GOP Needs Economic Populism

Appearing in: Politico.com You would think, given the massive dissatisfaction with an economy that guarantees mega-bonuses for the rich and continued high unemployment, that the GOP would smell an opportunity. In my travels around the country — including in midstream places like suburban Kansas City and Kentucky — few, including Democrats, express any faith in […]

Let Freedom Ring: Democracy and Prosperity are Inextricably Linked

Appearing in: Forbes.com With autocratic states like China and Russia looking poised for economic recovery, it’s often hard to make the case for ideals such as democracy and rule of law. To some, like Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules, autocrats seem destined to rule the world economy. A columnist for the Guardian, Jacques […]

Ashland, Kentucky

Stimulate Yourself!

Appearing in: Forbes.com Beltway politicians and economists can argue themselves silly about the impact of the Obama administration’s stimulus program, but outside the beltway the discussion is largely over. On the local level–particularly outside the heavily politicized big cities–the consensus seems to be that the stimulus has changed little–if anything. Recently, I met with a […]

Our Euro President

Appearing in: Forbes.com Barack Obama’s seemingly inexplicable winning of the Nobel Peace Prize says less about him than about the current mentality of Europe’s leadership class. Lacking any strong, compelling voices of their own, the Europeans are now trying to hijack our president as their spokesman. There’s a catch, of course. In their mind, Obama […]

There’s No Place Like Home, Americans are Returning to Localism

Appearing in: Newsweek On almost any night of the week, Churchill’s Restaurant is hopping. The 10-year-old hot spot in Rockville Centre, Long Island, is packed with locals drinking beer and eating burgers, with some customers spilling over onto the street. “We have lots of regulars—people who are recognized when they come in,” says co-owner Kevin […]

Mexico’s Real War: It’s Not Drugs

Appearing in: Forbes.com Balding, affable and passionate, Uranio Adolfo Arrendondo may not be a general or political leader, but he stands on the front lines of a critical battle facing Mexico in the coming decade. This struggle is not primarily about the drug wars, which dominate the media coverage–and thus our perceptions–of our southern neighbor. […]

Purple Politics: Is California Moving to the Center?

Appearing in: Forbes.com You don’t have to be a genius, or a conservative, to recognize that California’s experiment with ultra-progressive politics has gone terribly wrong. Although much of the country has suffered during the recession, California’s decline has been particularly precipitous–and may have important political consequences. Outside Michigan, California now suffers the highest rate of […]

Play It Cool at the G-20, Mr. President

Appearing in: Forbes.com Barack Obama goes to this week’s Pittsburgh G-20 with what seems the weakest hand of any American president since Gerald Ford. In reality, he has a far stronger set of cards to play–he just needs to recognize it. Our adversaries may like our new president, but they don’t fear him. And, on […]

California’s Golden Age

Appearing in: Truthdig.com California may yet be a civilization that is too young to have produced its Thucydides or Edward Gibbon, but if it has, the leading candidate would be Kevin Starr. His eight-part “Dream” series on the evolution of the Golden State stands alone as the basic comprehensive work on California. Nothing else comes […]

Hard Times In The High Desert

Appearing in: Forbes.com The High Desert region north and east of Los Angeles sits 3,000 feet above sea level. A rough, often starkly beautiful region of scrubby trees, wide vistas and brooding brown mountains, the region seems like a perfect setting for an old Western shoot ’em up. Today, it’s the stage for a different […]