WHO'S WINNING IN SC? [Michael Graham]
CBS's new poll has Edwards with 30 percent of the vote, followed by Kerry at 18 percent, Sharpton and Clark tied at 11 percent and Dean at 10%. This is far out of line with Zogby and ARG who have Edwards with a slim lead within the margin of error. What gives?
As I've written here repeatedly, polling SC Democratic primary voters is bogus because there's no such thing. South Carolina hasn't had a significant statewide Democratic primary since 1994. Compare that to the Republicans who had five of them in 2002.
What CBS's pollster has done is call a random sample of registered voters and asked them "Do you plan to vote in the primary?" And as any pollster will tell you, nearly everyone says "yes," even if they've never voted in a primary in their lives. Pollsters deal with this by using voting records to call people who have voted in most or all of the recent primaries.
Ooops: There hasn't BEEN a recent primary. Add the fact that South Carolina has open primaries (no party registration) and the pollsters are making total and utter guesses as to who is actually going to show up and vote.
Posted at 07:54 PM
THE PENGUIN AWAITS [Peter Robinson ]
You say you've achieved a reputable score on the helicopter game, Jonah? Tosh. You're nobody until you've run up a couple of hundred thousand points slingshotting Kevin the Penguin through outer space.
Columns to write? A book to research? A baby to coddle and a dog to walk? Nonsense, man. Click here !
Posted at 07:47 PM
GORE SIGHTING! STAYS ON THE SINKING DEAN SHIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Vice President Al Gore Campaigns for Dean in Detriot
Posted at 07:43 PM
KERRY [ Jonah Goldberg]
A front page story in the Washington Post reports that Kerry has received more money from special interests than any other Senator in the last 15 years! I'm not a handwringer about "special interest money" but I am impressed. You'd think any aspiring presidential wannabe Senator would have a staffer keep an eye out just to make sure his boss didn't reach the #1 spot.
Posted at 02:41 PM
HOUSTON & AMERICA [KJL]
A Super Bowl-timed piece from Fr. Raymond de Souza: Take a close look, he says, Houston is our future.
Posted at 02:00 PM
FREE AT LAST! [ Jonah Goldberg]
I just beat the posted high score on the #$^&%$ stupid helicopter game so now I can stop playing! For the record: 2,554.
Posted at 01:14 PM
THE OFFICE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The triumph of the comedy series ‘the Office’ at the Golden Globes was well-deserved (it’s hilarious – and it’s out on DVD now) and Ricky Gervais, its creator (and star), plans to take advantage of his fame:
He says he’s planning to become "a little bit more arrogant and lazy, possibly send people out for pizzas that I probably wouldn't have had before. And just do voice-over work."
Who says we Brits don’t have big dreams.
Posted at 12:49 PM
THE GOTHAM GROVEL [Tim Graham]
Surely, a Gore or a Kerry sees the U.N. not as a place to send an ambassador and fight for democracy, free enterprise, and a good pinch of the culture of life, but as a place where America goes to grovel. Tell us how we deserved 9-11! Tell us how our grievous ethnocentrism and our failure to understand the practice of Islam (thanks, Peter Jennings)is costing us the love of Third World satrapies and dictatorships. In other words, they'd rather send a Sally Field (You like me! You really like me!) than a Jeane Kirpatrick.
Media bias point: if he had time to lay it all out, the evidence (or lack of it) is glaringly obvious. No bloated government institution that sits in the United States gets more Shoeshine Boy national-media-elite groveling than the United Nations. We want scrutiny of the UN, Peter Jennings and friends, not just the US.
Posted at 12:38 PM
"NONE OF THE ABOVE" WON IN NEW HAMPSHIRE [KJL]
Posted at 12:37 PM
MADNESS [Andrew Stuttaford]
From a report in the January 24th issue of ‘The Economist’:
“In the third year of secondary school, Saudi schoolchildren learn that a good way to show love of God is to treat infidels with contempt.”
From a report in the January 28th issue of the Washington Post:
“[INS official] Melendez-Perez said he was taking a bit of a risk by refusing al Qahtani entry to the United States because Saudis were generally treated more permissively than other foreign nationals by U.S. border agents.”
Posted at 12:32 PM
FENG SHUI [Andrew Stuttaford]
More evidence that the 21st Century has been postponed:
“In communities like Fremont and Cupertino, south of San Francisco, feng shui experts often consult with developers on the layout of subdivisions, avoiding placing a house at a T-shaped intersection, which would invite negative energy, or sha, the mouth of the dragon.”
Posted at 12:23 PM
NRO & THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
But since posting the piece on Bush’s human-rights accomplishments at the U.N., I’ve gotten a lot of e-mail explaining to me how bad the U.N. is. Don’t worry, I’m still more Paul Johnson than Kofi Annan, but since the U.N. exists, we ought to make some use of it, and that’s exactly what Bush has done on sex trafficking most notably—an issue I recognize too awful most people don’t want to know about (which e-mails have confirmed in the last 24 hours, too), but that the U.S. has taken a real lead on. (And I do think he stuck that body, in front of the whole world, with some much-needed, serious existential questions re: Iraq.)
And yeah, I do think that, at the end of the day, while some of his prescriptions are not what we ordered, and his heart leads him unwisely astray (immigration), this administration has restored the black and white hues to the White House--no more B.S. gray. Some might cringe when he gets touchy feely at a mosque instead of calling on moderate Muslims to take a stand and make their existence known and expose the preachers of hate, but Can you imagine what a previous administration might have done—one so many issues.
So our people ask, Is he taking the right for granted? I think the better question is, how much was he right on that a President Gore would not have been. And a Kerry wouldn’t be. And then prioritize. There are things, after all, that can eventually be fixed with a little amendment to an appropriations bill and other things it’ll be too late for.
And to think--the poor guy (I know, I know, world’s smallest violin, he ran, after all--but I'm still grateful he did and is)--his SOTU was supposedly (I know it's so, CNN told me so) a laundry list meant for us!
Posted at 12:18 PM
THE NEA MESS, CONTINUED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Scrappleface on Bush and the NEA, “a government agency which distributes taxpayer dollars to artists whose work is so good they cannot make a living doing it.”
Posted at 12:15 PM
OLIVER STONE WEEPS [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post reports today that congressional and CIA probes have found no evidence that CIA analysts colored their Iraq judgment due to pressure from the White House.
Posted at 12:13 PM
HUBBLE TROUBLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The idea that the private sector alone can take mankind into space is, alas, almost certainly as much as an illusion as the notion that government had nothing to do with the development of the American West. There is a role for NASA, although it’s not the one that either the President or the organization itself envisage. There’s no better example of what NASA should be doing, ‘pure science’ basically, than the Hubble Telescope. As the writer of this op-ed in the New York Times points out, the decision to scrap it is a bad mistake.
Posted at 12:13 PM
CUFF-LINKS KERRY [Tim Graham]
Andrew, I don’t have a problem with expensive British shirts. (I’d wear one if someone wants to send me one.) I’m just guessing that wearing fancy imported $240 shirts might not make you look like a “populist” in a Southern textile state. I’m reminded of the time Sam Donaldson started hounding South Carolina’s Fritz Hollings about his Korean-tailored suits one Sunday morning on ABC, and Hollings got personal and asked Sam “where you got that wig”?
Kerry apparently drapes himself in the wardrobe of those cartoon villains of the class war (usually known in Democratic shorthand as “George Bush’s wealthy friends”) as opposed to its cartoon heroes, for example, small-town Americans like me who grew up in fine fashions off a hanger from Sears and Penney’s.
Posted at 12:11 PM
STRANGE NEW RESPECT [Andrew Stuttaford]
This from an editorial in today’s New York Times on the President’s NEA nonsense:
“It's impossible to argue with increased financing for such a valuable enterprise…”
And that seal of approval from the gray lady tells you all that you need to know about this particular White House initiative.
Posted at 12:11 PM
'THE CHILDREN,' CONTINUED [Andrew Stuttaford]
As is usual with such campaigns (the tobacco wars come to mind), the current obsession with the ‘obesity crisis’ is everything to do with ideological fixations and control. It has almost nothing to do with health. Typical of this are moves to ban food advertising directed at ‘the children’. Rather awkwardly for the zealots that advocate this type of censorship, a new study (by David Ashton of Imperial College) has challenged findings connecting the increase in childhood obesity to such advertising (this was reported in Friday’s Financial Times: I cannot find a link). Now, experts often disagree, so there is a limit to how definitive any one study can be said to be, but it’s striking that Quebec’s ban on food advertising directed at kids (in place since 1980) has had no appreciable effect on childhood obesity compared with other Canadian provinces. Sweden has a similar ban and it has proved similarly ineffective.
The real solution (and, as someone who hated school sports, I hesitate to write this): more exercise.
Posted at 12:10 PM
GEORGETOWN AND JOHN HAAS, ONE LAST TIME [Peter Robinson ]
From a reader, critical distinctions, stated well. I’m persuaded.
Whether John Haas should toughen his position depends, it seems to me, on distinguishing the intrinsically immoral from the imprudent.
Posted at 11:56 AM
THE BBC [Andrew Stuttaford]
It was, delightfully, a bad week for the BBC. Stephen Pollard, as so often, finds the best words to sum up this appalling institution:
“The BBC is an organization that, from top to bottom, sees itself not as a neutral reporter of the news, but as a de facto opposition to whatever government happens to be in power. There is a clear left liberal bias in the BBC’s assumptions. As a body funded by a tax paid by every TV and radio viewer, without any alternative – failure to pay results in imprisonment – that is simply grotesque. Hutton has done the process of democracy a huge service.”
That’s quite right. The current arrangements for funding the Beeb should have been scrapped years ago. One of life’s mysteries is why neither Mrs. Thatcher nor John Major tried to do anything about it while they had the chance. Cowardice perhaps, but also complacency – and a failure to understand the way that culture can shape politics. The Tories aren’t alone. We see the same stupidity at work in President Bush’s decision to push for more money for the NEA, the latest feckless initiative from an increasingly feckless administration.
Posted at 11:24 AM
SUPERBOWL PICK [Andrew Stuttaford]
Brooklyn Dodgers 3, Los Angeles Knicks 2. At last I’ve got the hang of American football.
Posted at 11:21 AM
BARGAIN BOWL [Jonathan H. Adler]
For several years now, the team with the lower-paid starting quarterback has won the Suprebowl. The trend started when Kurt Warner -- who didn't even make $1 million in base salary that season -- beat the multi-million-dollar Steve McNair. Tom Brady led his Patriots to victory when he was the lower-paid quarterback too, so perhaps Delhomme can lead the Panthers to victory, 24-21.
Posted at 11:05 AM
ENTERPRISING CHRISTIANS ON THE NET [KJL]
I would have expected this to come with an accompanying Kristof or Rich hit piece. Maybe next column.
Posted at 11:04 AM
Friday, January 30, 2004
CUFFLINKS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tim, got a problem with British shirts, eh? Better Turnbull & Asser and cufflinks than the faux populism of Dean's shirtsleeves, if you ask me.
Posted at 05:56 PM
RE: CASTRO [KJL]
I guess that would give Robert Redford, who checked in with Castro this week and reports he is in "good spirit" (many a Cuban exile will sleep soundly now!) one more reason to campaign against Bush this year.
Posted at 05:48 PM
I'D BE A HYPOCRITE... [Jonah Goldberg]
If I claimed to be knowledgeable about football in anyway anymore. It's been years since I actively followed it. But I still can't stand the Patriots, based on nothing but vestigial animus. So, I say Cats 23, Pats 13.
Posted at 05:42 PM
FIELD-GOAL FIESTA [Tim Graham]
Just for fun, I'll say Kasay and Vinatieri get a busy day. New England 19, Carolina 16.
Posted at 05:37 PM
CUFF-LINKS KERRY [Tim Graham]
As John Kerry campaigned in the Textile State, this flowery sentence might not help in Time magazine: "His height and bearing and senatorial stature make it easy to imagine him wearing White House cufflinks on his Turnbull & Asser shirts." If Kerry has those in his closet, please note that for the local Buy American types (the shirts are British) and poorer voters (the shirts cost $240 apiece).
Posted at 05:35 PM
CLARK VERSUS KERRY ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION [Roger Clegg]
AP story here re Wesley Clark criticizing John Kerry today for saying in the 1990s that affirmative action represented a “culture of dependency.” Kerry says now that he was only describing how critics of affirmative action characterized it; Clark says Kerry should take responsibility for once criticizing this sacred cow.
How bizarre and depressing. Kerry’s 1990s description was perfectly accurate then and even more so today, racial and ethnic preferences are enormously unpopular with most Americans, but no ambitious Democrat is willing to take on his party’s base over this issue.
All Bush has to say is that he opposes racial and ethnic preferences, which is the only kind of affirmative action that is at issue today, and anyone who would ever think of voting Republican will be on his side. But will he?
Posted at 05:33 PM
GEORGETOWN AND JOHN HAAS [Peter Robinson]
From readers, opposing statements, both neatly put. Ramesh? K-Lo? A little help thinking this through?
