Columnist: George Will

Feb. 25, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

Reversing course in Illinois

CHICAGO -- The most portentous election of 2014, which gave the worst-governed state its first Republican governor in 12 years, has initiated this century's most intriguing political experiment. Illinois has favored Democratic presidential candidates by an average of 16 points in the last six elections. But by electing businessman Bruce Rauner, it initiated a process that might dismantle a form of governance that afflicts many states and municipalities.


Feb. 19, 2015 @ 08:33 AM

War authorization's difficult and urgent debate

Americans, a litigious people, believe that rules for coping with messy reality can be written in tidy legal language. This belief will be tested by the debate that will resume when Congress returns from a recess it should not have taken, with a war to authorize. The debate concerns an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also against ...


Feb. 15, 2015 @ 04:02 PM

Americans should curb their pessimism

Barack Obama's tone of mild exasperation when tutoring the public often makes his pronouncements grating even when they are sensible. As was his recent suggestion that Americans, misled by media, are exaggerating the threat of terrorism.


Feb. 11, 2015 @ 08:01 PM

The Pence paradox

WASHINGTON -- Although he is always preternaturally placid, Mike Pence today exemplifies a Republican conundrum. Sitting recently 24 blocks from Capitol Hill, where he served six terms as a congressman, and eight blocks from the White House, which some Republicans hope he craves, Pence, now in his third year as Indiana's governor, discussed two issues, Common Core and Medicaid expansion, that illustrate the following:

 


Feb. 08, 2015 @ 11:45 PM

Education is the business of the states

In 1981, Tennessee's 41-year-old governor proposed to President Ronald Reagan a swap: Washington would fully fund Medicaid and the states would have complete responsibility for primary and secondary education. Reagan, a former governor, was receptive. But Democrats, who controlled the House and were beginning to be controlled by teachers unions (the largest, the National Education Association, had bartered its first presidential endorsement, of Jimmy Carter, for creation of the Department of Education) balked.  


Feb. 08, 2015 @ 11:52 AM

Education is the business of the states

In 1981, Tennessee's 41-year-old governor proposed to President Ronald Reagan a swap: Washington would fully fund Medicaid and the states would have complete responsibility for primary and secondary education. Reagan, a former governor, was receptive. But Democrats, who controlled the House and were beginning to be controlled by teachers unions (the largest, the National Education Association, had bartered its first presidential endorsement, of Jimmy Carter, for creation of the Department of Education) balked.   


Jan. 28, 2015 @ 08:23 PM

Bud Selig's winning legacy

The business of baseball and the nation's business used to be conducted in Washington with similar skill. The Washington Senators were run by Clark Griffith, who said: "Fans like home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans." Today, however, Washington's team is a model of best practices. The government? Less so.


Jan. 21, 2015 @ 08:17 PM

George Will: The mushrooming welfare state

America’s national character will have to be changed if progressives are going to implement their agenda. So, changing social norms is the progressive agenda. To understand how far this has advanced, and how difficult it will be to reverse the inculcation of dependency, consider the data Nicholas Eberstadt deploys in National Affairs quarterly:


Jan. 18, 2015 @ 12:08 PM

Mitt's third run would be no charm

After his third loss, in 1908, as the Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan enjoyed telling the story of the drunk who three times tried to enter a private club. After being tossed out into the street a third time, the drunk said: "They can't fool me. Those fellows don't want me in there!" 


Jan. 14, 2015 @ 11:54 PM

The silliness emerges of the Keystone catechism

Not since the multiplication of the loaves and fishes near the Sea of Galilee has there been creativity as miraculous as that of the Keystone XL pipeline. It has not yet been built but already is perhaps the most constructive infrastructure project since the Interstate Highway System.


Jan. 11, 2015 @ 11:20 AM

Questions for the attorney general nominee

Senate confirmation hearings put nominees on notice that, as a Michigan state legislator reportedly once said, "I'm watching everything you do with a fine-toothed comb." Loretta Lynch, a talented lawyer and seasoned U.S. attorney, should be confirmed as attorney general. Her hearing, however, should not be perfunctory.


Jan. 07, 2015 @ 09:25 PM

Climate change's instructive past

We know, because they often say so, that those who think catastrophic global warming is probable and perhaps imminent are exemplary empiricists. They say those who disagree with them are "climate change deniers" disrespectful of science.


Jan. 04, 2015 @ 02:41 PM

The senator to watch in 2015

Standing at the intersection of three foreign policy crises and a perennial constitutional tension, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, may be the senator who matters most in 2015. 


Dec. 31, 2014 @ 08:27 PM

A strike against rent-seeking

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so last year's most encouraging development in governance might have occurred in February in a U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Kentucky. There, a judge did something no federal judge has done since 1932. By striking down a "certificate of necessity" (CON) regulation, he struck a blow for liberty and against crony capitalism.


Dec. 28, 2014 @ 09:15 AM

Jeb Bush's hurdles of immigration, Common Core

In 1968, a singularly traumatic year -- assassinations, urban riots, 16,899 Americans killed in Vietnam -- Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the ebullient Minnesotan, said his presidential campaign was about "the politics of joy." This was considered infelicitous.