Business at the Tiller

There is a long tradition in the United States of appointing people who have no political experience to the cabinet directly from business. This is particularly true of economic portfolios such as Commerce or Treasury but applies in other positions too. The Secretary of State has long been different. All recent Secretaries of State have had at […]

Issuing orders

In his first week of office, Donald Trump issued more executive orders than Barack Obama did in his first week.  That was probably deliberate. He wants to be seen as an activist president. Executive orders are generally controversial with the party which does not control the executive, and sometimes with constitutional scholars. The President is […]

Is Trump rejecting climate denial?

It has become depressingly ordinary for Republican politicians to enter a denial phase in any discussion of climate change. This both undermines any attempt to deal with this issue, but also to discuss it. People who pretend the climate isn’t changing will refuse to discuss how best to address the issue and it allows liberals […]

Trump is wrong, even when he’s right

Donald Trump has a remarkable ability to let his worst characteristics shine through even when he happens, by pure chance, to be right about something. Buzzfeed published some completely unconfirmed allegations about Trump’s personal life. The site even acknowledged that they had absolutely no idea if the allegations were true. CNN then reported that Buzzfeed […]

A nation of laws

There were many legal arguments raised against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). But there was one interesting approach that no-one tried. No-one argued that the Act was unlawful because enacting  a single-payer system was beyond the powers of Congress. That makes sense. The legislation did not enact a single-payer system. Candidate Obama had claimed that […]

How to be an independent

Donald Trump is, effectively, an independent president. He has no roots in the Republican Party, and no sympathy with its vision or policies. There are numerous ways to be an independent. Your columnist would favour a grand bargain in which the president persuaded Democrats to abandon everything they want on the economy and Republicans to abandon […]

No Congressional Honeymoon

President Clinton – President Bill Clinton – began his term when the Democrats had controlled the House for forty years and the Senate for most of that time too. They lost control two years later. When George W Bush took office Republicans had a secure majority in the House and a narrow one in the […]

Extremely careless

There is evidence that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information”. So said FBI Director, James Comey. But what, exactly, does “extremely careless” mean? Etymologically and literally it means that they cared less than they should have about national security. This included the identities of […]

Trump’s hostile takeover is dangerous

Donald Trump’s candidacy poses significant risks for the US and for the Republican Party. Although the US Constitution – with its strong executive presidency and the requirement for a majority in the Electoral College – encourages the creation of a party system with two, broad-based, parties, this is no guarantee that any individual party will […]

Vote Johnson-Weld

Endorsing Gary Johnson and William Weld is no departure for this column, which has endorsed both candidates before. Johnson for president in 2012 and Weld for governor of New York in 2006. Four years ago Common Sense mentioned Johnson exactly twice: when he was chosen as the Libertarian candidate and endorsing him for president. His […]