George F.

Stories by George F. Will

  • World War I: Still Ending

    It was hot on July 20, 1944, at Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg in East Prussia, so his meeting with staff was moved out of the underground bunker, which would have contained the explosion's force, to a flimsy cabin that did not. The briefcase carrying the bomb was placed under the table Hitler leaned over when examining maps, and behind one of the table's supports, which deflected the blast. Hitler survived. The war continued.If Hitler had died, the Third Reich, a mare's nest of rival power centers, might have quickly become ungovernable, and the Wehrmacht' s officer corps, which knew what was happening in France and Russia, and which feared a Soviet conquest of Germany, would have liquidated the war by unconditional surrender.It would be heartening to believe that the splendid killing of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi will have a similarly shattering effect on the insurgency in Iraq. It will not. The decapitation of a regime--especially one run on the Führerprinzip (the principle that...
  • White Guilt, Deciphered

    The unbearable boredom occasioned by most of today's talk about race is alleviated by a slender, stunning new book. In "White Guilt," Shelby Steele, America's most discerning black writer, casts a cool eye on yet another soft bigotry of low expectations--the ruinous "compassion" of a theory of social determinism that reduces blacks to, in Steele's word, "non-individuated" creatures.That reduction is the basis of identity politics--you are your (racial, ethnic, sexual) group. A pioneer of this politics, which is now considered "progressive," was, Steele says, George Wallace. He, too, insisted that race is destiny.The dehumanizing denial that blacks have sovereignty over their lives became national policy in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson said: "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'You are free to compete with all the others'." This, Steele writes, enunciated a new social...
  • 'His Brother Was Worse!'

    Twelve days before the 2004 election, James Carville was feeling his oats. In a Beverly Hills living room, he told a cohort of Hollywood liberals they could begin savoring a happy ending to the movie "John Kerry Runs for President":"If we can't win this damn election, with a Democratic Party more unified than ever before, with us having raised as much money as the Republicans, with 55 percent of the country believing [the country is] heading in the wrong direction, with our candidate having won all three debates and with our side being more passionate about the outcome than theirs--if we can't win this one, then we can't win [expletive deleted]."Today Democrats have a gale filling their sails. They have even more intensity than they had two years ago; 69 percent of the electorate thinks the country is on the wrong track; the president's job approval is down to 29 percent (it is higher than 50 percent only in four contiguous states--Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska), and the...
  • Legal Theft In Norwood

    Norwood, Ohio--in this town, which is surrounded by Cincinnati, there is a field surrounded by a high chain-link fence. Across a street on one side of the field is a residential neighborhood of modest homes. On another side is an upscale shopping center with a Starbucks, and Birkenstock and Smith & Hawken stores. The field used to be a neighborhood with 99 houses and small businesses, but almost all the structures have been destroyed. One of the homes that remain--the developer of the shopping center wants to level all so he can expand his domain--was for 35 years the first and only home owned by Carl and Joy Gamble, who are both in their mid-60s.Now they live across the Ohio River in Kentucky, in the basement of their daughter's house, as they wait for the Ohio Supreme Court to decide their home's fate. Norwood's government seized it to enrich itself by enriching a taxpaying developer who has a $125 million project.The Gambles say that when the city offered them money for their...
  • Take Me Out To the Metric

    Michael Bourn needs to get out more. A database programmer in Nashua, N.H., he created the Web site plunkbiggio.blogspot.com that tells everything -- really, everything-- about the 273 times that Craig Biggio of the Astros has been hit by a pitch, the modern major-league record.On average, Biggio's plunks have occurred 493 feet above sea level, up 36 feet after two plunkings last year in Denver. The shortest pitcher to hit him? Byung-Hyun Kim (5 feet 9 inches). The average age and weight of the plunking pitchers are 28.5 and 200.22. He has been hit most often by pitchers whose astrological sign is Sagittarius, but more Leos have hit him. He has been hit 15 times while Tiger Woods was on Sports Illustrated's cover. In 1997, the Dow rose an average of 28.63 on trading days after Biggio was hit. And on, and on.Why does Bourn do this? "It is better than following Ruben Sierra's approach to the sacrifice-fly record." (Sierra is nine short of Eddie Murray's 128. Feel the excitement.) An...
  • April: Please Come Soon

