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, 16 Jul 2018 18:46:45 -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 6d9d06e2287df9bca4f5a2eb897d8ab4 The Kavanaugh Confirmation Kabuki for 07/13/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/18/the-kavanaugh-confirmation-kabuki Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Theater, much like Japan's Kabuki &#8212; that's all the Supreme Court confirmation process is. Donald Trump's presentations of his two nominees, Judge Neil Gorsuch last year and Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday, were uncharacteristically graceful &#8212; a worthy theatrical innovation, in the view of even some Trump critics.</p> <p>Now we get to watch clips of Kavanaugh's visits to senators' offices &#8212; where he'll most likely never return to after the playacting is over &#8212; with cordial words from Republicans certain to vote for him and maybe even from Democrats certain to vote against.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 13, 2018</p> 56af57258ac9c595c57ca77b0d938fc2 Will the Odd Couple -- AMLO and Trump -- Narrow the U.S.-Mexico Gap? for 07/06/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/18/will-the-odd-couple-amlo-and-trump-narrow-the-us-mexico-gap Fri, 06 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Will NAFTA survive? Last week, Mexico elected as president longtime NAFTA critic Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (always called "AMLO") by a wide margin. He promptly had a cordial telephone conversation with longtime NAFTA critic President Donald Trump, who remains U.S. president for the next 30 months and, if re-elected, for all of AMLO's six-year term. </p> <p>The cordiality may have just been a ritual. Not since the 1920s have the two neighboring countries had presidents as critical of the other's country as they will have on AMLO's inauguration Dec. 1. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 06, 2018</p> 429a3f5a78a5b10c9cc901c92202621f Justice Kennedy's First Priority: The First Amendment for 06/29/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/18/justice-kennedys-first-priority-the-first-amendment Fri, 29 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It became official just after lunchtime on Wednesday, just after the Supreme Court announced its final decisions of the term and went into recess. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the 104th person to serve on the court, is retiring, effective just after his 82nd birthday next month, after 30 years of service. </p> <p>Justice Kennedy's decision, announced in a two-paragraph letter to President Donald Trump, has been predicted &#8212; and eagerly anticipated and dreaded &#8212; for years now. He has been the swing vote in several noteworthy &#8212; for some, notorious &#8212; cases going back to the early 1990s, as well as the author of the opinion of the court in many.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 29, 2018</p> b83d9d7272e53dde9e162402d78f4280 The Supreme Court's 'Bartleby' Decision for 06/22/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/18/the-supreme-courts-bartleby-decision Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I would prefer not to." That was the invariable reply of the title character of Herman Melville's 1853 story "Bartleby, the Scrivener," when asked by his employer to perform a task. </p> <p>It's also a phrase you might use to describe the opinion of the Supreme Court in its latest redistricting &#8212; or gerrymandering &#8212; case, Gill v. Whitford. This was expected to be a closely divided case and one that many observers hoped would establish a clear legal standard to overturn partisan gerrymanders.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 22, 2018</p> 6913ad0c30493564557099e6da52936a Will We Get Tired of So Much Winning? for 06/15/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/18/will-we-get-tired-of-so-much-winning Fri, 15 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It has been a week full of wins for President Donald Trump &#8212; at least for those who share Trump's view of the way the world works, and perhaps even for some who don't. </p> <p>Exhibit A is Trump's summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore. In their self-congratulatory joint statement, they said that North Korea committed to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and the United States agreed to "provide security guarantees" to North Korea. <p>Updated: Fri Jun 15, 2018</p> c6319c9feb47acc934789a58a1c50e35 California Results Suggest Blue Wave Has Crested and Ebbed for 06/08/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/18/california-results-suggest-blue-wave-has-crested-and-ebbed Fri, 08 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The nation is just past halftime in the 2018 primary election cycle. Twenty states &#8212; containing the majority, 228 of 435, of House districts &#8212; have held their primaries, and all but the three with runoffs have chosen their nominees.</p> <p>The latest results, taken together with the generic vote &#8212; polls asking which party's House candidate you'll vote for &#8212; undercut the many gleeful predictions of a blue wave that will produce a big Democratic majority in the House and perhaps the Senate, as well.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 08, 2018</p> 2fe91fd677d02b8afc6dc4d9e6197ac9 Danger of Authoritarianism May Come From the Center, Not the Right for 06/01/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/05/18/danger-of-authoritarianism-may-come-from-the-center-not-the-right Fri, 01 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Across Europe and North America, centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism." So wrote political researcher David Adler in The New York Times after analyzing responses to two multi-country surveys on values.