Of all the time-honored failings for which we criticize sitting presidents - by "we" I mean pundits, academics and other members of the chattering phylum - two charges stand out: imperialism and shrinkage. Usually it's one or the other.
Of course it's too early to talk about 2016. Now that we've gotten that out of the way ...
"Job-lock!" It's only February, but it's already my favorite word - or phrase, I guess - of the year. (Who knows, by December it may be shortened to "joblock.")
On my wife's side, I have a very large family in Fairbanks, Alaska. Culturally, Fairbanks is a lot further from New York City (where I grew up) or Washington, D.C. (where I live now), than the several thousand miles on the map might suggest.
The legendary media tycoon William Randolph Hearst believed America needed a strongman and that Franklin D. Roosevelt would fit the bill. He ordered his newspapers to support FDR and the New Deal. At his direction, Hearst's political allies rallied around Roosevelt at the Democratic convention, which some believe sealed the deal for Roosevelt's nomination.
The Constitution is powerless against Satan.
On paper, "liberal intolerance" is something of an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp," "loyal opposition" or "conspicuous absence." But what makes oxymorons funny is that they are real things. There are jumbo shrimp. Absences can be conspicuous, opponents can be loyal, and liberals can be staggeringly and myopically intolerant.
What a bizarre spectacle. Assuming he did not lie during his marathon news conference last week, the feeding frenzy surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be remembered as one of those incredibly odd moments of elite journalistic hysteria that are difficult to explain to people who weren't there or didn't get it.
"In America," Oscar Wilde quipped, "the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." And they often do it in the pages of Rolling Stone.
On Jan. 1, the Centennial State (it hasn't yet changed its nickname to "The Rocky Mountain High State") became the first place in the country to legalize marijuana sales for recreational purposes.
The Beltway consensus seems to be that 2013 was a bad year for the same reason nearly every other recent year was bad: polarization and partisanship. Personally, I can think of plenty of more important things to worry about than partisanship. Democracy is about disagreements, and partisanship is often a sign of healthy disagreement.
So rednecks need to be politically correct now?
When will the insurers revolt?
Maybe someone can explain to me how, exactly, conservatives are the aggressors in the culture war?
"I'm not a particularly ideological person," President Barack Obama told an audience of donors in Seattle last weekend. He added (in Reuters' words) that "pragmatism was necessary to advance the values that were important to him."
Things are moving far too fast in Kiev, Moscow and Crimea to write about events there. But the past isn't going anywhere. Though you wouldn't know that from the way the Obama administration talks about it.
Down with stakeholders.
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