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Preview: Michael Barone from Creators Syndicate

Michael Barone from Creators Syndicate



Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber.



Last Build Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2018 17:41:41 -0800

 



Tough Road Ahead for Trump in Year 2 for 01/19/2018

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

As we reach, gingerly, the anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration as president, none of the disasters feared by critics has come to pass. The economy has turned at least mildly upward rather than plummet to depression. The executive branch has obeyed court orders. No military disaster has occurred. Fears that seemed plausible to many have proved unjustified.

Updated: Fri Jan 19, 2018




Is 'Fire and Fury' Fizzling? for 01/12/2018

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

The most disappointed people in America this past week must be those Trump execrators who opened their Amazon package only to find that the copy of "Fire and Fury" they had ordered was subtitled "The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945." It's a well-regarded 2009 volume by University of Toronto historian Randall Hansen, who is surely grateful for the unanticipated royalties.

But it's not the red meat the customers were looking forward to consuming. Author Michael Wolff, whose royalties from a million sales in a week are much greater than Hansen's, has made no secret that he expects that his book will "end" the Donald Trump presidency. He apparently thinks his book will reveal to millions of Americans, for the first time, that their emperor has no clothes.

Updated: Fri Jan 12, 2018




The 2010s Look More Like Trump's Ideal America Than Obama's for 01/05/2018

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

One of my favorite Christmastime presents is the Census Bureau's release of its annual population estimates for all of the states. Comparison of the April 1, 2010, Census Bureau enumerations and the June 30, 2017, estimates for the states shows how each state fared in the Obama years, seeing as this period includes 82 of the 96 months of the Obama administration and only five months of Donald Trump's presidency.

Who are the big population gainers? Some small units: the District of Columbia, at 15 percent (big government, gentrification), North Dakota, at 12 percent (fracking, which liberals failed to stop), and Utah, at 12 percent (1950s-style high birthrate).

Updated: Fri Jan 05, 2018




Trying to Take Trump Seriously for 12/29/2017

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

2016 turned out to be a year in which it was wise to take Donald Trump as a political candidate seriously but not literally, in the inspired words of syndicated columnist Salena Zito. As 2017 is on the point of vanishing, it's worth asking whether it's time to take Trump seriously, if not literally, as a maker of public policy.

At least that's the approach of two heterodox policy analysts, one a persistent skeptic and the other an early Trump fan.

Updated: Fri Dec 29, 2017




Republicans Have Reformed Taxes; Will They Fix 1970s Budget Rules Next? for 12/22/2017

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

The Republicans have passed their tax bill, without a single Democratic vote, despite low to dismal poll ratings. It's reminiscent of the passage by Democrats, without a single Republican vote, of Obamacare in March 2010.

Democrats lost 63 seats and their House majority that fall. Republicans hope they won't follow suit. They argue, accurately, that their bill will lower taxes for almost all taxpayers and that it will stimulate economic growth, which already has risen above the growth in the Obama years.

Updated: Fri Dec 22, 2017




Picking the Lock in Alabama for 12/15/2017

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

Turnout would be the key to which of the wildly conflicting polls would best presage the result of Alabama's special Senate election, wrote Republican consultant Patrick Ruffini earlier this week.

That proved correct. Statewide, turnout was down 37 percent from November 2016. It was down less, 31 percent, in the five metropolitan counties around Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile, with their black communities and most of the state's highly educated whites.

Turnout was down by even less, 28 percent, in the 10 rural counties where the majority of voters are black. But it plunged 42 percent in the remaining 52 small counties. As the returns came in, you could see Republican Roy Moore reaching his target percentages — but not the raw votes he needed. Donald Trump carried those counties by 568,000 votes. Moore did so by only 149,000.

Updated: Fri Dec 15, 2017




Real Target of Republican Tax Bills: Feds, Eds and Meds Bloat for 12/08/2017

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

Are the current Republican tax bills, passed by the House and Senate and being reconciled in conference committee, an attack on "feds, eds and meds"? That's a reference to the government, health care and education jobs that local Democrats in Dayton, Ohio, told Sen. Sherrod Brown have been fueling the area's comeback.

