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Posts By Author » David Harsanyi

The ‘Insanity’ of Obamacare
  19 Jul 2013     12:04 am

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank recently poked some fun at the GOP and its tenacious — and, evidently, hopeless — insistence on voting to roll back provisions of Obamacare. Surely, you’ve heard about Albert Einstein’s apocryphal quote defining insanity as doing something over and over again and expecting different results.

The left, you may notice, rarely holds that sort of defeatist attitude about “the law of the land” — not on gay marriage or immigration or No Child Left Behind or, well, any other injustice Washington throws at it. Persistence is …

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Save the Filibuster!
  12 Jul 2013     12:03 am

You know what would make life a lot easier? A direct democracy.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the man who once argued that weakening the Senate filibuster would “destroy the very checks and balances our Founding Fathers put in place to prevent absolute power by any one branch of government,” is supposedly ready to use the “nuclear option.” It would allow a simple majority to change rules to overcome a filibuster. And no matter how narrow Reid says the scope of his power grab would be, in the long run, it …

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Liberals vs. Imaginary Monsters
  5 Jul 2013     12:02 am

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently informed us that a national movement is afoot “to punish the unemployed.” Remarkably, he went on to write, conservatives think the world is far too easy on those who can’t find work, so they’re on a mission to make it worse. The right, you see, is not just perpetuating flawed ideas or misguided policies or dumb economics but driven by an inexplicable desire to inflict pain on the innocent.

Now, as it happens, I am acquainted with a few conservatives. And though it’s hardly …

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The Media’s Shameful Coverage of the Abortion Debate
  20 Jun 2013     12:02 am

Here’s what we know about the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks: The Associated Press tells us that the “GOP-led House on Tuesday passed a far-reaching anti-abortion bill.” But don’t worry, Politico adds. It is “largely symbolic: The bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate.”

All well and good — and maybe even true — but consider this: When the Gang of Eight immigration bill finally passes the Senate and the House refuses to take it up, will Politico or any other …

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The Left’s Phony Defense of Freedom
  13 Jun 2013     12:03 am

There are many idealistic progressives who’ve remained opposed to the National Security Agency’s data mining programs regardless of who is in the White House. (We can’t surrender our freedom for safety, you know!) It’s only a shame that these same people have such little reverence for constitutional liberties in other areas of public life.

Really, it’s worse than that. Consider the central case of the left these days: “Unfettered” freedom is a tragedy — decadent, unfair and un-American. So if, as liberals like to argue, it’s a moral imperative for Americans …

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This Is What Happens When You Fear Free Speech
  30 May 2013     12:02 am

Perhaps these Obama administration scandals (popularly referred to as “so-called scandals” in liberal media circles) lack the explosive drama of a Watergate and the entertainment value of Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes, but for those who are less obsessed with the political consequences and more troubled by constitutional fallout, there’s plenty to see.

To begin with, the Internal Revenue Service scandal isn’t just about the abuse of power; it’s a byproduct of an irrational fear of free speech, which seems to permeate much of the left these days. The unprecedented targeting of conservatives …

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Obama May Survive, but Scandals a Blow to Left
  23 May 2013     12:02 am

For all the complaining the left has done about those shadowy outside political groups subverting the democratic process, we recently learned that no one has the means to undercut freedom of expression quite like an enthusiastic government agency.

Appropriately, nearly everyone in Washington is professing and/or pretending to be outraged that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups. Yet if we’re to believe recent polls, an uninformed President Barack Obama (similarly outraged as he watches events unfold on the news) hasn’t shouldered much of the blame for scandalmania just yet — …

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Get the IRS out of Speech Business
  16 May 2013     12:02 am

So, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups (or, more precisely, groups displaying a bit too much gusto for limited government) was far more widespread than its initial apology would have led Americans to imagine.

Yes, it is disturbing — a dangerous abuse of power, no doubt. What’s more disturbing — or should be, at least — is the fact that the IRS has the capacity to undermine free speech in the first place. Despite President Barack Obama’s assurances, there are no safeguards that can be put into place to …

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Obama’s ‘Fairness’ Economy Has Backfired
  2 May 2013     12:02 am

One of the most seductive parts of President Barack Obama’s political message (and the message of progressive Democrats in general) is sympathy for the poor and a willingness to talk about the disparities of capitalism — about the rich being too rich and the poor being screwed. In some ways, it’s the predominant message of the Obama era.

