WASHINGTON—History has a sly sense of humor. It caused an epiphany regarding infrastructure projects—roads, harbors, airports, etc.—to occur on a bridge over Boston's Charles River, hard by Harvard Yard, where rarely is heard a discouraging word about government. Last spring, Larry Summers, former treasury secretary and Harvard president, was mired in congealed traffic on the bridge, which is being repaired, and he suddenly understood "American sclerosis." Repairing the bridge, which was built in 11 months in 1912, will take about five years.
WASHINGTON—The Republican Party resembles the man who told his psychiatrist, "I have an identity problem, and so do I." The party's leader is at best indifferent to, and often is hostile to, much of the party's recent catechism: limited government, the rule of law, a restrained executive, fiscal probity, entitlement reforms, free trade, the general efficiency and equity of markets allocating wealth and opportunity, and—this matters especially—the importance of decorousness in political discourse.
"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." —"Me and Bobby McGee" WASHINGTON—What did Donald Trump have left to lose Sunday night? His dignity? Please. His campaign's theme? His Cleveland convention was a mini-Nuremberg rally for Republicans whose three-word recipe for making America great again was the shriek "Lock her up!" This presaged his Banana Republican vow to imprison his opponent. The St.
WASHINGTON—Vladimir Putin's serial humiliations of America's bewildered secretary of state regarding Syria indicate Putin's determination to destabilize the world. Here is an even more ominous indication of events moving his way: On just one day last week, Italian ships plucked 6,055 migrants from the Mediterranean. What has this to do with Putin? It portends fulfillment of his aspiration for Europe's political, social and moral disorientation. The Financial Times reports that of the 138,000 migrants who have come by sea to Italy this year, few are from Syria.
WASHINGTON—Looking on the bright side, perhaps this election can teach conservatives to look on the dark side. They need a talent for pessimism, recognizing the signs that whatever remains of American exceptionalism does not immunize this nation from decay, to which all regimes are susceptible. The world's oldest political party is an exhausted volcano, the intellectual staleness of its recycled candidate unchallenged because a generation of younger Democratic leaders barely exists.
"In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. ... Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building. ... For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes." -- George Orwell, "1984"
WASHINGTON—Republican congressional leaders ardently want conservative members of the House to not force a vote on impeaching the IRS commissioner. The public does not care about John Koskinen's many misdeeds. And impeachment will distract attention from issues that interest the public. And because Democrats are not ingrates, the required two-thirds of the Senate will never vote to convict Koskinen, whose behavior continues the pattern of doing what Democrats desire with the most intrusive and potentially punitive government agency.