In the matter of the (Washington) Redskins.
I don't like being lectured by sportscasters about ethnic sensitivity. Or advised by the president of the United States about changing team names. Or blackmailed by tribal leaders playing the race card.
For all the hyped indignation over GOP "anarchism," there has been remarkable media reticence about the president's intransigence. He has refused to negotiate anything unless the Republicans fully fund the government and raise the debt ceiling -- unconditionally.
The Obamacare/shutdown battle has spawned myriad myths. The most egregious concern the substance of the fight, the identity of the perpetrators and the origins of the current eruption.
The search, now 30 years old, for Iranian "moderates" goes on. Amid the enthusiasm of the latest sighting, it's worth remembering that the highlight of the Iran-contra arms-for-hostages debacle was the secret trip to Tehran taken by Robert McFarlane, President Reagan's former national security adviser. He brought a key-shaped cake symbolizing the new relations he was opening with the "moderates."
We know how that ended.
The president of the United States takes to the airwaves to urgently persuade the nation to pause before doing something it has no desire to do in the first place.
Strange. And it gets stranger still. That "strike Syria, maybe" speech begins with a heart-rending account of children consigned to a terrible death by a monster dropping poison gas. It proceeds to explain why such behavior must be punished. It culminates with the argument that the proper response -- the most effective way to uphold fundamental norms, indeed human decency -- is a flea bite: something "limited," "targeted" or, as so memorably described by Secretary of State John Kerry, "unbelievably small."
We have a problem. The president proposes attacking Syria, and his top military officer cannot tell you the objective. Does the commander in chief know his own objective? Why, yes. "A shot across the bow," explained Barack Obama.
Egypt today is a zero-sum game. We'd have preferred there be a democratic alternative. Unfortunately, there is none. The choice is binary: the country will be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood or by the military.
As a reaction to the crack epidemic of the 1980s, many federal drug laws carry strict mandatory sentences. This has stirred unease in Congress and sparked a bipartisan effort to revise and relax some of the more draconian laws.
Traditionally -- meaning before Barack Obama -- that's how laws were changed: We have a problem, we hold hearings, we find some new arrangement, ratified by Congress and signed by the president.
That was then.
Jen Psaki, blameless State Department spokeswoman, explained that the hasty evacuation of our embassy in Yemen was not an evacuation but "a reduction in staff." This proved a problem because the Yemeni government had already announced (and denounced) the "evacuation" -- the word normal folks use for the panicky ordering of people onto planes headed out of country.
Thus continues the administration's penchant for wordplay, the bending of language to fit a political need. In Janet Napolitano's famous formulation, terror attacks are now "man-caused disasters." And the "global war on terror" is no more. It's now an "overseas contingency operation."
A combination of early presidential maneuvering and internal policy debate is feeding yet another iteration of that media perennial: the great Republican crackup. This time it's tea party insurgents versus get-along establishment fogies fighting principally over two things: (a) national security and (b) Obamacare.
If there's an iron rule in economics, it is Stein's Law (named after Herb, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers): "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."
"No justice, no peace" chants the telegenic mob. In a civilized society, however, where the mob doesn't rule, justice is defined by the verdict that follows a fair trial. It's the best that humans can do.
The conventional wisdom evolves. Yesterday, Washington was merely broken, gridlocked, dysfunctional. The passive voice spread the blame evenly. Today it's agreed that Republican obstructionism is the root of all evil -- GOP resistance having now escalated to nihilism and indeed sabotage.
For the sake of argument, nonetheless, let's concede that global warming is precisely what Obama thinks it is. Then answer this: What in God's name is his massive new regulatory and spending program -- which begins with a war on coal and ends with billions in more subsidies for new Solyndras -- going to do about it?