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George F. Will: McConnell would lead Senate like Mansfield

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Barack Obama lost Kentucky in 2012 by 23 points, yet the state remains closely divided about re-electing the man whose parliamentary skills uniquely qualify him to restrain Obama's executive overreach. So, Kentucky's Senate contest is a constitutional moment that will deter…

October 24, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Football franchise tackled by the language police

WASHINGTON — Wretched excess by government can be beneficial if it startles people into wholesome disgust and deepened distrust, and prompts judicial rebukes that enlarge freedom. So let's hope the Federal Communications Commission embraces the formal petition inciting it to deny licenses to…

October 17, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Likeable Christie prepares for possible presidential run

NEWARK, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie could be forgiven if he had chips on both shoulders as big as those shoulders. This year, the first of his second term, has been overshadowed by often partisan investigations, more protracted than productive, of the involvement of several of his former aide…

October 09, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Obama needs Congress to approve this war

WASHINGTON — The United States last declared war many wars ago, on June 5, 1942, when, to clarify legal ambiguities during a world conflagration, it declared war on Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Today’s issue is not whether to declare war but only whether the president should even seek cong…

September 18, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
George F. Will: Scotland's epic vote could change Union Jack

George F. Will: Scotland's epic vote could change Union Jack

WASHINGTON — Tucking into a dish of Scottish haggis is not a task for the fainthearted. There are various haggis recipes, but basically it is sheep’s pluck — the heart, lungs and liver — cooked together, then mixed with suet and oatmeal and boiled in a sheep’s stomach, then served, sometimes…

September 15, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Does Putin have an eye on Baltic States?

WASHINGTON — The Islamic State is a nasty problem that can be remedied if its neighbors, assisted by the United States, decide to do so. Vladimir Putin’s fascist revival is a crisis that tests the West’s capacity to decide.

September 04, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Building U.S. Navy with mission in mind

WASHINGTON — Russia's ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State's erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. Beijing calls this sea, and the Yellow and East China seas, t…

August 28, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Americans fed up with cupcake cops

WASHINGTON — In physics, a unified field theory is an attempt to explain with a single hypothesis the behavior of several fields. Its political corollary is the Cupcake Postulate, which explains everything, from Missouri to Iraq, concerning Americans' comprehensive withdrawal of confidence f…

August 21, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Scholar's theory may reveal reason behind Watergate

WASHINGTON — At about 5:15 p.m. on June 17, 1971, in the Oval Office, the president ordered a crime: “I want it implemented on a thievery basis. Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.”

August 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Immigrants' son is California's new Goldwater

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco, in the unfortunately named Cow Palace, the Republican National Convention gave its presidential nomination to Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who knew he would lose: Americans were not going to have a third president in 14 m…

July 24, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Supreme Court plays indispensable constable role

WASHINGTON — Two 5-4 decisions last week on the final decision day of the Supreme Court’s term dealt with issues that illustrate the legal consequences of political tactics by today’s progressives. One case demonstrated how progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, manufactures soci…

July 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Trademark agency fumbles football name complaint

WASHINGTON — Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo who successfully moved a federal agency to withdraw trademark protections from the Washington Redskins because it considers the team's name derogatory, lives on a reservation where Navajos root for the Red Mesa High School Redskins. She opposes this n…

June 30, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Mississippi choose pork barrel over Tea Party

WASHINGTON — Chris McDaniel, 41, the flawed paladin of the Tea Party persuasion who in Mississippi's Republican Senate primary failed to wrest the nomination from the faltering hands of six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, 76, came into politics after a stint in talk radio. There practitioners d…

June 26, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Congress must sue to stop lawless president

WASHINGTON — What philosopher Harvey Mansfield calls "taming the prince" — making executive power compatible with democracy's abhorrence of arbitrary power — has been a perennial problem of modern politics. It is now more urgent in America than at any time since the Founders, having rebelled…

June 23, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: For GOP, re-evaluation time

WASHINGTON — The morning after, at breakfast at the Republicans' Capitol Hill Club, Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte was, as befits one of Washington's grown-ups, measured in his reaction to what 36,120 Virginia voters did the day before. It would, he says, be wise "to take a step back and a d…

June 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: The cost of campaign finance restrictions

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota says it has 10,000 lakes. The state also has, according to Anthony Sanders, “10,000 campaign finance laws.” He exaggerates, but understandably. As an attorney for Minnesota’s chapter of the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, Sanders represe…

May 23, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Great Society bifurcates LBJ legacy

WASHINGTON — Standing on his presidential limousine, Lyndon Johnson, campaigning in Providence, R.I., in September 1964, bellowed through a bullhorn: “We’re in favor of a lot of things and we’re against mighty few.” This was a synopsis of what he had said four months earlier.

