Michael Barone

November 2005

Bookshelf: great art in Ireland

Let me strongly recommend, as diversionary reading, two recent books on art in Ireland that I happened to pick up at bookstores—they've both got handsome covers—and which I found to be fascinating reading.

The first is The Irish Game, by Matthew Hart. It tells how Vermeer's painting Lady Writing a ...

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Dual citizenship

I participated today in a panel at the Hudson Institute on dual citizenship. The subject was Hudson's John Fonte's paper lamenting dual citizenship and urging penalties for U.S. citizens who have foreign citizenship and exercise that citizenship by voting or running for office in foreign elections.

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E.J. Dionne's 'Labor's Lost Story'

I think every conservative who knows E. J. Dionne Jr. likes him. He's pleasant, cheerful, just about unfailingly civil and he clearly strives to be intellectually honest. He wants the Democrats to win, but he recognizes that they're often incoherent and disorganized. Sometimes when you read one of ...

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Where did all those evil Medicaid cuts come from?

House Democrats have been assailing House Republicans for alleged cuts—actually, decreases in spending growth—in Medicaid. The debate was full of the unedifying rhetoric that is the staple of two-minute tirades in the House. But where did the idea for those Medicaid "cuts" come from? Washington ...

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Democracy in the Middle East

Jim Hoagland can certainly not be accused of being a shill for the Bush administration. But his Sunday column in the Washington Post contains important evidence that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq has promoted the cause of democracy and freedom in the Middle East. The key quote is ...

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Peaceful revolution in Iran

Last week I linked to Michael Ledeen's latest article on Iran. Ledeen has long argued that we should work to encourage peaceful democratic revolution in Iran, as we did in eastern Europe in the 1980s. Now, from another zone on the political spectrum, come similar arguments from Timothy Garton Ash,

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Happy Thanksgiving

For the last couple of years, for reasons I am unaware of, I have been on the e-mail list of the National Wild Turkey Federation, located in Edgefield, S.C. (the home town of Strom Thurmond). The NWTF evidently does a lot of work protecting wild turkey habitat, and it strikes me as an example of ...

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The plight of General Motors

Here's an opinion article from the Los Angeles Times lamenting the decline of the Big Three automakers. The author calls for national health insurance to relieve the Big Three of the huge healthcare costs imposed by their contracts with the United Auto Workers. It's not an original idea. The ...

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The ombudsman as schoolmarm

I have a certain sympathy for those who have served as ombudsman for the Washington Post. Their offices are on the same floor as the newsroom (at least they were when I was there), they are surrounded every day by the people they are paid to criticize, and they must live with a left-wing newsroom ...

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If a tree falls in the forest ...

On November 19, the Washington Times reported that 200,000 Jordanians demonstrated against the al Qaeda leader Zarqawi and the suicide bombings of three Amman hotels. Here are the lead grafs:

AMMAN, JORDAN – At least 200,000 persons demonstrated yesterday against the recent bombings of three luxury ...

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John Murtha's call for withdrawal

The mainstream media have played Democratic Rep. John Murtha's call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as a "hawk turned dove" story. See, e.g., Dana Milbank in the Washington Post. In fact, the story is more interesting—and more complicated—than that. "All of us want to get rid of Saddam," Murtha said.

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What Bob Woodward knew

What to think of the quite astonishing revelation that Bob Woodward was told by administration sources—not Scooter Libby or Karl Rove, it seems clear—that Joseph Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, and told a month before what Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said was the first revelation by an ...

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More British humor

Herein Michael Gove, Conservative MP for Surrey Heath, former Times journalist, and one of the brightest men in British politics, or just in Britain, writes the definitive sendup of the bullying television interviewer Jeremy Paxman. As any American who has watched him knows, Paxman is proof that,

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Serendipity on Capitol Hill

Waiting for lunch with a senator in the lobby of the Senate members' dining room, I had a chance to chat yesterday with Bob Kendrick of the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City. He was waiting with a delegation, including 94-year-old Buck O'Neill, to lunch with Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri.

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British understatement

Here are the last two paragraphs in a Times of London story about a debate between David Cameron and David Davis, the two candidates for leader of the Conservative Party.

"Meanwhile, there was mild embarrassment for David Cameron after it emerged that a thief had broken into an aide's Mercedes and ...

