There are times when moderation won't work, of course. When Lincoln said, "This country cannot exist half slave and half free," he may have known he was invoking our bloodiest war.
The trajectory of putting a man on the moon or all men into the voting booth would have been different with out the extraordinary measures of Kennedy and Johnson.
When Franklin Roosevelt promised to heal "a third of a nation, ill-clad, ill-housed, ill-fed," he knew moderation wouldn't do it.
But mostly it will. We have problems with gun violence because have so much of it. Fewer with knife or hammer assaults. Moderate laws work there.
So I think we can look on Obama as a moderate, successful president with one of our two wars over; the other, ending; and the economy recovering – moderately.
I have no idea who our next president will be. But I think our national fondness for moderation is one reason the Tea Party won't score big gains this fall.
Friday, May 30, 2014
In Michigan, the ruling was delivered by a judge who took office when Ronald Reagan was president. Another, in Utah, from someone who had just recently celebrated his first anniversary as a judge. Both rulings allow same sex marriage. In Pennsylvania, where the ban was just struck down, the judge had all the previously disagreeing opinions in front of him when he ruled.
The Post pieces are longer than mine and probably better, but these few make the the point.
The next time anybody asks you if there's a trend going on in this legal area, feel free to answer, good griief of course there is. It 's as plain as the nose on your face--or docket or whatever.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Memorial Day honors our country's dead in all its wars, surely a fine idea, especially if the wars were worth fighting, as most of ours have been.
The Revolution? Of course, it gave us birth. The War of 1812 kept us alive. The Civil War? Surely Lincoln was right when he said we could not continue half slave and half free.
World War I, I don't know, all those kings fussing at each other, but the other side did sink a lot of our ships. World War II? No question. And Korea? Not much either though one scholar insisted the South struck first.
Vietnam? I never did figure out why we were there. Afghanistan? Iraq?
But there's a better reason for the Day. The men and women who fought for us believed in us and our cause and they therefore deserve all the honor we can give them.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
With Hillary Clinton looking more and more like the probable Democratic presidential candidate it may be time to knock off the old cliche, can women lead in wars? The answer is, sure, and win too.
History? Queen Elizabeth I: "I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too." She proved it by sending the Spanish Armada back to Madrid as damp kindling.
There are others--Amazon warriors beating up the boys; Joan of Arc; Catherine the Great; Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Mary I of England is another, but she may not be the best model with the nickname Bloody Mary.
And a second cliché comes to mind when we mention Hillary. Chasing has been a problem for Bill, but put that to rest by giving him a well-armed security detail. All-woman, maybe?
I don't write about history very often, but there's a story today I can't resist. It's about one of my favorite presidents, Harry Truman, and it says they are thinking about renaming Washington's railroad station in honor of Mr. Truman. This is a fine idea.
Mr. Truman liked Washington and visited often as an ex-president, riding the train, staying always at the same hotel, leaving The Mayflower every morning for a short walk. Reporters joined him and tourists, of course, surrounded him.
"Mr. President," a tourist would ask, "tell us about your nickname, Give 'Em Hell, Harry." Truman would grin, he had a fine one, and say, "I never gave anybody hell, I just told the truth and they thought it was hell." We'd all laugh.
Come on, guys, rename that train station.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
I don't write about tourist attractions very often but one reopened this week that is surely worth some space: the Washington Monument.
No, it hasn't been missing--can you imagine carting it away?-- but the earthquake we had some three years ago cracked enough stones and interior supports that they had to close it-- no visitors, just viewers.
Now it's open again offering some of the best views in town of our capitol which is, in case you need reminding, one of the prettiest around.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
From all the talk you'd have to think Hillary's a lock for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president. I don't see anybody else around but sometimes you gotta wait.
Let's look back. I don't know if you were even born yet, but anyway--- 1972, it was. There was this senator-- Muskie from Maine. He was a good guy, everybody liked him. He seemed a sure lock for that year, so he goes swanning out to Iowa were the process started, just like now, to begin collecting the nomination.
And you know what? The son-of-a-gun fooled us all and lost to some senator none of us had ever heard of, some nobody named McGovern. McGoo, as many of us reporters called him, was so awful he lost 49 of the 50 states in the fall.
Like I said, sometimes you gotta wait.
You remember earlier this year when we learned that our government was tapping all our telephones all the time, accessing our computers and e-mails. Some of us were very angry. It now seems the government may do something about this, though it is far too early for certainty.
The Washington Post reports the House may take the lead. Two committees are looking at bills, and while no one knows what will happen, at least we have reason to hope.
Editor's note: Mr. Morton says "we have reason to hope" that the House will act. This from the man who has pinned lifelong hope on the Chicago Cubs.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Washington is full of ill considered wisdom. You know, lines like "The finest Congress money can buy." But the people going around this week talking about Super Tuesday have got the adjective just about right.
Super Tuesday: 10 states; 437 Republican convention delegates. Enough to nominate a presidential candidate? No, that takes 1144. But still, it's a very big chunk especially when the Washington Post estimates that Mitt Romney so far has 150 delegates and Rich Santorum, 87. Newt Gingrich, according to the Post has 29 and Ron Paul, 18 – fanatics, yes, but they won't quit.
Will anybody clinch the nomination tomorrow? No, but if Romney finishes second in the ten states, his position as frontrunner will be badly damaged even if he has the most pledged delegates. If Santorum wins, he'll start claiming frontrunner status even though Romney may still lead in the delegate count. Newt Gingrich? Ron Paul? Never mind.
The crown jewel of the ten states up is Ohio with 63 delegates. Republican pollster Whit Ayers says if Santorum wins Ohio, "I don't know that he has to win a whole lot of other states to keep it going." If Romney wins Ohio, Gingrich takes Georgia and Santorum wins Tennessee and Oklahoma, Ayers says, "then it becomes what a bunch of people have written about – a long, delegate slog."
Pretty well considered, I'd say.
Lots of worries these days sized for the season, not full-grown, you know: will Russia and Ukraine go to war over Crimea; should the U.S.worry about China;
have we messed up in Syria; and so on.
I was going to add, can the Chicago Cubs escape last place in the National League, but there's no point worrying about things you can't control. But of course the Cubs don't matter as much as the fate of nations.
One other thought: an ABC poll out today shows President Obama's popularity at its lowest ever. I don't believe that's deserved. He solved one war out of two and has improved the economy. That does't sound so bad to me.