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, 20 Mar 2018 12:15:44 -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 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> 45eed8a482e56e6c810fada22bbdb397 Gentry Liberals Own the Democratic Party for 02/09/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/18/gentry-liberals-own-the-democratic-party Fri, 09 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Amid the brouhahas about the Nunes memo and immigration, an item from Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business caught my eye. Demographers crunching census data estimate that Chicago's black population fell to 842,000, while its white non-Hispanic population increased to 867,000. National political significance: In our three largest cities &#8212; New York, Los Angeles and Chicago &#8212; gentry liberals have become the dominant political demographic.</p> <p>That's consistent with election results. Gentry liberals &#8212; the term is urban analyst Joel Kotkin's &#8212; are the political base of those cities' mayors, Bill de Blasio, Eric Garcetti and Rahm Emanuel. That's something new in American politics. Modest-income Jews used to be the key group in New York. White married homeowners were it in Los Angeles. "Bungalow ward" ethnics dominated in Chicago. In time, they faced challenges from candidates with nonwhite political bases &#8212; blacks, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York, Mexicans in Los Angeles, and blacks and Hispanics in Chicago. Now gentry liberals are on top.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 09, 2018</p> bcdcd75b510d60d1f3818c1196e345b3 Toward a Trump Republicanism for 02/02/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/18/toward-a-trump-republicanism Fri, 02 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Donald Trump's surprisingly good State of the Union speech got a record 70 to 75 percent positive approval rating from those who watched. Even if you discount (as you should) for the Trump haters who can't bear to watch him and chose another of their 100-plus cable channels, that's not chopped liver.</p> <p>If they'd watched, their reactions would undoubtedly have been as sour as those of the Democrats in the chamber who stayed slouching and frowning in their chairs even after some patriotic lines.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 02, 2018</p> d1f1c91f41c51238d19a505303ce14eb Eschewing Euphemisms Frames Immigration Issue Trump's Way for 01/26/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/18/eschewing-euphemisms-frames-immigration-issue-trumps-way Fri, 26 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>He who frames the issue tends to determine the outcome of the election. That's an old political consultant's rule, and its application has never been more apt than in the Senate Democrats' failed government shutdown over immigration policy.</p> <p>Issue framing is especially important on immigration. It's an issue on which small percentages of voters on different sides have very strong views and on which the large majority of voters with less interest have conflicting views.</p> <p>Euphemism has been the weapon of the liberals on this. You can't say illegal immigrants; you have to say undocumented immigrants. You can't say amnesty; you have to say a path to citizenship. You have to say that for immigration legislation to be considered comprehensive, it must provide a path to citizenship for the bulk of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are here illegally. You have to say that more restrictive plans are hard-line, presumably implying they are undesirable.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 26, 2018</p> 0bc95e0684735f6e3d13c743247890e4 Tough Road Ahead for Trump in Year 2 for 01/19/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/18/tough-road-ahead-for-trump-in-year-2 Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p>As we reach, gingerly, the anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration as president, none of the disasters feared by critics has come to pass. The economy has turned at least mildly upward rather than plummet to depression. The executive branch has obeyed court orders. No military disaster has occurred. Fears that seemed plausible to many have proved unjustified.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 19, 2018</p> 0c24dae083ea80bb8d4d2e20b5a1126d Is 'Fire and Fury' Fizzling? for 01/12/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/18/is-fire-and-fury-fizzling Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The most disappointed people in America this past week must be those Trump execrators who opened their Amazon package only to find that the copy of "Fire and Fury" they had ordered was subtitled "The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945." It's a well-regarded 2009 volume by University of Toronto historian Randall Hansen, who is surely grateful for the unanticipated royalties.