Tag Archives: governing

“The Prince” Lives On

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

Originally published in The Hill

It was in 1513 that Niccolò Machiavelli first wrote The Prince, although it didn’t hit the printing presses until 1532, five years after the most infamous of political philosophers had died.

That was by design, because the Catholic Church didn’t much care for the tone of Machiavelli’s most famous work and put it on its list of banned books.

Despite the early controversy, The Prince still lives in the heart of the modern politician. Here are some examples:  Continue reading

Boehner and Outside Influences


“I am as conservative as they come and there is nothing we have done in this Congress that violates conservative principles.”

That sums it up and sets it up.

Speaker John Boehner made that point last week while criticizing several outside interest groups that have raised havoc with the Republican agenda in the 113th Congress, shut down the government for 16 days at a cost of $24 billion to American taxpayers, deliberately fomented division and distrust among the populous, and prevented the government from governing. Continue reading

Republicans, Democrats, & the Righteous Few



There is no word that better explains the intractable nature of our government’s dysfunction, particularly now in the throes of frozen federal appropriations and a looming debt ceiling crisis.

Righteousness is a noun that describes an attitude that results in behavior “arising out of an outraged sense of justice or morality” (the appropo Webster definition). It is a behavior rooted in a sense of such uprightness that it is essentially free of guilt or sin. The righteous feel absolved from any need for self-judgment or self-reflection.

Can I have an amen?

We have heard President Obama again and again refuse to negotiate and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning of Armageddon if no one acts. We have listened to Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee pontificate about the immorality of compromise, and we have heard the same refrain from dozens of Members of Congress from Justin Amash of Michigan to Continue reading

News Media and Making Government Work


“This is so asinine, the Washington Post should be embarrassed it wasted anyone’s time with it.”

Those are the words of Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner reacting recently to a Post thing—I’m not sure what to call it– by Juliet Eilperin and Zachary A. Goldfarb fantasizing about Boehner becoming a bipartisan coalition speaker.

Buck’s understated reaction underscores a troubling reality in media today. They, the infotainment media complex, are as dysfunctional and as lacking in meaningful contributions to public governance as the politicians who they spend so much time second-guessing and ridiculing.

Now, when we need responsible, dependable media more than ever they just aren’t there. Continue reading

Cruz & McCarthy: Yes, No, Maybe So


When Harold H. Velde took the chair of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953, he vowed to “weed out the communists and their fellow travelers, the pinkos, as they are called” from the departments of State and Defense and promised to serve as a watchdog for “commies” infiltrating the Eisenhower Administration.

The Committee had already made a name for itself. Five years earlier, a young member of the committee from California named Richard Nixon claimed fame by subpoenaing records that led to the imprisonment of Alger Hiss, the prominent and popular wunderkind of the Roosevelt era, who was accused of turning over government secrets to the Soviet Union.

In fact, since its founding in 1938, the Committee was on the leading edge of the anti-communist movement in the United States, a movement founded on legitimate national and international concerns about the global spread of Marxist-Leninism to China and across Russia into Eastern Europe and beyond. The spread of Communism would have profound, lasting ramifications for the free world and especially for the United States, the post-war protector of democracy and policeman of the planet.  Continue reading

President Obama and the People of Galesburg


In the early 19th Century, as the country was expanding into its midsection, Chicago played second fiddle to a town 175 miles to the West. There, the Rev. George Washington Gale had founded an institution dedicated to his missionary zeal and political enlightenment called Knox College.

Galesburg, located halfway between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers on some of the richest farmland in the world, became an early social and economic center in Illinois.

Galesburg served as the crossroads of two giant railroads, the Santa Fe and the Burlington Northern.

The railroads brought wealth and prestige to the burg, with stately homes with rich architecture and richer occupants, along wide streets paved with bricks from the local ovens. Galesburg became a hub for another railroad, the Underground Railroad that served as an escape route for slaves from the South.   Continue reading

Whither The Republican Party

Reprinted from BJayCooper.com

Short  answer: I don’t know. But I do know that many of our new “frontrunners for the 2016 nomination” aren’t defining that path either.

I just read a piece by Bobby Jindal, Louisiana GOP governor, who said he’s laid out seven “ideas for change.” Let me briefly sum them up: stop looking back, compete for every vote, reject identity politics, stop being the stupid party, stop insulting the intelligence of voters, stop being the party of  “big,” focus on people not government.

Thanks, governor…but where are the ideas for change? I see navel gazing. Now where do you lay out a policy path for change, which is what the Republican Party really needs. I know the Tea Party types think they have that, and what they have is 100 percent acceptable…by them. Continue reading

Lead, Follow, Or….