    March madness, indeed. College basketball's version adds to the public stock of harmless pleasure. That cannot be said of what the political class has been up to. Consider two things.March began with what can best be described as a riot by the nation's political class. The riot concerned ports.Or, more accurately, it concerned container terminals. Not since the Terri Schiavo stampede has there been such a brew of piety and irrationality. But the Schiavo episode did no lasting damage to the nation, and was a mostly Republican folly.The high-minded are constantly telling us that the nation needs more bipartisanship. Well, the riot about ... well, whatever it was about, was nothing if not bipartisan. The subject, sort of, was the terrifying specter of foreigners' taking over operations of six of the major ports that are among the 80 percent of U.S. terminals currently operated by ... foreigners. Worse, by an Arab nation, which muddies up our certitudes by being a staunch friend of...
  • Let States Be Entrepreneurs

    Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the proposition that "entrepreneurial federalism" is unconstitutional. No one used that phrase, but it captures what the court is pondering: When states compete to attract businesses by offering tax and other incentives, are they violating the Constitution's Commerce Clause? It delegates to Congress the power to "regulate commerce... among the several states."In 1998, Ohio granted DaimlerChrysler substantial tax benefits--all states offer similar incentives--to expand a Jeep assembly plant in Toledo rather than moving operations to Michigan. A federal appeals court disapproved the deal, ruling that it unconstitutionally interfered with interstate commerce by favoring companies expanding in one state. The case was brought to court by some Ohio and Michigan taxpayers who said--correctly, but irrelevantly as regards the Constitution--that such state policies shift tax burdens from businesses to individuals.The Supreme Court...
  • An Election Breakwater?

    The electorate's dyspeptic mood about the nation's politics reflects the fact that, as is frequently the case, the party in power in Washington has done much to earn a rebuke but the opposition party has done nothing to earn a reward. Herewith a tour of the political horizon nine months before the November elections, and 33 months before the first presidential election since 1952 without an incumbent president or vice president running--and just the second in 28 years without a Bush on the ballot.Democrats are hoping that an electoral tsunami in November will wash away the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. But Democrats have been complicit in building what may be a breakwater--Republican consultant Bill McInturff's term--that protects the hold that Republicans secured in 1994 after 40 years in the minority. And if Democrats do win a majority, they may regret it.The breakwater has three components--gerrymandering, campaign-finance "reforms" and the particular form...
  • U.K. Pets Get 'Freedoms'

    One thinks twice, even thrice, before using in a magazine as decorous as NEWSWEEK the four-letter F word that causes so much discord. But words should not be minced. So, what is being done for British pets is just not fair .One wants to avoid speciesism, the moral disease of being species-centric. Still, why should British pets have more--25 percent more, to be precise--freedoms than humans do?In January 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt envisioned a "world founded upon four essential human freedoms"--freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. In January 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair's--technically, Her Majesty's--Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said pets should have five freedoms. The Animal Welfare Bill says the five are:^ An appropriate diet.^ Suitable living conditions.^ Companionship or solitude, as the cat, canary or gerbil prefers.^ Monitoring for abnormal behavior.^...
  • About Those Categories...

    For many months the nation has reverberated with the clanging certitudes that swirl around today's process of confirming Supreme Court justices. Last week the first major decision handed down by the Roberts Court demonstrated the problematic nature of the simplifying categories by which justices and rulings are characterized. The 6-3 decision, which affirmed a ruling by the very liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upheld the constitutionality of Oregon's law legalizing physician-assisted suicide. The Supreme Court's decision could be characterized as conservative, exemplifying judicial modesty in deference to policies adopted democratically.The three dissenters--John Roberts and Clarence Thomas embracing Antonin Scalia's argument--favored striking down the law that Oregonians passed in a 1994 referendum and resoundingly reaffirmed by a 60 percent vote against a 1997 attempt to repeal it. The dissent by the three conservatives could be characterized as liberal--judicial...
  • 2005's Kind Of Progress

