WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama's coming request for Congress to "right-size and update" the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against terrorism will be constitutionally fastidious and will catalyze a debate that will illuminate Republican fissures. They, however, are signs of a healthy development -- the reappearance of foreign policy heterodoxy in Republican ranks.
WASHINGTON -- Now that two of the last three Democratic presidencies have been emphatically judged to have been failures, the world's oldest political party -- the primary architect of this nation's administrative state -- has some thinking to do. The accumulating evidence that the Democratic Party is an exhausted volcano includes its fixation with stale ideas, such as the supreme importance of a 23rd increase in the minimum wage. Can this party be so blinkered by the modest success of its third recent presidency, Bill Clinton's, that it will sleepwalk into the next election behind Hillary Clinton?
WASHINGTON -- Unlike the dog that chased the car until, to its consternation, he caught it, Republicans know what do with what they have caught. Having completed their capture of control of the legislative branch, they should start with the following six measures concerning practical governance and constitutional equilibrium:
WASHINGTON -- Mix a pitcher of martinis Tuesday evening to fortify yourself against the torrent of election returns painting a pointillist portrait of the nation's mind. Before you become too mellow to care, consider some indexes of our civic tendencies.
WASHINGTON -- The early morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens' homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats.
WASHINGTON -- Wretched excess by government can be beneficial if it startles people into wholesome disgust and deepened distrust, and prompts judicial rebukes that enlarge freedom. So let's hope the Federal Communications Commission embraces the formal petition inciting it to deny licenses to broadcasters who use the word "Redskins" when reporting on the Washington Redskins.
WASHINGTON -- Come Tuesday, the national pastime will be the subject of oral arguments in a portentous Supreme Court case. This pastime is not baseball but rent seeking -- the unseemly yet uninhibited scramble of private interests to bend government power for their benefit. If the court directs a judicial scowl at North Carolina's State Board of Dental Examiners, the court will thereby advance a basic liberty -- the right of Americans to earn a living without unreasonable government interference.
NEWARK, N.J. -- Gov. Chris Christie could be forgiven if he had chips on both shoulders as big as those shoulders. This year, the first of his second term, has been overshadowed by often partisan investigations, more protracted than productive, of the involvement of several of his former aides -- he fired them -- in the closing of some access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
"The legislative department is everywhere ... drawing all power into its impetuous vortex."
-- James Madison, Federalist 48
WASHINGTON -- Unfortunately, Congress's vortex now spins the other way, throwing off powers that the executive scoops up. Hence this autumn's spectacle: Feverish House and Senate candidates waging ferocious campaigns to win or retain offices that are of rapidly diminishing significance.
WASHINGTON -- The pursuit of perfection is usually foredoomed, but the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, which has a latitudinarian understanding of ethical behavior, has a perfectly awful idea. It is urging the City Council to consider ways of paying -- starchier ethicists might call it bribing -- people to vote.