The U.S. travel technology firm Sabre may not ring an immediate bell, and perhaps you’ve not yet heard…
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On Sabre/Farelogix Merger, DOJ Mustn’t Undertake a Misguided Antitrust Boondoggle

The U.S. travel technology firm Sabre may not ring an immediate bell, and perhaps you’ve not yet heard of its proposed acquisition of Farelogix, but it looms as one of the most important antitrust cases to approach trial since AT&T/Time-Warner. The transaction’s most significant aspect is the way in which it offers a perfect illustration of overzealous bureaucratic antitrust enforcement, and the way that can delay and also punish American consumers. Specifically, the transaction enhances rather than inhibits market competition, and will benefit both travelers and the travel industry by accelerating innovation.  That’s in part because Sabre and Farelogix aren’t head-to-head market competitors, but rather complementary businesses.  While Sabre serves customers throughout the…[more]

January 13, 2020 • 03:53 pm

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Theresa May Confirms the Peril of Squishy Centrism Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 30 2019
Although moderation and centrism often appear attractive in the abstract, the 'bold colors' of conservatism to which Reagan referred in 1975 have proven reliably successful.

"Our people look for a cause to believe in.  Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?  A political party cannot be all things to all people.  It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers."   

Ronald Reagan, speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 1975. 

In our era of hyperpartisanship, it’s understandable that many people desire a more moderate political climate in which compromise rather than combativeness prevails.  In Gallup’s most recent survey on the matter, 50% of respondents said that they prefer greater compromise among political leaders, versus just 22% who prefer that political leaders stick to principle. 

As the political adage goes, however, “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.” 

This month, British Prime Minister Theresa May provided just the latest illustration of the perils of moderation at the expense of principle. 

Last week, May accepted reality and announced her intent to resign as Prime Minister of Britain.  In 2016, British voters defied expectation and elitist opinion (sound familiar?) by voting in favor of “Brexit” withdrawal from the European Union.  May had opposed Brexit, and since that time failed miserably to execute British departure.  Throughout her three years as Prime Minister, Ms. May attempted to appease all competing factions with a centrist approach.  But that only ended up alienating all factions. 

Then this week, British voters confirmed their dissatisfaction in the E.U. parliamentary elections by demanding that their leaders deliver on Brexit, with or without an accord with the E.U. itself.  Specifically, voters cast their most votes for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which was formed only a few months ago.  There wasn’t even a close second among the competing parties. 

It’s worth highlighting at this point that everyday British voters proved far more prescient than their supposed superiors among the chattering classes.  Just as leftist economists like Paul Krugman and Steven Rattner predicted that Donald Trump’s 2016 victory would collapse the American economy, leftists in Britain and Europe predicted catastrophe should British voters do the unthinkable and support Brexit.  Instead, Britain has somehow survived and even outperformed the E.U. economy. 

The story is the same here in the U.S., of course. 

In August 1988, George H.W. Bush advocated a “kinder, gentler” America, perhaps suggesting a contrast to the preceding eight years under his predecessor Ronald Reagan.  During the 1980 presidential campaign, of course, Bush attempted to ridicule Reagan’s supply-side economic policy as “voodoo economics” in favor of a more centrist agenda.   

But whose presidency proved the most successful and consequential? 

By pursuing a more muscular and confrontational approach toward the Soviet Union after a decade of moderate “détente,” Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.  “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” Reagan thundered in Berlin, in defiance of the more cautious and moderate voices in his administration who urged restraint.  Similarly, his supposedly “extremist” economic agenda resulted in an economic surge unprecedented in history. 

In contrast, Bush’s presidency is perhaps remembered most for his pursuit of “moderation” by abandoning his “read my lips:  no new taxes” pledge in pursuit of a more centrist and accommodationist approach toward Congressional Democrats.  The sputtering economy toward the end of Bush’s tenure allowed the unproven and unprepared Bill Clinton to relegate him to a one-term presidency. 

More recently, Donald Trump has managed to provide the U.S. economy with escape velocity after eight years of Obama era malaise by pursuing a decisively deregulatory and tax-cutting agenda, whereas the rest of the global economy has lagged. 

Time and again, the lesson is clear.   Although moderation and centrism often appear attractive in the abstract, the “bold colors” of conservatism to which Reagan referred in 1975 have proven reliably successful.  And as a consequence, voters have rewarded leaders that pursue those policies, and punished leaders that weakly favored accommodation and squishy centrism. 

Theresa May offers just the latest illustration of the perils of that path.

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first African-American soloist to appear at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"If there were such egregious misconduct that the public was convinced of the need to remove Trump, such that two-thirds of the Senate would ignore partisan ties and do just that, there would be no partisan stunts. Democratic leaders would have worked cooperatively with their GOP counterparts, as was done in prior impeachments. They would have told the president: 'Sure, you can have your lawyers here…[more]
 
 
—Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review
— Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review
 
Liberty Poll   

Should witnesses be called for the Senate impeachment trial, which could take weeks or even months, or be restricted to the record and evidence already produced by the House?