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 Mon, 21 Jan 2019 23:34:42 -0800 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 9a580f5c7e2819b3363fe33998a7b356 Will Elites Ever Respect Voters' Decisions on Brexit and Trump? for 01/18/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/will-elites-ever-respect-voters-decisions-on-brexit-and-trump Fri, 18 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It was no coincidence that Donald Trump scheduled a trip to Britain to promote one of his golf courses in Scotland, on June 23, 2016. That was the day of the Brexit referendum in which 52 percent of the electorate &#8212;17.4 million voters, more than any party has ever won in a general election &#8212; voted for the UK to leave the European Union.</p> <p>Candidate Trump's earlier endorsement of Brexit was criticized by elevated opinion as an unfriendly interference in another nation's internal affairs, although few, if any, had similarly criticized then-President Barack Obama for having urged Britons to vote "remain" and threatened that if they were to vote "leave," they would go to "the back of the queue" in seeking a free trade deal with the United States.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 18, 2019</p> 39ab65c5e4e5a5ae7f528254f7847857 A Stalemate as Trump Goes Factual, Democrats Illogical for 01/11/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/a-stalemate-as-trump-goes-factual-democrats-illogical Fri, 11 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The televised presidential address from the Oval Office, a staple of communication between the chief executive and the people in the second half of 20th century, has recently been in desuetude. Former President Barack Obama delivered only three such addresses in his eight years in office. President Donald Trump this week delivered his first one, just days short of completing half his term.</p> <p>It was a sober address, short but touching some emotive chords, carefully based on facts and proposals &#8212; contrary to the Democrats' meme that it would be based on fears, not facts. <p>Updated: Fri Jan 11, 2019</p> eb2c8cbea40638efa30d4ed0998dccc4 Think Things Are Bad Now? They Were Lots Worse in 1919 for 01/04/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/think-things-are-bad-now-they-were-lots-worse-in-1919 Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting of World War I in Europe came and went with surprisingly little notice last Nov. 11. Commemoration was muted for a conflict that took the lives of some 15 to 19 million soldiers and civilians &#8212; estimates vary widely &#8212; including, in just 19 months, more than 116,000 Americans.</p> <p>Those were shocking numbers for a nation whose territory was untouched by enemies and whose population had just topped 100 million. The toll in blood helps explain why Western European leaders appeased Hitler in the 1930s and why overwhelming majorities of Americans were, until Pearl Harbor, opposed to entering a war &#8212; in the World War I phrase &#8212; "over there."</p> <p>That's a standard view, but it glosses over a lot of history &#8212; messy history that helps explain the responses to this war and puts some of our present tergiversations into useful perspective.<p>Updated: Mon Jan 07, 2019</p> c47b6f9c55ac3cbec0ffc675c3dea035 As in Kipling's Day, Military Deployments Needed to Prevent Unknowable Threats for 12/28/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/as-in-kiplings-day-military-deployments-needed-to-prevent-unknowable-threats Fri, 28 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The numbers are small, the terrain unfamiliar, the cast of characters chaotic and the clash of interest hard to decipher. </p> <p>Nevertheless, President Donald Trump's sudden, perhaps impulsive decision to withdraw 2,000 American military personnel from northeastern Syria, as well as the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis in response, has raised a question of continuing pertinence in American policymaking. <p>Updated: Fri Dec 28, 2018</p> 51d2b9c878f8f33dfb9bd1c4d620ff15 American Fertility Headed to All-time Low for 12/21/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/american-fertility-headed-to-all-time-low Fri, 21 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In 1957, 4.3 million babies were born in the United States. In 2017, 60 years later, the number was 3,853,472. That's an 11 percent decline, in a nation whose population has nearly doubled over those six decades. And though there are a few days left in 2018, the number for this year is sure to be lower. </p> <p>That's the dominant finding from the thorough &#8212; and alarming &#8212; report "Declining Fertility in America" by Lyman Stone of the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies. </p> <p>In recent years, demographic journalists have focused on slivers of the population &#8212; the increasing percentages of Hispanics and Asians, the decline in births to teenage mothers, low birth rates in high-cost coastal metropolitan areas. Stone looks at the larger picture, that of total population, and finds that "the specter of low fertility, and ultimately of declining population, has come to America."