</p> <p>But it's not the red meat the customers were looking forward to consuming. Author Michael Wolff, whose royalties from a million sales in a week are much greater than Hansen's, has made no secret that he expects that his book will "end" the Donald Trump presidency. He apparently thinks his book will reveal to millions of Americans, for the first time, that their emperor has no clothes.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 12, 2018</p> 39eb4a85578ae0529300cfa57e203a27 The 2010s Look More Like Trump's Ideal America Than Obama's for 01/05/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/18/the-2010s-look-more-like-trumps-ideal-america-than-obamas Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>One of my favorite Christmastime presents is the Census Bureau's release of its annual population estimates for all of the states. Comparison of the April 1, 2010, Census Bureau enumerations and the June 30, 2017, estimates for the states shows how each state fared in the Obama years, seeing as this period includes 82 of the 96 months of the Obama administration and only five months of Donald Trump's presidency.</p> <p>Who are the big population gainers? Some small units: the District of Columbia, at 15 percent (big government, gentrification), North Dakota, at 12 percent (fracking, which liberals failed to stop), and Utah, at 12 percent (1950s-style high birthrate).<p>Updated: Fri Jan 05, 2018</p> b567505183dad14db154227107e087b3 Trying to Take Trump Seriously for 12/29/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/17/trying-to-take-trump-seriously Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>2016 turned out to be a year in which it was wise to take Donald Trump as a political candidate seriously but not literally, in the inspired words of syndicated columnist Salena Zito. <span class="column--highlighted-text">As 2017 is on the point of vanishing, it's worth asking whether it's time to take Trump seriously, if not literally, as a maker of public policy.</span></p> <p>At least that's the approach of two heterodox policy analysts, one a persistent skeptic and the other an early Trump fan.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 29, 2017</p> 3fee2a86e9e7efa2a8845f84b3ca6599 Republicans Have Reformed Taxes; Will They Fix 1970s Budget Rules Next? for 12/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/17/republicans-have-reformed-taxes-will-they-fix-1970s-budget-rules-next Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The Republicans have passed their tax bill, without a single Democratic vote, despite low to dismal poll ratings. It's reminiscent of the passage by Democrats, without a single Republican vote, of Obamacare in March 2010.</p> <p>Democrats lost 63 seats and their House majority that fall. Republicans hope they won't follow suit. They argue, accurately, that their bill will lower taxes for almost all taxpayers and that it will stimulate economic growth, which already has risen above the growth in the Obama years.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 22, 2017</p> e144001e98dddebfe82b42b11b235cf7 Picking the Lock in Alabama for 12/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/17/picking-the-lock-in-alabama Fri, 15 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Turnout would be the key to which of the wildly conflicting polls would best presage the result of Alabama's special Senate election, wrote Republican consultant Patrick Ruffini earlier this week.</p> <p>That proved correct. Statewide, turnout was down 37 percent from November 2016. It was down less, 31 percent, in the five metropolitan counties around Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile, with their black communities and most of the state's highly educated whites.</p> <p>Turnout was down by even less, 28 percent, in the 10 rural counties where the majority of voters are black. But it plunged 42 percent in the remaining 52 small counties. As the returns came in, you could see Republican Roy Moore reaching his target percentages &#8212; but not the raw votes he needed. Donald Trump carried those counties by 568,000 votes. Moore did so by only 149,000.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 15, 2017</p> fdc63a4181fbe709b48a2620fdd3ca5a Real Target of Republican Tax Bills: Feds, Eds and Meds Bloat for 12/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/17/real-target-of-republican-tax-bills-feds-eds-and-meds-bloat Fri, 08 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Are the current Republican tax bills, passed by the House and Senate and being reconciled in conference committee, an attack on "feds, eds and meds"? That's a reference to the government, health care and education jobs that local Democrats in Dayton, Ohio, told Sen. Sherrod Brown have been fueling the area's comeback.</p> <p>The Dayton area's reliance on government is in tension with its history as an incubator of private-sector inventiveness, which more than a century ago produced the first cash register, the first airplane and the first automotive electronic ignition.