The Dayton area's reliance on government is in tension with its history as an incubator of private-sector inventiveness, which more than a century ago produced the first cash register, the first airplane and the first automotive electronic ignition.

Updated: Fri Dec 08, 2017




'Hurtling' Republican Tax Bill Actually Serious for 12/01/2017

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

"The Republican tax bill hurtling through Congress is increasingly tilting the United States tax code to benefit wealthy Americans." That's the beginning of a 37-word first sentence in a stage-setting front-page story in The New York Times on the tax bill under consideration in the Senate this week.

It's a nice illustration of creatively phrased advocacy journalism. "Hurtling" suggests irrational, uncontrolled, threatening movement; "tilting" suggests abandoning upstanding fairness; spelling out "the United States tax code" suggests an ominous attack on a respected national institution. And all this "to benefit wealthy Americans."

Updated: Fri Dec 01, 2017




Merkel -- and Davos -- Rebuked in Germany for 11/24/2017

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800

It's been a tough era for Davos Man, the personification of the great and the good who meet in the World Economic Forum in that Swiss ski resort every January. The rebukes just keep coming. The European debt crisis. Brexit. Donald Trump. And now, and once again unexpectedly, Angela Merkel's failure to form a German government.

For a dozen years, European elites who have recoiled from George W. Bush and swooned over Barack Obama have regarded Merkel as a rock-solid firmament of good sense. Her considerable internal political skills, her seeming unflappability and her upholding of conventional wisdoms, both well- and ill-founded, have made her a favorite at Davos.

Updated: Fri Nov 24, 2017




Will Political Setbacks Unite the Republican Party? for 11/17/2017

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800

The inexorable workings of the political marketplace seem to be enforcing some discipline over hitherto fissiparous Republican politicians. The question is whether this is happening too late to save the party's declining prospects in the 2018 midterm elections.

You can see this in Republicans' reactions to the tax bills Congress is currently considering. Last spring, when the party's congressional leadership teed up its health care bills, purportedly repealing and replacing Obamacare, they faced rebellions from practically every corner of their party's caucuses.

Updated: Fri Nov 17, 2017




2016 Is Looking Like the New Normal for 11/10/2017

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800

If you wanted to predict the results of Tuesday's gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, you would have been wise to ignore the flurry of polls and campaign events. You would have paid no heed to the conventional wisdom that Republican Ed Gillespie had a solid chance to beat Ralph Northam in Virginia.

In fact, Northam's 9-point victory margin in Virginia was not much different from Phil Murphy's 13-point margin over Republican Kim Guadagno in New Jersey. And both almost precisely mirrored the 2016 presidential results. Hillary Clinton carried New Jersey by a 55-41 percent margin last year; Murphy won it by a 56-43 percent margin this week. Clinton carried Virginia by a 50-44 percent margin; Northam won it 54-45 percent. The two Democrats, lacking Clinton's reputation for dishonesty, gained a few points she lost to third-party candidates; the two Republicans got almost exactly the same percentages as Donald Trump did in 2016.

That makes the 2016 numbers look like the new normal. The past quarter-century, except for 2006-08, has been an era of polarized partisan parity, with one election result resembling another and more straight party ticket voting than any time since the 1950s. That's produced divided government, as Democrats have won 4 of 7 presidential elections since 1992 while Republicans have won a House majority in 10 of 12 congressional elections since 1994.

Updated: Fri Nov 10, 2017




Keep Calm and Carry On for 11/03/2017

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Keep calm and carry on. Those words, though not appearing as extensively on posters in wartime Britain as often supposed, are good advice for Americans now appalled by the presidency of Donald Trump.

It is widely proclaimed that he is a president unlike any other, a threat to the institutions of republican government and democratic processes, an ignoramus whose impulsiveness may lead to nuclear war.

Updated: Fri Nov 03, 2017




Both Parties Trying Even Harder to Defeat Themselves for 10/27/2017

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Three weeks ago, I wrote a column about how both parties seem determined to lose the next elections. Since then, the pace has accelerated.

The clamor is more visible — and more assiduously reported by mainstream media — among the Republicans.

