James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

Campaign 2012: Hello Gary Johnson, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, April 21, 2011
A worker sits on a pile of presidential campaign T-shirts for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson at the Conservative Political Action conference in Washington February 10, 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/courtesy Reuters)

A worker sits on a pile of presidential campaign T-shirts for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson at the Conservative Political Action conference in Washington on February 10, 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/courtesy Reuters)

Gary who? Unless you are from New Mexico or spend hours each day trolling political websites, you probably don’t know much about Gary Johnson. The former New Mexico governor intends to change that. He announced this morning on the steps of the State House in Concord, New Hampshire that he is running for president. Yes, you heard that right. He’s not forming a presidential exploratory committee to assess the possibility. He’s all in. If elected, Johnson would be the first president born in North Dakota and the first to have lived much of his life in New Mexico. He would also be the first president to enter the White House as a single man since Grover Cleveland back in 1885. And he would be the third person named “Johnson” to be president.

The Basics

  • Full Name: Gary Earl Johnson
  • Date of Birth: January 1, 1953
  • Place of Birth: Minot, North Dakota
  • Religion: Lutheran
  • Marital Status: Divorced (Denise “Dee” Simms)
  • Children: Seah, Erik
  • Alma Mater: BA University of New Mexico
  • Political Offices Held: Governor of New Mexico from 1995 until 2003

Read more »

TWE Remembers: The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

by James M. Lindsay Monday, April 18, 2011
Paul Revere rides towards Concord, MA on April 18, 1775. (courtesy National Archives)

Paul Revere rides toward Concord on April 18, 1775. (Courtesy the National Archives)

All revolutions begin with a single act that changes everything. America’s began on April 18, 1775, when British General Thomas Gage ordered 700 British Army regulars under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith to set out from Boston, Massachusetts under the cover of night to arrest Samuel Adams (the patriot, not the beer) and John Hancock (the man who signed the Declaration of Independence in letters large enough for King George III to read, not the insurance company) in Lexington and to capture the guns and ammunition that the colonists had stored in Concord. The mission failed, in good part because of the daring of one Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized Revere’s exploits in a poem that every American schoolchild once knew by heart: “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” Its opening two stanzas are as thrilling as any words put to paper:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.

Read more »

Campaign 2012: Hello Rick Santorum, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Monday, April 18, 2011
Rick Santorum speaks during the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's Spring Event in Waukee, Iowa March 7, 2011.

Rick Santorum speaks during the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's Spring Event in Waukee, Iowa March 7, 2011. (Brian Frank/courtesy Reuters)

Pennsylvania State University can claim many accomplishments. The winningest coach in Division 1 football history. The largest student-run philanthropy in the world. The best ice cream ever whipped up on a college campus. What it can’t claim is to be the alma mater of any U.S. president. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum wants to change that. Last Wednesday he announced he was forming a presidential exploratory committee. He made the announcement on the Fox News Channel, where until recently he was a paid commentator. I’m late getting this post up because my newspaper of record, the New York Times, didn’t see fit to note his announcement in the paper.

The Basics

• Full Name: Richard John Santorum
• Date of Birth: May 10, 1958
• Place of Birth: Winchester, VA
• Religion: Roman Catholic
• Marital Status: Married (Karen Garver Santorum)
• Children: Elizabeth Anne, Richard John, Daniel James, Sarah Maria, Peter Kenneth, Patrick Francis, Isabella Maria
• Alma Mater: BA Pennsylvania State University, MBA University of Pittsburgh, JD Dickinson University
• Elected Offices Held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995, Member of the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2007

What Supporters Say.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) says that he is genuine.

One of the things I like best about him is he is completely authentic…he believes there should be more of an intertwining of government and religion, and he believes it passionately.

Read more »

The World Next Week: NATO Debates, Patriots’ Day Awaits

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, April 14, 2011
The minute-men of the Revolution. (Currier & Ives/courtesy the Library of Congress)

The minute-men of the Revolution. (Currier & Ives/courtesy the Library of Congress)

The World Next Week podcast is up.  Bob McMahon and I talked about the NATO foreign ministers’ talks on Libya; the meeting of Cuba’s Communist Party; the fiftieth anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion; President Obama’s live town hall meeting on Facebook; and Patriots’ Day, which is next Monday.

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The highlights: Read more »

Obama’s Plan to Reduce Government Red Ink

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, April 13, 2011
President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the U.S. fiscal and budgetary deficit policy at the George Washington University on April 13, 2011.

President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the U.S. fiscal and budgetary deficit policy at George Washington University on April 13, 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/courtesy Reuters)

CFR.org has just posted a First Take I did on President Obama’s speech today at George Washington University on how to put America’s fiscal house in order. The upshot: Obama’s speech was more a political document than a budgetary one. Obama shied away from proposing significant changes in entitlement programs even though he noted that they consume a vast chunk of federal spending and that rising health care costs are a major driver behind the growth in spending.

But the speech did effectively contrast the competing visions Republicans and Democrats have for America’s fiscal challenge. He painted Republicans as reckless and radical in using deficit reduction as a means of “changing the basic social compact in America.” In comparison, Obama wants to take a “more balanced approach” that envisions living “within our means while still investing in our future.”

One passage in Obama’s speech caught my eye because it underscores how our current fiscal path is unsustainable: Read more »

Campaign 2012: Hello Mitt Romney, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Monday, April 11, 2011

Mitt Romney shakes hands after speaking to an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Washington on February 11, 2011. (Larry Downing/courtesy Reuters)

The United States has had a president named Millard. Could we soon have a president named “Willard”? We will if Willard “Mitt” Romney has his way. Operating on the basis of the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” Romney announced today that he has formed a presidential exploratory committee. In 2008, he spent $110 million, including $45 million of his own money, and won eleven primaries and caucuses, accumulating 280 delegates before dropping out. That comes to $393,000 spent for every delegate won. Presidential elections are expensive!

The Basics
• Full Name: Willard Mitt Romney
• Date of Birth: March, 12, 1947
• Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan
• Religion: Mormon, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
• Marital Status: Married (Ann Romney)
• Children: Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben, Craig
• Alma Mater: BA Brigham Young, MBA Harvard, JD Harvard
• Political Offices Held: Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, lost 1994 Senate election in Massachusetts to Ted Kennedy

What Supporters Say. Support for Romney this time around already started coming in with the pledge of an endorsement if he decides to go for the nomination from Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nevada). In Las Vegas on March 22, Heck expressed his confidence in Romney:

I am not one to hedge my bets. When I think I have a winner, I am going to stick with a winner.

Read more »