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 08, 2017</p> f92fd520408b55c03f9b1d0b01ece7d9 'Hurtling' Republican Tax Bill Actually Serious for 12/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/hurtling-republican-tax-bill-actually-serious Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"The Republican tax bill hurtling through Congress is increasingly tilting the United States tax code to benefit wealthy Americans." That's the beginning of a 37-word first sentence in a stage-setting front-page story in The New York Times on the tax bill under consideration in the Senate this week.</p> <p>It's a nice illustration of creatively phrased advocacy journalism. "Hurtling" suggests irrational, uncontrolled, threatening movement; "tilting" suggests abandoning upstanding fairness; spelling out "the United States tax code" suggests an ominous attack on a respected national institution. And all this "to benefit wealthy Americans."<p>Updated: Fri Dec 01, 2017</p> eb5b607e627c143c3c85ba4de85741be Merkel -- and Davos -- Rebuked in Germany for 11/24/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/merkel-and-davos-rebuked-in-germany Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's been a tough era for Davos Man, the personification of the great and the good who meet in the World Economic Forum in that Swiss ski resort every January. The rebukes just keep coming. The European debt crisis. Brexit. Donald Trump. And now, and once again unexpectedly, Angela Merkel's failure to form a German government.</p> <p>For a dozen years, European elites who have recoiled from George W. Bush and swooned over Barack Obama have regarded Merkel as a rock-solid firmament of good sense. Her considerable internal political skills, her seeming unflappability and her upholding of conventional wisdoms, both well- and ill-founded, have made her a favorite at Davos.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 24, 2017</p> 0f20cfeaa0d9d011a58b721890b37690 Will Political Setbacks Unite the Republican Party? for 11/17/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/will-political-setbacks-unite-the-republican-party Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The inexorable workings of the political marketplace seem to be enforcing some discipline over hitherto fissiparous Republican politicians. The question is whether this is happening too late to save the party's declining prospects in the 2018 midterm elections.</p> <p>You can see this in Republicans' reactions to the tax bills Congress is currently considering. Last spring, when the party's congressional leadership teed up its health care bills, purportedly repealing and replacing Obamacare, they faced rebellions from practically every corner of their party's caucuses.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 17, 2017</p> 5e05c51b64c95327c7fe5f587712a469 2016 Is Looking Like the New Normal for 11/10/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/2016-is-looking-like-the-new-normal Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>If you wanted to predict the results of Tuesday's gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, you would have been wise to ignore the flurry of polls and campaign events. You would have paid no heed to the conventional wisdom that Republican Ed Gillespie had a solid chance to beat Ralph Northam in Virginia.</p> <p>In fact, Northam's 9-point victory margin in Virginia was not much different from Phil Murphy's 13-point margin over Republican Kim Guadagno in New Jersey. And both almost precisely mirrored the 2016 presidential results. Hillary Clinton carried New Jersey by a 55-41 percent margin last year; Murphy won it by a 56-43 percent margin this week. Clinton carried Virginia by a 50-44 percent margin; Northam won it 54-45 percent. The two Democrats, lacking Clinton's reputation for dishonesty, gained a few points she lost to third-party candidates; the two Republicans got almost exactly the same percentages as Donald Trump did in 2016.</p> <p>That makes the 2016 numbers look like the new normal. The past quarter-century, except for 2006-08, has been an era of polarized partisan parity, with one election result resembling another and more straight party ticket voting than any time since the 1950s. That's produced divided government, as Democrats have won 4 of 7 presidential elections since 1992 while Republicans have won a House majority in 10 of 12 congressional elections since 1994.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 10, 2017</p> 69f9cd93a2a63f5eb210ff5a03c37672 Keep Calm and Carry On for 11/03/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/keep-calm-and-carry-on-97389 Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Keep calm and carry on. Those words, though not appearing as extensively on posters in wartime Britain as often supposed, are good advice for Americans now appalled by the presidency of Donald Trump.</p> <p>It is widely proclaimed that he is a president unlike any other, a threat to the institutions of republican government and democratic processes, an ignoramus whose impulsiveness may lead to nuclear war.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 03, 2017</p>