<p>Updated: Fri Dec 21, 2018</p> f8e439f454ac2fe592006c84c099728a Parties Need to Up Their Game for 12/14/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/parties-need-to-up-their-game Fri, 14 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Two weeks ago in this column, I asked what is to blame for the weakness of the heads of government here and in Western Europe, institutional failure, voter fecklessness, leaders' personal weaknesses or some combination of all three?</p> <p>This week, let's look at one of those institutions: political parties. How have they contributed to current woes? How can they perform better?<p>Updated: Fri Dec 14, 2018</p> f619baa94693c4a6b1d8d0d7e712b1c3 The Most Successful One-Term President for 12/07/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/the-most-successful-one-term-president Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>George H.W. Bush "gave the nation its most successful one-term presidency." He "was the best one-term president the country has ever had, and one of the most underrated presidents of all time."</p> <p>So said two not impartial sources &#8212; the late president's vice president, Dan Quayle, and his Houston friend and secretary of state, who was with him at the end, James Baker. But their assessments are entirely defensible.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 07, 2018</p> 59d58c64eb41be811a70068913cfdc17 Who's to Blame? Weak Leaders, Weak Institutions, Weak Voters? for 11/30/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/whos-to-blame-weak-leaders-weak-institutions-weak-voters Fri, 30 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In the wake of the off-year elections, conservative analyst Yuval Levin saw no winners. "It is the weakness of all sides, and the strength of none, that shapes this moment."</p> <p>You can see what he means. Donald Trump hasn't gotten everything he wanted &#8212; not even the wall! &#8212; from the Republican House of Representatives. And on one issue or another, he'll probably get something from Rep. Nancy Pelosi's Democrats he couldn't get from outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan's Republicans.</p> <p>Now maybe House Democrats will overplay their hand and help Trump win re-election in 2020. And maybe Democrats, faced with a crowded field of presidential candidates, will choose an unelectable nominee.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 30, 2018</p> b1a3217578cdd1d01fa31712cf8065f3 Crosscurrents on a Democratic Election Day for 11/23/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/crosscurrents-on-a-democratic-election-day Fri, 23 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Some random observations on the 2018 offyear elections, for Thanksgiving weekend pondering:</p> <p>1. We hear constantly, and in some respects accurately, that Americans are deeply divided politically. Another way to look at it: The differences between north and south, visible for two or three centuries, are vanishing. As Real Clear Politics analyst Sean Trende tweeted, "Southern suburbs are starting to vote like northern suburbs, northern rurals/small towns starting to vote like Southern rurals/small towns."<p>Updated: Fri Nov 23, 2018</p> 918c98064a537c78c03126f251895c4a Amid Complaints, a Reason to Give Thanks for 11/16/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/amid-complaints-a-reason-to-give-thanks Fri, 16 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"It's the worst of times." The words are Charles Dickens', from the opening paragraph of a novel set in the 1790s, but the sentiment is familiar today. Americans are divided as never before, we are frequently told, angrily at odds with one another, polarized politically, economically, culturally and in our entertainment preferences.</p> <p>Family elders fret about getting through Thanksgiving and the holidays without violent arguments, and more parents than ever say they'd be upset if their children were to marry across political lines. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 16, 2018</p> 17368e27965ebb255b19c834e491b7e0 Split Election Result Sends Polarized Politics Toward 2020 for 11/09/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/split-election-result-sends-polarized-politics-toward-2020 Fri, 09 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The Republican president, considered a lightweight and an ignoramus by many in Washington, suffered a setback in the offyear elections, losing several seats and effective control in the House, while maintaining and perhaps strengthening his party in the Senate. His leverage on domestic issues is reduced, but he retains the initiative on foreign policy and judgeships.