    Seeking the serenity that a sense of history confers in testing times, Mike Cameron, a Mets outfielder in 2005, said in defense of a teammate who lost a fly ball in the sun, "Stuff is going to happen sometimes. The sun has been there for 500, 600 years." Stuff happened in 2005, when an obituary in the Chicago Tribune advised, "In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans." At home, the president's, and the nation's, disagreeable year can be summarized by three female names: Terri Schiavo, Harriet Miers and Katrina. The first involved grotesque overreaching by the federal government, undertaken by self-described conservatives whose action refuted their description. The second involved indifference to competence. The third displayed the consequences of incompetence. Abroad, Iraq illustrated one, two and three.In Russia, despotism continued to make a comeback, but Lenin, at least, may soon be buried: His cadaver in Red Square is said to sometimes sprout fungi. The 482...
  • Free Speech Under Siege

    Attacks on freedom of political speech are becoming more brazen. Because the attackers aim to enlarge government's control of the political campaigns that decide who controls government, the attacks advance liberalism's program of extending government supervision of life.Some liberal senators have filed a brief urging the Supreme Court, in a case concerning Vermont's speech restrictions, to affirm that people like the seven senators--"elected representatives and seasoned participants in the electoral process," meaning professional politicians--"are entitled to broad deference in the regulation of federal elections." Entitled, that is, to regulate the quantity, the timing and even the content of speech about themselves. Indeed, in its 5-4 decision upholding the McCain-Feingold law's expansion of government regulation of political communications, the Supreme Court held that political incumbents are entitled to judicial deference when they write rules that control challenges to their...
  • Three Samples Of Sam Alito

    While gambling at the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, Ayhan Hakimoglu chose to accept from the casino many free drinks. That, he said, was why he lost "substantial" sums and why he sued the casino, charging that it "intentionally and maliciously enticed him" on numerous occasions. Judge Sam Alito was unpersuaded.Writing for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Alito noted that New Jersey courts have not made servers of alcohol liable beyond injuries resulting from drunken driving or accidents or brawls in a bar. He said that although the state's regulation of casinos is "intense," there was no evidence of a legislative intent to make casinos liable for giving alcohol to gamblers. Alito agreed with a lower court's holding that extending such liability into an area "so fully regulated" would not be a "predictable extension of common law tort principles."Alito also cited the lower court's opinion that making casinos liable for losses incurred by drunken gamblers ...
  • 'Eleven Men And Sic 'Em'

    On Jan. 26, 1983, phone service through-out area code 205, which then included all of Alabama, crashed from overload. Was the cause a natural disaster? Yes. Oh, yes, something very natural--death--had claimed the University of Alabama's football coach.Allen Barra's illuminating book "The Last Coach: A Life of Paul 'Bear' Bryant" explains why Alabamians felt so bereft. It also answers a question especially pertinent since Thomas Herrion, 23, a 315-pound lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, died in August of a previously undetected heart disease: Has football become grotesque?Football combines two disagreeable features of American life--violence punctuated by committee meetings, called huddles. Furthermore, after Bryant became a coach, and to his regret, football players became specialists--often dangerously large specialists.In 1964, all limits on substitution ended, bringing the virtual extinction of players who played "on both sides of the ball"--both offense and defense. Some...
  • On K Street Conservatism

    For a few conservatives, the accumulation of discontents may have begun building toward today's critical mass in December 2001 with the No Child Left Behind law, which intruded the federal government deeply into the state and local responsibility of education, grades K through 12. That intrusion has been accompanied by a 51 percent increase in the budget of the Education Department that conservatives once aspired to abolish.The accumulation accelerated in December 2003, when the Republican House leadership held open for three hours the vote on adding a prescription-drug benefit to Medicare. The time was needed to browbeat enough conservatives to pass the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ--an entitlement with an unfunded liability larger than that of Social Security. The president's only believable veto threat in nearly five years was made to deter an attempt to cut spending by trimming the drug entitlement.Agriculture subsidies increased 40 percent while farm income...
  • VRA, ALL OF IT, FOREVER?

