WASHINGTON -- The many jaundiced assessments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the fifth anniversary of its enactment were understandable, given that the sluggish recovery, now drowsing through the second half of its fifth year, is historically anemic. Still, bleak judgments about the stimulus spending miss the main point of it, which was to funnel a substantial share of its money to unionized, dues-paying, Democratic-voting government employees. Hence the stimulus succeeded. So there.
WASHINGTON -- This year's most important election will not occur in November, when more than 90 million votes will be cast for governors and national legislators. The most important election, crucial to an entire region's economic well-being and to the balance of the nation's political competition, has already occurred.
WASHINGTON -- Many "Downton Abbey" watchers are nostalgia gluttons who grieved when Lord Grantham lost his fortune in Canadian railroad shares. There are, however, a discerning few whose admirable American sensibilities caused them to rejoice about Grantham's loss: "Now perhaps this amiable but dilettantish toff will get off his duff and get a job."
WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy, and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for thinking that saying things is tantamount to accomplishing things, and that good intentions aregood deeds. So, his presidency is useful after all, because it illustrates the perils of government run by believers in magic words and numbers.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Because it is this year's first federal election, attention must be paid to the March 11 voting to fill the congressional seat vacated by the death in October of Florida Republican C.W. "Bill" Young, who served in Congress 43 years. If Democrat Alex Sink wins, the significance will be minimal because she enjoys multiple advantages. Hence if Republican David Jolly prevails, Republicans will construe this as evidence that Barack Obama has become an anvil in the saddle of every Democratic candidate.
"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stage coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place."
-- Washington Irving
WASHINGTON -- Someone you probably are not familiar with has filed a suit you probably have not heard about concerning a four-word phrase you should know about. The suit could blow to smithereens something everyone has heard altogether too much about, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hereafter, ACA).
WASHINGTON -- As undignified as it is unedifying and unnecessary, the vulgar State of the Union circus is again at our throats. The document that the Constitutional Convention sent forth from Philadelphia for ratification in 1787 was just 4,543 words long, but this was 17 too many. America would be a sweeter place if the Framers had not included this laconic provision pertaining to the president: "He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union."
WASHINGTON -- Disabusing the Republican Party of a cherished dogma, thereby requiring it to forgo a favorite rhetorical trope, will not win Clark M. Neily III the gratitude of conservatives who relish denouncing "judicial activism." He, however, and his colleagues at the libertarian Institute for Justice believe America would be more just if judges were less deferential to legislatures.
WASHINGTON -- Viewed from Washington, which often is the last to learn about important developments, opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative still seems as small as the biblical cloud that ariseth out of the sea, no larger than a man's hand. Soon, however, this education policy will fill a significant portion of the political sky.