“The analogy with Mengele breaks down…when you consider that these fetuses were not killed for the purpose of medical research, which was the motive behind the Nazi medical atrocities. For Mengele and his fellows, there was more immediate moral cooperation between the scientist/physician and the moral evil. With that in mind, then, using the tissue of already-dead fetuses is no different, morally speaking, from using the corpse of a murder victim.”
“Right..and buying a stolen car stereo from a year ago doesn't encourage thieves to continue stealing today.”
Posted at 05:19 PM
BECAUSE K LO ASKED [John J. Miller]
New England Patriots 21, Carolina Panthers 10.
Posted at 05:15 PM
ARGH! [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't mind anyone criticizing anything! But some people don't read what we've said/written about X or Y and then they come at us, screaming criticism, outraged that we haven't said anything about X or Y -- when we have, many, many times! I'm not referring to a large number of people by any stretch but there are some folks who clearly want to vent about their own purity and denounce us for our lack of it more than they want to be right on the facts. Get it?
Posted at 05:07 PM
CASTRO'S ACCUSATION [Mike Potemra]
AP reports that he is accusing President Bush of conspiring with Miami Cuban-Americans to assassinate him (link via Drudge). I doubt that he’s telling the truth, because, well, this is Castro talking. But Castro is one of the great human-rights abusers of our time, and regime change in this Communist tyranny just 90 miles away from us should, in truth, be a national-security priority. Someday, sooner rather than later, Cuba will be free--one way or another; and future generations will ask why the Americans of our time were so callous in their indifference to the atrocities committed for more than 40 years against the Cuban people.
Posted at 05:06 PM
WE TOTALLY FORGOT [KJL]
to make football predictions.
Posted at 04:59 PM
I THINK I HAVE TO GIVE UP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I like NR, the Corner and especially Jonah so I was a little surpirsed to see Jonahs and Alder dismissing reader's comments are uniformed or "rebels". I think its legitimate to question NR's suppport of NEA funding. When did being conservative become a rebel position at NR.If we hadn't criticized it minutes after the news broke...if Stuttaford hadn't just blasted it...
Posted at 04:57 PM
Ed Gillespie has a blog.
Posted at 04:43 PM
RE: HUH? [Jonah Goldberg]
I get email like that everyday from people who imagine they're rebels so much they can't bother to check the facts before showing off. It can drive me nuts if I let it.
Posted at 04:26 PM
GOP WAKE-UP CALL [Jonathan H. Adler]
The WSJ editorial page reports on the brewing conservative rebellion over runaways spending.
Posted at 04:14 PM
NADER IN '04 [Jonathan H. Adler]
Just in case anyone is curious, Ralph Nader is still considering a presidential run. You can encourage his efforts here.
Posted at 04:12 PM
FOR READERS THAT DON'T PAY ATTENTION [Jonathan H. Adler]
The medicare bill is a disaster, the increase in NEA funding a terrible sellout (as the NEA should be abolished), and a NASA Mars mission is a wasteful boondoggle. How's that?
Posted at 04:10 PM
From The Corner inbox:
Subject: Wow, and this is a conservative magazine?Look, read, stay awhile. You might find something you like.
Posted at 04:06 PM
DUTCH DEATH [KJL ]
Roger Kimball on euthanasia in the Netherlands:
There is much in our culture that conspires to encourage this dark and superficial view of humanity. It behooves us to resist the inroads of nihilism by withholding the sanction of the law from practices that, however exigent, are never less than morally problematic. By voting to legalize euthansia, the Dutch have given a hostage to the very force they had hoped to placate: death.
Posted at 03:38 PM
GILLIGAN GONE! [KJL]
BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan resigns - BBC
Posted at 03:18 PM
ENVIRONMENTALLY DESTRUCTIVE WIND POWER [Jonathan H. Adler]
Wind farms are still bad for birds. Indeed, this story reports they may be even worse than previously thought.
Posted at 03:17 PM
WHY I'M MOVING TO DC [Michael Graham]
Next month, I'll be the new mid-morning host on 630 WMAL, leading in to Rush in the DC market. And I can't wait to get my shot at the antics in Montgomery County MD, the excruciatingly liberal suburb of Washington. The Washington Times reports today that teachers there are giving students "community service" class credit if they attend a political rally in favor of...more money for TEACHERS. In Prince George's County, another DC 'burb, they're closing school early so kids can lobby politicians for more school spendage.
What I love about this is that the elitist Montgomery County liberals don't see the horrible example they're setting by bribing kids to do "the right thing." When it comes to the defense of government schools, ethical behavior is no virtue and shameless bribery is no vice.
Posted at 03:16 PM
OPPORTUNITIES FOR REPORTERS [KJL]
Folks often ask me if we accept unsolicited pieces. Precious few, truth be told, though that’s relative to the whole body of what we publish in this daily magazine. But the presidential campaign, in particular, presents an opportunity for us to publish more local reporters than we might at other times. So, if you are a reporter, especially in one of the upcoming primary states, and are headed to a campaign event with no assignment yet (etc.), do feel free to pitch us or submit. No guarantees, of course, but we’d love to meet you (and, I confess, experience helps). Send your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org and please put REPORTING in the subject line.
Posted at 03:12 PM
THAT DANGEROUS JOHN ASHCROFT AND HIS GOOD WORKS [KJL]
Posted at 02:41 PM
STET YOUR WEEKEND WITH A DAMNIT [Jack Fowler]
Get the Friday fix of Florence (King, that is) with an oldie but goodie from "The Misanthrope's Corner" here. And if you want your own copy of STET, Damnit -- the complete, unabridged, and uproarious collection of Florence's NR's columns -- you can order it here.
Posted at 02:36 PM
TRADE AND AMERICAN HISTORY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's a review I wrote of a Buchananite book on the subject. A subsequent exchange with the author can be found at the bottom of this page.
Posted at 02:36 PM
RE: MA WATCH [KJL]
So much for re-energizing the base!!
Posted at 02:01 PM
POLL POSITIONS [John J. Miller]
Today's Hotline prints the latest polls in six of next Tuesday's Democratic primary states. Kerry leads in at least four of them and possibly five. Dean leads nowhere and is in second place nowhere. Here's a quick rundown of the top-two candidates in each state. Arizona: Kerry 38 percent, Clark 17 percent. Delaware: Kerry 27, Lieberman 16. Missouri: Kerry 45, Edwards 11. North Dakota: Kerry 33, Clark 15. Oklahoma, first poll: Clark 27, Kerry 19. Oklahoma, second poll: Kerry 20, Clark 18. South Carolina: Edwards 25, Kerry 24. (New Mexico is the only state without a super-recent poll.) We've all learned that these polls can shift wildly, but it sure looks like Kerry will go a long way toward wrapping things up four days from now.
Posted at 02:00 PM
MARIE ANTOINETTE WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Catching up after a trip to yet another undisclosed location... More cash for the NEA? Good grief. Everytime you think that it's impossible for George W Bush to spring another rat from his hat, he goes and does it again, but, to take some recent instances, what else can you expect from a president who signs laws he believes to be unconstitutional, proposes a vast guestworker program in the middle of difficult times for blue collar America, recruits Jules Verne as a science advisor, squanders a SOTU driveling on about steroids, and as for the budget...
Now there's the NEA. Roger Kimball makes the best case that can be made for the White House's decision to hurl money the country doesn't have at an institution the country doesn't need, but he's being far too kind. Even if it is agreed that government should be directly funding 'culture' (I don't think government should, but that's a different debate), the president's decision is bound to backfire. Remember O'Sullivan's law. Any organization that is not explicitly conservative will ultimately end up in the hands of the left. Dana Gioia may indeed be doing splendid work at the moment, but neither he nor George W. Bush will be in office forever. At some point in the future, maybe under a future Democratic administration or maybe just as a result of bureaucratic drift, the NEA will inevitably fall back into its old, bad habits - only this time on a much bigger budget.
As one seems to be saying more and more these days: thanks for nothing, Mr. President.
Posted at 01:53 PM
TRADE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I hadn't seen Derb's post until I read Peter's. I respect Steve Sailer's intellect too, Derb, but it's sad to see him embracing every bit of paleocon dogma. Sailer disproves the theory of free trade only if that theory is taken to mean that any tariff, no matter how small and no matter what other policies are in place, will ruin an economy. I suppose there are some free traders whose fervor leads them to suggest that, but proving it wrong does not invalidate stronger forms of the theory.
Peter points to one of the minor ironies of early American history: the fact that Jeffersonian supporters of revenue tariffs were willing to impose higher tariff rates than the Hamiltonian supporters of protective tariffs. I would also note that Hamilton did not believe in tariffs on goods that were used by American producers--such as steel and semiconductors in modern times--and thought that the tariffs were an important complement to a policy of mass immigration.
Posted at 01:27 PM
BUSH VS. ANYTHING GOES [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, your piece today underlines an interesting fact of political life: the national media (especially the networks) avoid any news on the pro-life agenda or, in the case of the Christian right, their commitment to fighting sex slavery. Hence, even conservatives might get the eerie feeling that Team Bush isn't working these issues aggressively. You have illuminated how an alternative conservative media can educate (and re-energize) the Bush base in a way that the liberal media would rather not.
Posted at 01:20 PM
MORE MARROW-WARMING THOUGHTS [Peter Robinson]
From a reader, more reasons--quite acute reasons, actually--why Kerry ought to think twice before asking Hill to join him on the ticket:
"At least within my family and friends, I can imagine no other candidate that will both (1) double my donation to Bush's campaign faster than I can subscribe to NRO and (2) cause many. many male voters to vote for Bush...."
Posted at 01:19 PM
AN APPEAL TO BROTHER DERB [Peter Robinson ]
[NOTE BENE FROM KJL: We held this until now because I knew Derb was traveling and didn’t want him sucked into a debate outside the comfort of his home—or something.]
Before you start drawing up bylaws for the new Bismarck Wing of the Conservative Movement, Derb, I beg you to reconsider.
The rise of Bismarck’s Germany? Industrialization. Bismarck took a still largely agrarian Germany on a forced march, mandating, for example, the formation of enormous steel, chemicals, and arms combinations. Even the Soviet Union was able to boost living standards by industrializing, for crying out loud. The idea that economic growth in the Second Reich disproves the theory of comparative advantage is silly. (And there’s another wrinkle here. In unifying dozens of German states, Bismarck created a single, vastly enlarged internal market, permitting German enterprises to benefit, if not from free trade, then from freer trade.)
Britain’s “sad, slow economic decline after 1846?” What economic decline? Allowing for certain temporary setbacks, living standards in Britain continued to rise handsomely after 1846. Britain certainly underwent a relative decline, as other nations, notably Germany and the United States, industrialized (and, in the case of the United States, experienced high rates of immigration). But the United States has undergone just the same sort of decline since the Second World War, slowly accounting for less and less of the world’s output. Have we grown poorer? Of course not. Other nations have grown richer—and thank goodness.
Alexander Hamilton? His theories notwithstanding, actual practice in the early United States were one of relatively free trade. (When Jefferson attempted to impose an embargo in 1808, cutting off trade to Europe, he found himself facing massive civil disobedience. Even his own customs officials made only sporadic attempts to enforce the measure.) I’ll grant you that we imposed high tariffs during periods in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth. But you’d be hard-pressed to find evidence that those tariffs encouraged our economic growth.
By contrast with these counterexamples that are not, actually, counterexamples at all, consider, to name just one example, Hong Kong, which started out with no wealth and no natural resources—but a commitment to free trade. For that matter, take a look at the international growth of the last six decades, which has disproportionately taken place in countries committed (however imperfectly) to free trade. And (again, if I may) read around a little in Milton Friedman. Friedman is that rarest of men: A supremely gifted academic—he didn’t win the Nobel Prize for being a slouch—who writes lucid, accessible prose.
Posted at 01:13 PM
LIEBERMAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I think everyone generally agrees that Joe Lieberman is a decent and honorable guy and all that. He's running as a reasonable centrist and he's getting clobbered for it. I agree with all that. But there's one thing he's said more than once which I think reflects badly on his judgment or his honesty. He said time and again in the early debates that "anyone on this stage" would be an improvement over George W. Bush. Lieberman surely doesn't believe that. And if he did, he's got real problems. After all, if you take the war on terrorism as seriously as he does, how can you possibly believe that Al Sharpton or Dennis Kucinich or Carol Moseley Braun -- or really even Howard Dean -- would be a better pick than George W. Bush. And yeah, I know that such displays of party loyalty are one of the obligatory pieties of electoral politics. But considering how badly he's done, would he really have done worse if he'd said "I'm afraid that replacing George W Bush with Al Sharpton or Dennis Kucinich, fine men though they are, would be a real tragedy for our party and our nation." In other words, rather than constantly saying he's a centrist, couldn't he show it?" Fights attract crowds and they attract supporters as much as they attract critics. Lieberman missed a chance to do the right thing and it might have helped him. It certainly couldn't have hurt him much more than his existing strategy has.
Of course this is all too late. But it's been bothering me for a long time.