    The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 and included a number of "emergency" provisions that were set to expire as early as 1970 but were extended and amended in 1970, 1975 and 1982. They will soon be extended for a fourth time, two years before they are due to expire--and for another 25 years. This bipartisan rush illustrates the descent of the residue of the civil-rights movement into the barren politics of gesture and nostalgia. The eager participation of Republicans demonstrates cravenness and two kinds of opportunism, one deservedly futile, the other disgracefully successful.The VRA ranks above Social Security, the GI Bill of Rights and other landmark legislation as the 20th century's noblest and most transformative law. Before it, African-Americans in the South depended on something undependable--the kindness of strangers. Largely excluded from the electorate, they could not compel the good will of the political class. Until 1965, when swift change began.Today there are 43...
  • Mr. Breyer's 'Modesty'

    Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's new book is more interesting than its author probably intended. "Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution" demonstrates how a posture of judicial "modesty"--Breyer's word--can empower a judge to wield immodest power in cutting down constitutional impediments to a--his--political agenda.Breyer begins by asserting a distinction between what he considers two kinds of liberty--"modern liberty," meaning freedom from government coercion, and "active liberty," meaning freedom to participate in government. But from the fact that the Constitution's Framers valued "active liberty" it does not follow that, as Breyer argues, government measures that encourage--or are packaged as encouragements of--active liberty should be considered congruent with the Framers' overriding purpose and hence should usually survive constitutional challenges.Breyer asserts that the Framers did not merely value freedom to choose active liberty--participation in...
  • LABOR SINCE THE OVERPASS

    Dearborn, Mich.--A suitable venue for contemplating organized labor's current disarray is here, at the footbridge over Miller Road. In 1937 it led to the main entrance of the foremost example of America's manufacturing might--the Ford Motor Co.'s River Rouge plant, then the world's most fully integrated car-manufacturing facility, from blast furnaces to assembly line. Five years later the plant would exemplify America as the "arsenal of democracy." It made jeeps, tanks, trucks and engines for B-24 bombers. But on May 26 the footbridge to the plant made history."The Battle of the Overpass," a heroic event in American labor history, began when Walter Reuther, president of UAW Local 174, and three colleagues started across the footbridge to distribute leaflets as part of their campaign to unionize the plant. They were savagely beaten by perhaps 40 Ford thugs and thrown down the overpass stairs. The thugs confiscated most photographers' film, but James (Scotty) Kilpatrick of The Detroit...
  • WHAT WE OWE WHAT WE EAT

    Matthew Scully, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is the most interesting conservative you have never heard of. He speaks barely above a whisper and must be the mildest disturber of the peace. But he is among the most disturbing.If you value your peace of mind, not to mention your breakfast bacon, you should not read Scully's essay "Fear Factories: The Case for Compassionate Conservatism--for Animals." It appeared in the May 23, 2005, issue of Pat Buchanan's magazine The American Conservative--not where you would expect to find an essay arguing that industrial livestock farming involves vast abuses that constitute a serious moral problem.The disturbing facts about industrial farming by the $125 billion-a-year livestock industry--the pain-inflicting confinements and mutilations--have economic reasons. Ameliorating them would impose production costs that consumers would pay. But to glimpse what consumers would be paying to stop, visit factoryfarming.com/gallery.htm....
  • A DEBATE THAT DOES NOT END

    John Scopes attended high school in Salem, Ill., where his commencement speaker was the town's most famous native son, William Jennings Bryan. Their paths would cross again.Eighty years ago Scopes, 24, a high-school football coach and general-science teacher, attended a meeting in Robinson's drugstore in Dayton, Tenn. There, to the satisfaction of community leaders who thought that what was to come would be good for business, Scopes agreed to become the defendant in a trial testing Tennessee's law against teaching "any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals."So began "the most widely publicized misdemeanor case in American history." That is Edward J. Larson's description of the "monkey trial" in his 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning "Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion." With that debate again at a rolling boil,...
  • CHOICE UNDER FIRE, YET AGAIN

    Florida's Supreme Court last week was the latest venue for the movable feast of meretricious arguments by which public-school teachers unions wage war in any city or state where families of poor children try to escape from failing public schools. The attack on Florida's school-choice program relied on 19th-century bigotry and 21st-century obscurantism.Florida's Opportunity Scholarships, the nation's first statewide school-choice program, was enacted in 1999 to ameliorate a gross civil-rights injustice--the fact that poor families whose children are trapped in terrible schools are helpless to prevent their children's life chances from being blighted. The program empowers students to transfer from failing schools, as defined by set criteria, to the public or private school of their choice.Teachers unions immediately filed suit to block this escape route--this underground railroad, if you will--from the public-school plantation. The suit cited two provisions of Florida's constitution...
  • BROWNBACK'S PLANS FOR 2008

