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Mitt vs. Newt: the Gloves Come Off

  Newt Gingrich's surge to success in South Carolina has surely brought joy to the Obama White House. For his 12-point victory ensures the fight for the GOP nomination will not end soon and will get nastier. Indeed, it already has. Whether Newt or Mitt Romney emerges victorious, the candidate who comes out of the [...]

South Carolina Message

  Just days before the South Carolina primary, polls showed Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich. Then came the debates and the question about Gingrich's private life, which brought a devastating response from the former Speaker of the House — and a standing ovation from the audience. Apparently the television audience felt the same way, judging [...]

A Few Words in Defense of Negative Campaigning

  Those who take a certain pleasure in denouncing the evils of negative political advertising should have spent the last week in South Carolina. They could have plunked down in front of TV sets, especially during morning, early evening and late evening news programs, and by adroit use of the remote control seen one negative [...]

Who Wants War With Iran?

  On Sept. 21, 1976, as his car rounded Sheridan Circle on Embassy Row, former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier was assassinated by car bomb. Ronni Moffitt, a 25-year-old American women who worked with Letelier at the leftist Institute for Policy Studies, died with him. Michael Townley, an ex-CIA asset in the hire of Chile's intelligence [...]

Colbert’s Egotism Isn’t Fake

Late-night comedians historically have relished the opportunity to poke fun at politicians. Sometimes they savage them. In the Obama era, they haven't been so enthusiastic about any of it. A recent study of political jokes on three late-night shows (Letterman, Leno and Jimmy Fallon) by the Center for Media and Public Affairs found that Barack [...]

South Carolina Hoping to Pick Next President

  MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The crowd at the Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate in Myrtle Beach was feisty, with whoops and cheers for Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, though not so much for Ron Paul. But it wasn't nearly as feisty as the crowd that forced the shutdown of the [...]

Missing From MLK Memorial: God

  Four days after police arrested Rosa Parks for refusing to surrender her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, the young Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. explained the Christian foundation of the civil rights movement he was about to lead. "I want to say that we are not here advocating violence," [...]

Presidential Nonsense

  Last week, President Barack Obama, at a Capital Hilton fundraising event, told the crowd, "We can't go back to this brand of you're-on-your-own economics." Throughout my professional career as an economist, I've never come across the theory of "you're-on-your-own economics." I'm guessing what the president means by — and finds offensive in — "you're-on-your-own [...]

The Pretense of ‘Independent’ Campaign Spending

  Winning Our Future, a "super PAC" that supports Newt Gingrich's bid for the Republican presidential nomination, is spending more than $1.2 million on ads in South Carolina, which holds its primary on Saturday. That fact requires some explanation. First, why would anyone want Newt Gingrich to be president? Second, what is a super PAC? [...]

Vulture Capitalism or Populist Demagoguery?

  "They're vultures that are sitting out there on the tree limb, waiting for a company to get sick, and then they swoop in ... eat the carcass ... and ... leave the skeleton." So Rick Perry colorfully characterized the private equity firm Bain Capital, once run by Mitt Romney. How did Bain prosper? Says [...]

Obama Flouts Constitution with One-Man Rule

  Of course President Obama is not concentrating on campaigning, White House press spokesmen assured us — as the president headed off to Chicago for three fundraisers and a drop-in at his campaign headquarters, two days after a high-roller fundraising choked off traffic five blocks from the White House, with the assistance of a score [...]

Hollywood’s Snotty Day in Court

  It was symbolically perfect that on the same day Hollywood went to the Supreme Court to make the case for broadcast profanity, Entertainment Weekly reported that the next showing of the ABC smutcom Modern Family would feature a two-year-old girl dropping the F-bomb. The episode's title will be “Little Bo Bleep.” Shameless. There's no [...]

The True Believer

  Last May, Ron Paul filed his financial disclosure form, and The Wall Street Journal enlisted financial analyst William Bernstein to scrutinize his investments. "Paul's portfolio isn't merely different," said an astonished Journal, "it's shockingly different." Twenty-one percent of his $2.4 to $5.5 million was in real estate, 14 percent in cash. He owns no [...]

What If Elections Don’t Matter?

  What if Democrats and Republicans were two wings of the same bird of prey? What if elections were actually useful tools of social control? What if they just provided the populace with meaningless participation in a process that validates an establishment that never meaningfully changes? What if that establishment doesn't want and doesn't have [...]

‘Tactical Voters’ went to Romney in New Hampshire

  To win just under 40 percent of the vote in a primary with five active candidates is pretty impressive, even for a candidate like Mitt Romney, who started off with significant advantages in New Hampshire. Yes, he is well-known there because he was governor of next-door Massachusetts, had run before and owns a house [...]

The Republicans’ Cow Pie Bingo

  The Republican presidential race now moves from New Hampshire to South Carolina, but it's really taking place in an upside-down Lake Wobegon — where all the men are homely, all the women are weak and all the candidates are below average. We are often told that modern campaigns generate rivers of pointless trivia and [...]

Unseat These Atrocious Moderators

  Sitting through the Republican debate on Saturday night with ABCs George Stephanopoulos was just painful, from beginning to end. Some of it was just political Ambien. But when it was finally over, there was just one question: Who in the GOP in his or her right mind invites a historically shameless Democratic spin controller [...]

The Mythical Middle in American Politics

  Why did the Democrats run Bob Casey Jr., in Pennsylvania in 2006 against Sen. Rick Santorum? Why did President George W. Bush win a higher percentage of the African-American vote in Ohio in 2004 than he won nationwide? Why did Proposition 8 win in California in 2008, while Sen. John McCain was losing the [...]

In Greed I Trust

  Last week's column started off asking: "What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done?" The answer is that human greed is what gets wonderful things done. I wasn't talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I was talking about people trying to get as much [...]

GOP War of All Against All?

  There still exists a possibility that, come Jan. 20, 2013, we could have a Republican Senate and House, and a Republican president. But there is also a possibility that a Goldwater-Rockefeller-type family bloodletting could sunder the party and kick it all away. America is bored with Barack Obama. The young and the minorities are [...]

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