And though it’s reasonable to contend that Republicans need to display more compassion — if for nothing else than their own political survival — isn’t it also reasonable to take stock of how …

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Michael Bloomberg’s Authoritarian Instincts
  25 Apr 2013     12:03 am

So, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg believes that the public’s interpretation of the Constitution must evolve in the face of terror attacks such as the one in Boston. “You’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days,” the man explained, “and our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”

Of course he thinks they do. That’s why we have constitutions — so they can be changed in tumultuous times. As Bloomberg sees it, the first obligation …

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Who Cares What the Majority Wants on Guns?
  18 Apr 2013     12:02 am

President Barack Obama has been struggling to wrap his head around the “unimaginable” idea that Congress may “defy” the American people and stop a vote on a gun control package compromise. The notion, he says, resists the “overwhelming instinct of the American people” after the massacre in Newtown, Conn., to pass gun control legislation.
Well, the unthinkable happened. The Senate’s sweeping gun legislation came up short on the votes required to move forward. And despite all the idealistic calls for passage and despite the fact that many pundits and advocates seem …

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The Myth of Obama’s Centrism
  11 Apr 2013     12:04 am

Barack Obama’s quest for a “balanced approach” is the lifeblood of his political success — and also its biggest myth. Witness the coverage of the purportedly centrist president’s 2014 budget proposal.
“Obama sends Congress $3.77T spending plan, riles both sides,” says one prominent headline; “President Obama’s risky ‘goodwill’ gambit,” begins another fairy tale. “Obama Budget Is Meant to Draw GOP to the Table,” claims The New York Times.
Nearly every story stresses that the budget has drawn critics from both the left and the right. Obama, you see, is so moderate he’s …

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On the Environment, the Alarmists Are Still Losing
  4 Apr 2013     12:03 am

All that money. All that effort. All the sermonizing and bloodcurdling imagery and still, Americans don’t seem to be evolving quickly enough on the environment.
A new poll by Pew Research Center, for instance, finds that a wide majority of Americans support building the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil to refineries in Texas. Sixty-six percent of Americans favor finishing the pipeline, with only 23 percent in opposition. Strong support cuts through every political distinction — other than “liberal” Democrats.
The Obama administration, which likes to count every organism that’s …

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Don’t Give Up on Obamacare Yet, GOP
  28 Mar 2013     12:04 am

P.J. O’Rourke once remarked, “Feeling good about government is like looking on the bright side of any catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there.” With all the doom and gloom free-market advocates must be feeling these days, there’s one truth that should bolster their resolve about the future: The catastrophe will still be there.
Conventional wisdom says that Republicans need a major attitude adjustment on cultural and social views in both substance and tone. That may very well be true. But the concern from …

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Sorry, GOP, but You Will Never Out-Care the Democrats
  21 Mar 2013     12:03 am

Republicans now have a comprehensive “autopsy” report detailing some of the perceived and some of the real shortcomings of the 2012 presidential election. And the rather optimistically named Growth and Opportunity Project’s report is jampacked with so many painfully obvious observations that one wonders why it had to be written in the first place.
You may not be surprised to learn, for instance, that a bunch of people find the Republican Party “scary,” “narrow minded,” “out of touch” and a party of “stuffy old men.” Alas, the “perception that the GOP …

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In Reality, Debt Matters. It Matters a Lot
  14 Mar 2013     12:03 am

No worries, America. Debt is a preoccupation of the fringe, a mere distraction for anyone interested in progress. And anyway, as President Barack Obama explained this week, “we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s going to be in a sustainable place.”
That’s a pretty convenient position, wouldn’t you say, for a man who’s helped pile on trillions of dollars of new debt and created an entitlement that promises to escalate this non-crisis crisis of ours? Problem is that there are …

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Thank You, Mr. President
  21 Feb 2013     12:02 am

America is fed up with GOP obstructionism. So undoubtedly, everyone is hopeful that Republicans will allow President Barack Obama’s sequestration plans to proceed unhindered. It’s only right.
The GOP, in fact, should quit while it’s ahead. Rather than penning editorials and appearing on Sunday morning talk shows to try to pin the blame on others, leadership would be far better off simply saying: “Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for dreaming up a plan that implements some minimal spending cuts. Thanks for signing it into law. It’s not much, but we …

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Creating the Jobs of Yesterday, Tomorrow!
  14 Feb 2013     12:02 am

Does it bother anyone else that the president of the United States seems to believe that our collective future entails assembling battery parts in a government-subsidized factory for $9 an hour? Is that really what Americans envision for their kids — an assembly line? Because when you look past Barack Obama’s mesmerizingly hollow rhetoric, what he’s proposing is a return of jobs that progress and prosperity have left behind.
In his State of the Union speech, the president laid out a vision that we’ve heard countless times. In his world, billionaires …

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Maybe Rove Has a Point
  7 Feb 2013     12:03 am

Let’s put ideology aside for a moment.
Karl Rove, architect of the George W. Bush-era Republican victories, says he’s sick of fanatics running his party into the ground. So he’s devised a strategy to pre-emptively sink unelectable candidates early in the process. He’s formed a new super PAC to implement this strategy. It’s called the Conservative Victory Fund, and it’s led by a guy named Steven Law, who was the head of another super PAC, called American Crossroads, which went something like 0-7 in the 2012 election cycle. (Not that anyone’s …

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Stagnation, the New Normal
  31 Jan 2013     12:02 am

So, U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly plunged in January to its lowest level in more than a year. The U.S. economy unexpectedly posted a contraction in the fourth quarter of 2012 — for the first time since the recession — “defying” expectations that economic growth is in our future.
If the economy were as vibrant as President Barack Obama has told us it is, a belt tightening in a single sector of government surely wouldn’t be enough to bring about “negative growth.” But one did. Unexpectedly. No worries, though. Pundits on the …

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