May 20, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Government by intimidation in Wisconsin

WASHINGTON — U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, revolted by the police-state arrogance of some elected prosecutors, has stopped a partisan abuse of law enforcement that was masquerading as political hygiene.

May 12, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Heavy hand of IRS hits Detroit shop keepers

FLINT, Mich. — Earnest moralists lament Americans’ distrust of government. What really is regrettable is that government does much to earn distrust, as Terry Dehko, 70, and his daughter Sandy Thomas, 41, understand.

May 01, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Tax reformer's uphill push toward economic growth

WASHINGTON — The Sisyphean task of tax reform should be tried only by someone who will not flinch from igniting some highly flammable people — those who believe that whatever wrinkle in the tax code that benefits them is an eternal entitlement. Tax reform’s Senate champion is Ron Wyden, the …

April 08, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Take a swing at these baseball questions

WASHINGTON — "Andre Dawson," Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully once said, "has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day. Aren't we all?" Yes, so use some of your remaining time constructively by identifying the player or players who:

March 30, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Geography matters more to Putin

WASHINGTON — Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer, said of Poland, perilously positioned between Russia and Germany: "If you pitch your tent in the middle of Fifth Avenue, it is quite likely you will be run over by a bus." Poland has been run over hard and often; indeed, between 1795 and 19…

March 27, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Public health campaigns promote benefits of prudence

WASHINGTON — In September 1958, a future columnist, then 17, was unpacking as a college freshman when upperclassmen hired by tobacco companies knocked on his dormitory door, distributing free mini-packs of cigarettes. He and many other aspiring sophisticates became smokers. Six years later —…

March 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Why immigration reform matters to GOP

WASHINGTON — Distilled to their discouraging essence, Republicans’ reasons for retreating from immigration reform reflect waning confidence in American culture and in the political mission only Republicans can perform — restoring America’s economic vigor. Without this, the nation will have a…

February 17, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
George F. Will: Political lessons from Downton Abbey

George F. Will: Political lessons from Downton Abbey

WASHINGTON — Many "Downton Abbey" watchers are nostalgia gluttons who grieved when Lord Grantham lost his fortune in Canadian railroad shares. There are, however, a discerning few whose admirable American sensibilities caused them to rejoice about Grantham's loss: "Now perhaps this amiable b…

February 14, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Obama's command of magic words and numbers

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy, and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for thinking that saying things is tantamount to acc…

February 09, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: State of Union promotes political exhibitionism

WASHINGTON — As undignified as it is unedifying and unnecessary, the vulgar State of the Union circus is again at our throats. The document that the Constitutional Convention sent forth from Philadelphia for ratification in 1787 was just 4,543 words long, but this was 17 too many. America wo…

January 27, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Defining moment for U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — Constitutional arguments that seem as dry as dust can have momentous consequences. On Monday, the Supreme Court's nine fine minds will hear oral arguments about the meaning of "the" and "happen." What they decide could advance the urgent project of reining in rampant executive power.

January 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Calculating political prospects by the numbers

WASHINGTON — Two years from today, Iowa — dark, brooding, enigmatic Iowa — will be enjoying its quadrennial moment as the epicenter of the universe. And in 10 months, voters will vent their spleens — if they still are as splenetic as they now claim to be — in congressional elections. Some nu…

January 05, 2014 11:02 amLoading…

George F. Will: Obama's endless epiphanies about governing

WASHINGTON — The education of Barack Obama is a protracted process as he repeatedly alights upon the obvious with a sense of original discovery. In a recent MSNBC interview, he restocked his pantry of excuses for his disappointing results, announcing that “we have these big agencies, some of…

December 13, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Making a case for containing Iran

WASHINGTON — Critics of the agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program are right about most things but wrong about the most important things. They understand the agreement's manifest and manifold defects and its probable futility. Crucial components of Iran's nuclear infrastructure r…

December 05, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Recalling the real, conservative JFK

BOSTON — He has become fodder for an interpretation industry toiling to make his life malleable enough to soothe the sensitivities and serve the agendas of the interpreters. The quantity of writing about him is inversely proportional to the brevity of his presidency.

