The Week: Most Recent Bullpen recent posts.en-usThu, 25 Jul 2013 12:40:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Bullpen from THE WEEKThu, 25 Jul 2013 12:40:00 -0400Critics are wrong about one aspect of Weinergate 2.0<img src="" /></P><p>I can't defend Anthony Weiner. The man is utterly unsympathetic. Even before the scandals he was an obnoxious twit.</p><p>So don't take this as a defense of <em>him</em>. But... what bothers me about the wall-to-wall Weiner coverage is the breathless accusations about how he (gasp!) used power to seduce young women.</p><p><em>Girls</em> star Lena Dunham tweeted, "The problem isn't adultery, or perversity. It's wielding your position of authority to subjugate the women who dream of a piece of the pie." If this was Weiner's cardinal sin (as some would have you believe), we must be left scratching our heads, thinking: "<em>How then...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:40:00 -0400A federal bailout for Detroit is a terrible idea<img src="" /></P><p>No one could have been surprised by the decision of Detroit's emergency manager to file for municipal bankruptcy last week. Fifty years ago, the center of American auto dominance ranked as the country's wealthiest city. After decades of decline in both its private sector and its population, its status as a cautionary tale has long been established.</p><p>The central question now is whether state and local governments across the country draw the right lesson from Motor City's woes. And with some calling for a federal bailout of Detroit &mdash; including Steven Rattner, the Obama administration's car...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 23 Jul 2013 07:30:00 -0400The George Zimmerman trial: Justice, tragedy, and the law<img src="" /></P><p>Was justice served in the George Zimmerman trial?</p><p>The problem with this question is that it assumes that "justice" in the <em>moral</em> sense was at stake in the trial of Zimmerman, or anyone else's trial, for that matter. Justice isn't an objective quality, guaranteed universally by juries or judges or courtrooms anywhere in the world, including the U.S. Justice depends on perspective, and even in that sense, any outcome from the Zimmerman case would have fallen far short of that ideal.</p><p>Criminal trials take place in an environment of law, not justice. That allows citizens on a jury to objectively apply...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 16 Jul 2013 07:49:00 -0400Will the George Zimmerman case teach Americans to mind their own business?<img src="" /></P><p>It's easier for me to identify with Trayvon Martin than George Zimmerman. As a teenager, I discovered what it was like to be hassled by a strange community's Neighborhood Watch, whose members once profiled me and my beat-up car with the Grateful Dead stickers parked on their leafy street after dark. (I was lost and had pulled over to look at a map.) And as an adult with some libertarian tendencies, I've bumped heads a time or two with self-appointed (and self-important) do-gooders and homeowners association types with way too much time on their hands.</p><p>Meanwhile, I can safely say I would never...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 15 Jul 2013 07:00:00 -0400President Obama: Flounderer-in-chief?<img src="" /></P><p>Six months into his new term, President Obama should be feeling pretty good. After all, the economy is looking up and Americans are more confident about their prospects. The job market is healing and housing prices are up double-digits over the past year. New cars are rolling out of showrooms at the fastest pace in nearly six years. There's nothing like that new car smell.</p><p>Yet to many folks in Washington and around the country, a different odor is discernible: It's one of panic, they say, the smell of a president who is floundering. He seems to know it himself.</p><p>"I sure do wanna do some governing...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/paul-brandus" ><span class="byline">Paul Brandus</span></a>Fri, 12 Jul 2013 07:45:00 -0400What 3 years of ObamaCare incompetence tells us about the White House<img src="" /></P><p>When the Affordable Care Act was first introduced in 2009, critics called the massive government expansion into the private health-insurance industry an unworkable mess. More than three years later, the Obama administration seems to be making the same argument in support of a series of waivers to provisions due to be enforced later this year or early in 2014. A series of retreats on implementing the requirements of ObamaCare highlights the massive complexity in the legislation as well as the inability of the administration to manage its own highest priority.</p><p>The first sounding of retreat came...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Wed, 10 Jul 2013 07:40:00 -0400Nearly all Americans think of themselves as patriots<img src="" /></P><p>The Founding Fathers wanted us to pursue whatever it is that brings us happiness, and on this July 4th &mdash; the one day that brings right and left, Republican and Democrat, old and young, rich and poor, black and white together to celebrate our independence, we put aside our differences to share the one thing that in the end, we have in common: a love of country.</p><p>Love of country manifests itself in ways big and small. The biggest example of patriotism, of course, is the brave men and women who wear our country's uniform and risk their lives so that we can be free. So far this year, 72 Americans...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/paul-brandus" ><span class="byline">Paul Brandus</span></a>Thu, 04 Jul 2013 08:30:00 -0400America needs a flat income tax -- or no income tax<img src="" /></P><p>The conservative groups targeted by the IRS had long complained of disparate treatment, and have been vindicated &mdash; but only after the 2012 election cycle finished, leaving them to organize for 2014 instead.</p><p>The Obama administration already had an uphill battle in its ObamaCare implementation, which has the IRS as its main enforcer, and now the stench of scandal hangs over the public-relations efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services.</p><p>Democrats on the committees investigating the scandal have to walk a fine line between expressing outrage over targeting in general and minimizing...