Reprinted from Mullings.com

In the ’60s a battle cry of anti-war (and anti-Lyndon Johnson) college students was “Lead, follow or get out of the way;” a concept that morphed into lyrics for Bob Dylan’s anthem, “The Times They are a’Changin.”

President Obama has tried his version of leading – which has been mostly attempting to bully Congressional Republicans into submission. It hasn’t worked.

For about five minutes after his reelection we were told he was going to spend Continue reading

Obama Has Overplayed His Hand

Reprinted from Telemachus.com

This ‘Dreaded Sequester’ will apparently only cut $42B out of this year’s fiscal budget. Not $85B as previously reported and feared.

That is according to CBO. That is also less than 1 penny out of every dollar the federal government spends this year. Even Joe Scarborough says so although Mika would disagree with him, of course.

Have you had to cut back a little more than 1 penny per dollar in your spending these past 4 years? Betcha have.

1 penny. Less than 1% of the budget this year. Continue reading

Ideology of an Inauguration Address


Newly inaugurated President Barack H. Obama left the balcony of the west front of the Capitol and paused before going inside. He turned around and looked back down the mall at the throng that had just witnessed him taking the oath of office for his second term. It was a poignant moment. There was this triumphant, historic figure prolonging the experience, taking just one last look at a scene he will never see again, a scene that framed one of the greatest achievements of his lifetime. Continue reading

Fiscal Cliff Tragedy/Comedy, Part I


The tragedy and the comedy of the fiscal cliff negotiations are that they have little to do with the fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff is a relatively straight-forward collection of budget issues. But like so many other budget issues that have become the playground of ideologues, the fiscal cliff negotiations have been hijacked by a herculean clash over political dogma, a classic struggle between progressive forces dedicated to the redistribution of wealth and libertarian forces dedicated to dismantling government as we know it. Continue reading

Middle East Violence Spontaneous?


“I’ve come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutal interest and mutal respect and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”  — President Barak Obama in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009

In the last two weeks, three years after that speech, militant Islamists have been engaging in violent, lethal protests against the United States in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Tunisia, Indonesia, and Guinea. In Afghanistan, the U.S. is also facing violence from within, from Afghan police we have trained and work alongside.

Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, distanced her boss from the protests in a whirlwind weekend tour of Sunday talk shows. Continue reading

I Know It When I See It

Reprinted from Mullings.com

This column may well generate about 40,000 “Unsubscribes” this morning, but there you are.

In the early 1960s a man named Nico Jacobellis was arrested after the showing of a French movie in his theater by the name of “The Lovers” on the grounds that the film was obscene.

This case would doubtless be relegated to punishing second year law school students were it not for the fact that (a) the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court and (b) in a concurring opinion Justice Potter Stewart penned one of the most memorable phrases in Court history.

In concurring with a reversal of Mr. Jacobellis’ conviction, Justice Stewart wrote about trying to define the phrase “hard-core pornography”: I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

Putting aside how Mr. Justice Stewart had come upon comparative material, this famous quote came to mind when I read that GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum plans to boldly go where Supreme Court Justices have feared to tread.

On his campaign web page a position paper on pornography contains this: While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration. Continue reading

American Politics and the Perpetual Campaign


One of the failings of our system of governance, former Republican Leader Bob Michel once observed, is that you can no longer tell where the campaigns end and governing begins.

That trend has defined American politics for sometime. The differences between campaigning and governing have gotten less and less apparent. And this year, they seemed to have disappeared all together, after a brief flurry of off-again, on-again, off again, bipartisan, bicameral, bi-branch exchanges that showed promise, but no permanency.

The combatants in American politics, conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, have dropped any pretense of governing. It is all campaigning, all the time. And no one did it in more grandly than the President.

Oregon Rep. Greg Walden said the other day that he has never seen a President step away from governing the way President Barack Obama has. Previous presidents who served in divided government where Republicans controlled one part and Democrats the other chose not to cut and run in the face of serious challenges. Ronald Reagan didn’t. Nor did George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton. When the country’s challenges demanded it, they stepped up, not away. They found common ground, sorted through the politics and partisanship, made decisions and resolved contentious issues like taxes, Social Security, budgets and welfare reform.

When President Obama was asked on 60 Minutes:  “Isn’t it your job as president to find solutions to these problems, to get results, to figure out a way to get it done?”’ the response was pretty much no. The President said it was his job to present the country with a vision, presumably so others could govern. Continue reading