WASHINGTON—It is axiomatic that if someone is sufficiently eager to disbelieve something, there is no Everest of evidence too large to be ignored. This explains today's revival of protectionism, which is a plan to make America great again by making it 1953 again. This was when manufacturing's postwar share of the labor force peaked at about 30 percent. The decline that began then was not caused by manufactured imports from today's designated villain, China, which was a peasant society.
"The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world. ... The worst thing in the world varies from individual to individual." -- George Orwell, "1984"
WASHINGTON—So, this is the new conservatism's recipe for restored greatness: Political coercion shall supplant economic calculation in shaping decisions by companies in what is called, with diminishing accuracy, the private sector. This will be done partly as conservatism's challenge to liberalism's supremacy in the victimhood sweepstakes, telling aggrieved groups that they are helpless victims of vast, impersonal forces, against which they can be protected only by government interventions.
WASHINGTON—Many undergraduates, their fawn-like eyes wide with astonishment, are wondering: Why didn't the dean of students prevent the election from disrupting the serenity to which my school has taught me I'm entitled? Campuses create "safe spaces" where students can shelter from discombobulating thoughts and get spiritual balm for the trauma of microaggressions. Yet the presidential election came without trigger warnings?
WASHINGTON—Seventeen days before President Donald Trump, his spoken oath of office still lingering in the wintry air, lifts his left hand from Scripture (a leather-bound edition of "The Art of the Deal"), the Republican-controlled Congress will begin working. Fittingly, on Jan. 3 the First Branch of government will go first, flexing its somewhat atrophied Article I muscles.
WASHINGTON—As the presidential campaigns sink to the challenge of demonstrating that there is no such thing as rock bottom, remember this: When the Clintons decamped from Washington in January 2001, they took some White House furnishings that were public property. They also finished accepting more than $190,000 in gifts, including two coffee tables and two chairs, a $7,375 gratuity from Denise Rich, whose fugitive former husband had been pardoned in President Clinton's final hours.
CHICAGO -- Seated in his office here, wearing neither a necktie nor a frown, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is remarkably relaxed for someone at the epicenter of a crisis now in its second year and with no end in sight. But, then, stress is pointless when the situation is hopeless. Besides, if you can ignore the fact that self-government is failing in the nation's fifth-most populous state, you can see real artistry in the self-dealing by the Democrats who, with veto-proof majorities in the state Legislature, have reduced this state they control to insolvency.
WASHINGTON — In the 1870s, when Boss Tweed’s Tammany Hall controlled New York City, and in the 1950s and 1960s, when Chicago’s Democratic machine was especially rampant, there was a phenomenon that can be called immunity through profusion: Fresh scandals arrived with metronomic regularity, so there was no time to concentrate on any of them. The public, bewildered by blitzkriegs of bad behavior, was enervated.
WASHINGTON—Crucial political decisions often concern which bridges to cross and which to burn. Donald Trump's dilemma is that he burns some bridges by the way he crosses others. His campaign depends on a low-probability event, and on his ability to cause this event without provoking a more-than-equal and opposite reaction.
WASHINGTON—Political conventions are echo chambers designed to generate feelings of invincibility, sending forth the party faithful with a spring in their steps and hope in their hearts. Who would want to be a wet blanket at such moveable feasts? Steve Munisteri would. Although he calls himself "the eternal optimist," he respects reality, which nowadays is not conducive to conservatives' cheerfulness.