Special Bulletin. The Planned Parenthood Wars: A Footnote.

In recent posts, we argued that an attempt to deprive Planned Parenthood of federal funding would be a mistake, and that under no circumstances should such an attempt be pursued at the risk of a government shutdown. On September 8, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial, “Government Shutdown Redux,”  in which it also argued against a government shutdown. Along the way, however, the Journal cited the controversial undercover videos of Planned Parenthood to suggest that defunding it would be a “laudable goal.” In response to that editorial, we wrote a letter explaining why the that goal was not at all laudable.

On September 12, the Journal published our letter in part–its final paragraph. The abridgement of the letter did not distort its meaning and we appreciate the Journal’s willingness to publish at least a portion of it. (We have found over the years that the Journal is considerably more more willing to publish letters expressing opposing views than is The New York Times.) Nevertheless, we thought that anyone who saw the editorial and our letter, might be intereted in the complete version. It was as follows: […]

Blog No 74 Part I. The Supreme Court: The Affordable Care Act, Same-Sex Marriage and Other interesting Issues.

Part I. The Affordable Care Act and Same-Sex Marriage The end of the Supreme Court term produced two major decisions, on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage, that generated extensive comment by politicians and pundits and drew attention in every form of media. There is little need at this point for extended discussion or[…]

Blog No 69. Surprise: Republicans May Know How to Govern After All

It is still early days, but there are some encouraging signs that Republican leaders in the Senate and House have found the ability to get things done—actually legislate—despite Democratic opposition and the Oozlums of the right gnawing at their ankles.

The first major milestone came two months ago when Republicans abandoned the quixotic attempt to block the President’s executive actions with respect to immigration. While we had disapproved of those actions, the response of holding up funding for Homeland Security seemed to us to make as much sense as treating a toothache by hitting yourself on the head with a hammer. […]

Blog No. 62 The GOP Letter to Iran and the Road Ahead

It sometimes appears that the capacity of Congressional Republicans for self-embarrassment is inexhaustible. Most often it is the Republicans in the House who are the mischief-makers while their colleagues in the Senate, with some notable exceptions (see, Cruz, T.), offer a measure of maturity. In the case of the letter to Iran, however, it was the Senate Republicans who provided the “What were they thinking of?” moment. […]

Special Bulletin. Annals of Self-Inflicted Wounds: Immigration and DHS Funding

In Blog No. 55, on December 20, we discussed the objections to the Omnibus Spending Bill raised by opponents of the President’s executive action with respect to immigration. We wrote:

We too have objected to the President’s action, but have noted that as a practical matter there is likely little that Republicans can – or should attempt to – do about it. (The omnibus bill funded the Department of Homeland Security only through the end of February so as to present another opportunity at that time for budgetary mischief inspired by Obama’s immigration initiative.) We are hopeful that cooler heads will again prevail in February.

Our view has not changed, but we are still waiting—and hoping—for the cooler heads to take control.Elephant-Fight1 […]

Blog No. 60 Jeb Bush and the Burgeoning Field

The beginning of 2015 has seen not only a blizzard on the East Coast but a blizzard of activity among potential Republican candidates for 2016. Some observers have seemed as unenthusiastic about the political blizzards as most snow bound residents were for the natural variety: “Oh, no. Do we really need this much, this soon?” The PBS NewsHour has identified no less than 17 individuals who have indicated that they’re “interested” or “actively exploring” a presidential bid. In alphabetical order: John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker. Just this morning the NewsHour list had one  addition and one subtraction. Mitt Romney announced that he had abandoned any plan to run, while Senator Lindsey Graham took the initial step of forming a PAC. Other prominent figures who have made no announcement but are thought to be waiting in the wings include Governors Bobby Jindal and Mike Pence. NO ROMNEY - PLUS FLAG

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Blog No. 59. The State of the Union Address: Barack Obama’s Parallel Universe and the Challenge for Republicans

On the day of the President’s State of the Union address, a writer in The Washington Post was moved to wonder “Do we even need a State of the Union address anymore?” It is unlikely that the writer’s doubts were assuaged by the President’s performance that evening. The President assured us on the one hand that everything was really quite splendid both at home and abroad, but also insisted that our domestic tranquility requires a lengthy and expensive set of initiatives. Indeed, listening to the address, one had the feeling that it might have been titled “No Proposal Left Behind.” In fact, however, the President declined to renew many of the proposals that he had presented a year ago and which had been largely ignored by the 113th Congress. (A PBS NewsHour analysis indicated that out of 18 proposals urged in 2014, only 2 rather minor ones had been adopted.) Now that Republicans control the Senate as well as the House, and enjoy an even larger majority in the House, the President’s prospects for legislative achievements are hardly brighter. […]

Blog No. 50. The 2014 Election and the 114th Congress

The 2014 elections produced an outpouring of commentary and analyses from the Cacophony of Pundits (Cf. Pride of Lions, Murder of Crows). The products of the Cacophony began with explanations to why the elections came out as they did and proceeded to consider the prospects for cooperation between President and Congress going forward. Given the volume of the punditry, it may be difficult to provide observations that readers will not have already come across somewhere else. Nevertheless, we will attempt to provide, as briefly as possible, our own perspectives. […]

Blog No. 41. The Mess at the Border (and in Washington).

The surge of unaccompanied children from Central America across our southern border has produced what is generally recognized to be a mess. Sadly, it has been accompanied by the familiar mess in Washington with the usual antagonists, the Administration and Congress, Republicans and Democrats, struggling over how to respond. And the border crisis appears to have made the goal of “comprehensive immigration reform” more elusive than ever.Children-at-border […]