September 23, 1996 |
Have you noticed? There are two kinds of politics in America. One is the politics of getting elected to office; the other is the politics of solving problems. Ideally the same, the two often aren't. And that accounts for much of the public's frustration with politics as usual, a frustration that seems to deepen at election time. Some Americans are trying to do something about this disconnect. They are doing what citizens can do, which is to grapple with the difficult choices inherent in the tough problems facing our country - problems like what to do about the crisis facing our families, how to maintain the vitality of our economy, and how to define our country's role in a "new world order.
September 29, 2000 |
"Politics is the great enterprise, the climax of all that's worthwhile and exciting in this life. Risk, and the exploitation of others. " - The campaign manager "Sometimes I think we just imagine it. What's outside. . . . Sometimes I get this weird feeling. Like everything I believe, everything which I think is true, someone else is making it up. " - The pollster "I didn't lie. I just didn't finish. " - The candidate's wife "I wanted to accomplish something, do something good, but everything I touch corrupts me. " - The candidate So there you have it: politics as it's practiced in the United States at the dawn of the 21st century.
December 12, 1990 |
The most famous unnecessary victory in American history was the Battle of New Orleans. Gen. Andrew Jackson and the boys just clobbered the British on Jan. 8, 1815. That was, you may remember from school, two weeks after the War of 1812 ended. The Treaty of Ghent was signed by Britain and the United States on Dec. 24, 1814. Ghent is in Belgium, and there was no way for the news to get to New Orleans before the shooting and dying began. International news in those days could travel no faster than clipper ships.
August 21, 2009 |
I discovered Bob Novak when I was in college. My political science teacher assigned us Rowland Evans and Robert Novak's classic tomes Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power (1966) and Nixon in the White House: The Frustration of Power (1971). It was like giving the bible on baseball to a kid who had watched the game all her life without ever really knowing what all those signals meant. The books' message was: This is how power works. This is how Washington operates. This is how you get someone to do something he doesn't want to do. This is what happens when people get in the room with the president.
November 27, 1995
Observers are lamenting a decline in civility in Congress. Traditional legislative courtesies are being replaced by a mean-spiritedness and animosity. No wonder. Politics has always been a brawling, adversarial process. Yet beneath the rancor was an understanding that it's a matter of clashing views, not good vs. evil. This comity is a vital underpinning of democratic government. But more and more of the people elected to office in this country seem to see politics as a holy crusade.
October 31, 2008 |
InterAct Theatre's production of Vincent Delaney's brand-new play The War Party couldn't come at a better time in political history. With Sarah Palin "gone rogue" on John McCain, and Hillary Clinton forced to smile pretty for the cameras while stumping for her former opponent, this is one loaded year for women in politics. Strangely enough, Laura Smith, The War Party's hardboiled GOP apparat-chick, prefigures Clinton and Palin by a decade. The plot is loosely based on a hard-fought U.S. Senate battle in Washington State between Republican Linda Smith and Democrat Patty Murray, which proved the real Smith's swan song.
August 24, 1990 |
"If it weren't for graft, you'd get a very low type of people in politics," opines one shrewd observer in Preston Sturges' The Great McGinty (1940). This hilarious tale is about a bum (Brian Donlevy) who becomes governor of a certain Midwestern state through the manipulations of a ward boss (Akim Tamiroff). The moral of the story is that in real life, one act of dishonesty can discredit a man. In political life, it's just the reverse. Shown tonight and Saturday night, 7 and 9:15, at Temple University Cinematheque, 1619 Walnut St. FILM FORUM/PHILADELPHIA Philadelphia Center, 509 S Broad St, 732-7704.
November 21, 1992 |
The dozen children's advocates who had gathered yesterday to condemn state senators wore a collective expression of disgust and frustration. Just as Pennsylvania seemed poised to take one small step toward providing health-care coverage for some of the estimated 400,000 children in the state who are currently uninsured, politics threatens to scuttle the dream. Because of an ongoing fight with the Casey administration over workers' compensation reform and other issues, the Republican-dominated Senate recessed earlier this week without voting on a bill to insure about 35,000 children under the age of 12. Unless the Senate returns and passes the measure before its session ends Nov. 30, the bill will die. "It's not their children who are going to lose their hearing or won't get immunized," said Shelley Yanoff, director of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth and a member of a broad-based coalition called the Children's Health Campaign.
November 1, 2002 |
They called it "Govy 10," Intro to Government, but it was more like Intro to Real Life. I was 20 and the president of the student body, with long hair a la the era. Paul Wellstone, all of 27, was the professor, with a medium-sized "Jew-fro. " My political agenda at rural Minnesota's Carleton College was one of peace and love and all that; there was no issue that couldn't be ignored into submission. Wellstone's was just the opposite, with conflict at every turn. On campus, mostly, we avoided confrontation.
June 23, 1986
Discrimination against Democrats has plagued Delaware County for decades; its form is subtle, yet pervasive. Carol Morello's June 11 article did not even begin to describe the tip of the iceberg of Republican control of the facets of Delco residency. It is not as blatant as the article described in most cases, but it is considered an inherent lack of good judgment to register with the Democratic Party because of the hard-core conservative base that exists. I also disagree with County Council Chairman Curt Weldon's categorization of the party structure in Delco.