It seemed at times during last fall’s presidential election that the most crucial issue facing the nation was the price of prescription drugs for senior citizens. Besides indicating the importance of the over-65 voting bloc, the candidates’ focus on this issue revealed how limited political aspirations are these days, especially on health care.
With his astonishing mix of blarney and brilliance, personal empathy and political calculation, Bill Clinton could have walked off the pages of a southern novel. The revivalist language of repentance and redemption is second nature to him, but so too are the practices of “war room” politics.
In his late December decision to support the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court, President Clinton did the right thing—though it was also a relatively easy thing. Most of the heavy lifting on behalf of the ICC treaty remains to be done.
A recent New Yorker cartoon showed one man sizing up another man in a clerical collar: “I see you’re a member of a faith-based organization.” We’re bound to hear a lot more public conversation about “faith-based organizations” during the presidency of George W. Bush.
The extraordinary presidential election ended not with a bang but with a legal whimper from the U.S. Supreme Court. The 5-4 decision in Al Gore v. George Bush was a mishmash, provoking four separate dissents and leaving legal scholars with many loose ends and citizens with lots of questions.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran had his brother hand deliver a check for $400,000 last month to Tehran’s only Jewish hospital with the message that “our government intends to unite all ethnic groups and religions, so we decided to assist you.” In September Rouhani’s administration had issued a Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews around the world. Though some question Rouhani’s motives, his behavior is a refreshing contrast to that of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a Holocaust denier (New York Times, February 6).