Author: BRENT GRACE

Column: If Obama is Unbeatable in 2012, What Should GOP Do?

Here’s a thought experiment: what if the 2012 election is basically unwinnable for the GOP? For all his faults, President Barack Obama did order Osama bin Laden killed. That, combined with the possible lack of a strong, unifying GOP candidate could mean that the outcome of the 2012 election is a given. As a student of history, I have to stop here and remind everybody that George H.W. Bush was in a similar position in 1991. He had just vanquished Saddam Hussein in the “mother of all battles” and was enjoying an 80 percent approval rating just about the time...

Column: Planning to Fail in Afghanistan

American popular culture is cyclical. Currently, there seems to be a wave of 1980s nostalgia; from “Star Wars” and “Back to the Future” spoofs on “Family Guy” to remakes of 80s staples like “The Karate Kid” to the 80s teen-romantic-comedy pastiche in the 2010 Emma Stone vehicle “Easy A.” I like rocking out to Andrew Ridgley and that other guy in Wham! as much as the next guy, but there is one aspect of 80s nostalgia that I find disconcerting: America is repeating the Soviet Union’s strategy on its way to failing on Afghanistan. Consider the similarities outlined by the...

Column: Republican Party Must Move Beyond Birthers, Trump

If the GOP wants the White House in 2012, they better start earning it now. President Barack Obama is having a bad month. His poll numbers are nearing an all time low, he’s looking shaky in key swing states, and the Standard & Poors (S&P) responded to his budget proposal with a vote of no confidence. Still, Obama might be forgiven for not seeming especially worried about his re-election chances. This is because, for all of Obama’s failings, the Republicans might be on the verge of running a lunatic who suggested that he’d release his tax return when “Obama does...

Column: Has There Been ‘Great Stagnation?’

What is the cause of the seeming slowdown in innovation and economic growth in the U.S.? Has something gone fundamentally wrong with America’s economy? Is this a temporary or long-term trend? There will be no reduction in the budget deficit, the national debt or unemployment without robust economic growth; so the answers to these questions are critical to American public policy over the next few years. One great thinker who has attempted to answer these questions is Tyler Cowan. A professor of economics at my favorite economics department (George Mason University), Cowan is a true modern day polymath who also...

Opinion: The Failed Presidency of Barack Obama

President Obama’s recent comment that he “wishes he were president of China” shows both that he is in over his head and that it would be wrong to see him elected to a second term. All American presidents face ups and downs during their administrations. In the history of the American presidency there have been dark days; the Civil War, the Great Depression, 9/11, Watergate and the Cuban Missile Crisis. But through it all, I highly doubt that any previous leader ever wished he were the president of China. Like 53 percent of American voters, I stood behind Barack Obama...

Opinion: Time for Military Intervention in Libya

Muammar Gaddafi is killing his own people, disrupting global oil markets and sitting on a stockpile of chemical weapons. He’s defied President Barack Obama, the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) Security Council. In short: it’s go time. If Gaddafi were out of money, there would be no question about what to do with him. Gaddafi would declare bankruptcy and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank would send in a team to help Libya fix its economy. But Gaddafi isn’t economically bankrupt. He is politically bankrupt. Dr. Thomas Barnett first mentioned the idea that the world...

Opinion: Obama Should Raise Taxes

The public outcry about cuts to public services in Ohio, Wisconsin and other states leads to a logical question: Are Americans willing to be taxed for the services they demand? As Oliver Wendel Holmes once said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” From the beginning of the 20th century until about 1980, the relationship between a “civilized society” and taxation was pretty clear in the minds of most Americans. Tax rates increased across this time period, but so did public services such as primary and secondary education, public universities and the social safety net. This basic axiom...

Revelations Suggest US Government Complicit in Weapons Smuggling

A recent report from CBS news has revealed a clandestine government program that allowed over 2,000 guns to be smuggled into Mexico over the past year. The Obama administration has made a priority out of stopping the flow of illegal guns into Mexico for the past two years. Obama administration and Mexican officials have consistently maintained that 90% of the guns recovered in Mexico’s drug war are smuggled in from the U.S. But a February 23 report from CBS Evening News suggests that thousands of guns were smuggled into Mexico under the direction of agents of the Bureau of Alcohol,...

Opinion: Wisconsin’s Teachers Ought to Act Like Professionals

The firestorm surrounding Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to change collective bargaining agreements for public employees in Wisconsin has made all sides look bad and obscured important issues in the debate. The group that comes out of this mess looking worst is teachers. Public school teachers like to pretend that they are professionals. But what we’ve seen this past week from the teachers’ unions in Wisconsin is teachers teaching students that it’s ok to call in sick when you’re fighting with your boss. They’re teaching by example that it’s ok to get a fake doctor’s note so you don’t get fired...