Clinton-Kissinger 2016?

Sheldon Richman in Reason: Hillary and Henry sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G-E-R!

It says a lot about former secretary of state and presumed presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton that she’s a member of the Henry Kissinger Fan Club. Progressives who despised George W. Bush might want to examine any warm, fuzzy feelings they harbor for Clinton.

Clinton has made no effort to hide her admiration for Kissinger and his geopolitical views. Now she lays it all out clearly in a Washington Post review of his latest book, “World Order.”

Clinton acknowledges differences with Kissinger, but apparently these do not keep her from saying that “his analysis...largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century.”

Beware of politicians and courtiers who issue solemn declarations about building global architectures. To them the rest of us are mere “pieces upon a chess-board.” Security and cooperation are always the announced ends, yet the ostensible beneficiaries usually come to grief. Look where such poseurs have been most active: the Middle East, North Africa, Ukraine. As they say about lawyers, if we didn’t have so-called statesmen, we wouldn’t need them.

If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect some pseudonymous writer of having fun with irony in this review. Behold: “President Obama explained the overarching challenge we faced in his Nobel lecture in December 2009. After World War II, he said, ‘America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace.’

Keep the peace — if you don’t count the mass atrocity that was the Vietnam War, the U.S.-sponsored Israeli oppression of Palestinians, and various massacres carried out by U.S.-backed “leaders” in such places as Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), East Timor, Chile, and elsewhere.

Democrats’ deportation problem

Greg Sargent in The Washington Post: There is little question that Democrats face a major challenge in persuading the public to support executive action on immigration reform. An NBC poll tells the story nicely: While only 38 percent support executive action, it also finds that 57 percent support a path to citizenship for all immigrants here illegally, which suggests that even people who agree with Democrats on what needs to be done on immigration may have a tough time accepting unilateral action on the issue.

When Americans are told that there are conditions attached to legalization, support jumps substantially. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is how Democrats talk about Obama’s expected action. While Republicans will attack the proposal, which will include work permits to a few million people, as a giveaway to a core constituency — one that will take jobs away from Americans — Democrats may seek to reframe it as a matter of accountability and fairness, as a way for people to “get right with the law” in ways that benefit the country.

Obama’s action will bring a few million people out of the shadows and onto the books, requiring them to undergo background checks, and Democrats have already argued that bringing all these people into the light will make sure they are paying their taxes. Dems — and even some Republicans — who favor immigration reform have long argued that what we have now amounts to a form of amnesty, with 11 million immigrants here illegally held unaccountable.

While the American people are likely to be considerably more skeptical about executive action than they have been about legislative immigration reform, accountability appears to have been one of the latter’s key selling points.

Don’t let lame ducks spend your money

Betsy McCaughey in The American Spectator: On Nov. 4, voters fired the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, replacing it with a GOP majority that campaigned against Obamacare and big spending. But the Democrats who lost are still running the show. These lame ducks lack the moral authority to govern. They shouldn’t be allowed to do any more than the bare minimum to keep government operating until January, when the new Congress meets. Allowing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to ram through an omnibus spending bill for the coming year, or make other key decisions, would be like letting your ex-spouse keep using your checkbook. One of the first acts of the next Congress should be to outlaw lame-duck sessions.

Lame-duck sessions were unavoidable before jet planes. The framers of the U.S. Constitution provided 17 weeks for newly elected lawmakers to travel and take their seats on March 3. That was the 18th century.

In 1933, Americans ratified the 20th amendment to eliminate lame-duck sessions. Except in times of war, Congress didn’t meet after the November elections. But for the last two decades, lawmakers have weaseled around the amendment’s intent, returning after Election Day to deal with issues they avoided before Election Day.

That’s our situation now. The lame ducks are in charge, poised to act without fear of voter reprisals. That means poised to spend, spend, spend.

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