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 02 Jul 2013 09:50:00 -0400We're halfway through 2013. How are things going?<img src="" /></P><p>It's always funny how both the left and right see the same things so differently. On Twitter, I often illustrate these stark differences by using the old "Monster Mad Libs" game. Example:</p><p>"As a (Democrat/Republican), it's clear that things are getting (better/worse). President Obama deserves all the (credit/blame). It's certainly an (improvement/freefall) from where things were when Bush was president. I can't believe how (stupid) these (Republicans/Democrats) are."</p><p>With that in mind: I've compiled some data comparing where we were on January 1 and where we are now. No doubt you'll think the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/paul-brandus" ><span class="byline">Paul Brandus</span></a>Tue, 02 Jul 2013 06:10:00 -0400Why Republicans should shut up about Hillary Clinton's age<img src="" /></P><p>In a fascinating <em>New York Times</em> article this weekend, Jonathan Martin wrote: "A Republican approach that calls attention to Mrs. Clinton's age is not without peril, and Democrats predict that it could backfire."</p><p>This is true, but mostly irrelevant, inasmuch as <em>calling</em> attention to it is unnecessary. Martin quotes Karl Rove, who &mdash; hearkening back to JFK's 1960 campaign &mdash; notes that such messages can be handled subtly: "It was a matter of style, emphasis, tone, and focus. It wasn&rsquo;t so much an explicit contrast. The most powerful argument in politics are where the voters themselves...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 01 Jul 2013 09:35:00 -0400The anti-amnesty movement's underbelly<img src="" /></P><p>There are plenty of legitimate reasons to oppose immigration reform. But it's time to be honest about one big bad reason driving some of the most passionate, if less high-profile, opponents: Fear that whites are losing their country.</p><p>I do not bring this up cavalierly. Such charges are thrown around far too casually. Just yesterday, for example, in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act, an overwrought Rev. Al Sharpton declared that the ruling "really revoked a lot of what Dr. King's dream was all about."</p><p>But it has become very clear to me that beneath the surface lurks...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 26 Jun 2013 07:08:00 -0400Edward Snowden: Traitor and hero?<img src="" /></P><p>Edward Snowden is a reminder that patriotism &mdash; as Samuel Johnson noted two and a half centuries ago &mdash; is the last refuge of a scoundrel. At least that's what the U.S. government &mdash; which has formally accused Snowden of espionage &mdash; would have you believe.</p><p>Snowden surely knew this would be the government's reaction. What Snowden apparently didn't figure out in his narcissistic haze is that defectors, like a gallon of milk, are only good for a short time before they grow stale and worthless. The Chinese know this. They wrung Snowden dry, tweaked the U.S., and let Snowden leave...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/paul-brandus" ><span class="byline">Paul Brandus</span></a>Tue, 25 Jun 2013 08:13:00 -0400Why Edward Snowden's motives matter<img src="" /></P><p>As the NSA's latest <em>b&ecirc;te noire</em> plays Carmen Sandiego with both the United States and reporters in Moscow, other journalists are looking at the broader implications of dealing with sources that leak classified material. Do motives matter in how the media should approach the leak, or should journalists remain objective and focus only on the story? With the Department of Justice naming reporters as co-conspirators to espionage in federal court and popular sentiment for Edward Snowden split between hero and traitor, the publishers of leaks have some soul-searching to do.</p><p><em>BuzzFeed</em>'s Ben Smith...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 25 Jun 2013 06:38:00 -0400Why Bobby Jindal has to play dumb<img src="" /></P><p>Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's widely discussed <em>Politico</em> article this week certainly provoked a strong reaction. And you can see why: Whereas Jindal had previously suggested that Republicans ought to engage in some much-needed soul searching (and stop being "the party of stupid"), he has now basically declared that "the time to hesitate is through."</p><p>As <em>Slate</em>'s Dave Weigel observed, the article read "like a stump speech &mdash; like a speech by someone who hasn't debated the other side in a while." This is true, but Weigel's point was quickly undermined when his colleague and fellow boy bander ...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 20 Jun 2013 07:00:00 -0400We should have listened to Eisenhower<img src="" /></P><p>More than 52 years ago, Dwight David Eisenhower gave his final speech as president. Eisenhower had led the American fight in Europe during World War II, and played a major part in America's transformation from a nation of industrial might and relative isolation into the first superpower of the modern age. The U.S. filled the role played by the British Empire for the previous few centuries, especially when the Soviet Union seized eastern Europe and threatened to spread its totalitarian system around the globe. Eisenhower picked up the Cold War reins from Harry Truman, building upon the massive modern...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:06:00 -0400How much privacy will you trade for security?<img src="" /></P><p>To understand what Edward Snowden did &mdash; out a massive National Security Agency surveillance program that he says is undermining American democracy &mdash; it's helpful to go back to Sept. 11, 2001.</p><p>Remember the anger and defiance you felt that day? The fear? I certainly remember &mdash; like it was yesterday. I watched the towers burn and crumple from my Manhattan office building. After the shock wore off, this troubling question lingered on: "Why couldn't we have done more to stop it?</p><div><p>The answer was, sadly, that we could have done more to stop 9/11. We could have paid attention to 954...</p></div> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/paul-brandus" ><span class="byline">Paul Brandus</span></a>Mon, 10 Jun 2013 10:53:00 -0400