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 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 03:35:58 -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 09bba8dccc7e9b24c384d86f6e63d3a8 Twitter Politics' Roots in Tabloid-War Politics for 12/06/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/19/twitter-politics-roots-in-tabloid-war-politics Fri, 06 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Sometimes the latest new thing is something antique. That's especially true in American politics, which has had seriously contested presidential elections every four years (with one exception) since 1800 and competitions between the same two durable parties since 1856. We're even on our (lucky?) 13th presidential race since the nominating rules were changed, back in the 1970s, to favor primaries rather than caucuses. </p> <p>It's even true that new technology can bring back old politics. Case in point: President Donald Trump's use of Twitter, which is often lamented and sometimes effective, and occasionally backfires. In 140 &#8212; and then 280 &#8212; characters, the unconventional candidate and president has communicated directly, over the heads of an almost uniformly hostile media, with the American people.</p> <p>Where might he have gotten the idea and developed the knack? In the unique tabloid politics of New York City, which was raging hot and heavy when the young, outer-borough real estate heir made headlines in his quest to use political clout to enter the Manhattan real estate market at rock bottom.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 06, 2019</p> 060e0c6704a857b4df2d51347a0a26f0 Give Thanks for America's Increasing Fairness for 11/29/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/19/give-thanks-for-americas-increasing-fairness Fri, 29 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's Thanksgiving week in a country whose warring political tribes are not much inclined to giving thanks. But any American with a reasonable historic perspective can easily find reasons to do so.</p> <p>For one thing, it's clear that we are a much fairer nation than we were in the past. Women, black Americans, immigrants and minorities of any perceptible kind are treated more fairly and in a more friendly manner than was the case within the memory of many of us now living.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 29, 2019</p> db3d1e180c941c2b04522e90b234a828 The Impeachment Pseudo-Event for 11/22/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/19/the-impeachment-pseudo-event Fri, 22 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America" is the title of a 1960s book by historian and librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin. Pseudo-events, he wrote, are staged solely to generate news media coverage. Real events involve independent actors and have unpredictable outcomes. Pseudo-events are shows.</p> <p>It's not difficult to say which category the House Democrats' impeachment hearings belong in. It's a classic pseudo-event stage-managed to prod sympathetic media into running predictable stories. Inconvenient questions from Republican members are blocked, and the name of the original "whistleblower" is concealed, though the stage managers know who he is. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 22, 2019</p> 7aa2259bfc38cf1a59e99741a50c9a4b A Late-Starting Presidential Campaign May Not Be Hopeless for 11/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/19/a-late-starting-presidential-campaign-may-not-be-hopeless Fri, 15 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Michael Bloomberg has delivered his latest delicious hint about running for president. Former Attorney General Eric Holder is fresh from taking credit for the new Democratic legislative majorities in Virginia, making it known he might be interested. And former Gov. Deval Patrick joined the presidential race after reportedly discerning a demand for another presidential candidate from Massachusetts. At this point, it might be helpful to note some patterns in former Democratic presidential nomination contests that might help late entrants.</p> <p>The first is that <span class="column--highlighted-text">opinion sometimes flows very rapidly and sweeps everything in its path, like lava down a volcano, like mud after the collapse of a dam, like the tide ebbing in the Bay of Fundy.</span> <p>Updated: Fri Nov 15, 2019</p> 62efa99895aae747d1f9f716af2e39e1 The 2 Parties' Very Different Fields of Candidates for 11/08/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/19/the-2-parties-very-different-fields-of-candidates Fri, 08 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Have you noticed that the two parties' fields of presidential candidates have, in the past two election cycles, grown enormously larger than (if not necessarily superior to) those in past years? Where parties used to have two to five serious candidates to choose from, Republicans had 17 in 2016, and, by my count, Democrats this cycle have had 27. </p> <p>Twenty-seven is a lot for a party that ended up holding no nomination contests in 1996 and 2012 and had only two serious candidates in 2000, 2008 and 2016, when no incumbent was running. Apparently, many Democratic politicos reasoned that if an oddball like Donald Trump can get elected, why can't they?<p>Updated: Fri Nov 08, 2019</p> 9e88db56bb1eaf95e5e5832822e22ebe Boris Johnson Headed to Big Brexit Victory? for 11/01/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/19/boris-johnson-headed-to-big-brexit-victory Fri, 01 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It has been 1,225 days since an all-time-high turnout of British voters chose, by a 52 to 48% margin, to Leave rather than Remain in the European Union. Now with a general election set for Dec. 12, it looks like Britain is finally about to escape the EU's "ever closer union."</p> <p>The issue is unfamiliar to most Americans, yet the cleavages it has caused closely resemble our own. American foreign policy elites have long encouraged European unity, on the sentimental principle that it worked well for us in 1776 or the long-obsolete argument that it would prevent another cataclysmic war between Germany and France.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 01, 2019</p> a8229c55b976cfb914e15bf6255f45bc The Perils of Downscale Political Parties for 10/25/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/19/the-perils-of-downscale-political-parties Fri, 25 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Political parties, and their travails, have been much on my mind recently as I've been speaking to radio and television interviewers about my new book, "How America's Political Parties Change (And How They Don't)." </p> <p>The book thesis is that our two parties, founded in 1832 and 1854, have often changed positions on issues but have retained their basic character in a nation that has expanded from 25 million people to almost 330 million.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 25, 2019</p> 4121e703bc4ab9b7fe2cf94bab9c48c8 Westerville Debate Leaves Democratic Race Wider Open for 10/18/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/19/westerville-debate-leaves-democratic-race-wider-open Fri, 18 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The world's oldest political party set an all-time record Tuesday night, with 12 presidential candidates on a single stage in Westerville, Ohio. That's a suburb of Columbus, the fastest-growing big metro area in the Midwest, in Franklin County, which voted Republican in every presidential election but one for a half century (1944-92) but has voted Democratic in the six elections since.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">It's an apt location for a party increasingly dependent on and dominated by white college-graduate voters, even as it has lost ground in heartland factory towns and blue-collar precincts.</span> <p>Updated: Fri Oct 18, 2019</p> 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>