</p> <p>That's a fair description of this week's offyear elections &#8212; and of those in 1982, the last time voters paired a Republican president with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. It also resembles results in 1962, when a Democratic president's party gained four Senate seats and lost four in the House.</p> <p>We know what happened after 1982 and 1962. The economy boomed, and Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, won landslide victories two years later. Voters then remembered the Depression and World War II and rewarded incumbents in time of peace and prosperity.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 09, 2018</p> 2ba1099b1eac99646da3e5cc8be78f7f Voters Head to the Polls to Relitigate 2016 for 11/02/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/voters-head-to-the-polls-to-relitigate-2016 Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans will compete for the 42nd time in a nonpresidential-year contest &#8212; a rivalry that goes back to 1854. That's the oldest such partisan competition in the world.</p> <p>And despite the complaints of today's Democrats that the Constitution is biased against them, Democrats have won Senate majorities 16 times &#8212; versus 10 times for Republicans &#8212; since senators started being elected by popular vote in 1914.</p> <p>Similarly, in the 164 years of midterm Republican-Democratic House contests, Democrats have won control of the House 24 times, compared with 17 for Republicans. In other words, over the long run of history, both parties have adapted to changes in opinion and issue focus in multiple realignments.<p>Updated: Mon Nov 05, 2018</p> 9c734e13d4798346e04d690e05672e85 Will Burly Men Stop House Democrats' Blue Wave? for 10/26/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/will-burly-men-stop-house-democrats-blue-wave Fri, 26 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Do they live in two different worlds? White college graduate women favor Democrats over Republicans in House elections by a 62 to 35 percent margin. White non-college-graduate men favor Republicans over Democrats in House elections by a 58 to 38 percent margin. </p> <p>Those results are from a Washington Post-Schar School poll conducted in 69 seriously contested congressional districts, 63 of them currently held by Republicans. The numbers in other polls are only slightly different for these two groups. </p> <p>They all tell the same story. These Americans live in the same relatively small slices of America (average population about 750,000), not many miles away from one another if they're in major metropolitan areas or in similar communities in rural districts. But they take very different &#8212; often angrily different &#8212; views on where the nation is headed and on sensitive issues.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 26, 2018</p> 9361f1f9fd48906ab3516e04aa2e4bfc Can Anti-Trump Hatred Carry the House for Democrats? for 10/19/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/can-anti-trump-hatred-carry-the-house-for-democrats Fri, 19 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I have some thoughts on 'enthusiasm' and the election," tweeted Amy Walter, the Cook Political Report's ace analyst of House races. What I and, I suspect, others expected to follow was a discussion of how voters' enthusiasm, positive or negative, tends to determine who wins elections, especially in off-year elections, when turnout is more variable. </p> <p>Democrats had greater enthusiasm in 2006 and won both houses of Congress; Republicans had even more enthusiasm in 2010 and gained the largest number of House seats either party had since 1948. </p> <p>In this off-year election cycle, it's been obvious for months that Democrats have greater enthusiasm, almost entirely of the negative variety. They've been itching to inflict damage on President Trump and on the political party he chose to associate himself with three or four years ago in order to get elected president.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 19, 2018</p> dc46f88c985080e6300c5caa224d7552 Don't Look for Civility Unless Democrats Win in November for 10/12/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/dont-look-for-civility-unless-democrats-win-in-november Fri, 12 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Hillary Clinton told CNN last Tuesday. Her words cannot be taken literally, for you can be civil if you want to; they're a statement that she doesn't want to. </p> <p>That's the bad news; the good news is that she laid out the terms and conditions under which civility will be appropriate again. "(I)f we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate," she went on, "that's when civility can start again." <p>Updated: Fri Oct 12, 2018</p> d3f374fc3a38c9f8a3fed983ce3bb459 Democrats' Foul Tactics on Kavanaugh May Come Back to Bite Them for 10/08/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/democrats-foul-tactics-on-kavanaugh-may-come-back-to-bite-them Mon, 08 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I can't think of a more embarrassing scandal for the United States Senate since the McCarthy hearings," said Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn as then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the afternoon of Sept. 27, "and the question was asked, 'Have you no sense of decency?'"