Authoritarian envy?

The dictator of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, died recently, to nearly universal praise in the West for the way he built his country into an economic powerhouse.  Columnist Richard Cohen thinks that we have “authoritarian envy” because “too much democracy” keeps government from being able to do what it needs to do.

Mr. Cohen, a liberal, decries Lee’s harsh rule and his running roughshod over any kind of human rights, but he seems to share that envy, expressing frustration over our government’s inability to get things done, due to all of these political conflicts and checks and balances.

Conservatives, I would think, would be glad of the limits on government and would especially dislike an authoritarian like Lee, even though he did promote free markets and economic growth.  But as the presidential election season gets under way, I worry that all sides may be investing too much hope that what we need is a powerful leader and are expressing frustration with our constitutional system that, by design, checks and balances an activist government.  Might America be getting more and more open to authoritarianism?  [Read more...]

Why Marco Rubio goes to two churches

A piece on the religious beliefs of presidential candidate Marco Rubio says that he attends both a Baptist church with his family and also attends mass at the  Roman Catholic church of his childhood.  This is because he appreciates gospel preaching and also “craves” Holy Communion.  He says, “I wondered why there couldn’t be a church that offered both a powerful, contemporary gospel message and the actual body and blood of Jesus.”

There is such a thing, Marco Rubio!  It’s called the Lutheran church!  You don’t have to go to two different churches to get both the Gospel and the true Body and Blood of Christ.  Those go together, which is the whole point of Lutheranism.  Why don’t people know this?  [Read more...]

Now Marco Rubio enters the race

Marco Rubio announced his candidacy for president.  That makes two Cuban-Americans (with Ted Cruz) and two Floridians (assuming Jeb Bush runs).  He claims that he can attract Hispanics and other minorities, young people, and the less well off, bringing these important demographics into the Republican fold.

Do you think he can?  Do you think he would be a good president?  How do you think he stacks up with the other candidates? [Read more...]

Hillary Clinton announces her candidacy

Hillary Clinton has officially thrown her hat into the ring, announcing that she is running for president.  This is no big surprise.  She has long been assumed to be the inevitable Democratic nominee, as if she is the heir apparent.  Lots of people, many of them nostalgic for the prosperity of the Bill Clinton years, will support her, though even Democrats I’ve talked to are not all that enthusiastic about her.  Some say she is gaffe prone and doesn’t wear well.  And yet, it isn’t clear that any of the Republican contenders can defeat her.

What do you think?  I’d like to hear from both Democrats and Republicans.  Does she have qualities that would make her a good president?  Or the reverse?  Will she win?  Who could defeat her, and how would that be accomplished? [Read more...]

Corporations aren’t funding campaigns after all?

When the Supreme Court ruled that the law limiting corporate contributions was an infringement of the right to free speech, the conventional wisdom was–and is–that now big businesses will buy politicians by funding their elections.  But it hasn’t turned out that way.  Corporations aren’t giving much money at all to political candidates.

The ruling allowing unlimited “corporate” giving–”corporate” meaning collective organizations, not just business corporations–is indeed magnifying the reach of  issue-driven organizations, which would be in accord with free political speech.  And wealthy individuals, such as George Soros and the Koch brothers (notice how those who demonize one don’t demonize the other), can throw their weight around with their money.  One might still worry about the influence of campaign contributions.  But the point here is that business corporations are not, on the whole, giving many political contributions.  They have found that giving money to politicians can just alienate some of their customers and that they can get more influence for their buck by hiring lobbyists. [Read more...]

Rand Paul throws his hat into the ring

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced that he is running for president.  The pro-life Libertarian offers something different from the typical alternatives.  Like conservatives, he would have a smaller government and support free market economics.  Like liberals, he would have a non-interventionist foreign policy, be skeptical of big corporations, and promote civil liberties.  Do you think this could be a winning combination?  [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X