• E.J. Dionne: Obamacare vs. Scaliacare

    By E.J. Dionne Jr. | Published: Sat, Nov 15, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Republican leaders in the House and Senate have made clear that they’ll deploy every weapon in the legislative arsenal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They’ll try to chip away at the taxes that support it and abolish the mandates that make its insurance markets work. They might even stand on their heads and stop breathing if that would do the trick. It’s a shame they are approaching matters this way. Various provisions of the ACA have helped well over 100 million Americans, including about 20 million who gained coverage or got new insurance under the law. In a rational republic, both parties might try to figure out how to improve the law. Why wreck it? But elections have consequences.

  • Washington Examiner: Deal with Iran keeps getting worse

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    WHEN dealing with the Soviets and their nuclear aggression, President Ronald Reagan famously cited an old Russian proverb: “Trust, but verify.” In his current dealings with Iran and its nuclear ambitions, President Obama seems to be forgetting about that second part. He’s asking Americans to trust a negotiating adversary who keeps trying to remind the world that it remains the same bad actor it was during the 1979 hostage crisis. Nearly a year into the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, it becomes more and more apparent that the American people are watching a bad deal unfold as it gets hatched in their name. Several new and alarming hints have emerged in just the last few days that should make

  • Kathleen Parker: Obama's spiteful legacy

    By Kathleen Parker | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Post-election analysis falls somewhere between amusing and clueless. In the amusing camp are Democratic strategists who intone that more Democrats would have won if only more people had voted. The gods surely blush with envy. And of course, there’s the conventional wisdom that Democrats always suffer in midterms because they lack “intensity,” meaning they don’t care, and that presidents are always unpopular in their sixth year in office. So much for insight. Next we visit the clueless camp where professional pundits gather. The consensus here is that the election wasn’t a mandate for Republicans to overhaul government. I confess that I was one of these, but (mark your calendars) I was

  • Charles Krauthammer: The Gruber confession

    By Charles Krauthammer | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    WASHINGTON — It’s not exactly the Ems Dispatch (the diplomatic cable Bismarck doctored to provoke the 1870 Franco-Prussian War). But what the just-resurfaced Gruber Confession lacks in world-historical consequence, it makes up for in world-class cynicism. This October 2013 video shows MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a principal architect of Obamacare, admitting that, in order to get it passed, the law was made deliberately obscure and deceptive. It constitutes the ultimate vindication of the charge that Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to

  • Clarence Page: Democrats need more diversity, too

    By Clarence Page | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    Here we go again. Big election defeats inevitably are followed by major rounds of teeth-gnashing, shirt-rending, soul-searching, finger pointing, self-flagellating and circular firing squad shooting. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn. Again. After their recent thrashing in midterm congressional elections, the Democratic National Committee is launching a “top-to-bottom review,” DNC chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced. Let me guess: I bet they’re going to reach conclusions very similar to the “autopsy” that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus launched after Mitch Romney’s 2012 defeat. In short, they need, as the RNC says, “more outreach.

  • George F. Will: Rethinking U.S. foreign policy

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Nov 13, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s coming request for Congress to “right-size and update” the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against terrorism will be constitutionally fastidious and will catalyze a debate that will illuminate Republican fissures. They, however, are signs of a healthy development — the reappearance of foreign policy heterodoxy in Republican ranks. Many events (U.S. military misadventures since 2001, the Syrian civil war, the rise of the Islamic State, the spinning centrifuges of Iran’s nuclear weapons program) and one senator (Rand Paul) have reopened a Republican debate that essentially closed when Dwight Eisenhower won the 1952 Republican presidential nomination. One reason he sought it was

  • Michael Gerson: Kasich in the spotlight

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Wed, Nov 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON — A week after the midterm elections, Republicans are still browsing through the jewelry store of their victories, admiring this bauble and that. Most of their Senate wins were predicted by the electoral map. The victories of many Republican governors, however, were impressive for extending the map, holding hard-earned territory or crossing demographic barriers. There were Republican wins in Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois — which amounted to dancing in President Obama’s end zone. Greg Abbott got back to George W. Bush levels of support with Hispanic voters in Texas. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin won his third election in four years. But it is Gov. John Kasich of Ohio who deserves the award for best

