Repeal the First 100 Days

I have a piece in The New York Times this morning arguing that the first-100-days standard for presidents is an arbitrary benchmark that encourages change for its own sake while punishing prudence. Presidents who simply want to govern never stand a chance by that measure, because we tend to assess presidents by the scale and speed of change and not by its necessity. It’s possible, I argue, that President Biden confronted crises on the scale of Franklin Roosevelt (who borrowed the 100-days standard from Napoleon to describe his blitz against the Great Depression). But it’s less likely that the nation … Continue reading Repeal the First 100 Days

Sinister Syncopation: The “New Conspiracism” Meets the Intellectuals of the Reactionary Right

This is the second in a series of several essays by different authors on the issue of conspiracies.  This series is sponsored by Claremont McKenna’s Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom. Laura Field is a scholar in residence at … Continue reading Sinister Syncopation: The “New Conspiracism” Meets the Intellectuals of the Reactionary Right

Grossman/Binder interview about the filibuster

Here is an excellent in-the-weeds discussion of the filibuster, between Matt Grossman and Sarah Binder, for the Niskanen Center. The two political scientists get into the current politics in the senate surrounding filibuster reform. It’s pretty fascinating, and a good companion to Adam Jentleson’s work (see links below). Here’s an excerpt from Grossman and Binder’s transcript: Matt Grossmann: So one thing that reformers often say is that these folks in the middle would have all the power under a 50 vote Senate, so why aren’t they in favor of moving it there? Molly Reynolds, who we’ve had on the podcast … Continue reading Grossman/Binder interview about the filibuster

The Stupidity of the Johnson & Johnson Pause

Update: Although not definitive, this study would seem to supply some evidence for my claim. The pause on J&J shots because of an astronomically low risk rate is, I think, remarkably stupid. The chances of getting hit by lightning or winning the lottery are higher than the chance of a blood clot. Medicine always carries risks. The risks are typically much higher than 6 in one million. Although the American public might overrate such risks (they actually think the next ticket is the one that wins them the lottery), the “scientists” at the CDC should know better. Apparently, the people … Continue reading The Stupidity of the Johnson & Johnson Pause

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom for university and college faculty has been a concern and a problem for the past century. In recent years this continuing problem has been met with less resistance from professional organizations and societies than in the past. Faculty who are demoted or fired for expressing controversial views face daunting legal as well as social and political challenges. Keith Whittington, a Professor of Politics at Princeton, and author of an important recent book on free speech, Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech, has formed a new organization to fill the institutional void. I am honored to be … Continue reading Academic Freedom

Legislative Oversight is Fine

Thanks to Greg Weiner for calling our attention to the recent provocative column by George Will on legislative oversight of the media ecosystem. I am a long time fan and a friend of George Will. The issues he raises here, and almost always, are worth taking very seriously. But there are two serious errors in this column. The first mistake is to stipulate in advance that there is no legislative oversight role for the problem of a polluted media ecosystem because it is hard to envision legislative solutions. Oversight hearings are useful precisely because they help the citizenry understand what … Continue reading Legislative Oversight is Fine

On Civic Education

Ben Kleinerman recently posted a link to an article about the Jack Miller Center, its programs, and its grants which include funding for this publication. The organization is a wonderful success story for American civic education and I am delighted to be affiliated with it and pleased that Ben has highlighted it. However, I don’t think that Ben does justice to the excellence of the Jack Miller Center effort or to our aspirations for this site. Ben’s description would likely resonate well with many affiliated with these efforts — so my criticism is not of Ben, personally, but of the … Continue reading On Civic Education

The Limits of Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell’s speech after the vote to acquit Donald Trump was astounding. It was so damning and unequivocal in endorsing the case that Trump had indeed abused his office by inciting an insurrection that many of us stared at the television in disbelief. How could a Senator vote to acquit if he was so prepared and persuaded to make an argument as compelling the House manager’s own closing speeches? The fact of McConnell’s speech will help render the historical meaning of this impeachment different from all prior presidential impeachments. Trump may have been acquitted. But he lost. He lost big. … Continue reading The Limits of Mitch McConnell

Jeffrey Isaac On Political Asymmetries (and Evaluative Standards in Journalism)

Earlier this month, Jeffrey Isaac, who is a professor at Indiana University and friendly contributor to The Constitutionalist, wrote a great short analysis for Common Dreams, about the problem of false equivalencies in American politics. Isaac’s article discusses the media’s treatment of Marjorie Taylor Greene, referring back to a profile by Jonathan Chait (“Marjorie Taylor Greene Blamed Wildfires on Secret Jewish Space Lazers”), as well as an odd Axios piece (“The Mischief Makers”) that tried to identify the most troublesome members of the two parties. Isaac’s piece is valuable because he pushes further than most on the problem of false … Continue reading Jeffrey Isaac On Political Asymmetries (and Evaluative Standards in Journalism)

“The Second Trump Impeachment” Panel with John Yoo, Ben Kleinerman, and Jeffrey Tulis

The video is here. It’s a spirited, informative, and entertaining exchange. If you don’t want to read the 80-page House report arguing for impeachment (although you still should), this would suffice as a substitute. Continue reading “The Second Trump Impeachment” Panel with John Yoo, Ben Kleinerman, and Jeffrey Tulis