Conservatives everywhere are trying to outdo each other. Cut off welfare after two years? Make that just 60 days in some states. End social benefits to illegal immigrants? Make that legal immigrants too. Add the death penalty for some federal crimes? Why not for more?
claim to be riding a wave of historical change. The
wave is global in its reach
and unstoppable in its force. Those who get in the way are
representatives of an old, obsolete
order; they may put up a fight, but they will be beaten in the
According to The Economist, PaineWebber has created an
index of "happiness" for bonds that goes up when unemployment
If others would only follow this example and strike a blow against
hypocrisy, we could have a series of more accurate social indicators:
an index of happiness for hospitals that jumps when epidemics
hit; one for journalists that goes up when scandals break out;
another for lawyers and accountants that climbs whenever a company
The 2000 presidential election, we've all heard, is "front loaded" because early primaries are likely to decide the nominations, and candidates consequently have had to accumulate money and support long in advance. But this past year, the race became front loaded in another way- many people were already bored when it had scarcely begun. Very early in the process, the conventional wisdom settled on who the nominees and even the winner would be. And with the economy growing smartly and no single issue galvanizing public opinion, the prospect that both major parties would nominate bland centrists led many people to conclude that however the political battle turned out, it wouldn't make much difference.
Bill Clinton's first term effectively lasted two years, until the disastrous midterm elections of 1994. Then came the two-year Clinton-Gingrich government of national disharmony, ending in the President's miraculous revival. Now we have the third Clinton presidency, the second Gingrich Congress, and a gathering storm of investigations that may well dominate national politics for the next two years.