The Administration

Contraceptives: Most pundits are wrong about Obama, women and contraceptives

There should be and will be a compromise between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church about health regulations and contraceptives. But I disagree with my colleague A.B. Stoddard, most pundits and almost the entire commentariat class about how horrible this is for the Obama campaign.

One of the major political realities of 2012 is the overwhelming support of women for Obama and Democrats and the overwhelming opposition of women to Republicans. I had to laugh at a recent diatribe against Obama by my colleague Dick Morris that mentioned that Gingrich has a problem with the gender gap. Republicans who cheered Dick for that column will not give such an ovation to the part of his column that Dick left out. All Republicans suffer from a gender gap! In fact it is a gender canyon, a gender chasm and a gender solar system in favor of Obama and Democrats and against Republicans and conservatives.


Running a huge risk with Catholics

The political tin ear President Obama displayed in siding with the women in his administration on new healthcare regulations requiring contraception coverage for employees of church-affiliated institutions is remarkable. And though it is early in the campaign and Obama will eat crow and retreat on the issue, he won't be able to cool the heat the controversy sparked — Obama will hear about this mistake from now until Election Day. Catholics and Republicans will see to it.


JFK: The barbarian king

“What have I become?” — Nine Inch Nails

In hindsight it might be seen that the most treacherous moment, well described in David and Julie Eisenhower’s Going Home to Glory, was when Eisenhower tentatively handed over the keys to John F. Kennedy. Fifty years later the Kennedy legacy continues to descend. But what I found most revealing in Mimi Alford’s memoir of our most auspicious beginning at war’s end was in The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column. The part about the partying at Bing Crosby’s house in Palm Springs, where JFK urged her to try amyl nitrate (“I was his guinea pig”). It brought to mind the food testers in barbarian regimes hundreds, thousands of years back.


America, the coming secular nation

Isn't it convenient how this administration continues to manipulate our separation of church and state? In fact what they're doing is trampling on the First Amendment without any conscience. Our government was never designed to control the church, and the church should never have control over the government.

This administration is constantly testing the waters to see how much it can erode the rights of the people. There is no justification for forcing people to disregard their deeply held religious convictions in a "free" country. This, coupled with the president's pronouncement a couple of years ago that we were not a Judeo-Christian nation, and his tolerance of restrictions on Catholic priests who serve the military, calls into question his allegiance to our Constitution.


Conservatism ultimately wins elections

In 2012 we have yet another election year that is primarily a reaction against the establishment, and the country has swung back and forth yet again, unhappy with both parties. But why?
The problem with George W. Bush was not that he was conservative, but that he was not conservative enough — he hurt the credibility of the GOP by bloating the government further, and not just the military and the Department of Homeland Security, but, in his "compassionate" conservatism, blowing money on domestic spending as well.


Why Obama needs Jon Huntsman (and others like him)

Friday’s impressive jobs report is a positive shot in the arm for what the economy needs about now. Politically speaking, adding 243,000 new jobs — the most since last April — is good news indeed for the president’s approval ratings.

What caused many economists to breathe a sigh of relief is that many in the private sector appear to be hiring again, including specialty trades such as manufacturing. While this is no time to be popping champagne and celebrating the demise of the Great Recession, last month’s jobs report gives us many indications of the economy moving forward.


The Tao of Wesley K. Clark

Read this morning with interest an interview with Harvard’s Steven Pinker in “Global Briefs” titled “On the State and Future of Violence,” in which questions were asked like “How violent is the today’s world?” Not much, the answer. For which we are all grateful. And as much as I have appreciated Pinker’s outlook for what it does, his interview brought to mind Francis Fukuyama’s famous essay with the fairly astonishing title: “The End of History and the Last Man” in 1992. Which, if I recall correctly, was extended by Charles Krauthammer to an essay titled “The End of Time.”


Obama's military prowess

I have been very critical of this president. Across the board, I often find myself in 180-degree disagreement with him and his administration's policies. Among those disappointments have been his handling of Iraq and the sheer demagoguery he displayed regarding the war on terror, beginning with Iraq and certainly including issues such as Guantanamo Bay.

But I have to admit, he gets credit on his handling of one area specifically — the use of the military's special forces.


President Obama takes charge

It is a great week for the president and a terrible week for the Republicans running against him. The president addressed the nation to wage his fight for American jobs for American workers, while the Republican candidates called each other vulture, influence-peddler, and liar.

The president's call for American jobs hit the spot, while the commander in chief who ordered the demise of Osama bin Laden gave the command, with Defense Secretary Panetta, for a heroic rescue mission that succeeded bravely and brilliantly.

The president was the big winner after the GOP debate and the State of the Union.


The state of our ‘union’

We will see if his aspirations are more successful in the next 10 months. But the contrast between the president's State of the Union speech last night and the endless round of Republican debates was remarkable. It was Obama at his best — earnest, high-minded and hopeful (despite three years of evidence suggesting the contrary) for a union of interests.

The president also was political, outlining the themes of what will be his campaign later this year, drawing lines of ideological and programmatic interests, suggesting some specific areas of reform — pointed, not transformational, as circumstances required. He'll need a better Cabinet to carry out his proposals, especially Messrs. Geithner and Holder, if his reforms are to materialize.