George W. Bush and John McCain, who have been on or the son of someone on the presidential ticket in seven of the past 10 elections, gave speeches lamenting the political culture and, by inescapable inference, the style and substance of Donald Trump.

Updated: Mon Oct 30, 2017




Democrats Yelp as Trump Upholds Constitution for 10/20/2017

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Donald Trump is criticized, often justly, for misstatements of facts and failure to understand the details of public policy. But in two of his most recent controversial actions, he has taken stands upholding the rule of law and undoing the lawless behavior of his most recent predecessor.

The question now is whether the author of "The Art of the Deal" — and congressional Republicans and Democrats — can maneuver and compromise on these issues in ways that produce sensible public policy.

The first action in question was Trump's Sept. 5 announcement that he would withdraw Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave immigrants brought to the United States illegally when they were children protection from deportation.

Updated: Fri Oct 20, 2017




Today's Turn-of-the-Century Problems for 10/13/2017

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Is America in a new Gilded Age? That's the contention of Republican political consultant Bruce Mehlman, and in a series of 35 slides, he makes a strong case.

In many ways, problems facing America today resemble those facing what we still call "turn-of-the-century" America, the 1890s to the 1910s. Just as employment shifted from farms to factories a century ago, it has been moving from manufacturing to services recently.

Updated: Fri Oct 13, 2017




Both Parties' Extremists Seem Determined to Lose the Next Elections for 10/06/2017

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Almost no one disagrees that our two major political parties, the oldest and third-oldest in the world, have become increasingly extreme and estranged over the past decade. It's a startling contrast with the state of political conflict in the dozen or so years after the fall of the Soviet empire.

In 1992, Bill Clinton ran on a moderate Democratic Leadership Council platform and, after the implosion of Hillary Clinton's health care plan and the election of Republican congressional majorities in 1994, mostly governed accordingly.

Updated: Fri Oct 06, 2017




To Limit Gerrymandering, Supreme Court Needs Just to Reaffirm Equal Population Requirement for 09/29/2017

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Gill v. Whitford, a case challenging Wisconsin's legislative district lines as an unconstitutional Republican gerrymander. It's attracted attention because many high-minded commentators have blamed partisan gerrymandering for today's highly polarized politics — and for the fact that Republicans have won majorities in 67 of the 98 houses of state legislatures and in 10 of the past 12 elections in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But as I and others have argued, gerrymandering has contributed only marginally to Republican success. More important is demographic clustering. Democratic voters are heavily clustered in central cities, sympathetic suburbs and university towns, while Republican voters are more evenly spread around.

Updated: Fri Sep 29, 2017




Tension Between President and Congress Is Politics as Usual for 09/22/2017

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the president seems out of alignment, on policy and political goals, with his party in Congress. This strikes many as an anomalous, even alarming, situation. But if you look back at history, it's more like the norm — even if Donald Trump isn't.

The current presidential/congressional alignment began in January 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke into the news. For several years before that, President Bill Clinton had engaged in what was called triangulation, positioning himself on issues between his party's liberal congressional leaders and the conservatism of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Updated: Fri Sep 22, 2017




House Republicans' Frustrations May Doom Their Majority for 09/15/2017

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

The Founding Fathers didn't expect that serving in Congress would be a lifetime career. And for a century, it mostly wasn't. The first election in which more than half the incumbent members of the House of Representatives were re-elected was in 1898. Since then, the majority of House members have been returned in every election except the one in 1932.

That's the context in which to weigh the fact that three incumbent Republican representatives who have been comfortably re-elected have announced they are retiring — and the rumors that more will do so. Incumbents tend to know — and be known in — their districts. They usually win, whereas open-seat contests often result in changes of party control.

Updated: Fri Sep 15, 2017




Can Trump and Democrats Make a Deal on Immigration? for 09/08/2017

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Can President Donald Trump and the Republican-majority Congress make a deal? That's a question raised by the announcement that the Trump administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months. DACA, put in place by the Obama administration, provided protection from deportation to immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children and who didn't have serious criminal records and were working or in school or the military.

Trump is on strong legal ground. Barack Obama established DACA in 2012, even though, as he had earlier explained, the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the authority to set policy on immigration and naturalization.

Updated: Fri Sep 08, 2017