Democrats Want to Win. Does the GOP?

In the classic Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy film State of the Union one of the characters, a veteran Republican politician played by Adolf Menjou, defined the difference between the country’s two major parties thusly, “They’re in and we’re out.” That cynical view summed up the way party hacks viewed the electoral process. The only goal was to win; ideology, principle and policies were secondary considerations at best. American politics has come a long way since the era of bosses and smoke-filled rooms that were essential to that story, loosely based on the rise of 1940 GOP presidential candidate Wendell Willkie. Pundits routinely tell us that we now live in an era when pure partisanship disconnected from ideology is on the wane. The civil war that threatens to tear apart contemporary Republicans, as Tea Party activists seek to slay the dragon of the GOP “establishment,” is an example of just how different things are today.

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Democrats Want to Win. Does the GOP?

Must-Reads from Magazine

Shut Down Senselessness

Podcast: Government shut down, ???, profit!

John Podhoretz is out today. In his absence, the remaining COMMENTARY Magazine hosts untangle the complicated policy and politics behind a short-lived government shutdown. Who benefits, who doesn’t, and what was at stake? Did this brief cessation of non-essential government activity change the political landscape ahead of 2018? Give a listen.

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The Democrats’ CHIP Hypocrisy

Mixed messaging.

Congressional Democrats appear to have meandered into a cul-de-sac. Ostensibly, the federal government shut down last week during an impasse over whether to make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) permanent this month or next. Democrats had threatened to shut down the government over DACA recipients before but backed off amid mounting objections from the party’s moderate governing wing. As public polling has confirmed, Americans are in favor of legal status for this deserving set of illegal immigrants who suffer that status through no fault of their own, but voters do not believe that outcome is worth a government shutdown. It’s therefore reasonable to expect that Democrats will soon shift gears, leaning into the other ostensible reason why the government shut down: lapsed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Yet here, too, the Democrats and their allies in media are playing a double game.

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Democrats Go Soft on Anti-Semitism

Shameful.

I don’t always agree with Kenneth L. Marcus, the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. But he is without question the kind of person who might have been nominated in any Republican administration to serve as assistant secretary of education for civil rights. In fact, Marcus served in the same role in the George W. Bush administration on an interim basis. Yet Marcus received not one Democratic vote in the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which just voted 12-11, on party lines, to advance his nomination.

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Pod Shut Down America

But they fight.

On the eve of an ill-fated government shutdown in 2013, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a column that captured the sentiments of liberal opinion makers perfectly: This was all talk radio’s fault.

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Harvard Rewards an Iranian Hate-Monger

Another dubious honor.

What is it with the Harvard Kennedy School’s penchant for celebrating dishonorable characters? First came a speaking invitation and fellowship for the traitor formerly known as Bradley Manning. The Kennedy School disinvited Manning following a public outcry in September, but now its leadership has awarded a fellowship to an equally odious figure.

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