Posted at 12:09 PM
GEORGETOWN & ABORTED FETAL CELLS, CONT'D [Peter Robinson]
Let's quote John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Boston, once again: ""I don't see the moral difficulty in using these cell lines, because you're not contributing in any way to the abortions, which took place decades ago."
I wonder about that--and I do mean to say that I wonder, not that my mind is at all made up about this. But I seem to recall that after the Second World War the West Germans made a point of destroying all the files that Dr. Josef Mengele and the other physicians who worked in the death camps had produced, notwithstanding that some of the information thos files contained was medically interesting, and quite possibly useful. The idea, of course, was that the research was forever tainted--and that benefitting from it in any way whatsoever was, simply, unthinkable. (If a reader can fill me in on this history, I'd be very grateful.) Mightn't Mr. Haas want to toughen up his position?
Posted at 11:54 AM
P.S. ON SEX TRADE [KJL]
Washington Post has an editorial today on sex slavery, too. Giving the administration credit but also a caution, one that I suspect this crew will be on top of.
Posted at 11:52 AM
GEORGETOWN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I agree, Kathryn, with both points: the research seems to me to be morally justifiable but the caution sounded was worth listening to. For the same reason, I thought the president's stem-cell decision of Aug. 9, 2001, was justifiable, but I fear it may have left a false impression that all of these issues are amenable to compromise.
Posted at 11:44 AM
THE POSTWAR DEMOCRATS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
(Maybe someone else here has already commented on this; apologies if so.) I was amazed to see John Kerry say that he thought that Bush had "exaggerated" the threat of terrorism. Edwards slammed him for it. It seems to me that if they nominate a person who is willing to say this, the Democrats are living dangerously. Dean, meanwhile, said that "in some ways" the terrorists "have already won" because of the Patriot Act. Edwards and Lieberman notwithstanding, it looks as though a Democratic win in the presidential race in November means the end of the war on terror--or at least our side of it.
Posted at 11:39 AM
IRAN MAY GRANT A CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION PERMISSION TO BE ON THEIR SOIL [KJL]
Photos of U.S. politicians smiling with mullahs seems like the last thing the Iranian people want or need.
Posted at 11:28 AM
MEMRI ON THE BRIBE STORY [ Jonah Goldberg]
This article is much more detail. This could all still turn out to be too good to be true, of course.
Posted at 11:27 AM
"MR. U.N." [KJL]
I have a piece up elsewhere on NRO today on some of George W. Bush’s United Nations human-rights successes (besides Iraq).
One of many potential sidebars to it: Last weekend there was a heartbreaking piece in The New York Times Magazine about sex slavery here in the U.S. and in North America more generally. The author, both in the piece and in various TV interviews last weekend gives the impression that the Bush administration was pointing fingers at other countries and not cracking down inwardly (there have been other questions raised about the piece, too). But in the course of putting the NRO piece together, I was reminded how forthright the White House and State Department (!) have been about the problem within. The president mentioned it in his general assembly address this fall—that we have our own problem—and, check out the 411 available for the world to see on State’s website. President Bush deserves credit from both the right and left for showing real leadership on this issue, a travesty, really. Miles to go, for sure, but back breaking has commenced.
Posted at 11:16 AM
MEL & PEGGY [KJL]
Look forward to this celeb interview.
Posted at 11:06 AM
MORE COPS BEHAVING BADLY [Michael Graham]
Jonathan's posting reminded me of this recent story from Richmond, VA. A woman calls the police to report a theft and the officer allegedly solicited a "Monica Moment" from her while he was there. The evidence suggests what she said is the truth.
His defense? "Oh, no, there was no oral sex. I was reading a porn magazine on her sofa and then went upstairs…” er, without her.
Astonishingly...HE WASN'T FIRED! He eventually resigned as part of a plea bargain to stay out of jail.
Posted at 11:03 AM
GEORGETOWN & ABORTED FETAL CELLS [KJL]
Read the whole story in the Washington Post today, especially if you’re pro-life. Curious where Ramesh comes down, but it seems to me that Fr. Fitzgerald, quoted in the piece, makes sense—that these scientists, who were, according to the story, willing to stop using the aborted fetal cells in research, are, in fact, not contributing to an abortion by using them. That said, I think the latter portion of John Haas’s comment (below) is very important—I might add, especially considering this is Georgetown, which 1) is such a prominent Catholic institution 2) is a Catholic institution 3) shows so many signs that it is not Catholic, that the possibility he mentions is exactly how the world will see it.
John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Boston, said the ethical issues surrounding the use of fetal cells, embryonic stem cells and cloning are the most controversial facing the church. "I don't see the moral difficulty in using these cell lines, because you're not contributing in any way to the abortions, which took place decades ago," Haas said. "However, there is the risk of leading people to think that [some Catholic institutions do not] consider abortion to be a great evil and are indifferent to it and willing to work with tissue that result from that kind of action."
Posted at 11:00 AM
CORRUPT FRENCH [John J. Miller]
In France, a court has convicted former prime minister Alain Juppe for his participation in an illegal political fundraising scheme. Juppe is a key ally of President Jacques Chirac and has been considered a possible successor. Read a summary of what happened here. I would be surprised if CHirac himself was unfamiliar with what was going on--but as president, he's immune to prosecution.
Posted at 10:59 AM
RE: BUSH'S ALLEGED APOSTASY [Jonah Goldberg]
Fromn a reader:
I dunno, Jonah. I heard everybody complain about the State of the Union speech, trying to cover too much, what are steroids doing I there, etc. etc. etc. Yet each person who complained had praise for a different portion of the speech. Howard Fineman (Did I get the name right) thought the steroid bit was great--a very necessary message for kids. If you put together all the parts that individuals liked, you had a whole speech.
Posted at 10:37 AM
LAWYER STORY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:35 AM
INEQUALITY [John Derbyshire]
I have had a number of thoughtful emails following my piece about neoliberalism at the end of it tether. Sample: "I wonder if you would consider writing something to demonstrate mathematically that 'the gap between rich and poor,' which the left loves to talk about, is a useless concept since by definition it must increase as average incomes increase. ... The poor are commonly defined as people in the bottom 20-25% of the income distribution, while the rich are in the top 10-15%. With those definitions it is statistically impossible for the gap to do anything but increase as per capita income increases."
Well, sure. The issue of inequality is, though, in my opinion, a nontrivial one for conservatives. Take the following proposition:
"So long as you don't have a large class surviving on the edge of starvation, and so long as opportunities to get rich are open equally to all, it doesn't matter how many super-rich people you have, or what the size of the gap is between them and the mass of citizens."
That is certainly a defensible proposition -- I mean, it is not self-evidently absurd. I suspect, in fact, that a majority of American conservatives would agree with it. I don't. I believe that even in the freest and most open society, it is possible to have too much inequality, and I think that the state can legitimately interfere to moderate inequality. (Though I acknowledge that there is no way to do so that is not highly contentious.)
As I have noted before, American conservatives are a sunny lot, boundlessly optimistic about human nature. Perhaps I haven't sufficiently shaken off the old-world mud from my boots, or the influence of my upbringing (family solid for Labour), but I do think that the dark side of ordinary human nature -- of which envy is certainly a component -- needs to be allowed for if society is to be stable and harmonious.
It is all very well to tell people: "So long as you have enough, and the freedom to advance yourself, why should you care what the other guy has?" Everybody WILL care to some degree, and some peoplewill care a lot. That generates political energy, which will find an outlet. You can't ignore human nature. Certainly you should not pander to its lower aspects, but to blithely pretend they don't exist is to ask for trouble.
Posted at 10:20 AM
IRAQI BRIBES: LET'S GET SOME CHATTER GOING [ Jonah Goldberg ]
This has all the makings of a huge story but there doesn't seem to be much buzz.
Posted at 10:12 AM
TOP TEN REASONS WHY KERRY WILL NOT CHOOSE HILLARY AS RUNNING MATE [John Derbyshire]
10. Likes to keep campaign billing records in good order.
9. Thinks Ira Magaziner is the publisher of a terrorist newsletter in Belfast.
8. Is afraid Mrs.Kerry will let slip the private epithet he's been using for HRC. (Hint: Think spinach, sailor, pipe.) .......
Posted at 09:57 AM
MEDICARE HIKE, HEIST, WHATEVER [Jonah Goldberg]
Is anyone shocked that Medicare is gonna cost another $130 billion? As I noted in my speech to the conservative party of New York last week this Medicare thing is destined to go up a gazillion-bajillion dollars over the next decade. This is just a downpayment.
Posted at 09:56 AM
MAKE THAT ONE FOR MY CANDIDACY AND ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
"[Howard Dean] doesn't seem to take failure well. Plus, he doesn't seem to confide in people, like his wife....I'm not a psychologist, just a bartender. But if Howard Dean were in my bar, I'd be asking his friends to keep an eye on him."
Posted at 09:35 AM
C&E CHRISTIANS [Michael Graham]
Wesley Clark joined Howard Dean in the ranks of "Campaign & Elections Christians" last night when he told the debate audience: "I went to church every Sunday and I did all that, and I can quote Scriptures and so forth.''
"...and so forth?" Yeah, that Jesus fella is really neat!
You know, if white candidates went to a hip-hop forum on BET and said "Yo, doggies, I'm jiggy with my housebuddies, let's hang in my cribbage!", they would get pounded, and rightfully so. It's not just pandering, it's insulting, insincere and (most annoying) incompetent pandering.
Why do the media give these knuckleheads a pass? Is it because the elite media types think this hokum works on dull-witted Christians? Or do they assume that everyone who claims to be a believer is insincere anyway?
Posted at 09:23 AM
MY MARROW THAWS [Peter Robinson]
From a faithful reader, ten reasons why Kerry won't put Hillary on the ticket. (The postscript isn’t strictly germane, I’ll admit. But what the heck.)
1. Two northeastern liberals on the tickets will lead to a landslide loss.
Posted at 09:18 AM
HOORAY FOR OUTSOURCING [Jonathan H. Adler]
Noted trade economist Dougals A. Irwin explains why "outsourcing" is good for America. He's absolutely right, but outsourcing may remain a potent political issue in the election.
Posted at 09:16 AM
A COP BEHAVING BADLY [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Ninth Circuit discovers a new First Amendment right of . . um . . . self-expression. The full opinion, including a dissent by Judge Wardlaw, is here. (Don't worry, Jonah, I'm sure Mike doesn't mean this when he defends free speech.)
Posted at 09:10 AM
ACK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It makes me sad when The Corner is stuck on Thursday. No longer. TGIF.
Posted at 06:18 AM
Thursday, January 29, 2004
NO JOE-CUNDITY TONIGHT [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, the extremes to which they pounded Bush get a little silly. Kerry took out the club right from the get-go. Lieberman? Lieberman took a page out of the Lying Liar books and claimed again that Bush has the worst economy since World War II. (Did these people all undergo a cryogenic freeze during the Jimmy Carter years?) One request: those of you who want to act generous and praise Lieberman in a few days when he quits? Think about skipping it.
Posted at 11:25 PM
A THOUGHT THAT MADE MY VERY MARROW FREEZE [Peter Robinson]
Please, someone. Tell me there are all sorts of good reasons why Kerry wouldn't choose Hillary as his running mate. Please.
Posted at 09:06 PM
RE: THE DEBATE [KJL]
A reader: "Yes, this was their last chance to salvage their campaigns. Instead, they laid down like a ninety-year-old man after climbing the stairs of the Washington Monument."
Posted at 08:44 PM
This is not new news, but Howard Dean on Cheney and the CIA reminds me of the Left's growing obsession with Dick Cheney. As in, Ashcroft hatred may now be trumped by Cheney hatred. Quite a feat, considering.
Posted at 08:38 PM
DEBATING IN SOUTH CAROLINA [KJL]
It may just be that I am tired, but this debate seemed hum-drum. The anticipation was everyone was going to turn on Kerry, instead they were all just anti-Bush. Well, duh. No sparks flying there. Seems to me like this debate could just as well never have happened. But again, I'm so just waiting for Tuesday night right now for the real action.
Posted at 08:33 PM
NBC SLEEPING [KJL]
Why schedule the debate to run opposite Friends? Don't they realize the passing of friends is a national tragedy? Do they really think people will watch Dennis Kucinich over Phoebe's wedding?
I mean, Peter can't even tear himself away from the bloody penguins to watch.
Posted at 07:55 PM
SMOKING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Al Sharpton (from memory): As far as President Bush saying he doesn't need a permission slip from the U.N.: he doesn't think he needs the votes of the American people to become president.
Posted at 07:37 PM
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'VE MADE THE HIGH SCORE LIST! [Peter Robinson]
And that, Kathryn, is the message that popped up when yours truly completed level 25 of the Kevin the Penguin game, scoring--are you sitting down, my sweet?--108,407 points.
End the penguin string? The very idea.
Posted at 07:35 PM
JOE LIEBERMAN [KJL]
is having just so much goofy fun now. (Watching the debate.)
Posted at 07:10 PM
YOU'RE PRETTY FUNNY, PETER [KJL]
And, no, I will not be beating you, alas.
