Wednesday August 27, 2014
January 22nd, 2014
Suddenly it's OK, even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor. This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of FDR and LBJ. It's much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
As of late Monday afternoon, when I was finishing this column, the most frequently emailed story on The Times' website for the previous week wasn't about the polar vortex, Chris Christie or "Downton Abbey."
It was about cats.
What is the greatest fear of conservatives when they warn against the dangers of big government? It is that a leader or the coterie around him will abuse the authority of the state arbitrarily to gather yet more power, punish opponents and, in the process, harm rank-and-file citizens whose well-being matters not a whit to those who are trying to enhance their control.
Gov. Chris Christie had the best day he's going to have for a long time on Jan. 9. He had two hours to give his side of the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge that gridlocked Fort Lee, N.J., for four days in September.
From the moment Lloyd Bentsen uttered it, none could disagree with his televised jab that Dan Quayle was “no Jack Kennedy.” Few remember, however, that in ascending to the presidency, Jack Kennedy had his own damning comparison. He was no Dwight Eisenhower.
It took a disaster at the Bay of Pigs, and then resolve in the Cuban Missile Crisis, for Kennedy to find his inner Eisenhower.
No one can look at The Washington Post's exhaustive investigation into the construction, rollout and crash of the Maryland health insurance exchange and walk away with any measure of confidence in government.
How could this epic bungling have happened in a state that often oozes self-satisfaction with its progressive policies, led by a governor who considers himself a 2016 presidential contender?
The prospects for single-payer health care -- adored by many liberals, despised by private health insurers and looking better all the time to others -- did not die in the Affordable Care Act. It was thrown a lifeline through a little-known provision tucked in the famously long legislation. Single-payer groups in several states are now lining up to make use of Section 1332.
Far be it from me to defend what Jon Stewart has demolished.
But I would like to speak up on behalf of the fledgling New York mayor's de Blasphemy, now universally deemed his first mistake and possibly grounds for impeachment: daintily carving up his smoked-mozzarella-and-sausage pizza at Goodfellas in Staten Island with a knife and fork.