  • Ruth Marcus: Blurred lines on campus

    By Ruth Marcus | Published: Wed, Nov 12, 2014

    Dealing with sexual assaults

  • Sen. Jim Inhofe: EPA should withdraw proposed water rule

    BY U.S. SEN. JIM INHOFE | Published: Wed, Nov 12, 2014

    Ron Curry, the assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency region that includes Oklahoma, has said the EPA’s newly proposed Waters of the United States rule will provide slam-dunk benefits to Oklahomans that would come without a cost. Nothing could be further from the truth. The EPA claims significant powers under the Clean Water Act to regulate pollution discharges into federally protected waterways. But when Congress passed this law in 1972, it limited the application to EPA’s authority to “navigable” waterways. In the decades since, it’s become clear why Congress did this. Permits under the Clean Water Act can take months of bureaucratic wrangling and an average of $270,000 in expenses

  • Cal Thomas: Iran nuke talks like bargaining with the devil

    By Cal Thomas | Published: Mon, Nov 10, 2014

    Having missed a July deadline for reaching an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the six world powers party to the talks — the United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany — have set November 24 as their new deadline. Iran says there will be no extension if a deal isn’t reached. Given the Obama administration’s horrible record in the Middle East — treating Israel as an enemy and Islamic dictatorships as potential friends — things don’t look good for an agreement that will curtail or reverse Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. An indication of what the Obama administration hopes to achieve in these talks came from Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

  • George Will: Rethinking Hillary 2016

    By George F. Will | Published: Sun, Nov 9, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Now that two of the last three Democratic presidencies have been emphatically judged to have been failures, the world’s oldest political party — the primary architect of this nation’s administrative state — has some thinking to do. The accumulating evidence that the Democratic Party is an exhausted volcano includes its fixation with stale ideas, such as the supreme importance of a 23rd increase in the minimum wage. Can this party be so blinkered by the modest success of its third recent presidency, Bill Clinton’s, that it will sleepwalk into the next election behind Hillary Clinton? In 2016, she will have won just two elections in her 69 years, the last one 10 years previously.

  • Leonard Pitts: The year of no ideas

    By Leonard Pitts Jr. | Published: Sun, Nov 9, 2014

    The first time he said it was 10 years ago. Back then, it seemed a brisk wind in a stuffy room, a reclamation of defining verities somehow lost in the smoke and haze of political expedience. He said it again last week and the effect was starkly different — somehow forlorn, like birthday cake after the party, or a Christmas tree set out on the curb on Jan. 2. “I continue to believe,” said President Obama, “we are simply more than a collection of red and blue states. We are the United States.” The first time he said this, it brought the Democratic National Convention to its feet and made him a rock star.

  • Michael Gerson: Obama's 'gifts' to the nation

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Sun, Nov 9, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Barack Obama is a gifted politician. But a president is judged by the gifts he leaves behind. Following his fourth national election as party leader, Democrats are taking stock of what they have received. For Obama, there have been two convincing presidential victories; for the Democratic Party, electoral ruin at every other level. On Tuesday (assuming the most likely final outcome), the largest Democratic Senate losses since 1980. The ranks of moderate Democrats — Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, and (probably) Mary Landrieu — decimated. During Obama’s presidency, the loss of nearly 70 House seats, producing the largest Republican House majority since 1931.

  • 'Immediate action' needed against federal highway safety agency

    BY CLAYTON T. HASBROOK | Published: Sat, Nov 8, 2014

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged millions of vehicle owners “to take immediate action” to replace defective airbags. The airbags inflate with too much force and may explode, hurling pieces of metal and plastic shrapnel. Four people have been killed and more than 100 injured by airbag shrapnel. The airbags, manufactured by Takata Inc. of Tokyo, have been the target of several recalls involving nearly 8 million vehicles over the past 18 months. However, the recalls apply only to certain high-humidity regions, including the Gulf Coast states from Texas to Florida. Oklahoma is excluded from the recall, yet the first reported death caused by airbag shrapnel occurred in Midwest City, in 2009.