Posted at 07:06 PM
KATHRYN, YOU KNOW I NEVER DISAGREE WITH YOU... [Peter Robinson]
...but end the string on penguins? But whatever for? I just spent the happiest ten minutes of my entire day on the penguin arcade game (see the link below), trying to slingshot Kevin the Penguin back to his spaceship. My score after completing level 8: 48,364.
Beat that, Kathryn, and then we'll talk about ending the string.
Posted at 06:58 PM
thread has to end soon. You know which one I mean. Just FYI.
Posted at 06:44 PM
MORE PENGUINS [Meghan Clyne]
Posted at 06:44 PM
MIKE, MIKE, MIKE [Peter Robinson]
I was with you Mike--I really was--until you blithely compared W to the Gipper, writing, "So he's not right-wing on the deficit; the same was true of Reagan."
Well, yes, but that simply hops over a critical distinction: Reagan most certainly was right wing about spending, and W most certainly is not. Compare Reagan's 39 first-term vetoes with W's zero first-term vetoes, or Reagan's cuts in domestic discretionary spending with W's wild and giddy spending spree.
Yes, W is very good on defense and tax cuts, and two out of three ain't bad.
But it also ain't what it could be.
Posted at 06:38 PM
WHAAT? [Mike Potemra ]
Jonah's anthology of e-mails includes the following: "Markets are about choices, not about mandated diversity. Mike would seem to be hoping for a series of (using the market metaphor) state-financed enterprises to provide make-work for those who simply cannot compete." I am delighted because, in America, any kook who wants to is allowed to spout his opinions . . . and this means I'm somehow in favor of "mandating" something "state-sponsored"? The exact opposite is true: I defend the right of people to say things I disagree with-that doesn't mean I favor the creation of previously non-existent opinions that aren't actually held by anyone. There's enough diversity among existing opinions. (In any case, a government program to support diversity would work about as well as most government programs, and we'd actually end up with less diversity.)
Posted at 06:36 PM
STRAW MEN, PART II [Mike Potemra]
Also, Jonah says: "All it says to me is that when push comes to shove those who fetishize extreme speech will make for unreliable allies in the fight against the ideas that speech communicates." Wrong. First of all, I do not "fetishize" any sort of speech; fetishizing connotes idolatry. But I am committed to defending free-speech principles, not in a narrow, legalistic way, but in a way that reaches to core philosophical ideas. And that's precisely why I'm not just a reliable ally, but a passionate one, in the War on Terror, against people like Michael Moore. We're fighting, globally, for the American idea-the idea that certain very important principles do have heft and meaning. Our little domestic slugfests help show the world what kind of people we are.
Posted at 06:27 PM
SPEAKING OF STRAW MEN [Mike Potemra]
I think Jonah has formulated the issue in a way in which I recognize it. He says: "You come from the perspective, I'm now quite certain, which believes there's a great deal of heft and meaning to such phrases as 'I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.' I come from the perspective which says such statements are usually diversionary treacle, intended to distract from the substance of the issues at hand." Let me begin by admitting, forthrightly, that I do believe that that phrase has heft and meaning. But by posing such a stark contrast between the (supposedly naïve) people who believe it has heft and meaning and the (supposedly clear-eyed) people who realize that it's twaddle, Jonah is posing both a) a false choice and b) an excluded middle. In short: building a straw man. Because, in fact, while remaining 100 percent committed to free-speech principles and their importance to our national character and identity, I recognize that some people use the same rhetoric as-to use Jonah's words-"diversionary treacle." But . . . so what? Let's say President Bush calls on Americans to be patriotic. Some lib jumps up and quotes the old line, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." What has he proven--about patriotism itself, or about Bush? Precisely nothing; it's just name-calling. Patriotism remains a noble thing, though some abuse it; same goes for defending free speech. (And free speech does, of course, include the right to mock those we believe to have said remarkably silly things.)
Posted at 06:25 PM
TWO EMAILS ON THE BEAUTIFUL SPEECH MOSAIC [Jonah Goldberg]
Jonah, I've been reading the conversation between you and Mike Potemra and agree with you fully. I think what's missing amongst the "anybody can say whatever they want" crowd is the first half of the Friends of Voltaire quote: I disagree with what you say. Unless and until you state that qualifier, the rest--"I will defend to the death your right to say it"--becomes, by omission, a defense of the _words in question_ not a defense of freedom of speech. By not taking the effort to denounce Michael Moore's statement that Bush is a deserter, Clark is defending the statement, not Moore's right to make an ass of himself. (Moore's bank account alone should be evidence enough of that latter fact.) And Clark has now shown on several occasions that he has no intention whatsoever of denouncing Michael Moore's statement; hell, he hadn't even taken the time to even _question_ its veracity, last I heard. In our culture, unless you explictly disagree with something you're apt to come across as supporting it, especially when you support those who believe it. Wesley Clark thinks he is deserving of the Oval Office, but his actions reveal time and again that he shouldn't be allowed within 100 miles of that office."And...
What many fail to grasp when using the phrase 'marketplace of ideas' is that some products often fail to find consumers to demand them, and hence they fail in the marketplace. If the Michael Moores of the world (or Susan Sarandons or Tim Robbins, etc.) are shamed into silence (note that Tim Robbins was quite well-behaved at the Golden Globes, progress perhaps?) by their response to the negative reactions that they receive, this is PRECISELY HOW A MARKET FUNCTIONS, and thus is a very good thing. Markets are about choices, not about mandated diversity. Mike would seem to be hoping for a series of (using the market metaphor) state-financed enterprises to provide make-work for those who simply cannot compete... I am a first amendment absolutist on a level that I doubt you would embrace, but I do NOT believe that the right to speak out obviates the necessity of accepting the consequences of one's words... Just a thought...
Posted at 06:14 PM
DEAN'S GAMBIT [Jonah Goldberg]
I guess he sat down and stared at the paperwork and started counting delegates. It sounds like the Mother of All Hail Marys.
Posted at 06:11 PM
THE UN, WMDS & ME PART II [ Jonah Goldberg]
Now, it’s true I haven’t written since then that the UN should take over in Iraq. I don’t think I’ve written that it shouldn’t either. Though maybe I have in an incidental way, I just don’t recall – much as I didn’t recall writing the offending passage until people passed it along.
Anyway, I’m not sure I see the huge hypocrisy on my part. Let’s start from the top. If you read that column, you’ll see that the reason I supported the if-no-WMDs-then-hand-it-to-the-UN deal was first and foremost to convince France, Germany and Russia to get behind the US during an ongoing war. If you’ve read the papers since March, you’ll recall that they didn’t join the coalition, they didn’t get with the program. That changes the equation pretty considerably. I was not in favor of handing the keys to Iraq over to the United Nations because I think the United Nations is such a wonderful organization. Deferring to them now, without laying the groundwork for it in advance would be a public relations and strategic blunder of huge proportions at this point. However, I do think the UN should get more involved. I do think the administration was right to try to enlist the UN in the effort more. And I do think the UN is betraying its own humanitarian principles by not helping out simply out of fear and anti-Americanism. The fear is understandable, but by giving into it they worsen Iraq’s prospects for healthy future.
So yeah, things have not gone wonderfully on all fronts in Iraq and the UN could help alleviate some of the anti-American sentiment there.
Also, I proposed that idea because I was still fairly certain there would be WMDs found in Iraq and that French and Russian skepticism was an opportunistic pose designed to make us look bad. I think I was right about that then and now. My deal would have called their bluff. We didn’t offer it, they didn’t take it. In retrospect that might be a good thing. I’m not sure. But I am sure that suggesting I’m a hypocrite because I don’t support an idea which is now totally obsolete is, charitably speaking, unpersuasive.
Posted at 06:07 PM
THE UN, WMDS & ME PART I [ Jonah Goldberg]
So here's the deal: George Bush — who has rightly been much more reluctant than Tony Blair to toss the U.N. a bone when it comes to the potentially lucrative prospect of rebuilding Iraq — should make it known that if Coalition forces find no Iraqi WMD while we're in there, we will defer to the U.N. on how to run postwar Iraq. If the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein would "change the equation" for the French during the war, why shouldn't the discovery of WMD stockpiles at the end of hostilities change the equation for the peace? If it becomes clear that the United States and Great Britain were right when we said France, Russia, and Germany were being willfully obtuse in not seeing Iraq's noncompliance, why shouldn't the Coalition nations be rewarded for having the courage of our convictions? If these reconstruction contracts must go to someone, and we can credibly argue that we made the greatest sacrifices while the French and Russians were supine appeasers, why shouldn't those contracts go to us?
Posted at 06:07 PM
QUESTION FOR THE PUNDITS IN THE ROOM [KJL]
Is this Dean Michigan strategy pure desperation? Could it work?
Posted at 06:03 PM
No one has mentioned Yoda being stolen? Is this still NRO's The Corner?
Posted at 06:02 PM
WE'RE "SURE" WE'LL GET BIN LADEN THIS YEAR? [KJL]
Posted at 05:54 PM
S.C. DEBATE NOTE [Tim Graham]
Last May, ABC fought for the privilege of hosting and later airing a Democratic debate in South Carolina. George Stephanopoulos said Democratic Party leaders wanted this early debate and early South Carolina primary to encourage the idea that "you could get a conservative" through the primaries. (So much for that idea.)
But Stephanopoulos failed to raise a single question with the Democrats about one controversial issue: pulling the Confederate flag down off state government flag poles. This may be a relatively unimportant question on a national scale, but on "This Week" on January 23, 2000, when Sam Donaldson noted that Bush and McCain were both saying it was a state issue they didn't need to discuss, Stephanopoulos said of their position "It's craven and cowardly." (Democrats lobbied ABC not to bring it up.) It will be interesting to see if it comes up this time. Larry King asked George W Bush about the Confederate flag in a CNN debate in South Carolina on February 15, 2000.
Posted at 05:51 PM
SIGH [ Jonah Goldberg]
Mike - We've been having the exact same argument for about two years in here. You come from the perspective, I'm now quite certain, which believes there's a great deal of heft and meaning to such phrases as "I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I come from the perspective which says such statements are usually diversionary treacle, intended to distract from the substance of the issues at hand. When I hear Wes Clark, for example, brush off questions about Michael Moore by saying "I support Mr. Moore's right to dissent" or some such, I think he's being a monumental wuss and, frankly, a coward. Who cares if he supports his right to dissent, that's not the issue. If Clark had the integrity to say what he thinks about Moore's comments, he would say it. Instead he falls back on a tired cliché to dodge the question.
Similarly your "Mosaic" stuff takes the condescending view that there's something quaint or charming about even the most vile speech because of its contribution to "diversity." Fine, but really: So what? All it says to me is that when push comes to shove those who fetishize extreme speech will make for unreliable allies in the fight against the ideas that speech communicates. It's almost like you subscribe to a radical chic that is charmed by the fellow you meet at a cocktail party who would -- if given the power -- put you in a reeducation camp. Indeed, this whole "speech should be suppressed" thing you and your reader raise (again) is really a strawman. Who is talking about "suppressing" speech? Where did that come from? Not from me. Not from your original post about the Brian Lamb book etc. No, you brought it up again, almost reflexively as if any criticism of the sort of un-intellectual diversity you celebrate necessarily implies the organized suppression of dissident speech. I'm sorry, but that's your hobgoblin, not my threat, real or implied. I am for shunning, shaming and mocking voices like Moore's, not for suppressing them with the force of law. And if that drives those voices from public life, Wahoo! Mission accomplished. That to me is what the marketplace of ideas is all about. But if that strikes you as suppression, then I guess I am for suppression.
There endeth my lesson. Amen back at ya.
Posted at 05:21 PM
RE: I DON'T BUY IT [Mike Potemra ]
Jonah says of my praise of America that: "It provides no criteria by which we should judge those voices." In saying this, he is quite correct. If you want criteria by which to judge the truth of all these voices, you should look to-for starters--the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the works of Friedrich Hayek, the spirit of independent reason, and so on. Obviously, I wasn't trying to outline, in one paragraph, my Comprehensive Definition of All Truth. But Jonah goes on to say: "It adds to diversity to have, say, Nazis and Stalinists in the national debate too, but frankly, I'd rather have a little less diversity if it meant not having them in it." And on this, whether he's right depends on the meaning of "national debate." If national debate means the three or four most respected opinions in the country, the ones we spend most of our time discussing--then I certainly don't want Nazism and Stalinism being part of that debate. But if national debate is taken more broadly, to include Flat Earthers, LaRouchies, pro-vivisection vegans, etc., then the brownshirted and redshirted guys belong in it. The alternative is to become like Canada or . . . . (gulp) France . . . where hate-speech laws are used against nonviolent people who just say things that aren't judged politically correct by the lib mainstream. A very intelligent reader sent me an e-mail that sums it up: "The kooks, the a**holes, and the normals can all live side by side and contribute to the a civil society to the best of our abilities. Ideas are mocked, embraced, or ignored--but not suppressed! . . . Neither you nor Whitman would approve of the Nazis' or Stalinists' ideas. But I think you and Whitman both would agree that the poverty of their ideas would, in a free society, be laughed out of the marketplace of ideas. Free people do not need ot suppress bad thoughts. [We mustn't] confuse celebrating the existence of the mosaic of ideas with approval of every idea equally." Here endeth the lesson; amen.
