Charles Lipson

Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus

University of Chicago

Frequent contributor: 
Real Clear Politics
Spectator | World
The Telegraph
Wall Street Journal

Biden won’t seek second term

President Biden’s announcement that he will not seek a second term — and his endorsement of Kamala Harris — came after weeks of increasing pressure from Democratic Party insiders, alarmed that voters had finally discovered what they had known for months. Joe Biden is a shell of the man he once was. Voters knew it — and they wouldn’t vote for him. Voters also knew they had been lied to by the White House, Biden’s political allies and the mainstream media, not once or twice but for years. Whatever...

The Democrats caught between the dog and the hydrant

The first dog, obviously, is the president’s physical and mental condition and his status as the presumptive nominee who won near-unanimous support in the primaries and secured enough votes to win the nomination on the first ballot. Those victories leave Biden alone in charge of staying in the race. Others can pressure him, offer him carrots and sticks, but Biden and his family control the decision. The Democrats are not just caught between one dog and one hydrant. They are caught between three...

Joe Biden’s interview with George Stephanopoulos could have been worse

Joe Biden didn’t make any major mistakes in his Friday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. That’s the best you can say. He helped himself only because, after a dreadful week, he didn’t hurt himself. He made clear he is staying in the race, but he didn’t relieve the pressure building among Democrats to remove him. The problem, as every sentient being knows, is that Kamala is not a good replacement but can’t be removed without a train wreck in the party’s coalition.

Slowly, then suddenly: the sad story of Joe Biden’s decline

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
Those were Hemingway’s words in 1926’s The Sun Also Rises. A century later, they apply to Joe Biden, not financially but politically. For him, the sun is not rising. It’s setting.

“Gradually and then suddenly” is the story of Joe Biden’s physical and cognitive decline. “Gradually and then suddenly” is how his army of enablers in the media, the Democratic Party and the donor base abandoned his defense

If Joe stays in...

After Thursday’s fiasco in Atlanta, Joe Biden faces two hard choices. The hardest — and grimmest — is whether to stay in the race. Staying in means ignoring the rising chorus of calls to withdraw, not from the opposing party but from flaks on his own side, led by the New York Times. The only groups that haven’t issued that call, so far, are his party’s leadership on Capitol Hill and the two former Democratic presidents. They see the same problems everyone else does, but they probably think it is

After the debate, the deluge

Following Biden’s horrific debate performance, the Democrats have an enormous problem, best captured in the name of a recent TV series: Schitt’s Creek. Paddles for sale! Democrats should max out their credit cards buying them.

Every sentient Democrat should be in full-scale panic. It’s not that Trump’s debate performance was all that great. It wasn’t. Everything people think about him, for better or worse, was on full display.

The problem, obviously, was Biden’s performance. It’s less that Tru

The presidential debate: what you see is what you get

These weren’t the Lincoln-Douglas debates. They weren’t Kennedy-Nixon. If those were graded “A,” then this was “C-minus,” at best. The low point was who is the better golfer? I’ll go with Lincoln.

Both candidates filled the air with hyperbole. Trump led the way, as usual, calling everything he did “the best ever,” and everything Biden did “the worst.” He doesn’t favor shades of gray.

Biden responded in kind. He was right to emphasize Trump’s hours of silence during the January 6 attack on the

No Tax on Tips

Donald Trump is a master showman and marketer. He demonstrated those skills once again with his proposal to kill the tax on tips. It’s more than shrewd. It’s brilliant.

After the hoorays from waiters and other service workers died down, political analysts weighed in. Their conclusion: this is a very smart way to gain an edge in Nevada, where the presidential race is close. That’s certainly true. But Trump’s proposal is much smarter and will have a bigger impact, not because of its impact on tip

Could the Second Amendment and Supreme Court save Hunter on appeal?

Hunter Biden’s defense against felony gun chargesa faced two toxic problems — problems that, in the end, proved insurmountable. One was that the crime itself was straightforward. The other was that there was a mountain of evidence that Hunter actually committed the crime. A lot of that evidence came from Hunter’s own texts and his memoir.

He had the best defense money could buy. Abbe Lowell is tough, a shrewd and smart defense attorney, but he had almost noth

Biden acts on the border... sort of... maybe

The contrast between the two parties on illegal immigration couldn’t be sharper. Donald Trump erected a wall. Joe Biden erected a pole. Oops. Sorry. That should be “poll.” And Biden didn’t erect it. He was skewered by it.

Very few people think President Biden is doing a decent job at the southern border. More than twice as many think he has created a full-scale disaster. Those poll numbers aren’t just underwater. They’re headed for the Titanic in a flimsy submersible.

