Pundit Wire

One Nation Under God, So Divisible

4393394365_d8030ae996_oIn years past, when national leaders talked about victory, they meant the United States — the entire United States — would defeat enemies overseas and overcome serious problems at home. Now their definition of victory is one political party winning over another.

Photo: DonkeyHotey

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Ted

images-9In an odd way,  the Ted Cruz presidential campaign reminds me of the one waged by Dick Gephardt, my former boss.  There are obvious differences in that no one has ever seriously characterized Cruz as either a centrist or a Democrat.  Both had careers of relentless success that create confidence that…

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Not Funny Any More

Walt_kellyDuring a recent snow storm, I went into the recesses of the house that don’t get much attention most of the time, and found old books I hadn’t seen in a few decades.

I rediscovered Walt Kelly, a great American and creator of “Pogo,” a loosely political, syndicated cartoon depicting friendly and not-so-friendly creatures from Florida’s Okeefenokee Swamp.  Anyone who was a teenager in Americain the 1950s or 1960s remembers Pogo, others might not.

Photo: Wikipedia

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“What essential right can you deny to an alien?”

Portrait_of_William_Bourke_CockranTo celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this post will honor the memory of a neglected Irish-American statesman and orator: William Bourke Cockran (1854-1923).
Cockran was born in Country Sligo, Ireland. He emigrated to America at age 17, settling in New York. There, he became a successful lawyer, a member of Congress, and a friend and confidant of some of the leading men of the time, including inventor Thomas Edison, publisher Joseph Pulitzer and Presidents Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt. He also became known as America’s greatest living orator. (No less a rhetorical titan than Winston Churchill would call Cockran his “model.”)

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“Worse than a crime…”

Tom_Cotton_113th_CongressCurrent calls to prosecute the 47 Republican senators who signed the “Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” under the Logan Act are just so much hot air.

The Logan Act reads as follows: “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

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Obama’s Selma Victory Lap

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 12.07.42 AMSometimes a speech succeeds before it even begins. That is precisely the intent of significant numbers of employees in political offices around the country—people who design backdrops, shape messages as if they were ice sculptures, and stay awake at night worrying about all the unpleasant unforeseeables that might damage a well-scripted event, and by extension, a well-scripted career as a communications adviser.

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When Actors Talk about National Health Systems

rexfeatures_1523447dActor Michael Sheen makes a ‘blistering’ speech about the UK National Health Service. Hurrah! If only our milksop politicians would have a bit of that passion and sincerity!

Or not.

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The True Believer, Revisited

15916The New York Times ran a front page article on February 18, chronicling the lives of three Egyptian youths, one of whom turned jihadist and went to fight for ISIS in Syria.

The three young men were friends. All of them came from middle-class backgrounds. All of them were devout Muslims, and all of them struggled to square the strictures of puritanical Islam with the attractions of the secular world—in particular, the sexual impulses they shared as normal young men. All of them had difficulty finding work in Egypt’s uncertain economy, and all of them were disillusioned when Egypt’s army took power and suppressed the militant Islamic Brotherhood.

Photo: Harper & Brothers

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