Commentary Archive

June 9, 2014

Former U.S. ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci, who lost his struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease a year ago June 8, may not be a household name today in Canada. But during his tenure in the turbulent years from 2001-2005, he became the poster child for what some Canadians saw as the overly aggressive and even bullying administration of president George W. Bush.


May 1, 2014

People who care about American democracy have recently been paying a lot of attention to new research by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, which shows that for decades wealthy Americans and business interests have consistently gotten their way in public policy – even when their views conflict with what the vast majority of Americans want.


April 24, 2014

People have criticized The Affordable Care Act for amounting to a large transfer of wealth, from wealthy Americans to those not as well off. But the real transfer of wealth has been from United States to other developed nations, whose healthcare costs we have subsidized for many years by paying so generously for many of our healthcare services. No better example of this comes to mind than the price we pay for pharmaceuticals in the US versus elsewhere.


April 23, 2014

Last week, the Obama administration again delayed a final decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.


April 18, 2014

After the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, I wrote a book that asked why America had never developed much of a gun control movement. To answer the question, I looked at similar life-and-death issues around which vigorous movements had arisen and found three common elements: funding from wealthy patrons, incremental strategies that delivered momentum-building victories and maternal calls to action.


April 14, 2014

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing one year ago, many commentators and public officials called this tragedy a harbinger of more homegrown terrorist attacks to come.


April 14, 2014

It rarely makes sense to draw big conclusions or make public policy on the basis of anecdotes. But the plural of "anecdote" is data, and sometimes one-off events are useful in crystallizing lessons to guide policymakers and inform the public. So it was with the Pittsburgh-area rampage this week in which a teenager bearing two kitchen knives is accused of injuring 21 high school classmates and a security guard -- but none of them were killed. It's hard to imagine an anecdote that better illustrates what decades of data show: that for purposes of life and death, the weapon matters.


April 8, 2014

Let’s put our hands together for North Carolina. Among the 36 states that used the federal health care exchange, North Carolina came in third – with more than 200,000 residents enrolling in Obamacare as of last week’s deadline.


March 17, 2014

How much should the United States do to promote the advance of democracy abroad? This timeless question has received renewed attention during the Obama years. Political upheavals in Iran in 2009, the Arab world beginning in 2011, and now in Ukraine have compelled American observers to assess the prospects for democratization in these countries, and they have reopened a longstanding debate about what role the United States might play in strengthening or encouraging that process.


March 17, 2014

It is too early to tell exactly what has transpired between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA regarding the Committee's investigation of the post-9/11 CIA interrogation program for captured al Qaeda terrorists. But this episode is just another in a long series of repercussions from this program that leaves a tornado-like trail of destruction through whichever institutions it travels.


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