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  • Commentary posted September 10, 2013 by Jim Talent Weak, Late

    On balance, the president did a good job making the weak case for military action over the violation of his red line. Perhaps the administration has now learned why presidents typically don’t draw such lines: They encourage would-be aggressors to believe they can take any action short of the line with impunity, and they deprive the United States of operational flexibility…

  • Commentary posted June 14, 2013 by Jim Talent Carter and Obama Militaries Quickly Becoming Synonymous

    As the military absorbs round after round of defense cuts, congressional and Pentagon sources have frequently invoked the specter of a “hollow military.” The term came from General Shy Meyer during a 1980 House Armed Services subcommittee hearing, at which Meyer declared: “Right now, as I have said before, we have a hollow Army. Our forward deployed forces are at full…

  • Commentary posted April 22, 2013 by Jim Talent Necessary Spending

    This year’s defense budget is coming into focus, and the picture isn’t pretty. Congress and the president will probably agree to increase defense spending by a small amount, but they will probably also take money away from future defense budgets. This will allow them to say that they have increased defense spending while in reality the wholesale unraveling of American…

  • Commentary posted April 1, 2013 by Jim Talent Our Growing Security Risks

    The last few months have made crystal clear what was increasingly evident anyway: that every category of primary risk to American security is growing. In January, a Chinese vessel locked a radar fix on a Japanese ship. That’s equivalent to a sniper fixing a laser sight on the forehead of a prospective target. It was a deliberately provocative act, and it comes on the…

  • Commentary posted March 25, 2013 by Michael Franc Obamacare Costs Spark Voter Cynicism

    Ask any pollster. Distrust of the government in Washington stands at unprecedentedly high levels. Between three-quarters (Pew) and four-fifths (Gallup) of Americans now instinctively question the veracity of promises from politicians and government agencies. Their frustration with all things governmental, in fact, has reached the boiling point. According to one recent…

  • Commentary posted February 13, 2013 by Michael Franc, Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. Obama Takes a Liberal Turn

    There was a time when President Obama felt the need to hide behind Ronald Reagan's view of the proper role of government. "I've never believed," he said repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2010, "that government has all the answers to our problems." Nor is it the government's role "to create jobs or prosperity." Rather, it is "the drive and ingenuity of our entrepreneurs"…

  • Commentary posted February 12, 2013 by Jim Talent Failing to Fund Defense Will Have Consequences

    The United States typically maintains two carrier groups in the Persian Gulf at the same time. That number was not picked out of a hat; it turns out that, among other important missions, it is much easier to protect the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane, with one carrier group inside the Strait and another positioned in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, or nearby…

  • Commentary posted January 17, 2013 by Michael Franc Head Start: Still Useless

    What is it about the Head Start program that prevents presumably responsible adults from doing what’s best for poor children? What prompts this question is the reaction to a scientifically rigorous evaluation of Head Start released last month. Conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, the study demonstrates (once again) that this Great Society program just…

  • Commentary posted January 3, 2013 by Michael Franc Simple Math Will Force Change

    Congress and the president handled the "fiscal cliff" negotiations with equal parts histrionics and ham-fistedness. But that doesn't prove that Washington is now haplessly dysfunctional. Rather, it was the entirely predictable consequence of this moment in history. What's unique about our time is our nation's unprecedented fiscal imbalance — the product of an…

  • Commentary posted December 13, 2012 by Jim Talent A Fiscal-Cliff Primer

    It’s time for a status report on the state of negotiations over the fiscal cliff. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers. 1) Q. What is the fiscal cliff? A. Under existing law, $494 billion in tax increases are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013. There are three main categories of tax increase that are coming. About a third of the…

  • Commentary posted November 28, 2012 by Brian Darling Filibuster 'Reform' Is a Partisan Power Grab

    The current push to reform the filibuster is merely a partisan power grab. The Senate does not have a Senate's rules deficiency, but a serious breakdown in comity between the parties. The majority party is trying to change the rules so that they can cut the minority party out of the deliberative process completely. It was wrong when Republicans discussed it in 2005,…

  • Commentary posted November 14, 2012 by Michael Franc The Year of Multiple Mandates

    The 2012 election, we were told, would provide clarity. One side or the other would emerge with a mandate. The losers would have to accept the voters’ judgment and back down. Soon, legislative gridlock would give way to constructive deal-making, and progress would be made on the great issues of the day. Well, the results are (largely) in, and Washington finds itself…

  • Commentary posted November 12, 2012 by Brian Darling “Filibuster Reform” Is Power Grab By Harry Reid

    Make no mistake about it. This new talk about “Filibuster Reform” coming from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is nothing more than a power grab by liberals in the Senate. Reid has stifled debate during his rule, and he will use the pre-text of “Filibuster Reform” to bully and squelch the minority party, much like he has done for the past few years. The Washington…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2012 by Brian Darling Legislative Lowdown Conservatives Lost One Battle Now Let’s Win the War

    Congratulations to President Barack Obama, newly elected senators and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Conservatives should not be sore losers. Congratulate the victors and move on to the next battle. The 2012 election was a significant battle in the war of ideas, yet not the dispositive conclusion of a long war. President Obama vanquished…

  • Commentary posted November 5, 2012 by Brian Darling Senate Elections to Watch on Tuesday

    Most Americans will focus on election results in Ohio and Florida to see who rides those states’ Electoral College votes into the White House. But the winner of the presidential race will not automatically control the 2013 legislative agenda. Congress still matters. The battle for control of the U.S. Senate is vitally important and just as hard-fought as the…