Politics

A Further Perspective

Will We Keep the First Amendment Safe From Harry Reid?

By 9.17.14

Nobody tell Harry Reid that a few clauses of Magna Carta are still in effect—he’ll want to repeal them next.

We’ve only got a few tatters left of our own counterpart to that document, and Reid just led a party of Democrats on a raid to destroy them. Our Bill of Rights came with ten amendments, but we’re down to one that’s reasonably intact—the First Amendment—and now the Democrats want that one, too.

OK, I’ll concede the Third Amendment’s in fine shape, but only because there are no armies of soldiers crashing into bedrooms uninvited, whatever Claire McCaskill might think. But otherwise, the First Amendment is just about all we have left of our republican experiment. The forces of control have taken the rest, even our property, which they loan back to us on certain conditions.

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Scandalabra

The Scandals Are Catching Up With Mary Landrieu

By 9.16.14

Over the weekend the latest in the rolling scandal surrounding Mary Landrieu’s practice of charging taxpayers for her campaign travel throughout Louisiana made its way into a sluggish and indifferent local media.

You would think the news that since 2000 Landrieu had spent some $34,000 on forty-three separate incidents of chartered travel to fundraisers and other campaign events, the result of an audit by the law firm of Perkins Coie into her Senate office books, would have exploded into Louisiana’s media. But Landrieu’s embarrassing and troubling disclosure was released—naturally!—on Friday afternoon. And by Sunday, no mention of the news had made the front pages of the newspapers in New Orleans, Shreveport, Lafayette or Lake Charles. So far it’s a blip on the state media’s radar, the fodder for Republican rhetorical attacks against Landrieu and not much more.

That may be the attitude of most of Louisiana’s media. It is not the thinking of the state’s voters.

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Mark Sanford Breaks It Off With Fiancée

By on 9.13.14 | 6:52PM

Well, that's no good. On Facebook, Sanford is blaming his legal troubles. When I say "blaming," I mean writing at the cringe-inducing length of well over two thousand words.

I remember when things were looking up for the old boy. Here, from Robert Stacy McCain, is the classic account of his comeback, which makes for better reading than Sanford's online tell-all.

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Saturday Caption 9/13/14

By on 9.13.14 | 10:10AM

Use all your skill and creativity to tell us in the comment section what these two gentlemen might be talking about.

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History

Was Washington a Better Place When Politicians Dueled?

By 9.12.14

What we now call “Washington, D.C.” or “the District of Columbia” was for much of its history known simply as “Washington” or “Washington City.” It was also for many years little more than a swamp, the home of pimps, corrupt cops, thugs, and many ugly buildings. In the following excerpt from Empire of Mud, his new book, J.D. Dickey explains the finer points of old Washington’s dueling culture:

The gentlemen of  Washington City did more than just attend balls, feast with abandon, raise funds for charity, and live in their elite cocoons. They had other concerns too—such as trying to kill each other. The code duello, an elaborate honor code, enabled a gentleman whose pride or dignity was impugned to murder his adversary freely, as long as he did so with the proper etiquette and ceremony.

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Political Hay

2014: A Wave Election or an Earthquake?

By 9.11.14

Will the 2014 election be a wave election? Or an earthquake election? And what’s the difference?

It was November, 1922. And the Republican Party had just gotten clobbered in that year’s congressional elections. The Harding-Coolidge administration, elected only two years earlier in a landslide, lost seventy-seven seats in the House and seven in the Senate. In short, the election was a disaster, the GOP the victim of what is frequently called today a “wave” election.

But it was a wave, not an earthquake. Waves can hit the beach with tremendous force — but they quickly recede without doing much damage. Not so with earthquakes, which tumble people out of bed, collapse buildings, bridges, highways, and leave an immutable trail of wreckage in their wake. What follows is a massive rebuilding and replacement of what once seemed solid as a rock.

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The Trumped-Up Charges Spectator

Rosemary Lehmberg On the Warpath: First Rick Perry, Now Wallace Hall

By 9.10.14

The Travis County District Attorney’s office is doubling down on the widely mocked legal theories used to indict Governor Rick Perry.

Rosemary Lehmberg’s office is now trying to get a grand jury to indict another prominent Texas conservative on the exact same charge—abuse of official capacity. The cases have nothing in common, other than a shameless and blackhearted prosecutor who has discovered a vague paragraph in state law that lets her bring charges against any Republican she wants for just about any reason.

There is a slight check on that power—a grand jury—but the juries in heavily Democratic Travis County have shown little inclination to check her abuses. Instead, they end up offering her insulation from the lawsuits and disbarment she deserves for her malicious prosecutions.

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The War on Terror Spectator

If Obama Had Been FDR

By 9.9.14

The words still resonate today, seventy-three years later. On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his polio-stricken legs encased in iron braces enabling him to stand at the podium, asked Congress for a declaration of war against “the Empire of Japan.” FDR’s famous speech came immediately after the perfunctory acknowledgement of the vice president and speaker of the House. The speech described the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and opened like this:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The speech, delivered at 12:30 p.m., was short and to the point.

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The Nation's Pulse

Andrew Tahmooressi’s Imprisonment Is Something We Should Be Ashamed Of

By 9.8.14

What to make of the peculiar situation unfolding just across the border in Tijuana, where U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi languishes in solitary confinement for the crime of mistakenly crossing the border with his personal weapons in his truck on March 31?

Nothing to inspire confidence, for certain. In fact, Tahmooressi’s ordeal might just confirm many of our worst fears about the Obama administration.

The Tahmooressi story sounds more like a schlocky Hollywood script than a real-life tale. Its protagonist is a decorated Marine veteran of two tours of duty in Afghanistan, honorably discharged in 2012 and diagnosed with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); he was moving to the San Diego area specifically for treatment of his PTSD. And Tahmooressi’s ordeal is mind-bogglingly unjust; he mistakenly crossed the border from San Ysidro, California, into Mexico because he missed an interstate exit that would have taken him to dinner with friends. Instead, the twenty-five-year old war hero wound up at a Mexican border station driving a pickup truck full of his possessions, which included two rifles and a pistol, plus ammunition.

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