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The Mandate Muddle

Letting the Cream Rise

February 25, 2011 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- For Princetonians, the senior thesis is a high hurdle before graduation. For Wendy Kopp, class of 1989, it became a career devoted to transforming primary and secondary education. What began as an idea for a teacher corps for hard-to-staff schools, urban and rural, became Teach for America. At first it was merely a leavening ingredient in education; it has become a template for transformation.

Wrestling Sacred Cows

A Case for Untying Gulliver

February 15, 2011 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- At first, the banquet audience at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference paid Mitch Daniels, Indiana's Republican governor, the conventional compliment of frequently, almost reflexively, interrupting his address with applause.

The GOP's Defense Dilemma

February 13, 2011 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- Tall, affable Buck McKeon sits, gavel in hand, at the turbulent intersection of two conflicting Republican tendencies. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee embodies the party's support for a "strong" defense, which is sometimes measured simply by the size of the Pentagon's budget.

This one is Egypt's to Lose

February 8, 2011 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- Sixty years ago, American politics was embittered by an accusation couched as a question: "Who lost China?" The implied indictment was that America had fumbled away a possession through incompetence or sinister conniving.

Spoiling for a Fight in Ohio

February 4, 2011 - 6:00pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In 1997, when Republicans controlled the U.S. House of Representatives and John Kasich chaired the Budget Committee, he set his sights on the GOP's 2000 presidential nomination because "there just aren't enough hours left in my life that I can get everything done that I want to get done." He was 44.

Mining the Social Issues

February 2, 2011 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- In 1994, when Rick Santorum was a second-term Pennsylvania congressman seeking a U.S. Senate seat, a columnist asked him how he was going to win. "Guns," he replied serenely. Pennsylvania's legions of deer hunters do not use assault weapons, which President Bill Clinton was trying to ban, but the hunters suspected that this, like Clinton's wife's health care plan, reflected a pattern of assaults on liberty.

Government as Innovator

January 28, 2011 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- Disregard Barack Obama's rhetorical cotton candy about aspiring to be transformative. He is just another practitioner of reactionary liberalism and champion of a government unchastened by its multiplying failures.

The Blinders of Hubris

January 19, 2011 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- It takes a worried man to sing a worried song, and in a recent speech that seemed like Larry Summers' swan song, the president's departed economic adviser warned that America is "at risk of a profound demoralization with respect to government." He fears a future in which "an inadequately resourced government performs badly, leading to further demands that it be cut back, exacerbating performance problems, deepening the backlash, and creating a vicious cycle."

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