Operation Push Back


Barnes Editorial Photo

In their obsession with stressing the economy and jobs in the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney and Republicans ignored or downplayed an array of compelling issues. This was a foolish mistake. They failed to exploit unpopular policies of President Obama’s first term and left unanswered charges that proved harmful to Romney and other Republican candidates. Now they can make up for their blunder, partially anyway. They need an Operation Push Back.

The starting point is Obamacare. It turns out there weren’t only two bites to that apple: the Supreme Court and the chance for a Republican Senate and White House. Those potential threats to the health care law fizzled. But now there’s a possible third bite, or maybe a half-bite. It belongs to state governors, 30 of whom are Republicans.

Governors can’t repeal Obamacare. But they can confound the Obama administration’s plan for implementing it fully in 2014. If governors do so, they may force the president to negotiate on scaling ...

Kristol Editorial

Homage to an Administration


The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war ...

Rice & Obama

Susan Rice’s Talking Points


At his first press conference after being elected to a second term, President Barack Obama did everything he could to avoid directly answering the difficult questions on the growing scandal about his administration’s handling of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. But in so doing, the ...


Fiscal Cliff Diving

The deficit showdown ahead.


The Fiscal Cliff ahead

Under current law, the U.S. economy will tumble over the so-called fiscal cliff at the start of the new year, when roughly $500 billion in across-the- board tax hikes and $100 billion in spending cuts are scheduled to take effect. Numerous economists predict the automatic tax increases, the result of expiring Bush tax cuts and other tax laws, will cause another recession. Pentagon officials say the spending cuts, part of the 2011 debt ceiling deal, will “hollow out” the military.

Activist with a sign that says Stop the Massacre in Syria!

Disappointing Friends and Allies

For Syria, Obama’s reelection promises little change and less hope.


For almost a year, America’s allies in the Middle East and Western Europe have believed it was only Obama’s reelection campaign that held the president back from employing more forceful means to topple Bashar al-Assad. After all, ending the bloodshed that has killed over 40,000 people has ...

William Niskanen

Gorging the Beast

Tax cuts didn’t starve big government.


A dedicated libertarian, William Niskanen was also a dedicated pot-stirrer. For him the two vocations—pressing the case for small government and, at least intellectually, making ...

Washington Post HQ

Declining Kingdom, Waning Power

The Washington Post changes editors, world yawns.


Last week was an eventful one in Washington, but one piece of news came and went with sur

Just divorced

The Disappearing Family Problem

Broken homes could use a little more attention from Washington.


One of the dramatic social developments of our time—family breakdown, now known by the term of art ...

Artur Mas

Mas Movement

Catalonia ponders secession.


A country is in big trouble when cities or ...


The New Middle East

Israel and its neighbors



It is now two months until the inauguration in Washington, and it would be nice if the world went into a postelection recess for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays. With Israel facing elections on January 22, there might once have been some hope for a brief respite. Alas, events in the Middle East are heating up and are likely to keep getting hotter this winter and into the spring.

Until this week the hottest crisis was in Syria, where the death total is now around 40,000​—​with about 10 times that number as refugees and many hundreds of thousands more as internally displaced persons. American policy has, at least until now, been to combine diplomatic activity with military and intelligence passivity. American, EU, and Arab pressure got the Syrian opposition to offer a new, unified face to the world last week, but that unity will be useless unless it elicits more military help. Bashar al-Assad cannot defeat the rebels, but with more help they can defeat ...

Books & Arts

Clash of Titans

A game of hardball among the Founders.


Aaron Burr

Many Americans may know the name of Aaron Burr, though not much more. But in 1807, the prosecution of Burr was a very big deal. Imagine: a former vice president of the United States on trial for treason! 

So R. Kent Newmyer, professor of law and history at the University of Connecticut, has quite a story to tell, and he tells it well. The tale involves three men—Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, and John Marshall—drawn almost fatefully together out of mutual dislike, even loathing. Around them is a large supporting cast—some of whom remain shadowy while others, most notably the lawyers at Burr’s trial, are brought successfully to life ...

Amos Oz in Tel Aviv, 2008

Atheist of the Book

A grand old man of letters meets the literature of Judaism.


Many years ago, Will Herberg spoke of “cut-flower ethics.” He argued ...

Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy

Left’s Turn

Who are the liberals, and what do they believe?


The Cause, an account of ...

Robert Francis, 1939

A Natural Poet

Earthly delights in the shade of Robert Frost.


Lover he was, unlonely, ...

A Dance with the Dragon The Vanished World  of Peking’s Foreign Colony

Legation Nation

A good laugh while darkness lurks around the corner.


As China saber-rattles against Japan over the Senkaku Islands, and economists predict that she will overtake the United ...

James Bond

The Inner Bond

A therapeutic thriller featuring the usual suspects.


It’s no wonder Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening show at the London Olympics featured a scene in which Daniel Craig’s James ...


Turkey in the Straw

Joseph Bottum considers the turkeys


Casual Turkey

They squabble, scrabble, and squawk. They peck at the last windfalls, out under the fruit trees, until they’re—I don’t know, drunk maybe on the hard cider of the apple mash or rendered hyperactive by some mad avian sugar rush, and then they strut through the yard, chests puffed out, spoiling for a fight. Lords of creation, proud as peacocks. Vain as blue jays. Stupid as chickens.

I can’t say why the wild turkeys claimed our yard this fall, out here in our South Dakota town. But once the temperature dropped, they came down from the forests of the Black Hills to camp beneath our leafless lilacs and browning cedars—killing the grass in a large circle on the north lawn. Maybe they thought the roots were tasty, or maybe they simply wanted a dust bath where they could lounge in the morning sun, nursing their hangovers and resting up for the day’s fights. Either way, I look out the window to see them most days: anywhere from five to a dozen turkeys, roosting in the ...


They're Back


The Scrapbook was just getting pleasantly accustomed to a Congress without Kennedys​—​our personal favorite, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), announced his retirement in 2009​—​but on the morning after Election Day, we discovered they’re back. (Or baaack, depending on your point of view.) The new Kennedy in town is 32-year-old Joseph Kennedy III, who in turn is the son of former congressman Joseph Kennedy II, best known for his marital misadventures and frequent temper tantrums on the House floor.

The freshman Kennedy will be representing Barney Frank’s old district in a southeastern segment of Massachusetts. In the family tradition, young Kennedy moved into the Fourth Congressional District, immediately filed to run​—​and, we concede, is not entirely unqualified: He is a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law School, and was an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County. On the other hand, his Republican opponent, Sean Bielat, was a successful high-tech executive ...

Shaima Alawadi

The Hate Crime That Wasn't

Remember Shaima Alawadi? Shortly after the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida last March, the 32-year-old mother of five, an immigrant from Iraq in the 1990s, was found murdered. There was a note next to her bludgeoned body that read, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” With liberal ...

Rosie Ruiz

Everyone's a Winner

Marathon runners are cheaters. Not all of them, or even most of them, mind you. But of all the major endurance sports​—​bicycling, running, swimming​—​the men and women hoofing it at the 26.2-mile distance are the ones most prone not just to doping and steroids and other chemical/mechanical ...



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