common Cause. "Nor is frustration with it." The question is what, if anything, federal courts ought to do about it. The answer the chief justice and the four other Republican-appointed justices have endorsed, journalists have been reporting, is nothing. </p> <p>Actually, judges have a very effective weapon to limit, though not prohibit, partisan districting &#8212; which we'll get to later. But first, let's be clear that the chief justice is right about the history of the issue. He is correct in disagreeing with Justice Kagan's suggestion in her dissent that partisan districting has gotten much more common and effective in recent years. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 05, 2019</p> 73d557c4497d7ae07bf7d5884664dc40 The Lemon Is Squeezed Dry for 06/28/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/19/the-lemon-is-squeezed-dry Fri, 28 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There's something attractive in the party names in the Supreme Court's decision on the relationship between government and religion: American Legion v. American Humanist Association. Both organizations, the veterans group formed after World War I and the secular humanist group founded the year this nation entered World War II, want to tell you how American they are.</p> <p>And they are locked in the longstanding debate over the meaning of the first clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," it reads, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." <p>Updated: Fri Jun 28, 2019</p> 984b2015a1bb4dc08c8ea561ed71b87c Yes, AOC, Your Generation Has Seen American Prosperity for 06/21/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/19/yes-aoc-your-generation-has-seen-american-prosperity Fri, 21 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America," says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., whose visibility as a spokesperson for this generation has been boosted by political friend and foe, "came of age and never saw American prosperity."</p> <p>Of course, AOC misspoke. It's ridiculous to say that someone who grew up in and worked in metropolitan New York City "never saw American prosperity." Those high-rise buildings didn't rise by spontaneous generation. Somebody put up money to build them.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 21, 2019</p> fa1bade577d572f0cefd464601f0f867 The Not-Inevitable Candidate and His Not-Feasible Pet Project for 06/14/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/19/the-not-inevitable-candidate-and-his-not-feasible-pet-project Fri, 14 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Will Joe Biden inevitably win the Democratic nomination for president? A month ago, many psephologists thought so, as national polls within two weeks of his April 25 announcement showed the former vice president with 41 percent of Democratic primary votes. </p> <p>Four weeks later, that number has fallen to 32 percent, still formidable in a field of 24 candidates but lacking the look of inevitability. His light schedule of campaign events suggests a lack of confidence in the stamina steadiness of a 76-year-old candidate, and his flip-flop on major issues strengthens that impression.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 14, 2019</p> c5a31b7615b592e2750f9dda7a9c5bfd Barr Asking Questions the Media Don't Want Asked for 06/07/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/19/barr-asking-questions-the-media-dont-want-asked Fri, 07 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I'm amused," Attorney General William Barr told CBS News' Jan Crawford, "by these people who make a living by disclosing classified information, including the names of intelligence operatives, wringing their hands about whether I'm going to be responsible in protecting intelligence sources and methods." </p> <p>He went on after further questions: "Well, the media reaction is strange. Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is. And usually the media doesn't care that much about protecting intelligence sources and methods. But I do, and I will."<p>Updated: Fri Jun 07, 2019</p> ba8b3142895d94e99694e9cf55bfc8a5 Sometimes Parties Have to Change to Thrive -- or Even Survive for 05/31/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/05/19/sometimes-parties-have-to-change-to-thrive-or-even-survive Fri, 31 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Political parties generally go unappreciated, even among those inclined to celebrate representative democracy. The Founding Fathers famously didn't like them yet found themselves forming them, not long after the First Congress assembled. </p> <p>This suggests something I have come to believe while writing essays on our two long-lived American parties: <span class="column--highlighted-text">The quality of electoral democracy depends heavily on the performance, the steadiness and the adaptability of admittedly self-interested political parties.</span><p>Updated: Fri May 31, 2019</p> 9118ab9670a988910ae328aa93edc4ae Using the Big Lie to Delegitimize Election Results for 05/25/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/05/19/using-the-big-lie-to-delegitimize-election-results Sat, 25 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The Big Lie is back in style. Wikipedia tells us that the term was invented by Adolf Hitler to describe what others did &#8212; though he was the biggest liar of all. "The broad masses of a nation," he wrote in "Mein Kampf," "more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie." </p> <p>No one on the political scene in this country or any democratic nation is a monster comparable to Hitler. But <span class="column--highlighted-text">some have resorted to the Big Lie in their attempts to override clear decisions of the people, at the risk of delegitimizing the nation's democracy.</span><p>Updated: Sat May 25, 2019</p>