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Posts By Author » David Harsanyi

Rand Paul Is Right. Social Conservatives Should Embrace Libertarianism
  1 Mar 2014     12:02 am

These days, to even suggest the possibility that a fiscally conservative economic outlook is compatible with faith is a matter of hypocrisy.

“I am afraid that (Rep. Paul) Ryan’s budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” the Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University told The Huffington Post not so long ago. “Survival of the fittest may be OK for social Darwinists, but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”
Surely, you recall this Bible passage: “Then the Lord said …

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No, There Is No Consensus on Obama’s Policies
  22 Feb 2014     12:02 am

Since its inception, the Obama administration has engaged in the deceptive routine of claiming that “economists” or “every economist” or a “consensus” among economists is in lock-step agreement over whatever policy prescription the White House happens to be peddling at the moment.

It began with the stimulus, when President Barack Obama misleadingly asserted that “economists from across the political spectrum agree that if we don’t act swiftly and boldly, we could see a much deeper economic downturn that could lead to double-digit unemployment and the American dream slipping further and further …

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Obamacare Lawlessness Is All Political
  15 Feb 2014     12:02 am

Another Obamacare fiasco? Guess what. We’ll rationalize that disaster into something awesome tout de suite. You can’t keep your insurance if you like it? Consider yourself lucky. Obamacare disincentivizes work. Be grateful! The Affordable Care Act will cost three times as much as initial estimates? Spending creates jobs. The exchanges have been a disaster? Stop rooting for the president to fail, for goodness’ sake.

The Treasury Department just announced it will delay a coverage mandate for companies with 50 to 99 employees for a year. And liberals who grouse about the anarchic …

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Unemployment Is Freedom
  8 Feb 2014     12:02 am

Obamacare will reduce American workforce participation by the equivalent of 2 million full-time jobs in 2017, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office. Work hours would be reduced by the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs in 2024, a tripling of the previous estimates.

If you believe this report — and I’m not sure why we pay this much attention to CBO projections — you can then believe that Obamacare discourages work, pushes people out of the labor market and, consequently, leads to fewer people having jobs. Certainly, it …

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Overestimating ‘Inequality’
  31 Jan 2014     12:04 am

Some Democrats seem to think that the very fact “inequality” even exists should be enough to lure the entire nation to the progressive cause. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, in a recent piece imploring President Barack Obama to put emphasis on social justice in his State of the Union speech, argued as much, writing that “to focus on inequality is political realism. Like it or not, the simple fact is that Americans ‘get’ inequality; macroeconomics, not so much.”

They may “get” it, but the message is probably a lot less …

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America Isn’t Destined to Be More Liberal
  25 Jan 2014     12:02 am

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, left-wing activist Steve Rosenthal sounds a lot like other wishful thinkers arriving at a comfortable partisan conclusion. America, he writes, is only a few years from a full-blown progressive electorate. “A close examination of U.S. attitudes in the past decade-plus,” Rosenthal contends, “reveals that the United States is steadily becoming more progressive.”

It seems to be widely accepted by the media that demographics, GOP ineptitude and internal division, and a generational shift on social issues place the American voter on an enduring leftward course. Is …

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Now Democrats Are Questioning Your Patriotism
  18 Jan 2014     12:02 am

Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is the stated goal of the Obama administration, P5+1 nations and Israel. How the United States can best reach this goal while avoiding war seems to me to be a rather vital debate. So it’s a real shame we’re not having it.

So far, 59 senators, 16 Democrats, are co-sponsoring a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran and, perhaps, derail the Obama administration’s recent diplomatic efforts on that front. Really, it’s one of the only times we’ve seen any notable resistance to Barack …

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96 Percent of Americans Are Wrong About Congress
  14 Dec 2013     12:02 am

For more than 20 years, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has been measuring how voters feel about Congress. And “perhaps unsurprisingly,” writes Ezra Klein, “a majority of Americans — a new record — thinks the current Congress is one of the worst ever.” Klein, like many other liberal pundits, has written numerous pieces about how Congress is the worst/laziest/rottenest ever, so this works out well for him. Not getting your way all the time can be frustrating.

“96 percent of Americans think this Congress is at or below average. What’s wrong …

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What the Pope Gets Wrong About Capitalism
  7 Dec 2013     12:02 am

Pope Francis’ first apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), is a beautiful document and a joy to read. I’ll leave its theological implications to those who live in the Roman Catholic Church. What’s got many people praising the pope today, though, is not his plea for good works but rather his critique of capitalism.

You could always detect a pinch of socialistic seasoning in the church’s theological stew. But in this case, the pope doesn’t simply point out that the wealthy aren’t doing enough to help alleviate poverty. …

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No, Arne Duncan, ‘White Suburban Moms’ Aren’t the Problem; You Are
  23 Nov 2013     12:02 am

Common Core, the initiative that claims to more accurately measure K-12 student knowledge in English and math, also encourages children to step up their “critical thinking.”