</p> <p>Adler found that centrists are less likely to regard democracy as "very good" and to consider free elections and protecting liberties from state oppression "essential" features of democracy. His study is subject to criticism, notably that his classification of centrists is overbroad, but it contains at least a kernel of truth.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 01, 2018</p> 3ef391098e44507a949dc102858940f6 Obama Administration's Spying on Trump a Departure From Norms for 05/25/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/05/18/obama-administrations-spying-on-trump-a-departure-from-norms Fri, 25 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims," read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. "The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016," read a story in the May 21 edition of The Wall Street Journal.</p> <p>So much for those who dismissed charges of Obama administration infiltration of Donald Trump's campaign as paranoid fantasy. Defenders of the Obama intelligence and law enforcement apparat have had to fall back on the argument that this infiltration was for Trump's &#8212; and the nation's &#8212; own good.<p>Updated: Fri May 25, 2018</p> 895df91b76418ac6536d600ba39c3ffd Democrats' Dangerous Case of Trump Derangement Syndrome for 05/04/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/05/18/democrats-dangerous-case-of-trump-derangement-syndrome Fri, 04 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Isaac Newton's third law of motion states that for every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It can operate in politics, too. For example, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith recently wrote, "It is part of Trump's evil genius that he elevates himself by inducing his critics to behave like him."</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Call it Trump derangement syndrome, and recognize it for what it is: something that could end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for the Democratic Party once again in 2018 and 2020.</span><p>Updated: Fri May 04, 2018</p> 5dcae05109cebdacee477f9a5df26515 Trump's Saudi Policy Gamble for 04/27/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/04/18/trumps-saudi-policy-gamble Fri, 27 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Seventy-three years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt, on his trip back from the Yalta conference with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin, held his last meeting with foreign leaders, aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal's Great Bitter Lake. One was with the desert warrior king, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, who sailed in with seven live sheep and a tent to sleep in on deck.</p> <p>The United States had provided almost all of its allies with all the oil they used during World War II. But there were (unfounded) fears that American wells were tapped out, while American geologists produced (well-founded) estimates of giant untapped pools in the Saudi desert. Roosevelt wanted American, not British, firms controlling it.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 27, 2018</p> 0192eb358c8012200f890b066b2a213a Collusion, Anyone? for 04/20/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/04/18/collusion-anyone Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As the likelihood that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of collusion seems headed upward toward certainty.</p> <p>The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Donald Trump's dealings in Russia and candidate Trump's off-putting praise of Vladimir Putin.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 20, 2018</p> 3ce7e4602b4d2f263a9ef25da713a686 Speaker Ryan Follows the Lead of Speaker Reed for 04/13/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/04/18/speaker-ryan-follows-the-lead-of-speaker-reed Fri, 13 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>One hundred nineteen years ago, Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed announced that he was, after 22 years of service, resigning from Congress. Reed had been one of the most effective speakers ever. Barbara Tuchman's account, in "The Proud Tower," of how he neutered the minority party has entranced readers for decades now. When Democrats tried to prevent the presence of a quorum by refusing to answer roll calls, he defeated their efforts by simply noting their presence from the chair.</p> <p>In the process, Reed made policy, passing the first billion-dollar budget &#8212; which included generous Civil War pensions &#8212; the Sherman Antitrust Act and a big budget boost for the Navy. The civil rights bill he got the House to pass &#8212; the last such measure for 67 years &#8212; was blocked in the Senate.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 13, 2018</p> 98f294c69794a2efa822d709d93a739f Genetics Is Undercutting the Case for Racial Quotas for 04/06/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/04/18/genetics-is-undercutting-the-case-for-racial-quotas Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I am worried," writes Harvard geneticist David Reich in The New York Times, "that well-meaning people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations are digging themselves into an indefensible position, one that will not survive the onslaught of science."</p> <p>Reich was responding to anticipated resistance to his forthcoming book, "Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past." The "well-meaning people" Reich references are those who argue that race is a "social construct," that there are no significant genetic differences among people of different racial ancestry. Maybe there are differences in appearance and other physical traits, these people say, but there definitely aren't any in intelligence.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 06, 2018</p> 762721dd3075347cade0fb18536b8e54 Our Time-Tested Parties Aren't About to Fall Apart for 03/30/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/18/our-time-tested-parties-arent-about-to-fall-apart Fri, 30 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Some days, the Republican Party seems on the verge of splitting up. Its congressional majorities couldn't produce a health care bill and passed an omnibus spending bill its president regretted signing. Prominent never-Trumpers call for the creation of a new political party. