When William F. Buckley, running as the Conservative Party's candidate for mayor of New York in 1965, was asked what he would do if he won, he replied: "Demand a recount." Robert Sarvis, Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Virginia, will not need to do this.
The marble friezes above the Supreme Court chamber depict 18 great lawgivers, including Moses, Solomon, King John and William Blackstone. Come Tuesday, as the bemused -- or so one hopes -- justices listen to oral arguments in a case from Michigan, they might wonder why Lewis Carroll is not included.
"Ex-Marine Asks Soviet Citizenship"
-- Washington Post headline, Nov. 1, 1959 (concerning a Lee Harvey Oswald)
"He didn't even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. It's -- it had to be some silly little Communist."
-- Jacqueline Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963
The Supreme Court must feel as though it is plowing an ocean as it repeatedly reminds Congress that the anodyne label "campaign finance reform" can encompass a multitude of sins. Come Tuesday, the court will have another occasion to consider that not all regulations of the indispensable means of disseminating political speech -- money -- are constitutional just because they are presented as means of preventing corruption or its "appearance."
"If Reince Priebus from Kenosha, Wisconsin, is the Republican 'establishment,' God help us," says the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus.
When Dwight Eisenhower asked Gen. Georgy Zhukov how the Red Army cleared minefields, Zhukov replied: "We march through them." Being profligate with lives is a perquisite of command and a luxury of those with an abundance of lives at their command. Some congressional Republicans, who do not command their party but can implicate it in their marches through minefields, might resuscitate Barack Obama's presidency by restocking his pantry of excuses: The economy's continuing anemia will ever after be blamed on any government shutdown.
Like baby birds with yawning beaks, college football fans clamor to be fed. So fasten the chin strap on your helmet -- ignore the warning label on it ("No helmet system can protect you from serious brain and/or neck injuries including paralysis or death. To avoid these risks, do not engage in the sport of football.") and enjoy the seasonal festival of physical carnage, institutional derangement and moral seaminess.
Fifty-two years and many misadventures later, the Bay of Pigs invasion still fascinates as, in historian Theodore Draper's description, "one of those rare events in history -- a perfect failure."
In London exile in 1940, Charles de Gaulle decided "it was up to me to take responsibility for France" (c'etait a moi d'assumer la France"). No U.S. president should assume he is, as de Gaulle almost mystically did, the nation, or is solely responsible for it. Remember this as Barack Obama defends his choice to attack Syria.
On Jan. 20, 1981, Michael Deaver, a political aide, peered into a bedroom in Blair House, across from the White House, and said to the man still abed, "It's 8 o'clock. You're going to be inaugurated as president in a few hours." From beneath the blankets, Ronald Reagan said, "Do I have to?"
Because Syria's convulsion has become as serious as Barack Obama has been careless in speaking about it, he is suddenly and uncharacteristically insisting that Congress participate in governance. Regarding institutional derangements, he is the infection against which he pretends to be an immunization.
Barack Obama's foreign policy dream -- cordial relations with a Middle East tranquilized by "smart diplomacy" -- is in a death grapple with reality. His rhetorical writhings illustrate the perils of loquacity.
Fifty years from now, when Malia and Sasha are grandmothers, their father's presidency might seem most consequential because of a small sum -- $100 million -- for studying something small.
Nowadays the federal government leavens its usual quotient of incompetence with large dollops of illegality.
"Colleagues," said the June 27 letter to 98 U.S. senators, "now it is your turn." The letter's authors are Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the chairman and ranking Republican on the tax-writing Finance Committee, respectively. From their combined 71 years on Capitol Hill they know that their colleagues will tiptoe gingerly, if at all, onto the hazardous terrain of tax reform.