Posted at 04:57 PM
VETERANS VOLUNTEER [Kate O'Beirne]
Responses to my criticisms of Kerry's view of his fellow veterans have the makings of a Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry, without the excesses of the current website bearing that name. (The Kerry chronicle is helpful, the conclusions about Kerry aren't). To some of my other correspondents: It's absurd to see a parallel between President Bush being misled by US intelligence on Iraq's WMD and Kerry being duped by phony veterans' phony firsthand accounts. For starters, I see a major difference between believing the worst about a murderous tyrant's intentions and believing the worst about the typical American G.I. For those whose distaste for President Bush has them stubbornly ignoring my point: Kerry deserves credit for serving in Vietnam, and he had every right to later oppose US policy, which he could have done without slandering thousands of other veterans who honorably served.
Posted at 04:14 PM
1992: THE SHADOW ON THE WALL [Mike Potemra ]
Lurking behind much of the hard-conservative fretting about Bush, I think, is the specter of the 1992 election. In 1992, the elder Bush had abandoned the Right on taxes, and endorsed some heavy Democratic spending and regulation programs (like the Americans with Disabilities Act). Then he asked the Right to swallow it-because, hey, what are they going to do, vote for the draft dodger? This clever strategy resulted in a combined-Clinton-plus-Perot 62-to-38 wipeout for Bush. But the younger Bush provides a very serious contrast, in terms of how he has conducted the presidency. He has been a solid conservative on the crucial issues of defense and taxes, and promises more of the same if reelected; these are a serious positive reasons to reelect him. (In other words, he's not going to be running around in October saying, basically, "OK, I know I'm a lousy president, but you have to vote for me because the other guy uses Botox.") So he's not right-wing on the deficit; the same was true of Reagan. The Mondale/Dukakis liberals laughed at Reagan for saying we would grow our way out of the deficit, but in the end, that's exactly what happened. That's why it's so crucial to keep the economy rising through a solid tax-cutting strategy . . . and a major reason why, for the good of the country, this President Bush must be reelected.
Posted at 04:09 PM
NEA: THE POLITICAL FALLOUT [Mike Potemra ]
I agree with Ramesh that there will be few, if any, committed Kerry/Dean voters who will switch to Bush just because of NEA funding. But those voters aren't the political target here. The people Bush is trying to reach are the marginal voters who need to be reassured that he's not a knee-jerk partisan. Few of these will vote for Bush purely because of the NEA; but they will be made marginally less receptive to the Democratic pitch, next October, that Bush only really cares about his hard-core backers. In this sense, Bush is playing politics like baseball, a game of inches in which seemingly tiny adjustments can have big payoffs. If you increase your batting average aginst left-handers from .267 to .277, for example, that could make a difference in terms of games won.
Posted at 04:04 PM
I'M TEMPTED [KJL]
Posted at 03:51 PM
I DON'T BUY IT [Jonah Goldberg]
Mike - I guess I'm in the "that's sentimental pap" column too. Sure it's nice to have a rich mosaic of voices or whatever. But the content of those voices must be weighed on the merits too. Simply asserting that divergent voices add to our diversity and diversity is good isn't enough, because it provides no criteria by which we should judge those voices. It adds to diversity to have, say, Nazis and Stalinists in the national debate too, but frankly, I'd rather have a little less diversity if it meant not having them in it. I am not, repeat not, saying that Coulter and Moore are Nazis/Stalinists. But the point remains; the rich mosaic approach must celebrate all perspectives regardless of content.
I'm partial to the idea of one nation divided by a healthy debate too. But I do not believe that Moore and Coulter are in the same nation. The nation that you, me and Ann inhabit witnessed 9/11 and immediately saw it as an assault on our nation, regardless of partisanship. Moore saw it as something we had coming and lamented that more deserving, i.e. Republican, targets weren't hit. I disagree with Ann quite often but I never doubt that she's on America's side. I can't say the same about Moore. Oh, and if you're wondering if I'm questioning Michael Moore's patriotism, the answer is yes. I think the only thing he truly loves about this country is how rich it's made him.
Posted at 03:45 PM
THE NEA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I notice, Kathryn, that Kimball doesn't actually say that doubling its funding is a good idea. He says that it's under good management now, and that if it's going to exist it's better that it be under good management. That's probably true, but it tells us nothing about whether doubling its funding is a good idea. As for the electoral implications, I think that Mike and some of Jonah's emailers are indulging in wishful thinking. All the Americans who were inclined to vote against Bush but will now support him could meet in a small community theater, if not a phone booth.
Posted at 03:22 PM
BUSH ON VELVET [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 03:15 PM
4 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK [Tim Graham]
Four years ago at this time, we were coming out of Iowa instead of New Hampshire, but the network interviewers also stuck to horse-race queries when interviewing Democrats Bradley and Gore (just like this year).
But not the Republicans. The day after Bush and Gore won in Iowa, ABC asked Gore about whether Bradley should drop out he doesn’t win New Hampshire, and whether the race would end there. But ABC took out the fast-pitch machine for Bush, asking that if Roe v. Wade is repealed (as if that was happening any time soon), would doctors be prosecuted? Would the women seeking abortions be prosecuted? It was only January, but the show came in like a lamb, and went out like a lion.
Posted at 03:09 PM
ANN COULTER AND MICHAEL MOORE [Mike Potemra]
Sometimes a concept takes hold, culturally, and deserves a little attention. As literary edtor of National Review, I get huge stacks of review copies every day from publishers. Today I got a copy of a Voice of Reason, by radio host Ronn Owens. The flap copy says: "If you're sick of the hyperactive bleating of the Ann Coulters and Michael Moores, and you're ready for a straightforward and faur discussion" etc. I also got the galley of a new book from C-SPAN's Brian Lamb, the introduction of which begins as follows: "A book on 'American character' that begins with chapters from Ann Coulter and Michael Moore? Absolutely!" There are two ways of looking at this pairing, as to what it tells us about the national character. The first is the conventional red-state-versus-blue-state analysis: We are a nation divided into two hostile camps. The second, to which I am admittedly partial, is Walt Whitman's conception of a single nation that, nonetheless, contains multitudes and revels in doing so. (I think Coulter and Moore would both reject this vision as sentimental pap; and that, too, is part of their charm.)
Posted at 03:07 PM
SEN. HAGEL, WITNESS FOR THE KERRY DEFENSE [Kate O'Beirne]
The Wall Street Journal notes my accusation that former Navy Lt. Kerry slandered his fellow Vietnam veterans when he testified before the Senate in 1971. I linked to the testimony, but the WSJ didn't bother quoting from it. The front-page piece quotes Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, explaining that Kerry "certainly earned the freedom to take the actions he took." What did those who served in Vietnam do, Senator Hagel, to earn the outrageous charges Kerry leveled against them? In his disgraceful testimony, Kerry accused American troops of committing war crimes in Vietnam. He said that such atrocities "were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Citing phony stories from phony veterans, Kerry claimed that American soldiers, "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads. . . cut off limbs. . . randomly shot at civilians. . . poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside. . ." Sen. Hagel says that he disagrees with some of Kerry's "protest tactics," but "I think it will be a very flimsy point." One of those tactics was falsely claiming that (racist, according to Kerry) American soldiers routinely engaged in savagery.
Note: Speaking of "flimsy," Sen. Hagel has been meeting with advisers to discuss his prospects for the GOP nomination in 2008.
Posted at 02:26 PM
I'M HEARTENED BY CONSERVATIVES . . . [Mike Potemra ]
... and how they are responding to the Bush NEA announcement. Jonah says that most of the e-mail he's getting-by something like a three-to-one margin-gives Bush a pass on this issue. This is a very important signal, because it shows a certain maturity of outlook on the part of conservatives: a dogged insistence on focusing on the Big Picture. On the two central issues facing government in our time-aggressively and proactively defending national security, and reducing the tax burden on American productivity-Bush is being a leader and the Democrats are being reactionary. To vote against Bush, therefore, is not in the national interest. Spending a few million bucks on the NEA is worth it if it reassures some people that Bush is not governing in a partisan spirit. My own personal view is that the NEA should not exist at all; I admit that, on issues like this, I am an ideologue. But if Bush is willing to stand up to his own ideological supporters--on what is relatively a trivial issue-he can win points as a national uniter, the president of all the people. And that way he can get a resounding victory in November, with an actual mandate for the important changes he, and I, and the vast majority of nonideological Americans can agree on. P.S. To those who worry that when a Democrat runs against a Democrat, the Democrat wins every time: Clinton ran as a triangulating centrist and won; Gore ran as a partisan liberal and lost. Bush is, in fact, a solid conservative, and he's making some triangulating-centrist moves. He's proving he's not just a smart president, but a smart politician.
Posted at 02:21 PM
THE SWAP [KJL]
"How do you feel about your brother's killer being released?" Jerusalem Post editorial-page editor Saul Singer has a piece in the Wall Street Journal today (sub. Only) about the Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange happening today. Saul’s brother, Alex Singer, an American and a soldier in the Israeli army, was killed on his 25th birthday by Anwar Yassin, who is being released today. “it is difficult to escape the seeming imbalance of this prisoner deal, in which Alex's killer is among 35 prisoners from Arab states, one German caught trying to carry out a terrorist attack for Hizbullah, and 400 Palestinian prisoners--in exchange for one man, Elkhanan Tenenbaum, and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers.” But, Saul concludes, “What is known is that, despite the hero's welcome Yassin will receive, the value placed by this deal on his freedom is less than 1/400th of that of one Israeli. There is perhaps no greater measure of the value Israelis attach to life than their willingness to risk their lives for another. Indeed, that is how my brother lived -- and how he died.”
Posted at 02:16 PM
A DEMOCRAT SPEAKS [KJL]
If a lifelong Democrat like me plans on voting for George W. Bush in November, you Republicans had damn well better do the same. There is only one issue, the war on terror, and you people need to get over this "these aren't conservative values" whine. Right here, right now, we need a leader who sees the world in the starkest of black and white terms. We've got him and we'd better do everything we can to keep him.
Posted at 02:10 PM
NEA: FROM THE SOCCER MOM "STREET" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:00 PM
RE: IN GEORGE WE TRUST [KJL]
This e-mail is along those lines, Jonah:
Peggy Noonan wrote this in 2002. I think she was right then and I think this is what we're seeing now too:
Posted at 01:52 PM
FORGET THE FJORDS, I'M STAYING PUT [Cosmo]
Let Peter Singer have his fun in Stockholm.
Posted at 01:46 PM
LOTS AND LOTS OF THESE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:43 PM
IN GEORGE WE TRUST [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg, Writing as a very disappointed GWB supporter and campaign donor, I think there is a huge segment of people out there who stand by him despite all these insane policy decisions because they simply like him so much as an individual. I think his down-to-Earth way of speaking and sincere religiosity are catnip for a huge proportion of red staters who rightly feel condescended to by the coastal cultural axis. People build an image of person based on an incomplete picture of reality, and when reality diverges from that picture, they tend to exclude it. It's like living next to a postcard-perfect family, whose kids play with your kids, the mother runs the church socials, the father coaches little league, and so on, and one day hearing that they host monthly S&M parties. Your first reaction is simply to not believe it--George? Impossible!--and it passes straight through without taking hold.
Posted at 01:35 PM
PENGUIN JUSTICE [ Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 01:34 PM
ANOTHER TAKE ON THE NEA [KJL]
Roger Kimball, who knows the art world, is pro-increase. Read here.
Posted at 12:49 PM
HOWARD DEAN: POT SMOKING LOSER [ Jonah Goldberg]
Talk about kicking a guy when he's down
Posted at 12:38 PM
ON THE OTHER HAND [Jonah Goldberg]
I think this guy is right on the substance, but that doesn't mean Bush doesn't have a problem brewing:
The "ex-member of Bush's base" wasn't part of Bush's base. He is one of the easily-angered, make-sure-you-find-something- not-conservative-enough-about-them, HowardDeanpersonality type conservative wing of the Republican party. They throw temper tantrums over side issues that affect life in America in the smallest ways and don't want to vote for the candidates who on big issues are night/day different from the Democrats. Bush's base is made up of people who still so admire him as to actually call him not just a good, but a great president. There are MANY more of us, I am sure.
Posted at 12:24 PM
ADIOS BUSH [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm getting a steady trickle of emails like these:
Bush's immigration policy was, for me, the last straw -- because I view the amnesty deal as a surrender in the national security area -- who can tell how many murderous Islamists will hide in the flood of border-jumpers, if we (as Bush has done) announce that we really have no intention of enforcing our immigration laws. Coupled with signing a bill he knew was unconstitutional (BCFR), letting Teddy write the Education bill, support for discrimination in college admissions, out-of-control spending, letting almost all of Clinton's last-minute executive orders stand without a fight, refusing to prosecute the pardons-for-votes stuff, this NEA thing, etc...
