Wednesday, May 31, 2006

American Prospect: Locked in the Cabinet

If Secretary Snow was really locked tightly in the Bush cabinet since his confirmation, then it might be fair to say that he found an escape by tossing himself into the waste basket. Robert Reich, who deserves much more credit than he receives for the role he played as Labor Secretary in the first Clinton Administration, captures the essence of why the current administration fails to understand and react to problems well. Beyond any one issue, there appears to be a pattern of presuppositions, not the least of which centers on the belief that the executive needs fewer limits on his power, which constrain thought in the executive branch so that adaptability is precluded and debate is simple, efficient, and pointless. Reich closes with an insightful observation about the self-defeating nature of this approach to executive governance.

That Bush, Rove, and Cheney chose instead to impose lockstep discipline and gag orders has not only diminished the role of the cabinet but also, in the end, diminished the role of the President.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

International Herald Tribune: Indictment Aims at Tort Reform Where it Counts

This is the correct approach for trying to bring under control of culture of litigation for profit. Problems arise not from those who sue for lots of money, because substantial damage awards do make corporations accountable to the public, but instead the problem resides with those lawyers who abuse the system by encouraging and coercing litigants in the interest of profit without regard for the legal and economic consequences. Meaningful tort reform does not begin with the creation of a new set of laws that restricts our rights to redress our grievances in the legal system, but with the trammeling of those who perpetrate criminal abuses of our legal system.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Newsweek: Day Late and a Dollar Short

We have to be able to hope that the next president will mean it when he talks about changing the tone of politics. Now, more than ever, we should realize how important that will be.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Newsweek: The Political Unpopularity Contest

Howard Fineman does a fine job describing the underlying reasons for what we see in opinion polls. Dissatisfaction with current leadership is really more acccurately chracterized as a lack of confidence in leaders in general.

The next election cycle—the midterm season now under way and the presidential campaign soon to follow—will be about one thing: leadership. Not just identifying who leaders are, but restoring the very idea that leadership is possible.

While the Exile certainly believes that leadership is still possible, it is also true that the current climate in Washington helps to nurture the same type of careerists and insiders that have guided us to the edge of oblivion. When it comes down to it, the only way to change what we all loathe about politicians is to elect different people, but more importantly, a different breed of people.

Many pols try to sell themselves as reformers, but the few that can prove themselves as such should be getting your votes. If a candidate promises the world or cannot or will not stake out a discerning position on an important matter, like tax, education, or health care reform, then that candidate is probably not any different from the legions of other hacks. However, if you can find one who can articulate himself, runs a clean campaign, and has some ethics and common sense, vote for him and tell others to do the same. There is nothing wrong with caring about politics and if we choose to encourage decent public servants, perhaps that opinion will again prevail.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Economist: Axis of Feeble

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Washington Post: Understanding Between the Children of Abraham

Monday, May 08, 2006

RCP: Whose Afraid of the Promise of Government

Not the Exile.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Final Verdict on Terrorist Attacks

RCP: Jury Made the Right Call
WSJ: They Should Have Killed Him

As usual Peggy Noonan, who knows well how to present a conservative argument, does not know what she is talking about.

It is not a matter of vengeance. Murder can never be avenged, it can only be answered.

What is an answer to murder if not vengeance? There are many reasons why the application of the death penalty would have been the wrong sentence to impose on this felon. One, his desire for fame, is explained for the millionth time in the piece by Harrop. However, the most important reason is that the punishment handed down in this case demonstrates that just as killing is fundamentally the wrong thing to do, showing mercy, while still holding the guilty accountable, is the right thing to do.

Deseret News: Third Party Politics

Tom Friedman is fundamentally right in his contention that a fresh third party approach may be needed to begin real progress towards a solution to the energy crisis (and yes, it is a crisis). A centrist third party would also help to break the stalemate on a number of other important issues.