By LEE H. HAMILTON One of the intriguing features of the coronavirus pandemic is how sharply it has illuminated the importance of effective political leadership. Wherever we stand on the political spectrum, we’re looking to elected officials to help steer us through this crisis. While I don’t want to talk about specific politicians, a lifetime in politics has given me a sense of what makes a good one — as a policy maker, that is, rather than a candidate. One of the ironies of our system is that the skills and attributes that put … [Read more...] about What makes a successful politician?
On Jan. 20, the United States confirmed its first case of the coronavirus. The nation’s political and media elite obsessed over Mitch McConnell’s just-announced resolution governing the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. On Jan. 23, China locked down the city of Wuhan. Cable news in America lit up with praise for the epic, nay historic, performance by House impeachment manager Adam Schiff in the trial’s opening arguments. On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared a world health emergency. The U.S. Senate prepared to … [Read more...] about Trump impeachment now a distant memory
We still have shreds of civility left. I love it when people walk up to those in uniform and say, “Thank you for your service.” It is a recognition of their courage and sacrifice. And now we should add gratitude for those in the medical profession. Many of them are risking their lives on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus. They are living up to the ethical standards of their public health calling. The precise phrase “First do no harm” is not really in the original Hippocratic oath. In fact, Hippocrates probably … [Read more...] about Hippocratic Oath appreciation
President Trump abandoned his reckless speculation about going back to work by Easter and wisely extended the federal government’s pandemic guidance through April. Mr. Trump properly announced this unpleasant news personally on Sunday and acknowledged much higher estimates of the possible death toll. Since December, too much time has been squandered. Now, the month ahead must be well spent — with action. The diversity of U.S. political leadership is normally a strength, but in recent days too many governors and others have balked … [Read more...] about Trump rightly extended pandemic guidance; here’s what he should do next
What happens when the supposed dictator won’t dictate? This is the conundrum confronted by the harshest critics of President Donald Trump who have gone from warning he is a budding despot to complaining he hasn’t done enough to impose his will during the coronavirus crisis. They can’t believe that he didn’t urge sports leagues to cancel their seasons, call for school systems to close, or tell bars and restaurants to shutter before this wave of closures began. As a New York Times report put it, Trump “has essentially become a … [Read more...] about Trump didn’t dictate coronavirus response
Admit it. Many of you who heard that President Donald Trump had finally decided to take a coronavirus test were rooting for it to come back positive, meaning he had contracted the disease and at the very least would have to self-quarantine. That is not acceptable, people. We can’t wish harm on anyone — not even Donald Trump, not anyone. Period. The very fact that so many were wishing for the worst for him is a reflection of how toxic the atmosphere has become in our society, thanks in great part to where he has taken us. But repeat … [Read more...] about Testing our society
We credit Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for acting quickly and making tough decisions to keep Michiganians safe during this unprecedented time. But decisions shouldn’t be knee-jerk. When it comes to schools, especially, we would caution her from imposing restrictions that aren’t absolutely necessary. Whitmer closed all K-12 school buildings, including public, private and boarding schools, until April 6. “This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our families and our overall public health,” Whitmer said in a statement. That’s … [Read more...] about Keep school closures as short as possible
How would you respond to this question? How would your response change if you were asked that question before an audience of more than 300 people? On Feb. 18, the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University hosted a debate. The topic focused on policy solutions to climate change and whether the private or the public sector is better equipped to handle it. The discussion centered on one possible government solution: the Green New Deal. The Mackinac Center was invited to take part as a “pro-private … [Read more...] about Climate change happens; now what?
The coronavirus outbreak is the first pandemic of the woke era, and as such it’s not surprising that there is a fierce debate over how to refer to it without offending against social justice. Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona lost whatever sympathy he would have garnered in certain quarters over his self-quarantine when he referred to “the Wuhan virus," a perfectly appropriate name that has been deemed grotesque and unacceptable. Wuhan is in China, a non-Western country, and people of color live there, so Q.E.D., calling the … [Read more...] about Woke-era pandemic
By LEE H. HAMILTON Sometimes, you just need to step back. The political conversations I hear these days are strikingly negative, dominated by what’s amiss in Washington, by the deep divisions in the country, by President Trump’s actions and the aftermath of his impeachment, and by the difficult problems we face but seem to make little progress toward resolving. There’s a lot of discouragement out there. I’ve done my share of carping, too. But at times like these, I find it helpful to draw back and look for the positives, as a … [Read more...] about What to value about America