In January 2004, President George W. Bush announced a plan for a manned mission to Mars in the first half of the twenty-first century. Is NASA up to the task? Given the recent failures of NASA's manned space program, from Space Shuttle disasters to the overbudget and barely functional International Space Station, should NASA even be running a manned space program? If so, what can be done to revitalize NASA and restore both its sense of purpose and the public's excitement for space exploration that has been missing for twenty years? Peter Robinson speaks with Sean O'Keefe.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed and President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act—legislation intended to thwart the threat of domestic terrorism. Critics were quick to denounce USA Patriot as a dangerous expansion of government power at the expense of our civil liberties. Are the critics right? Or can we win the war on terrorism without sacrificing our civil liberties here at home? And what has the American experience in earlier crises, such as the Civil War and the two world wars, taught us about balancing national security and personal freedom?
It is estimated that currently there are between 7 and 10 million illegal immigrants in this country. Meanwhile the Border Patrol has grown from a staff of 2,000 and a $100 million budget 30 years ago to 11,000 men and women and a $9 billion budget today. Clearly, our attempts to control illegal immigration have not been working. But what should we do instead? President Bush has proposed a new immigration plan that would turn illegal immigrants already here into legal temporary workers. Is his plan an acknowledgment that our economy needs cheap immigrant labor and that we simply can't control our borders any longer? Or is his plan the entirely wrong way to address the immigration problem?
Fifty years ago, critic Lionel Trilling declared that "in the United States at this time, liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition." Today, however, even most Democrats avoid calling themselves liberal. What happened to the liberal tradition in the second half of the twentieth century? What does liberalism stand for at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Can liberals reclaim their once-dominant position in American politics, or is their ideology history?
On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States brought an end to thirty-six days of dramatic vote recounts and legal challenges in the state of Florida. The decision let stand the initial results of Florida's election, which gave the state's electoral votes, and thus the Presidency, to George W. Bush. What was the legal justification for the Supreme Court's decision? Should the Court have intervened in the first place? And what precedent did the Court create for future elections?
In March 2002, President Bush signed into law the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, better known as the McCain-Feingold Bill. The law bans political contributions known as "soft money"—that is, money from corporations, unions, and other organizations given to political parties for "party-building activities," thereby skirting campaign contribution limits. The Supreme Court has now taken up McCain-Feingold and will determine whether all or parts of the act will be upheld or overturned. Are soft money bans legal? Or do such campaign finance restrictions infringe on freedom of speech? Just how should the Court decide?
As required by the Constitution, the president of the United States is elected not by the national popular vote but by the vote of the Electoral College. In the Electoral College, each state receives as many votes as it has members of Congress. Because every state has two senators and is guaranteed at least one House member, votes of small states count more heavily than votes of large states. Has the Electoral College served the nation well? Or should it be abolished and replaced by a system in which every vote counts the same? Peter Robinson speaks with Jack Rakove and Tara Ross
In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won reelection to a second term in one of the biggest landslides in American history. The outcome was a clear mandate in support of FDR's New Deal—an agenda of large-scale social and economic programs administered by the federal government. Sixty years later, in 1996, William Jefferson Clinton also won reelection to a second term, after declaring earlier that year that "the era of big government was over." How did the Democratic Party get from FDR to Bill Clinton? Now that the Democrats are out of the White House, will they continue the move to the center that Clinton initiated, or will they try to reinvigorate the traditional liberal base of the Democratic Party? Does that traditional base still exist?
Ten years ago, soaring health care costs prompted the Clinton administration to propose sweeping reforms to the health care system, including a substantial new role for the federal government. But the plan drafted under the guidance of First Lady Hillary Clinton was defeated in Congress. A decade later, the problems with our health care system seem to have only gotten worse. In the recent economic downturn, millions lost their insurance along with their jobs, adding to the estimated 40 to 45 million Americans who have no medical insurance at all. Meanwhile the costs incurred by government and businesses to keep the rest of us covered are skyrocketing. Has the HMO model of health care that became predominant in the 1990s failed us? If so, what should replace it?
A half-century ago, the ideology of the American political establishment was liberal—the New Deal was still new and big government was getting bigger. Today, after a political revolution that began with Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, it may be argued that conservativism has become the dominant ideological force in American politics. But what does conservativism mean today? And if it is ascendant, how long can it remain so? Peter Robinson speaks with Clark S. Judge and John Micklethwait.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy ran to the right of Richard Nixon, arguing that under Republicans, the United States had become too weak in the cold war. A dozen years later, the Democratic presidential candidate was George McGovern. How did the Democratics go from hawks to doves in just twelve years? And what does the history of the Left imply for John Kerry, the Democratic Party, and the war on terror today? Peter Robinson speaks with Anne Applebaum and Christopher Hitchens.
In the midst of the Great Recession California students protest in favor of themselves. . . .
In September 2002, President Bush released the first National Security Strategy report of his administration. Crafted by the president, his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and a team of experts both inside and outside government, the report lays out what some have called "the most important reformulation of U.S. grand strategy in more than half a century." Proponents say that the National Security Strategy presents the case for the responsible and justified use of American power, but critics call it a dangerous "doctrine without limits." Who's right?
Did Ronald Reagan win the cold war? It's been a dozen years since its end—time enough to look back on the era with some historical perspective. And one question that historians continue to argue about is the role that Ronald Reagan, the man and his policies, played in bringing the cold war to an end. To what extent did Reagan's cold war strategy build on efforts of previous administrations and to what extent was it new? Did the Soviet Union collapse as a result of external pressure or internal weakness?
Conservative: favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. But is the definition of a conservative changing in twentieth-century America? Today conservatives seem to be divided into two groups, the neoconservatives and those who view themselves as traditional conservatives—sometimes derisively called the "paleoconservatives." Are the neoconservatives, including many in the Bush administration, actually, as some charge, radicals in conservative clothing? Or have the paleoconservatives become too hidebound for their own good?
In the new online volume, Future Challenges in National Security and Law, members of the Hoover Institution’s Koret-Taube Task Force on National Security and Law and guest contributors offer incisive commentary on the controversies that have erupted over national security law in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, laying the foundations for understanding such future issues...
The contributors to this volume examine the past, present, and future of progressivism in America from different perspectives and with different expertise. What is the future of progressivism in America in an increasingly unfriendly political climate? How can progressives increase opportunity in America and make social and political life more inclusive and equal?
TA distinctive group of professional contributors examine the questions that divide conservatives today and reveal the variety of answer put forward by classical conservatives, libertarians, and neoconservatives. They each bring a distinctive voice to bear, reinforcing that conservatism in America represents a family of opinions and ideas rather than a rigid doctrine or set creed.
The former FBI directors tend to investigate Republicans far more zealously than Democrats.
Will standards-based testing and accountability improve our nation's education system? In January 2002, President Bush signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2002. The act calls for a mandatory annual test in reading and math for every child in the nation in the third through eighth grades. Schools that fail to improve their students' scores may be held accountable, possibly losing some federal funding. Supporters of the act say that standards-based testing and accountability are the best ways to monitor and improve the nation's schools. Opponents say that such a regime is largely a political ploy that will do more harm than good. Who's right?