November 22, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: O'Connell would fashion needed immigration compromise

WASHINGTON — One reason Washington makes so much bad history is that so many people here know so little history. This helps explain why “comprehensive” immigration reform is foundering: Too few of today’s legislators know what happened 163 years ago.

November 15, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Cash for Clunkers shows failure of progressivism

Obama’s presidency has become a feast of failures whose proliferation protects their author from close scrutiny of any one of them. Now, however, we can revisit one of the first and see it as a harbinger of progressivism’s downward stumble to HealthCare.gov.

November 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Constitutional rights hinge on case of injured thumb

WASHINGTON — This term the Supreme Court will rule on important subjects from racial preferences to restrictions on political speech, but its most momentous case, to be argued Tuesday, concerns the prosecution of a Pennsylvania woman who caused a chemical burn on a romantic rival’s thumb. Th…

November 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Virginia's other choice: Libertarian becomes man of moment

ARLINGTON, Va. — 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.

October 24, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Budget sequester remains the hammer in Republicans' hands

WASHINGTON — Liberals constantly lecture, more in theatrical sorrow than in actual anger, about their eagerness to compromise with Republicans, just not with Republicans who are — liberal moderation expresses itself immoderately — hostage-taking, terroristic, anarchistic, jihadist suicide bo…

October 15, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Upcoming 'Wonderland' moment for High Court

“ ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’”

October 10, 2013 11:33 amLoading…

George F. Will: On political speech, a court opportunity

WASHINGTON — 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 indis…

October 06, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Will: The Fed's applied progressivism

WASHINGTON — Because Ben Bernanke’s public persona is as mild as milk, the transformation in American governance in which he has participated is imperfectly understood and hence insufficiently deplored. The change is dramatized by two recent developments.

September 30, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Will: should give Obama what he wants and let him fail

WASHINGTON — When Dwight Eisenhower asked Gen. Georgy Zhukov how the Red Army cleared minefields, Zhukov replied: “We march through them.”

September 26, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Academe's money tree thrives on fall mayhem

WASHINGTON — Like baby birds with yawning beaks, college football fans clamor to be fed.

September 19, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: 'Perfect failure' should be studied for public good

WASHINGTON — At 4 a.m. on Jan. 1, 1959, an hour when there never were commercial flights from Havana, David Atlee Phillips was lounging in a lawn chair there, sipping champagne after a New Year’s Eve party, when a commercial aircraft flew low over his house. He surmised that dictator Fulgenc…

September 16, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Obama seeks congressional accomplices

WASHINGTON — 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…

September 06, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Medical research starved by the sequester

”The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.”

August 19, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Obama's claims of presidential power are illegal

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. Desperation fuels arrogance as, barely 200 days into the 1,462 days of his second term, his pantry of excuses for failure is bare, his domestic …

August 14, 2013 6:00 pmLoading…

George F. Will: Motown's one-man emergency management show

DETROIT — Gazing from the 14th floor toward the city center and the fragile sprouts of urban development along the river, Detroit’s Caesar says laconically: “One hundred and thirty-one to go.” Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, means that housing in this vi…

August 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Detroit's death by democracy started with auto unions

DETROIT — In 1860, an uneasy Charles Darwin confided in a letter to a friend: “I had no intention to write atheistically” but “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the …

August 01, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

George F. Will: Egypt's military tyranny preferable to Morsi's

WASHINGTON — Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi knows neither Thomas Jefferson’s advice that “great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities” nor the description of Martin Van Buren as a politician who “rowed to his object with muffled oars.” Having won just 52 percent of…

July 11, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

At Gettysburg, choices mattered

WASHINGTON — In the 1780s, the son of a farmer in south-central Pennsylvania purchased from his father 116 acres where two roads intersected. He laid out 210 lots for a town he named for himself. He was James Gettys.

July 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

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