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Opportunity lost: Head Start

Back in the summer of 1966 I was working for the Oakland County Democratic Party. Congress had just passed Lyndon Johnson's Great Society legislation, and the question occurred to me: What Great Society bills would work positively for Democratic candidates? Only one answer jumped out: Head Start.

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Sam's Club Republicans

I mentioned in passing the piece by Ross Douthat and Reigan Salam in this week's Weekly Standard on Sam's Club Republicans. It's a very thoughtful and creative attempt to sketch out, or at least give direction to, a new conservative Republican agenda. Bush Republicans, Douthat and Salam argue, have ...

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California: Arnold loses

With 100 percent of precincts reporting (but, possibly, many absentee ballots remaining to be counted), all eight of the propositions on the California ballot, including the four supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been defeated. There's a general rule in California politics that when in ...

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New York City mayor

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was re-elected, evidently by a 59-to-36 percent margin. (I can't find detailed election figures on the Web; the New York Times used to run them on the Thursday after the election but evidently doesn't deem them Web-worthy now.) This is an even bigger win than ...

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The election results

There's a ritual, a kind of kabuki dance, to interpreting the results of the two gubernatorial elections, in Virginia and New Jersey, that are held the year after the presidential election. If one party wins both elections, its spin doctors claim that they are a verdict on the national ...

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The elections today

For the latest poll results, see www.realclearpolitics.com.

On balance, these elections seem likely to be good news for Democrats.

Jon Corzine has been ahead of Doug Forrester in all the New Jersey polls. But Corzine seems unlikely to do much better than John Kerry did when he won New Jersey 53 ...

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Winning the war on terrorism

Stephen Green of the picturesquely named www.vodkapundit.com has an interesting post on the war against Islamic terrorism.

He argues that in World War I manpower was critical, while in World War II weapons production was critical. (That's why as late as 1961 John Kennedy appointed an auto executive ...

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California polling

Confused about the widely different polling results on the California referendums? Here's an explanation from the Mystery Pollster blog: Mystery Pollster is Mark Blumenthal, a Democratic pollster, whose blog posts I have found to be first rate.

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Is Paris burning?

For 11 straight nights "youths" have been rioting in the banlieues (suburbs) of Paris and in cities all over France—"youths" who are almost all Muslims, though you wouldn't know that from reading much of the mainstream media.

Here are some thoughts from the Belmont Club, together with a map. These ...

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Toward a neoconservative left?

One of the interesting things about the debate over Iraq has been that almost all leftist opponents of the war have shown absolutely zero interest in the welfare of the Iraqi people.

This appalling indifference, Oliver Kamm argues in the Times of London, is in vivid contrast to the record of left ...

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Investigate the CIA

By all means also read Victoria Toensing's article with that headline on yesterday's Wall Street Journal editorial page. I can't find it on www.opinionjournal.com, so you may have to paw through your pile of old newspapers to find it; maybe it will be posted on the site this weekend.

Toensing ...

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The Libby indictment

Man Bites Dog Department. Jeffrey Rosen of the New Republic

has written an article arguing that special prosecutor PatrickFitzgerald's indictment of Scooter Libby is "indefensible." Rosen notes that Fitzgerald in his defense of the indictment said that perjury, false-statement, and ...

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Why do we have such a Catholic court?

If Judge Samuel Alito is confirmed, there will be five Catholics on the Supreme Court. That's fine with me; nothing says that we have to have proportionate religious representation on the court or in any other governmental body. But it's interesting. My pop-sociology theory why goes like this.

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The Alito Chronicles (continued)

Here's a clearsighted view of the Alito nomination from the left, by David Corn of The Nation. Though I disagree with Corn on many issues, I like his writing because he tries to see clearly what's happening, and he writes well. He's always pleasant when I encounter him around town on the campaign ...

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A tax on abortion?

As a practical matter, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion is not going to be effectively criminalized in the United States. That's because a substantial number of our fellow citizens—arguably a majority, depending on which poll you consult—believe they have a right to an abortion. Not ...

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Of Alito and superduperprecedents

On Monday, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was asked by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter to comment on superprecedents and superduperprecedents. Evidently Specter was relieved by Alito's comments that there was something in the nature of a sliding scale in determining whether ...

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The great Seymour Martin Lipset

Marty Lipset, one of the greatest political scientists in American history, has been disabled by a stroke. His work product over the course of nearly 50 years is immense: Punch in his name on Amazon.com and you get 3,321 results. Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute observes, "In the ...

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