Posted at 12:13 PM
INTERESTING QUESTION [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't agree with him on the Nader point, and he may not realize that "NRO" doesn't take editorial positions separate from the magazine, but it's an interesting question:
Posted at 12:07 PM
WHAT HE SAID [Jonah Goldberg]
I think Ramesh has it exactly right. To paraphrase Howard Dean, if you run a Democrat against a Democrat, a Democrat will win every time.
Posted at 11:40 AM
THE NEA STRATEGY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I've gotten a few e-mails like the one Jonah just printed, suggesting that raising NEA funding and other liberal measures will lead the Democrats to try to outflank him on the left--calling for quadrupling NEA funding, giving immediate citizenship to the population of China, etc. Well, sure the Democrats will try to get to Bush's left. But that would mean that we will be debating how much to increase NEA spending. I should have thought that's not the debate conservatives would want us to be having. And what is Bush's retort going to be? He can't say it's ridiculous to increase spending on such a worthless program, especially in a time of war and deficits. He's for doubling the program himself! I can't see any way to spin this positively.
Posted at 11:28 AM
ARLEN SPECTER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I knew he was bad on taxes, spending, racial preferences, school choice, cloning, judges, labor issues, and a lot of other issues. But I hadn't realized he had stood in the way of welfare reform, too, until I saw a brief mention of his role on kausfiles.com today. Remind me what the senator is good on? Or better yet, take a look at his primary opponent--conservative Pat Toomey.
Posted at 11:12 AM
ANOTHER TIME-WASTER [ Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, you've been warned. So don't send me any "Damn you Goldbergs!!!" This is a game a reader sent me as explicit "payback" for the penguin thing. It's very addictive and adds nothing to the GDP. You shouldn't follow the link. More importantly, you should not report your high scores to me. Seriously. I must have gotten at least a hundred reports on various readers penguin-batting high scores.
Posted at 11:07 AM
BUSH'S CALCULATIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Maybe after a few of these "proposals" are floated, the result is that Bush has effectively handed his fellow Republicans in Congress the ability and, most importantly, the evidence, to run against the Democrats in congress as liberal extremists by dint of the Dems' own counterproposals, and all along, no one with an "R" after their name necessarily cares if Bush's proposals ever go anywhere as written. After all, just look at how hard he's been fighting for his immigration program...
Posted at 11:06 AM
KERRY AND KENNEDY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A reader writes: Was inspired to read the Almanac of American Politics's section on Kerry after Moran's piece in NRO this morning and noticed this tidbit -- National Journal rates John Kerry *more* liberal than Ted Kennedy on economic issues in 2001 and 2002; it rates him equally liberal on social issues for both years. A nice little soundbite.
Posted at 10:56 AM
RE: NEA, HIGH DOLLARS [Jonah Goldberg]
Fair point from a reader, I guess I mispoke on the high dollar part:
Posted at 10:55 AM
ME@VALPO [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:52 AM
NEA: INTERESTING TAKE [Jonah Goldberg]
If this reader is right, I support Bush's move 100%:
Posted at 10:46 AM
Iraqi foreign minister says we'll find them.
Posted at 10:45 AM
DONKEY-FYING "PUBLIC OPINION" [Tim Graham]
We need a name for the annoying media tendency to take exit poll results from a Democratic primary and transpose that off-kilter liberal sample's opinion as identical to public opinion. Tuesday night, Bob Schieffer was saying the exit poll results were bad news for the White House, as if Bush should be expected to find fans among the Dean voters.
Left out of the Schieffer-Russert-etc. analysis boosting this slanted sample is the political facts on the New Hampshire ground in 2002: voters elected Republican Gov. Craig Benson and Republican Sen. John Sununu easily, both in open-seat races, Sununu over the incumbent Governor, at a time when the economy was no doubt gloomier in the state, and the Dems were pounding the economy as their main theme.
Posted at 10:43 AM
HIGH-LARIOUS [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's a letter (Tim Graham alerted me to) over at Romanesko:
From JOHN MAGNER: Subject: NY Times' Conservatives beat. I eagerly look forward to the Times' forthcoming establishment of a Liberals beat. The lucky reporter will, of course, "examine liberal forces in religion, politics, law, business and the media." The idea will be to "delve into the issues and personalities that drive -- and sometimes divide -- liberals." The Times' Liberals beat will examine the disparate but at times interconnected liberal organizations -- teachers' unions and Affirmative Action supporters, for example -- all as a way of gaining a peek into who establishment Democrats listen to, and why. Can't wait!Me: I bet we'll hear more of this from the Franken-Alterman-MoveOn crowd. Now, I'm still working out what I think about the Times-conservative-beat thing, but the notion that the Times hasn't been covering liberals and liberal ideas as a fulltime vocation is sheer luncacy. More important, the Times hasn't even bothered to label the ideas and people it covers as "liberal." Rather the Times objectively calls them pioneers, geniuses, innovators, artists, philanthropists, heros, martyrs etc. The Harvard black studies department isn't brimming with black "liberal" geniuses and titans. It's brimming with plain old geniuses and titans. Susan Sontag isn't a "great" liberal writer, she's a great writer. Etc etc etc.
Posted at 10:36 AM
ARE WE BEING SISTA SOULJAHED? [ Jonah Goldberg ]
When Bush starts spending high dollars on the NEA you have to start wondering whether he's crazy like a fox. Maybe the constant drumbeat from liberals calling Bush a monster-barbarian-trog have succeeded with key demographic groups? Maybe this is all calculated to elicit a predictable (and warranted) response from conservatives which the Administration can then exploit; "See, the Gingroid-nasties hate me! They're complaining I'm too compassionate! I'm a middle-of-the-roader, just like you."
I'm always reluctant to assume these sorts of multi-carom strategies. But surely Bush doesn't expect to pick up actual votes or support on the merits of increased NEA funding? I mean he's on this big kick to cut spending and he chooses to boost spending on the mother of all White Elephants (at least in the minds of millions of Americans. Personally, I can see spending the money on arts, in flush times, if done responsibly). I'm sure the symbolism will help with a handful of people, but in the broad scheme of things, people who care about more NEA funding enough to influence their vote are already lost to Bush -- and there aren't that many of them in the first place. But there are millions of conservatives who want less NEA funding and he's opting to tick them off. So, maybe it's intentional. And, it might actually be working, as Glenn Reynolds notes.
Posted at 10:13 AM
KERRY'S NEW SOLDIER [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah may be right that the book might cause Kerry some embarrassment. Interestingly enough, the book is increasingly hard to find via Amazon or eBay, leading some to expect that someone -- or some campaign -- is buying them up (and driving up the price). A copy on Alibris is going for over $800!
Posted at 09:41 AM
BLIND MAN DEAN [KJL]
Iraqi blogger on Howard Dean saying Iraqis are worse off post-Saddam:
And all of this for what? For staying in the white house for 4 or 8 years? Is it worth it?Read the whole thing here.
Posted at 09:32 AM
ENDOWMENT STORY [Tim Graham]
The Bushes seem to be missing the point that the NEA is for many fiscal conservatives Exhibit A of spending seriousness: if you can't save pennies on chocolate-smearing performance artists, where can you save? They've obviously decided that being "pro-arts" is a good move toward moderate Repubs with money, and a cheap one at that.
But the annoying thing about the NYT article is the real PR disasters of the NEA -- the grants to Mapplethorpe, Andres Serrano, Karen Finley -- are put across merely as things about which "conservatives complained," when opposition to the idea of subsidized bullwhip-up-where? photos and Piss Christ is hardly contained to conservatives.
Posted at 07:14 AM
FROM BROKEN RECORDS TO JUST PLAIN BROKE? [KJL]
Mor on Dean campaign "chaos."
Posted at 06:38 AM
YOU KNOW WE'RE "THE REAL DEAL" [KJL]
Ramesh and I, when we're up this late worried about federal spending.
Posted at 12:29 AM
IT'S OFFICIAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
This president is willing to spend your money on absolutely anything--and everything: drugs at home, wars overseas, quests in space, and even the National Endowment for the Arts.
Posted at 12:16 AM
OH, COME ON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
With our current spending issues, how exactly is it wise to be increasing the National Endowment for the Arts budget, as the NYT reports the Bush administration is about to do. And, no, I can't get beyond the fact that it is the NEA that we're talking about here. How many years have conservatives fought to decrease funding, to eliminate funding for inappropriate (re: pornographic, ridiculous, etc.) "art and other silly allocations of funds (like grants to NYC's impoverished MET)? I'm sure the White House justifies the increase in the spririt of a long-held Western tradition of public funds for the arts...and the current chairman is a gem (Dana Gioia)...but for a spending increase, this is neither the time nor the place. What happened to the days when we were going to abolish, not expand?
Posted at 12:12 AM
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
THE HIGHER SYNTHESIS [Rick Brookhiser]
How many penguins could Operation Barbarossa have made fall over?
Posted at 10:07 PM
REACH FOR THE FORK [Michael Graham]
Posted at 06:41 PM
NEVER TOO RICH, TOO THIN, OR TOO MANY IMMIGRANTS [Mark Krikorian]
Interesting hearing of the House Agriculture Committee today. Rep. Steve King asked former INS policy director (and faithful libertarian) Stuart Anderson if there was such a thing as too much immigration -- Anderson mumbled that he didn't know. Anderson, by the way, is executive director of a new open-borders think tank called the National Foundation for American Policy . Maybe I'm being catty, but the name is so anodyne, it sounds like he should be giving out the Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Excellence. Another member of the committee lectured the other witness, James R. Edwards Jr. of Numbers USA [http://www.NumbersUSA.com], that meatpackers need alien labor because "we can't get enough people to work for $7 or $8 dollars an hour." Well, that's the point, isn't it?
Posted at 06:39 PM
A PARTICULARLY ARRESTING SIMILE (THOUGH NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN) [Peter Robinson ]
From a reader who had joined the fray over Operation Barbarossa: "Only on the Corner can penguins falling over share space with whether it was the Luftwaffe or wet roads held that up the German invasion of Russia. It's kind of like being on a long car trip with some heavily stoned Rhodes Scholars."
Posted at 05:32 PM
A HEALTH ISSUE? [KJL]
I really didn't mean to get into conversation about the Kerry botox rumors (it was completely against my better judgment to bring it up earlier and I apologize), but since it has been brought up, this reader's e-mail should be included:
Don't forget that John Kerry is a prostate cancer survivor. My father is being treated with lupron, and the drug has enabled him to live relatively comfortably for the last several years. One of its side effects, though, is that as it shuts off your testosterone, it changes a man's facial skin tone--and the changes are dramatic. My father's face looks ten years younger, his skin is almost luminous, and he hardly has to shave anymore. If Senator Kerry is using this drug, his handlers would be reluctant to share that information--not very "Presidential." I could be wrong, but it's something to consider.
Posted at 05:30 PM
HOW DID I MISS THIS? [Jonah Goldberg]
The New York Times has assigned a full-time reporter to cover, well, us. Seriously, the Times will have a dedicated reporter to cover "conservatives." Now I don't know David Kirkpatrick much beyond his byline so he might do a great job. But I can't help but get that old-time gorillas-in-the-mist vibe again where reporters trek out into the wilds of conservatism to explain who we are. But Bill Keller, the Times executive editor, says that's not the case: "I winced a little when I read that job announcement," he told the NY Observer "because it was a little like ‘The New York Times discovers this strange, alien species called conservatives,’ and that’s not what this is about." I'll take his word for it. For now. Still, I can't wait for my own media embed. Kirkpatrick can hangount in my office with Cosmo the Wonderdog staring at him like he's a daytime burglar just out of reach. We'll split a pizza. (Note to Kirkpatrick: Cosmo is the "it" dog of the American right)
Posted at 05:01 PM
RITTER [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael - Did he have trouble getting a signal on his cell phone from the Burger King drive-thru?
Posted at 04:41 PM
I JUST HAD SCOTT RITTER ON MY RADIO SHOW [Michael Graham]
He denied the Saddam even WANTED WMDs after 1998. He claimed that David Kay's conclusion was that "Iraq was making no efforts to develop WMDs." When I confronted him with the fact that Kay's conclusion was exactly the opposite--that Iraq wanted the weapons but couldn't get them--he shouted that David Kay didn't know what he was talking about.
"I know more about the Iraqi programs than anyone! I know about the CD with the missile program information, and David Kay has completely misrepresented it! When the full truth comes out..."
I interrupted by asking if he was still on the Iraq payroll. If not, I told him, he certainly should be.
Posted at 04:37 PM
P.S. ON LINKS [KJL]
Reader points out: "It's actually even easier to right click on the link and choose "Open in new window"...don't even need the paste function with that one."
This Corner thread really needs to have a cutoff though--or it'll go on forever.
Posted at 04:25 PM
VICTORY, SORT OF, ON “BOSTON PUBLIC” [Roger Clegg]
Last Friday on the Fox show “Boston Public,” the main plot involved affirmative action. The “Young Conservatives Club” held a bake sale that prompted a fight between a white member and a black student, the next time the sale was held the black student staged a slave auction in response, a classroom discussion led to another melee, and, in the grand finale, both faculty and students participated in a formal debate on the issue.
