It’s hard these days to imagine a progressive, academic racist. But that’s a pretty good description of Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson was a professor at Wesleyan and Princeton, and then President of the latter. He was elected Governor of New Jersey and then President of the United States as a reformer, and on many subjects he lived up to that label. During his presidency, the Constitution was changed to allow the government to tax income from the gilded rich, women’s suffrage, and the direct election of U.S. Senators. In foreign policy, he was...

February 18, 2013

I’m less cynical about politics than most people. As a human institution, particularly one that deals with the distribution of power, it has all the frailties and failures of humans themselves. But in general I think American Democracy works pretty well, especially given that we are all just a bunch of over-evolved primates trying to govern ourselves.

I reserve the greater share of my cynicism for the International Olympic Committee.

I love the Olympics, particularly the winter games. Despite never having skied, one of my greatest...

February 13, 2013

My guess is that loyal Republicans, political reporters, and curious Floridians will make up the vast majority of the audience for tonight’s GOP response to the State of the Union. But it will still be important for the guy doing the responding, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and for the country as a whole. Being selected by your party to give the annual response is an honor, but it’s not always a good thing. The person delivering the rebuttal is almost guaranteed to look diminished compared to the President. After the Commander in Chief finishes...

February 12, 2013

Should you be passionate and unyielding on an issue when you think your side is only sixty or seventy percent right? Or should you announce to the world that you're mostly right, note the valid points on both sides, and hope a thoughtful public will support you?

If you've read a few posts on this blog, you know that I lean toward the second approach. I try to give a sober assessment of the merits on each side, and then express my view based on the preponderance of the evidence. But to some, including a friend who contacted me about my post...

February 07, 2013