    In 1988, the arrival of the religious right and social conservatism as formidable and entwined forces in the Republican Party was signaled when Pat Robertson received 25 percent of the vote in the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses, second to Bob Dole's 37 percent. Seventeen years later, when Robertson was asked on ABC's "This Week" who he thought might make a fine Republican nominee in 2008, he began his answer: "There's an outstanding senator from Kansas..."Sam Brownback, 48, won the Senate seat Dole vacated when he became the Republican presidential nominee in 1996. In 2008, all Republican aspirants will seek the support of the religious right and other social conservatives. Those factions are a large portion of the party and a larger portion of the party's primary voters.Two candidates could have special strength with that group. One is Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, if in 2006 he survives what seems certain to be a difficult campaign for a third Senate term. The other will...
  • THE ODDNESS OF EVERYTHING

    Invited by the University of Miami to address members of the class of 2005, the columnist repaid this courtesy by telling them that even though they surely had showered before donning their caps and gowns, each of them had about a trillion bacteria feeding on the 10 billion flakes of skin each of us sheds in a day. If each 2005 graduate were disassembled into his or her constituent atoms, each graduation gown would contain nothing but atomic dust. But as currently assembled, this star dust--really: we are all residues of the Big Bang--is living stuff, capable of sublime emotions like love, patriotism and delight in defeating Florida State.The body of every Miami graduate has about 10 thousand trillion cells, each containing a strand of DNA that, uncoiled, would extend about six feet. If that person's DNA were spliced into a single strand, it would extend 20 million kilometers--enough to stretch from Miami to Los Angeles and back 2,270 times.So says Bill Bryson, author of the...
  • THE POPE AND THE SURGEON

    A concatenation of three events last week--two protracted deaths and one literary birth--was, as a stimulus to reflection, remarkable. Or, some will say, providential.In a utilitarian, if humane, place, a hospice in Florida, a woman tangled in some toils of modernity--medical technology, and the machinery of litigation and legislation--died because, after 15 years in a vegetative state, and supposedly out of respect for her autonomy, nutrition and hydration were withdrawn from her. In any other age--even a generation or two ago--she would not have become an appendage of devices that can sustain the body, or most of it, while a part of it, the brain, has stopped performing the functions essential to personhood, as normally understood.There was another death, in a place of purposeful splendor, the Vatican, which was built as a defiant assertion of confident authority in response to the tempest of the Reformation. The foremost contemporary steward of an ancient faith, Pope John Paul II...
  • BEIJING'S 43 BENTLEYS

    The story, perhaps apocryphal, is that the adjective "posh" began as a British acronym. For travelers by sea to India and the Orient, the preferred shipboard accommodations, because of the tropical sun, were portside out, starboard side home.Bentley automobiles, manufactured in Britain, are among the world's poshest luxury goods, with models ranging from U.S. prices of $165,000 to $280,000. Most of the 43 sold last year by Beijing Bentley were the pricier models.On Shanghai's waterfront, a building that is a monument to China's growing consumerism contains a large Armani store and a spa with indoor canals filled with Evian water. Armani expects to have as many as 30 stores on the mainland by 2008. China is now Louis Vuitton's fourth largest market. Prada, Zegna, Ferragamo, Dior and other luxury merchandisers are competing for the estimated 10 million to 13 million Chinese high-end customers. That is a small sliver of a nation of 1.3 billion, but it may be a large portent. U.S....
  • GIVE BALLOTS TO FELONS?

    Under the stopped-clock principle--even a stopped clock is right twice a day--let the record show that Sens. Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Democrats from California, New York and Ohio, respectively, have a tenuous hold on a piece of a point in their election-reform bill that is, however, generally dreadful and, in parts, patently unconstitutional.The Count Every Vote Act, which might better be called the What's a Little Fraud Among Friends? Act, reflects monomania--the idea that anything that increases the number of ballots cast is wonderful. So the act would make Election Day a federal holiday--and would require states to have Election Day registration, which is an invitation to fraud.The act would further erode federalism by stripping states of their traditional rights to regulate elections. States would be required to have no-excuse absentee voting and to conform to new federal standards regarding mandatory recounts, provisional ballots, poll...
  • THE DEFLATION OF POLITICS