Faced with this disaster,

Trump has been found guilty of an unknown felony

The indictment and trial on a thin, jerry-built charge, the gagging of a presidential candidate in the midst of a campaign and the judge’s consistently biased rules amount to deliberate judicial interference in the 2024 election.

The process was led by a Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who ran on the campaign platform of going after Donald Trump. Not going after a crime. Going after a person. That fundamentally contradicts the basic principles of Anglo-American law and justice. It is

Why Gaza and not the Uighurs?

The Babylon Bee, “the newspaper of record” for anyone with a sense of humor, posed a more interesting thought about the campus demonstrations than anything you can find in the New York Times or Washington Post. The Bee’s headline proclaimed, “Uighur Slaves Struggling to Keep Up with Demand for Palestinian Headscarves.”

Dark humor indeed. The headscarves, like the masks, serve one obvious function: they hide the faces of demonstrators. That’s why bank robbers wear masks, too. Students know they

Biden’s pause of weapons shipments to Israel is another misstep

President Biden just made a strong move against Israel, ordering the US government to stop shipping weapons supplies to the Israeli Defense Forces. It was his fine strategic mind at work, once again.

Usually the public defers to the president and his advisors on foreign policy, unless the issues become very prominent or the president forfeits their trust. Those are the two problems now facing the Biden administration. The war in Gaza is a major issue — and the public has zero confidence in Joe’

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s strategery

Dumb is dumb. Among the dumbest is a political strategy that harms your own side and infuriates your normal allies, the ones who stand with you on most issues.

That describes Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is a master of both bad ideas and bad strategies. She’s a bomb-thrower who lights the fuse, gathers her friends around her and then drops the bomb on her own toes.

She illustrated those qualities last week, not once but twice. First, she opposed a House bill on antisemitism, which passed easily

An explanation of the campus protests

A major reason for the campus uprisings is the prevalent ideology among students and faculty. It overturns the old views that “might makes right." Instead, it is the polar opposite, and just as wrong. It has become a given among elites that being poor and weak makes you “right” about your cause or claim. You don’t even have to be poor or weak. You can be granted that honorary status, even if you come from a prosperous family, simply by virtue of your claimed identity. And if your identity labels you as an oppressor, even though you have done nothing wrong, you can assuage your guilt by making common cause with those who call themselves “oppressed.”

Five Ways Campus Turmoil Hurts Democrats--and America

Higher education is sinking lower and lower. That’s bad news for our country, which has benefited enormously from having the world’s best system of higher education. And it’s bad news for Democrats, who face a tight election. Their party is closely tied to education at all levels, especially at elite universities. It is the party of experts, after all, and the party of the left. Universities are both. Moreover, since the Democrats control the Executive Branch, the public holds them primarily acc

NPR Scandal Should Kill Taxpayer-Funded Broadcasting

NPR is sinking in a scandal of its own making The problem goes beyond the obvious ideological bias. The larger problem is that, in a free society, the government should not be sponsoring any news content directed at domestic audiences. That’s why the Voice of America is prohibited from such broadcasts. Nor should the government be funding, directly or indirectly, any broadcast networks, as it does with both public radio and TV. Those should be entirely private. Underwriting educational content is fine, but it should be provided free to anyone who wishes to circulate it.

What Iran’s attack on Israel means for the Jewish state, America and the region

Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel Saturday night represents a dangerous escalation for three reasons. The first is its scale, some 300 drones and missiles. Second, it marks the first time the Islamic Regime has launched a lethal attack on Israeli territory from Iran itself, rather than through proxies. Most important of all is the combination of the first two: a major attack launched against Israel from Iranian territory. Although Israel, the US, the UK and, surprisingly, Jordan managed to s

Who Should Compete in Women's Sports?

The issue is not whether transgender people deserve the same respect given to all individuals. Of course, they deserve that respect. The issue is not whether transgender athletes can compete in sports. Of course, they can. The issue is WHO they should compete against. The crucial issue here is that it is simply unfair to ask biological women to compete against transgender women in sports where strength and body composition matter.

The Biden White House’s Beltway elitism shows on Easter

Among the many political advantages of the presidency, surely one is the ability to extend warm wishes to Christians, Jews and Muslims on their holidays. It’s a golden opportunity to invite a few for pictures at the White House and explain how much the holiday has always meant to you. Easy-peasy. For a Catholic president such as Joe Biden, expressing solidarity with co-religionists on Easter ought to be a well-practiced routine.

It took genuine incompetence and obtuseness for the Biden White Ho
Load More

Subscribe free for my latest articles.