I tuned in—my first time to watch the show—prepared for the worst. And there were indeed some silly moments. But here’s the bottom line: The last word in the debate, seemingly accepted as such by the audience and delivered with great feeling, went to the most attractive and sensible character, who is a black woman, a Republican, and opposed to affirmative action! Not only that, but her very last words are to ask that she be judged by the content of her character, not the color of the skin—the line the left loves to hate in the debate over affirmative action!
Posted at 04:19 PM
ANOTHER [Jonah Goldberg]
"Blitzkrieg's" got to go too, right? Let's not hear any more about the DNC's ad blitz.
Posted at 04:18 PM
ANOTHER ONE [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - When's Terry going to denounce the repeated usage of the term "storm trooper" to describe Howard Dean's volunteers?
Posted at 04:03 PM
LINK TYRANNY [KJL]
Not the link debate! That's worse than Macs vs. PCs! It's this simple: I have too many windows open on my computer--all the time. And so I am in the habit of linking the way I do. And I have passed that onto others. I've never been convinced it an actual nuisance (especially since one can right-click on a given link to cut and paste it into a new window--it's not THAT tyrannical), so I've not changed things. ( I try to respond to email complaints noting as much, though I often fail, I confess.) I've considered taking a vote....perhaps we will. Judging by my inbox (thank you, Jonah), we may be already. Sorta like a no-confidence vote. Can creep up anytime...
Posted at 04:01 PM
SEEING IT COMING [Jonah Goldberg]
Peter -- I'm not sure I know either. But I would make a couple points. First, if you've got an administration divided between Republican multilateralists, realists and neocons the WMD issue really might be the only consensus position. Bush might also have agreed to play down the other reasons in order to keep Blair and the rest of the coalition in line as well as possibly seduce other nations. Surely the French have no interest in liberating anybody. And the United Nations can't buy into a plan to redraw the face of the Middle East. Maybe Steve Hayes forthcoming book will have the answer?
But it should be pointed out that the more Bush digs in on WMD the more preposterous the "Bush lied" mantra becomes. If Bush knew that there were no WMDs, the metaphysical stupidity of focusing on it as the prime motive becomes ever more stark, especially if you go by the Kennedy hypothesis which says that Bush did this all for political gain. If he knew they didn't exist, he might as well have said "We are going into Iraq to stop the slaughter of the unicorns. When we liberate Iraq we will find herds upon herds of unicorns, some will be dead but many will still be alive -- if we act quickly!"
So maybe, Bush figured that the WMD issue was the most concrete thing to base the war on. After all, liberation, spreading democracy, fighting al qaeda, lessening dependence on Saudi Arabia, including pulling our troops out of there, were all valid reasons for the war, but Bush could not guarantee their realization upon completion of the war (or by election time). If he was sure about the WMD, he could say "See, we achieved our objectives." The rest would be gravy.
Posted at 03:58 PM
"QUISLING" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
must also be out, reader Zach Barbera points out.
Posted at 03:42 PM
BUT WHY DIDN’T BUSH SEE THIS COMING? [Peter Robinson ]
As far as I can tell, Jonah, you (and the Wall Street Journal, which makes a similar argument in its lead editorial today) are exactly right about this whole WMD brouhaha: The likely existence of WMDs was only one of many reasons for going into Iraq. But instead of explaining that, Bush dug in, good and hard, on the WMD question, making what should have been a minor issue into The Issue of the Year.
How come? George Will wrote weeks and weeks ago that all the administration really needed to do was to say that it had made an honest--and, in the scheme of reasons for taking out Saddam--a minor mistake. It got stubborn instead. I just can't figure it out.
Posted at 03:39 PM
THE DNC [KJL]
is seriously in need of a reality check. You'd think someone would have stopped that from going out the door when they realized they couldn't actually cite any text from the piece because, well, there wasn't anything they could.
Posted at 03:34 PM
DOES THIS MEAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
we can't use the Maginot line analogy any more either?
Posted at 03:14 PM
ORGANIC FRENZY [John J. Miller]
The Center for Consumer Freedom has excerpted my article on organic food from the latest NRODT here. Suffice it to say I'm not a "crunchy con."
Posted at 03:13 PM
TERRY MCAULIFFE VS. NRO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The DNC chairman is asking his Republican counterpart, Ed Gillespie, to repudiate a recent article on NRO. "Will GOP Chairman Rebuke Conservative's Vile Hate Speech?" runs the press-release headline. Democrats say, "National Review writer Timothy Carney in a column on Friday, compared Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to Nazis and Senator Orrin Hatch to Neville Chamberlain. It will be interesting to note whether Gillespie will be hit with another fit of outrage over political 'hate speech.'"
You will not actually find the word "Nazi" in Tim Carney's article. The Chamberlain comparison is indeed present, which I suppose makes the Nazi comparison a kind of spectral presence. But McAuliffe didn't say "Carney compared Hatch to Chamberlain, which would make the Senate Democrats Nazis, which is outrageous," since saying that would sound pretty lame. His misleading shot at us strikes me as more objectionable than Carney's article.
Posted at 03:09 PM
TONY BLAIR [Jonah Goldberg]
I just listened to Tony Blair respond to the Hutton report on C-Span radio. I assume it'll play on C-Span later today. If it does be sure to catch it because it was awesome. It was really one of the great in-your-face moments of modern politics. Blair hit all the notes. All it was missing was that incredibly lewd thing Jim Carrey does in some of his movies. You know where he makes that pelvic thrusting gesture and starts yelling "can you feel that? huh? can you?"
I guess that would have subtracted from the overall classiness of his response. But seriously, watch it if you get the chance.
Posted at 02:35 PM
RE: SEPARATE LINKING [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
That technology is also available to your readers. Hold shift while you click on a link and it will come up in a new window, regardless of what HTML is on the server side. I do appreciate your taking the time to do it right, though. thanks,
Posted at 02:28 PM
WHOOPS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The memos to which I referred were spoofs, an annoyed Jim Jordan emails me. Lately, I've been having a hard time telling when Democrats are being parodied.
Posted at 02:18 PM
FOR THE LAST TIME [Jonah Goldberg ]
Everyday I receive a couple emails from people saying how much they like the way I post links -- i.e. a new separate window -- and how they wish I would teach the others how to do the same. That expertise is available to my fellow cornerites. If they choose not to utilize it for whatever bizarre and twisted reason they see fit, I cannot be held responsible.
Posted at 02:17 PM
KERRY'S BIG BOOST IN S.C. [Michael Graham]
The Clyburn endorsement for Kerry is huge. It makes him competitive in South Carolina in a single stroke, because Rep. Clyburn has a solid GOTV organization in the heavily-Democratic (and majority black) 6th Congressional district.
The question in South Carolina has always been "Why would anyone around here vote for John Kerry?" The answer is now "Because Jim Clyburn told you to, and a bus from your church picked you up and took you to the polls."
Kerry will probably still lose South Carolina, but now he has a chance to beat expectations. Which, in the bizarre world of the presidential primaries, is a win.
Posted at 02:10 PM
DERB DOES OHIO [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: I figure I've done my bit this week by linking to that exploding whale story. So now I'm leavin' on a jet plane for Columbus, Ohio. Back Saturday. I'll be hobnobbing with mathematicians, so I'll see if I can get them to resolve the penguin business. Supposing the center of gravity of a penguin is at height h above the ground, and the velocity of the approaching plane is v,....
Posted at 01:44 PM
Kerry nabs a key endorsement.
Posted at 12:55 PM
WES'S AMATEUR HOUR [Tim Graham]
The Chicago Tribune found why General Clark earns a lesser finish: "But for a campaign that once prided itself on militarylike precision, gaffes and glitches abounded. Clark's campaign heralded its victory of winning eight votes in Dixville Notch in a news release by misspelling it as 'Dicksville Notch.' Clark's caravan also lost its way from northern New Hampshire to Manchester."
Posted at 12:53 PM
HUNTING AL QAEDA IN PAKISTAN [KJL]
Posted at 12:40 PM
D'OH [Jonah Goldberg]
K-Lo beat me by two minutes!
Posted at 12:33 PM
BBC HEAD RESIGNS [ Jonah Goldberg ]
And he looks so happy about it.
Posted at 12:31 PM
HEAD OF BBC RESIGNING [KJL]
Posted at 12:29 PM
THAT DEAFENING SILENCE.... [ Jonah Goldberg ]
You hear is the way the media is treating the latest IG report on the Patriot Act. The last one was page one news everywhere, even though the "abuses" were essentially trivial, probably false and/or unrelated to the Patriot Act (the report had to include very implausible allegations). The latest one finds no absues whatsoever. Here's the dinky story on page two of the Post. Ah yes, our civil liberties are in flames.
Posted at 12:26 PM
BLAIR: RIGHT. BBC WRONG. GO SUCK EGGS [ Jonah Goldberg]
The Hutton Report , summed up.
Posted at 12:19 PM
DEBUNKING THE DEBUNKING OF FALLING PENGUINS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 12:15 PM
WRONG EMPHASIS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader in academia:
Dear Mr. Goldberg:
Posted at 12:11 PM
RE: SMART IRAQ RETROSPECTIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - i thought so too. That's why I linked to it five posts down.
Posted at 12:09 PM
BACK TO THE REAL ISSUES [KJL]
An e-mailer suggests Kerry could be telling the truth about Botox and still had some facial improvements:
Perhaps John Kerry is being honest when he denies using Botox. After all, Botox is yesterday's news! The new zeitgeist is Restalyne. For a while folks were going to the Caribbean for their Restalyne injections, but I believe it's been approved for use in the US.
Posted at 12:04 PM
I'M A MCCAINIAC [KJL]
John McCain is excellent with David Kay right now. (Will post testimony links when they exist/I find em)
Posted at 11:53 AM
STOSSEL'S HOT TALK [Tim Graham]
Rob Bluey caught ABC's John Stossel on his book tour at Cato. Stossel caused jaws to drop among colleagues when he insisted "Where I live in Manhattan and where I work at ABC, people say conservative the way people say child molester...[Conservative] is the worst thing for a reporter to be called. And I'm a little puzzled why they call me a conservative." Stossel said he has libertarian views when it comes to drug use, prostitution, homosexuality, and flag burning.
Posted at 11:06 AM
THE REAL ISSUES [KJL]
Kerry claims he has "never heard" of Botox. Drudge has the photos.
Posted at 11:04 AM
SMART IRAQ RETROSPECTIVE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from Peter Feaver.
Posted at 10:25 AM
I MISSED THIS IN NOVEMBER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
but it's still worth reading now: ABC's "The Note" (scroll down a bit) has some internal memos from the Kerry campaign (or rather, from the ex-staff to the new staff). There is a lot of good stuff here; my favorite is this from Jim Jordan: "You'll be tempted to ask the research shop to get you a memo on The Candidate's achievements in Congress. Save yourself some time and don't."
CORRECTION: The memos were spoofs; my bad.
Posted at 10:22 AM
BLAME THE STATE DEPT. [Jonah Goldberg]
I haven't had a chance to read Frum and Perle's "An End to Evil" but I have caught them talking about it a few times. One point that I've heard Perle make really sticks with me. The emphasis on WMDs was largely the result of lawyers at the State Dept. thinking that was the only "legal" reason we could go to war. Perle didn't reference it directly, but remember the whole kerfuffle about Paul Wolfowitz's interview with Sam Tanenhaus in which he divulged that the emphasis on WMD above all else was largely due to "bureaucratic" pressures from inside the US government. This, predictably, was distorted into proof that neocon ideologues were lying about the real reasons for the war. But that wasn't what he was saying at all.
Anyway, my point is this: to the extent the post-Iraq failure to find WMDs is a disaster for the United States in terms of its credibility, its relationships with allies etc. one could argue that the fault lies in the fact that George W. Bush listened too much to Colin Powell and the State Department instead of the hawks, since it was the Wolfowitz crowd which wanted to emphasize freedom, democracy, stability and the war on terror. Now that no WMDs have been found that rhetoric seems self-serving when in fact those were co-equal priorities all along. If George Bush had talked before the war about bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq as eloquently as he did afterwards, he would be in a lot better shape politically and in the history books. Moreover, I bet he would have been a lot more honest. Bush is a moralist and I'm certain he had the liberation of Iraq and the war on terrorism in his mind as much as anything else.
That was certainly the case for most of the pro-war conservatives outside the administration. Scan through the pages of post 9/11 National Review, National Review Online, The Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard etc. Look at what Chris Hitchens, Andrew Sullivan and the "war bloggers" had to say about the war with Iraq. The WMD issue was certainly important, but it became critical only after the administration made it clear that they were going hinge their entire case on WMDs.
I don't think the administration lied or deliberately exaggerated the WMD intelligence. I do think it deliberately exaggerated the WMD issue at the behest of the cookie pushers at State. And that's why we're in such a pickle now.
