As 2010 dawns, it appears that another president is in trouble, but Barack Obama’s difficulties are almost all political. A few fringe elements insist that he’s immoral, and some even suggest that he is the anti-Christ. There’s no real legal issue threatening his presidency, however. Indeed, he remains personally pretty popular — a sharp contrast with Nixon’s own situation at the start of 1974.
Here’s the paradox in North Dakota politics early in the 21st century:
The Democrats have become almost exclusively a federal party, while Republicans are almost exclusively a state party. Events — and a nonevent — last week underscored this point. Democrats lost two legislators to federal appointments, Jasper Schneider and Aaron Krauter. Schneider will head the USDA’s Rural Development office and Krauter the Farm Services Agency in the state.
The most ominous domestic event of the 1970s was the collapse of self-government in New York City, which before being put into receivership by the state was liberalism’s laboratory. Since then, California has been the slate on which liberalism boldly writes its recipe for decline — high taxes, heavy regulation, subservience to public employees unions and environmentalism that is simultaneously apocalyptic and chiliastic.
Before the opponents of health care reform turned congressional town meetings into shouting matches, they had picked another target. The naysayers announced to the world that the economic stimulus bill signed in February by President Barack Obama was a dismal failure, too.
Tuesday’s “tea party” was the largest party in town. Somewhere from 700 to 900 people showed up on the courthouse lawn. Even more, perhaps twice as many — as many as 1,500 — showed up at a tea party in Fargo later in the week. Fargo’s tea party was held on the grounds of City Hall.
North Dakota’s ranking as No. 1 in binge drinking should come as no surprise when the state also ranks No. 1 in underage drinking. Drinkers are just graduating upward. Neither should it be a surprise that North Dakota’s universities are having problems with drinking and that UND ranks among the nation’s top 20 party schools.
Rep. Collin Peterson has a point, even if he didn’t make it very well.
Peterson said last week that he doesn’t hold town meetings because a quarter of his constituents think the U.S. government is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Peterson often plays this kind of folksy role in politics, but he is one of those people who is smarter than he lets on. He probably intended his remark to be funny because it is so obviously an exaggeration.
It’s time for North Dakota and Manitoba to give up re-enacting the Hatfields and McCoys and resolve their disputes over the Devils Lake outlet and the 30-mile dam along the Manitoba border. These differences have lasted so long they are becoming intergenerational.
Economic policy, which became startling when Washington began buying automobile companies, has become surreal now that disappointment with the results of the second stimulus is stirring talk about the need for a ... second stimulus. Elsewhere, it requires centuries to bleach
But if you probe a little deeper, what you find are growing questions among the insiders — the kind of fault lines that could spread to threaten public support for the ambitious health care overhaul President Barack Obama has in mind and the political coalitions needed to move it through Congress.
When the end of the world comes, I want to be at the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks. I figure those guys will be able to reboot the computer and get everything going again. I’m not suggesting they’re geeks, exactly, just that they are deep into their computers and our weather.
The problem when we think in terms of freaks and aberrations in the recent U.S. shootings is that there are so many of them, which calls into question just how freakish or aberrational they really are.
The American legal system is based on a useful falsehood. It’s based on the falsehood that this is a nation of laws, not men; that in rendering decisions, disembodied, objective judges are able to put aside emotion and unruly passion and issue opinions on the basis of pure reason.
Most people know this is untrue. In reality, decisions are made by imperfect minds in ambiguous circumstances.
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