Michael Gerson writes a twice-weekly column for The Post on issues that include politics, global health, development, religion and foreign policy.
Michael Gerson is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Michael Gerson served as a policy adviser and chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush from 2000 to 2006. Before he joined Bush's presidential campaign in 1999, Michael Gerson was a senior editor covering politics at U.S. News & World Report. Michael Gerson is the author of the forthcoming book "Heroic Conservatism" and a contributor to Newsweek magazine.
Since the Eisenhower administration, the United States generally has done food aid in a certain way: grow and pack it in America, ship it across the world on American-flagged ships, then deliver it through American charities, which sell a portion of the food to fund their other programs.
The school choice movement -- which germinated 50 years ago in free-market economist Milton Friedman's fertile mind -- recently counted its largest victory. The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the state's school voucher program. Under it, more than half a million low- and middle-income Hoosier students -- and about 62 percent of all families -- are eligible for state aid to help pay for a private or religious school.
Declining national influence is a choice, and America seems to be making it.
This is a Christmas season shadowed by sorrow. We know, of course, that human beings, even small ones, sometimes die in horrible, unfair ways.
The endorsement of a continental nation being a powerful stimulant, all victorious presidents face the temptation of overreach.
It is Steven Spielberg's singular achievement to have made a heroic movie about compromise and petty corruption. In "Lincoln," he pans away from a field of corpses 130 miles down the road in Petersburg and puts a tight frame on the Cabinet meetings, legislative debates and backroom confrontations where the final, decisive battles of the Civil War were fought. Combat determined the outcome of the War Between the States. Politics determined its meaning, culminating in passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
On the eve of the election, Nate Silver -- baseball forecaster, online poker wiz, political handicapper -- placed President Obama's chances of returning to office at 86.3 percent. Not 86.1 percent. Not 87.8 percent. At 86.3 percent.
It is now being reported that Donald Trump is likely to play a "surprise" part on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa -- perhaps, some speculate, in a comedy bit involving the firing of a Barack Obama impersonator.
Concerning Mormons and Republicans, history offers a large helping of irony.
A memory from the AIDS crisis. It was 2005, the year that global AIDS deaths peaked at 2.3 million. At the end of a dirt road in Kericho, Kenya, I visited Sister Placida, an energetic nun caring for a few dozen equally energetic AIDS orphans.
The problem is real enough. Extreme political polarization is the product of democracy that undermines democracy.
One would think, given so much practice, that the Obama White House would have been better prepared for last week's wretched jobs report.
Dwight Eisenhower came to regret the liberal activism of his choice for the Supreme Court, calling it the "biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made."
Fights between Congress and the executive branch over access to information are a staple of American politics. Every president will prefer less disclosure about the messy internal processes of his administration. Congressional investigators suspecting scandal prefer more.
President Obama's decision to lead with social issues in his re-election campaign -- immigration, gay marriage and contraception -- makes some political sense.
What to make of Vice President Joe Biden? Sometimes he is gaffe-prone comic relief. Sometimes he is the possessor of the worst geopolitical judgment in Washington -- as when he opposed the Osama bin Laden raid or advocated the partition of Iraq. And sometimes he seems to be the last genuine human being in American politics.
In a blowout presidential election, a few large issues dominate. In a tight election, a range of smaller concerns -- important to strategic constituencies in battleground states -- can end up being crucial.
Principled or calculating or a bit of both, President Obama's choice on gay marriage is a bet on the political future -- a wager on the views and values of the millennial generation making its long march through American institutions.
The last few years have been the most decisive and divisive ideological period since the early 1980s, perhaps since the late 1960s.
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