  • Jules Witcover: Is Obama now irrelevant?

    By Jules Witcover | Published: Sat, Nov 8, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party lost control of the House of Representatives in the midterm congressional elections. Thereafter, he felt the need to declare at a press conference that “the president is relevant here.” At that time, the new Republican speaker, Newt Gingrich, had “nationalized” that 1994 election by making it a referendum on Clinton. Having succeeded, Gingrich then dug in against the president’s legislative efforts as a way to demonstrate Clinton’s irrelevance. But the speaker’s overreaching was his own undoing. In a subsequent showdown over closing the government, Gingrich got the blame and Clinton resurrected his fortunes with an aggressive television

  • Paul Greenberg: Notes on another swing of the pendulum

    By Paul Greenberg | Published: Fri, Nov 7, 2014

    Maybe our current president won’t prove one of the great ones — and there was no maybe about it the morning after Tuesday’s midterm elections — but that doesn’t prevent him from seeing signs of greatness in others. One of the first congratulatory phone calls Barack Obama made as the election returns came in Tuesday night was to a rising Republican star and now U.S. senator-elect from Arkansas named Tom Cotton. How’s that for an electable name in these latitudes? This still young man also has a sterling record — compiled at Harvard, in the U.S. Infantry airborne, and, not least, in Yell County, Arkansas — home of Mattie Ross and “True Grit.” This young man fights. Say what want about our president, he knows

  • Charles Krauthammer: Seize the day, control the agenda

    By Charles Krauthammer | Published: Fri, Nov 7, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Memo to the GOP. You had a great night on Tuesday. But remember: You didn’t win it. The Democrats lost it. This is not to say that you didn’t show discipline in making the election a referendum on six years of Barack Obama. You exercised adult supervision over the choice of candidates. You didn’t allow yourself to go down the byways of gender and other identity politics. It showed: A gain of probably nine Senate seats, the largest Republican House majority in more than 80 years, and astonishing gubernatorial victories, including Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois, the bluest of the blue, giving lie to the Democrats’ excuse that they lost because the game was played on Republican turf.

  • E.J. Dionne: Bigger than 2010

    By E.J. Dionne Jr. | Published: Fri, Nov 7, 2014

    WASHINGTON — For Democrats, the 2014 election was not the 2010 Republican landslide. It was worse. Four years ago, the economy was still ailing and a new wave of conservative activism in the form of the tea party was roiling politics. This time, the economy was better, ideological energies on the right had abated — and Democrats suffered an even more stinging defeat. They lost Senate seats in presidential swing states such as Iowa, Colorado and North Carolina. They lost governorships in their most loyal bastions, from Massachusetts to Maryland to Illinois. After a defeat of this scope, the sensible advice is usually, “Don’t overreact.” In this case, such advice would be wrong.

  • George Will: What Republicans must do now

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Nov 6, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Unlike the dog that chased the car until, to its consternation, he caught it, Republicans know what to do with what they have caught. Having completed their capture of control of the legislative branch, they should start with the following six measures concerning practical governance and constitutional equilibrium: — Abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This creature of the labyrinthine Dodd-Frank law violates John Locke’s dictum: “The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands. … The power of the legislative … (is) only to make laws, and not to make legislators.” The CFPB is empowered to “declare,” with no legislative guidance or institutional inhibitions,

  • Ruch Marcus: A case for compulsory voting

    By Ruth Marcus | Published: Wed, Nov 5, 2014

    WASHINGTON — A thought experiment in the election’s aftermath: What if, instead of focusing on making it harder for people to vote, we made voting mandatory? Indulge me in a rant against the phantom menace of voter fraud. The efforts to suppress it are barely disguised Republican moves to hold down minority votes that would, presumably, go to Democrats. This year, the Supreme Court allowed a new Texas voter ID law to proceed despite a lower court judge’s finding that it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax that could disenfranchise 600,000 registered voters, about 4.5 percent of the total. This in low-turnout Texas, with voting participation rates near the bottom of a country with overall anemic turnout.