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who carried seven counties outside his home state in the 2016 Republican primaries, hints at a 2020 independent candidacy.</p> <p>In special elections, Republican candidates fail to win percentages above President Donald Trump's approval ratings, which nationally is at 42 percent. That makes Republicans fear and Democrats hope that Democrats will capture the House of Representatives in November.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 30, 2018</p> 707b989218c9d60eed9f33d2114b7d72 Women Against Free Speech? for 03/23/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/18/women-against-free-speech Fri, 23 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Sometimes, for those of us who are constantly reading statistics and poll results, something that you didn't expect to see stands out &#8212; a number that makes you think the future will not be what you have been expecting.</p> <p>My latest sighting of such a number was in a March 12 New York Times report on a poll of college students sponsored by the American Council on Education, the Charles Koch Foundation and the Stanton Foundation. It asked students about free speech on campus &#8212; whether it is allowed and whether it should be.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 23, 2018</p> d666e5d72414cb78303e1f5f327e1312 Democrats Can Take the House, if They Just Pick Conor Lamb Over Hillary Clinton for 03/16/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/18/democrats-can-take-the-house-if-they-just-pick-conor-lamb-over-hillary-clinton Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What if they held a special election and nobody won? That's more or less what happened in southwestern Pennsylvania, in the special election to fill the vacancy in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District.</p> <p>Democrat Conor Lamb narrowly defeated Republican Rick Saccone &#8212; by 627 votes out of 228,378 counted &#8212; in a district held by Republican Tim Murphy since 2003. More to the point, the district was carried by a 20-point margin by Republican Donald Trump in 2016 and by a 58-41 percent margin by Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 16, 2018</p> 24c5874b45105f894a0f23fea267b41d Trump on Trade: Better Than Smoot-Hawley? for 03/09/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/18/trump-on-trade-better-than-smoot-hawley Fri, 09 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Donald Trump's announcement that he is imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from other countries has aroused little enthusiasm and much criticism. It evidently prompted the resignation of Gary Cohn as head of his National Economic Council.</p> <p>It has also prompted free trade-minded Republicans in Congress to propose repealing Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which delegates to the president the power to adjust trade restrictions and impose tariffs.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 09, 2018</p> 4fb6d057c4d2461c15a844f9ee664428 Still Saddled with the Politics of the Seventies for 03/02/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/18/still-saddled-with-the-politics-of-the-seventies Fri, 02 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Not since James Monroe left the presidency in 1825, 48 years after he fought in the Battle of Princeton, has America had political leadership with careers running so far back in the past. Our current government leaders have political pedigrees going back to the 1970s.</p> <p>Consider the Senate. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer was first elected to the New York Assembly in 1974. Republican leader Mitch McConnell was elected Jefferson County judge &#8212; the county administrator for Louisville, Ky. &#8212; in 1977.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 02, 2018</p> aae7e560112c74e6a77be221e55cca19 Don't Take The Onion's Pessimism Too Seriously for 02/23/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/18/dont-take-the-onions-pessimism-too-seriously Fri, 23 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"Study: 90 Percent Of Americans Strongly Opposed To Each Other." That's the headline on a story in what, on some days, seems to be America's most reliable news outlet, The Onion.</p> <p>We laugh (or at least I did) because it strikes a chord. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Americans of many different political outlooks today seem united in believing that we are experiencing the worst times in the nation's history.</span> President Donald Trump's detractors talk about how he's a neurotic neo-Nazi establishing a dictatorship. Trump's fans talk about the existence of a deep state that uses secret protocols to undermine voters' choices.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 23, 2018</p> ff0c5ce4cad4e0338d7bf4d392fa5445 What's Oozing out of Campuses Is Polluting Society for 02/16/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/18/whats-oozing-out-of-campuses-is-polluting-society Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In a 1989 article in New Republic, Andrew Sullivan made what he called "a (conservative) case for gay marriage." Today same-sex marriage is legal everywhere in America, supported by majorities of voters and accepted as a part of American life.</p> <p>Now Sullivan has cast his gaze on what he regards as a disturbing aspect of American life &#8212; the extension of speech suppression and "identity politics" from colleges and universities into the larger society. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The hothouse plants of campus mores have become invasive species undermining and crowding out the beneficent flora of the larger free democratic society.</span><p>Updated: Fri Feb 16, 2018</p>