The Great Debate

Don’t belittle Congress’s attempts to enhance mineral production

By Colin T. Hayes
January 3, 2014

As someone deeply familiar with Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s leadership on the “Critical Minerals Policy Act,” John Kemp’s recent Reuters column criticizing the bill struck me as a cynically misguided reaction to her important work. Sen. Murkowski introduced the legislation in order to, as she put it, “keep the United States competitive and begin the process of modernizing our federal mineral policies.” This is a laudable goal and an important process, particularly as our foreign reliance increases for materials needed to build semiconductors, skyscrapers, and everything in between.

Not ‘court-packing,’ GOP’s aim is ‘court-shrinking’

By Jeff Shesol
November 5, 2013

The party that brought you “death panels” and “socialized medicine” has rolled out another term — carefully selected, like the others, for its power to freak people out. “Court-packing” now joins a Republican rogue’s gallery of poll-tested epithets.

Democrats: It’s the states, stupid (Part 2)

By Herman Schwartz
October 29, 2013

ILLUSTRATION: Matt Mahurin

Since the government shutdown, public opinion of the Republican Party has hit a new low. Yet the Democrats might not be able to gain from it. Despite the GOP’s fall from grace — and even if they suffer a lower vote count in the 2014 midterm elections — the Republicans might still control the House of Representatives and many state legislatures after the polls close.

The power in a president’s mandate

By William E. Leuchtenburg
October 16, 2013

The controversy over responsibility for the government shutdown has brought about one surprising consequence: a debate over the meaning of the term “presidential mandate.”

The budget is its own ‘debt ceiling’

By Daniel Alpert and Robert Hockett
October 10, 2013

It could be that President Barack Obama and the Republican House of Representatives will again be able to avert fiscal and financial chaos through a short-term, ad hoc agreement on government funding and the “debt ceiling” limit. This would be good news for the world and its markets.

Why this shutdown isn’t like 1995

By Hedrick Smith
October 4, 2013

The political battlefield of the current government shutdown looks a lot like the last big shutdown of 1995. But major changes within the Republican Party in Congress — a weaker leadership, the demise of moderates and two decades of gerrymandering — could make this year’s endgame far harder.

Shutdown: A fight with no room for compromise

By Bill Schneider
October 2, 2013

To end the government shutdown, all Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) needs to do is let the House of Representatives vote on a budget. It would pass within 30 minutes. Virtually all 200 House Democrats would vote to keep the government open, as would as many as 50 Republicans. An easy majority.

from David Rohde:

The key stumbling blocks U.S. and Iran face

By David Rohde
September 28, 2013

A historic phone call Friday between the presidents of the United States and Iran could mark the end of 34 years of enmity.

Obama’s flawed case for a Syria strike

By Ari Melber
September 3, 2013

We should not bomb Syria without a vital national security interest and a precise foreign policy objective.

The Supreme Court’s race impatience

By David Dante Troutt
June 28, 2013

ILLUSTRATION: Matt Mahurin

As Tuesday’s decision gutting the heart of the Voting Rights Act made clear, it is June and a slim conservative majority of Supreme Court justices is again impatient with race.