That didn’t stop Education Secretary Arne Duncan, one of Common Core’s salesmen, from telling a group of school superintendents last week that it is “fascinating” to see opposition to the initiative coming from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden, their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
Now, it’s …

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Obama’s Stumbling Bumbling Fumbling News Conference
  16 Nov 2013     12:02 am

We learned a few interesting things from President Barack Obama’s rambling, analogy-filled news conference Thursday.
We learned that there was a fumble. We learned that technology is hard. In fact, the president went on for an extended period of time explaining government’s historical struggles with IT issues. Considering that the entire backbone of the law is dependent on this technology and expertise, how can anyone truly believe that the Nov. 30 deadline set for HealthCare.gov to work properly is going to be met? And why should anyone trust that IT will …

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Why Christie’s Persona Will Play Well in the Rest of America
  9 Nov 2013     12:02 am

Forget the acceptance speech. If you want an example of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s imposing political IQ, watch the nine-minute impromptu speech he delivered in Sea Bright a few days before the election. The impeccable populist instincts that make Christie such a formidable politician were all in play — authenticity, empathy, combativeness.

It’s the latter that is the most widely discussed aspect of Christie’s political persona. It involves the gruff New York-area politico with the disposition of a Teamster. This is a guy who will look you in the eyes …

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Obamacare’s Authoritarian Problem
  2 Nov 2013     12:02 am

You can’t keep your insurance if you like it under Obamacare, because you’re too ignorant to understand what’s good for you.
That’s the argument we’ve been hearing from a lot of folks on the left — an argument that pivots from “common good” to soft authoritarianism. President Barack Obama is all in, as well, claiming that he was merely guilty of forcing Americans to pick a “Ferrari” health care plan over a “Ford” one. (Is it really “picking” if you’re forced?)

This is necessary because health care is not a product as …

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What’s Wrong With Rooting for Failure?
  26 Oct 2013     12:02 am

In a news conference expected to feature a mea culpa for the Obamacare website fiasco, President Barack Obama turned the tables on his political opponents, scolding them for using their supernatural ability to transform the mere hope of failure into a reality.

“It’s time,” he implored, “for folks to stop rooting for its failure, because hardworking middle-class families are rooting for its success.”
There is a serious problem with that statement. Now, if you’re a libertarian, rooting for Washington to fail is probably one of your cherished hobbies. It’s certainly one of …

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Stop Lying to Us, America!
  19 Oct 2013     12:02 am

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 1 in 3 Americans would rather win a Nobel Prize than an Oscar, Emmy or Grammy.
Though there’s no way to disprove this peculiar finding, I’m rather confident that it’s complete baloney. The average American probably can’t name more than one Nobel Prize winner — if that. Even if many could, it’s unlikely they would choose a life in physics or “peace” over being a celebrated actor, musician or television star. Put it this way: Any man who tells you he wants the life of …

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In Praise of Partisan Media
  12 Oct 2013     12:02 am

As much as it pains me, let me take a few moments to defend MSNBC.
Media bias is a perpetual grievance of the right — for obvious reasons. But maybe the only way to improve on the situation is to champion more openly ideologically driven political journalism. By any measure, it’s a lot less destructive than what we had for decades: media feigning impartiality.

Take last week’s much-talked-about testy exchange between anchorman Thomas Roberts and Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus. It can be uncomfortable watching a head-on collision of hackery, but the …

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Congress Is Doing Its Job
  5 Oct 2013     12:02 am

Liberal pundits and politicians like to refer to them as “hostage takers,” “anarchists,” “political terrorists,” “lemmings with suicide vests” and so on. Grass-roots conservatives think they’re a bunch of weak-kneed RINO defeatists. They have no charismatic stars, few compelling ideas, no one leading a Gingrich-like grand ideological charge against liberal institutions. There is no cohesive strategy to speak of, no Tom DeLay whipping the troops into line, no ideological cohesion, no chance of winning very much.

And they’re probably the best thing going in Washington right now.
As we maneuver through another …

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Democrats Created the Hostage Crisis
  28 Sep 2013     12:02 am

When Sen. Ted Cruz rolled out an epic 21-hour anti-Obamacare “filibuster,” his efforts were ridiculed by journalists across the Twitterverse as a useless exercise in would-be obstructionism. No surprise there.

The New York Times editorial board joined in, spitting out an angry editorial accusing Cruz of employing an “aimless and self-destructive Tea Party strategy” — an egomaniacal attempt to cash in on the impulses of misguided conservatives. However hopeless a liberal cause may be (gun control, cap and trade, Wendy Davis — take your pick), it’s always a worthy idealistic pursuit. …

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GOP Should Take a Stand on Debt Ceiling
  21 Sep 2013     12:02 am

According to reports, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has been urging his colleagues to back off on the budget fight and focus on a debt ceiling showdown. In exchange for an increase in the legal limit on federal government borrowing, Ryan believes that the GOP can demand a series of items, starting with a delay of Obamacare, the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and other spending reforms.
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It’s still doubtful Republicans will be able to extract any meaningful concessions on Obamacare, but the president’s “I will not negotiate” over …

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What Conservatives Can Learn From the Pope
  2 Aug 2013     12:03 am

Being neither a Catholic nor a religious scholar, I’m in no position to offer opinions on the Roman Catholic Church or its doctrine. Yet it seems to me that conservatives might learn a thing or two from Pope Francis when it comes to messaging and tone.

The pope, it is widely reported, has “recast the Catholic Church’s image” by focusing on its “inviting, merciful aspects” — even “shocking,” as The Washington Post put it — to a planeload of reporters in an impromptu interview last week. Regarding homosexuality, he asserted, “Who …

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