</p> <p>Cornyn was quoting Joseph Welch, the Boston lawyer who represented Sen. Joe McCarthy's targets in the June 1954 hearing, responding to McCarthy's charge that a young lawyer of Welch's was a communist. Six months later, the Senate censured McCarthy by a vote of 67-22, and his name became a synonym for manipulating parliamentary procedure and making spectacular and unsubstantiated charges for political gain.<p>Updated: Mon Oct 08, 2018</p> 94d22bb4e6244d1f1f393bcb556377d9 How Abortion Polarized America for 09/28/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/how-abortion-polarized-america Fri, 28 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"Here's my question," tweets legal scholar Jeffrey A. Sachs, obviously in response to the controversy over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. "what is the alternative reality where Roe was never decided, levels of partisan polarization are identical to our own, and the SCOTUS appointments process is markedly better?" </p> <p>Here's the problem with the question: If Roe v. Wade had never been decided, if the Supreme Court had just declined to hear cases challenging the constitutionality of abortion bans, levels of partisan polarization would not be anything like what we see around us. </p> <p>That's my conclusion, and the conclusion of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. "You'd still have some of the same breakdowns and derangements," he tweeted in response to Sachs, "but America's distinctive kind of ideological sorting-out was not by any means predictable from the vantage point of 1970 or 1975."<p>Updated: Fri Sep 28, 2018</p> 7dc12548dcde178f17515aadd358d449 The Air Has Seeped out of the Russia-Collusion Balloon for 09/21/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/the-air-has-seeped-out-of-the-russia-collusion-balloon Fri, 21 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I did not, and of course I looked for it, looked for it hard." That was Bob Woodward, promoting his book on the Trump White House, "Fear," replying to talk radio host and columnist Hugh Hewitt's question "Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research, in your interviews, that sounded like espionage or collusion?"</p> <p>"You've seen no collusion?" Hewitt followed up. "I have not," Woodward replied.</p> <p>Can we take this as definitive evidence that there's nothing to the theory, widely bruited these past two years by top intelligence and FBI officials, and by numerous Democrats, that President Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians? <p>Updated: Fri Sep 21, 2018</p> 92ce1c46d2c17f8930944d19270ae11a A Cold Wind off Lake Michigan -- for Chicago and America for 09/14/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/a-cold-wind-off-lake-michigan-for-chicago-and-america Fri, 14 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"It's the Lord of the Flies on LaSalle Street," wrote columnist John Kass in the Chicago Tribune. In case the references are unclear, whether because high schools haven't been assigning the William Golding novel in the last few decades or because out-of-towners unaccountably don't realize that Chicago's City Hall front is on LaSalle Street, the curmudgeonly Kass was writing about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement that he won't run for a third term as mayor next February.</p> <p>Should readers from outside Chicagoland care? Yes, because Emanuel's surprise exit is a sign of the unworkability of policies that will go national if Resistance Democrats oust Donald Trump, and indeed of some policies embraced by Trump as well.</p> <p>Emanuel will be leaving office as a frustrated and unsuccessful mayor, even though he is one of the great political talents of his generation. Former Clinton fundraiser and White House staffer, Chicago congressman and chairman of House Democrats' campaign committee when they overturned a Republican majority in 2006: He's done it all.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 14, 2018</p> 0b4c73f86966abc1a3f39d4532cd98c4 Democrats' Visions of Hand Signals From White Supremacists for 09/07/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/democrats-visions-of-hand-signals-from-white-supremacists Fri, 07 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The highlight, at least for some television watchers, of the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, came when the young woman seated directly behind the nominee rested her right hand on her opposite elbow and pressed her index fingertip against her thumb, forming a kind of circle or OK sign.</p> <p>The meaning of this gesture was not lost on certain alert viewers. "Who is she? What's up with the white power sign?" tweeted one Keith R. Dumas, quoted by the Daily Caller.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 07, 2018</p>