    PRESIDENT, n. The leading figure in a small group of men of whom--and of whom only--it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.By the time most NEWSWEEK readers receive this issue, they and other voters will be choosing, or will have chosen, the man least not wanted, a.k.a. the winner. He will step confidently forward--and will, as it were, smack his forehead into some facts, which are, as John Adams said, stubborn things.Congress is a fact, and can be stubborn. In their quadrennial obsession with the presidency, Americans forget that Congress is the first branch of government. There is a reason the Constitution deals with the legislative branch in Article I: not much happens without its cooperation.If John Kerry is Mr. Least Not Wanted, he probably will confront a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The Senate might have a Republican or a Democratic majority, or it might be tied, with the vice president--Dick...
  • MODERN LIFE IN NFL NATION

    A fat lot Keats knew about autumn. "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"? Fiddlesticks. It is football season, the distilled essence of modern life.It is sex (pneumatic cheerleaders), violence (when the 1976 Super Bowl made the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders famous, a CBS producer said, "The audience deserves a little sex with its violence"), technology (quarterbacks electronically instructed by coaches wired to subordinate Merlins in the upper reaches of the stadium), committee meetings (huddles), division of labor (interior linemen specializing in third-and-short yardage situations), jargon (zone-flooding nickel packages and seam-splitting nose tackles, or something like that) and a hallmark of a commercial society--strategic parsimony about time.Welcome to the National Football League, a cultural artifact that causes thinkers to commit sociology. Michael MacCambridge plumbs these depths in his fine new book, "America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation."...
  • A LETHAL IDEA STILL LIVES

    This grotesque presidential campaign, which every day subtracts from the nation's understanding of its deepening dilemmas, cannot end soon enough, or well. Concerning the issue that eclipses all others--the wars in Iraq and against Islamic terrorists--reasonable people can be simultaneously to the right of President Bush and to the left of John Kerry.To the right of Bush: More forces may be needed--and more forceful employment of them. In the truncated conquest of Fallujah, U.S. commanders ignored Napoleon's axiom: "If you start to take Vienna--take Vienna." Flinching may have been prudent, although finishing the conquest might not have added much to the odium surrounding the U.S. presence in Iraq. And not crushing the insurgency in Fallujah may have accelerated, even formalized, the disintegration of Iraq. How do the administration's nation-builders think elections are going to be held in this maelstrom?To the left of Kerry: Recently he said that even if he had known then what we...
  • IN THE THREE PENNSYLVANIAS

    Pittsburgh--re-ordained in Manhattan, George W. Bush headed for his 34th presidential visit to Pennsylvania. Tony Podesta dourly says Bush cabinet members are so thick on the Pennsylvania ground, "He could have a quorum for a cabinet meeting here." Podesta's job is to see that Bush's courtship of this state becomes, like Quasimodo's ardor for Esmeralda, a famous episode of unrequited love.Podesta, a political lifer, lives in Washington--his younger brother John was a White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton--but grew up in the Chicago of the Richard J. Daley machine, acquiring there a mechanic's mastery of political nuts and bolts that he put to use running Clinton's successful 1996 campaign in Pennsylvania. Now he is massaging Pennsylvania for John Kerry.Like an old-school Chicagoan, when asked which part of that city he lived in, Podesta mentions not the name of a neighborhood but of his Roman Catholic parish. A feel for ethnic facts is indispensable here in the state's...
  • COLORADO'S CRUCIAL VOTE

    November's most portentous vote is not for president. It is Colorado's vote on abandoning, beginning this year, the winner-take-all allocation of the state's electoral votes. Instead, they would be divided according to each candidate's percentage of the popular vote.This is a pernicious proposal, and not merely because one of its aims is partisan: if Colorado had had this system in 2000, its eight (now nine) electoral votes would have gone to Bush 5-3 instead of 8-0 and the six-vote swing would have elected Gore. The Colorado proposal, which may be a precursor of a nationwide drive to scrap the electoral-vote system, ignores how that system nurtures crucial political virtues.Winner-take-all allocation is a state choice, not a constitutional mandate, but 48 states have made it. Maine and Nebraska allocate one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district and award the two votes for the state's senators to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote.America's...