Posted at 10:17 AM
SULLIVAN AND MARRIAGE [Stanley Kurtz]
Andrew Sullivan doesn’t like my new piece, “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia.” I don’t think Sullivan is a poseur. But I do think he’s mistaken. I’ll be advancing my case, and responding to Sullivan, in the near future.
Posted at 10:11 AM
MASS. LIB DIET [KJL]
Scott Belliveau e-mails: "As the scrutiny of John Kerry's voting record begins, a friend of mine predicts that the Senator will be characterized as "Ted Kennedy on the Atkins Diet."
Posted at 09:58 AM
MORE KAY AND WMD [Jonah Goldberg ]
Peter Feaver (awesome name) has a very well-done op-ed in the Post today, which happens to echo many of the points I made in my syndicated column, only better.
Posted at 09:48 AM
EDUCATING DERB [John Derbyshire]
Many, many thanks to all those readers who have attempted to improve my understanding of economics. If I am ever again invited to compare Portuguese productivity of wine with British productivity of wheat, I shall run screaming from the room.
I am sorry to say, though, that I am now more skeptical of Free Trade than I was when we started.
I do see the point of comparative advantage, and the force of the large general argument. However, it seems to me that the virtue of the thing is so smothered in secondary factors as to render it wellnigh meaningless.
If country A has labor unions and country B doesn't, can their trade be "free"? If country A has a huge, avaricious and unscrupulous trial-lawyer industry sucking the blood from its industries and country B doesn't, can they have "free trade"? If country A has a vast welfare state, minimum-wage provisions, and generous unemployment benefits, and country B has none of the above, only extended-family mutual support, is "free trade" really free? How about a country like China, that makes extensive use of unpaid slave labor (i.e. in prisons and labor camps) to supplement its manufacturing prowess? Can we have "free trade" with them? Can we have truly "free trade" with a nation like Mexico, where a racial elite maintains its wealth and privileges via institutionalized corruption and illegality? I am unconvinced. Applying free trade to the actual world looks to me a lot like applying Newtonian mechanics-in-a-vacuum to the movement of objects underwater.
These negative impressions were reinforced when I consulted a friend whose intellect I mightily respect. He:
"The theory of free trade has never been contradicted by history. As we all know, the tremendous growth of the American economy in the 19th Century was due to Alexander Hamilton's insistence that free trade be the absolute cornerstone of our economic policy. Similarly, Bismarck's insistence on zero tariffs led to outnumbered Germany almost conquering Europe in WWI with its free trade-nourished industrial might.
"In contrast, Britain's sad, slow economic decline after 1846 was due to its rejection of its traditional free trade policy in that year and institution of protectionism.
"Oh, wait a minute... Those were the policies of America, Germany, and Britain in the Bizarro reverse world. Never mind..."
Posted at 09:26 AM
RE: GOOFING OFF [KJL]
Actually this time it was not a not-so-subtle stab at you and your time-warp links. More a self-deprecating reference to some of my own brilliant observations last night.
And, besides, Derb is the one who blogged on the exploding whale.
Posted at 09:16 AM
RE: "GOOFING OFF" [Jonah Goldberg]
Was that aimed at me? Penguin bashing is serious stuff. (And now I'm most emphatically not referring to nuns. Scroll down to find out)
Posted at 09:07 AM
RE: KAY AND WMD [Jonah Goldberg]
My own take.
Posted at 09:06 AM
As usual, scroll down and down and down for last night's New Hampshire analysis, media sniping, and goofing off.
Posted at 08:54 AM
KAY &WMDS [Clifford D. May]
David Kay, who has led the U.S. government's search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, probably knows more than anyone else alive about Saddam Hussein's arsenal.
To be clear: Saddam had WMDs. He had chemical weapons that he used to massacre Kurds in villages like Halabja. He had biological weapons--he admitted that. He had a nuclear-weapons program and, at the end of the Gulf War, intelligence analysts found it was much further developed than they had believed.
In 1991, in exchange for a ceasefire, Saddam agreed to destroy for all his WMD and WMD programs--and to do so in a manner that could be verified by U.N. weapons inspectors. For 12 years he refused to meet that obligation.
In an interview with the London Telegraph over the weekend and in a separate interview with the New York Times on Monday, Dr. Kay tells us what he now believes Saddam did between the 1991 ceasefire and the U.S.-led effort to topple Saddam in 2003.
In essence, Dr. Kay concludes that while Saddam never ceased trying to build sophisticated WMDs, he probably did not succeed. But Saddam himself probably didn't know that because his scientists were lying to him and stealing much of the money he gave them.
More specifically, Dr. Kay says it is clear Saddam was attempting to develop nuclear weapons as late as 2001, but his scientists never got as far as Iran did, nor as far as we now know--to our astonishment--that Libya did.
Dr. Kay adds that Saddam was actively working to produce a biological weapon using the poison ricin right up until the American invasion last spring.
But as the CIA underestimated Saddam's nuclear-weapons program prior to 1991 and Libya's nuclear program prior to this year, so the CIA overestimated Saddam's progress toward developing and amassing WMDs prior to 2003. This, Dr. Kay believes, is the result of U.S. intelligence relying on satellites, electronic eavesdropping, exiles, and U.N. inspectors, and failing to put agents in place within the Baathist regime.
Some people will misrepresent the complex reality that Dr. Kay has described. Some people will say that Saddam never had WMD, had no intention to build them and was never a threat.
But Dr. Kay knows what his work shows. "We know that terrorists were passing through Iraq," he says. "And now we know that there was little control over Iraq's weapons capabilities. I think it shows that Iraq was a very dangerous place. The country had the technology, the ability to produce, and there were terrorist groups passing through the country--and no central control."
Add that to the fact that Saddam was a brutal and genocidal dictator and it should be clear that the U.S.-led war against him was both just and necessary.
Where Saddam was concerned, the problem is not so much that some of what we thought we knew turns out to have been wrong. The problem is what we didn't know and couldn't find out. The policy dilemma was how much risk to tolerate, knowing that in the past we had decided to allow risks to mature--and that 9/11 had been a consequence of those decisions.
Posted at 08:50 AM
RE: RON REAGAN [Jonah Goldberg]
The larger question is how does that guy keeping working? Seriously, who's his constituency?
Posted at 08:24 AM
SORRY AIRPOWER GUY [Jonah Goldberg]
Penguin story has been debunked.
Posted at 08:20 AM
DID HE REALLY SAY THAT? DEPT. [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker reports that just past 11pm EST, Ron Reagan Jr., whose father suffers from Alzheimer's disease, suggested on MSNBC that President George W. Bush has "dementia." Reagan, whom MSNBC brought aboard to stand in front of a national map in order to discuss upcoming primaries, commented about how David Kay concluded that "Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction." Reagan then sarcastically asked: "What does George W. Bush say? 'Well, I still think they had them.' That's not just spin. That's dementia, you know."
Posted at 08:13 AM
THE MEDIA [KJL]
John Podhoretz: " The press has been wrong about everything. Everything. Keep that in mind for the rest of the year. You can be sure that the political media won't remind you of it. "
Posted at 07:29 AM
LAST PENGUIN BATTING POST [Jonah Goldberg]
From the now famous Airpower guy of yore:
436.2...I swear...I wish I could save the page...he looked like a ski jumper.
Posted at 07:18 AM
A PRO-IRANIAN DEMOCRACY EDITORIAL [KJL]
in the Washington Post
Posted at 06:32 AM
"HOWARD DEAN IN A DRESS" [KJL]
Michelle Malkin on Teresa Heinz:
It's only a matter of time before we witness another Howard Dean Moment in the Democratic presidential race -- but not, I predict, from any of the Democratic presidential candidates. Skulking in the campaign background is a ticking time bombette with a volatile temper and acid tongue who makes Dean look like Mr. Rogers on Prozac.
Posted at 04:22 AM
DID KERRY TRY A LITTLE TOO HARD? [KJL]
Questions about election-day polling-place visit.
Posted at 04:18 AM
BLAIR-HUTTON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The British prime minister's week seems to be turning out ok. Hutton report clears him.
Posted at 03:59 AM
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
for hangin out with The Corner tonight. 'Night.
Posted at 11:33 PM
PONDER FOR NEXT TUESDAY [KJL]
From a reader:
A suggestion: to make the next several primaries even more fun you need to publish drinking game rules for several classes: Media coverage in general but CNN/Dan Rather/Peter Jennings specifically; phrases used by candidates in election night speeches. For the more tame people you could have a penguin batting or other goofy macromedia contest during lulls in the action with published averages for ten at bats
Posted at 11:17 PM
MCGOVERN ON CNBC [Tim Graham]
On CNBC, John Seigenthaler was interviewing George McGovern and asked about Wesley Clark's failure to repudiate Michael Moore's jeer that President Bush was a "deserter." McGovern replied: "What would you call it?" He said Bush was called to serve his country, and didn't show up for Vietnam. Ah, but by that standard, what does McGovern call a slick guy whose draft number was called, who then had a spot arranged in the Arkansas ROTC, and then skipped out for Oxford? Hmmm?
Posted at 10:57 PM
CNN QUESTIONS FROM THE RIGHT [Tim Graham]
CNN did something fairly unusual just now, questioning him from the right instead of just harping on the horse race. But it always seems to come in this threatening tone, as in "you know the Republicans are prepared to dump their oppo files on your head."
As usual, Jeff Greenfield did it best, asking how Kerry on what issue he will step away from Democratic orthodoxy. Kerry's answer was amazing: he said it was unorthodox to suggest the deficit was a bad thing in 1985. Did he say 1985? That was his first year in Washington. If he spoke up, nobody heard him. He can't come up with anything else in the last 20 years?
Posted at 10:36 PM
TOO SOON? [KJL]
This might be premature, but this race seems wrapped up. If Dean had won tonight, it'd be a race, but watching Kerry tonight, he seems so comfortable as frontrunner and ready to (nastily, no doubt) take on the president. It's late in the day and there's snow outside to face, so maybe I am being reckless, but it seems this is over.
Posted at 10:29 PM
MEAN DEAN [KJL]
He's naming oodles of staffers. Made his NH coordinator stop and go over to him, so we can't forget her. So future employers can't forget her.
Posted at 10:19 PM
LOSSES [Chip Griffin]
Will we hear a Dean supporter say tonight: "The biggest loss we have suffered since George Bush has been President is Iowa ... or is it New Hampshire?"
Posted at 10:16 PM
WHAT KERRY'S NOT [Tim Graham]
Former Washington Post number two editor Bob Kaiser responds to readers tonight on Kerry: “He is not a popular member of the Senate, and he does not have a long record of legislative accomplishment; I expect we'll be reading lots of critical stories about Kerry and his record in days ahead. Will he survive such scrutiny, or thrive under it? I have no idea.”
Posted at 10:14 PM
The biggest loss we have suffered since Goerge Bush has been president is our loss of community
um, a few events on 9/11...
Posted at 10:13 PM
MAKES SENSE [Chip Griffin]
I know why Dean is talking about jobs and health insurance. He's going to need both in about a week.
Posted at 10:09 PM
DEANIACS [Chip Griffin]
The Dean people really are delusional. They think they won tonight.
Posted at 10:06 PM
"WE WANT DEAN" [KJL]
The crowd is going to drive him to be...Howard Dean...
Posted at 10:05 PM
JOE COUNTING [Chip Griffin]
Lieberman's electoral math sounds much like Democrat tax math. In one case, everyone is a winner. In the other, everyone qualifies as rich.
Posted at 09:58 PM
"We are in a three-way split decision for third place...the people of New Hampshire put me in the ring and that is where we are going to stay."
Posted at 09:54 PM
IT'S RUDE TO POINT [John Derbyshire]
...But you'd never know it watching these guys on the platform. I make Kerry the pointy champion with at least 12.
Posted at 09:50 PM
"I DON'T CONSIDER IT A LOSS TONIGHT, I CONSIDER IT A WIN." [KJL]
Dean on Hardball now.
Posted at 09:48 PM
NO JOE-MENTUM [Chip Griffin]
If only Lieberman had started having Keg O' Joe events like a suggested, he might still be a viable candidate.
Posted at 09:47 PM
RE: "ECONOMY OF PRIVILEGE" [KJL]
A friend notes: "Isn't the "economy of privilege" something you get when you marry TWO (not just one) very wealthy heiresses?...He was born into it then when it started running out he married it -- TWICE!"
Posted at 09:45 PM
"WE CAN LIFT OUR COUNTRY UP" [KJL]
The Dems are all sounding exactly the same now. That was so Edwardsian.
Posted at 09:42 PM
WRITE THAT DOWN [Jonah Goldberg]
"The economy of privilege." Kerry's campaigning against it. We're going to hear that phrase a lot more. It's not bad. It's not true, but it's not bad.
Posted at 09:41 PM
CLICHES [Jonah Goldberg]
I just noticed how many clichés pepper Kerry's speeches. "We're a little older, and a little grayer but we still know how to fight...." "don't let the door hit you on the way out..." etc etc.
Posted at 09:40 PM
TERESA HEINZ [KJL]
Looks SO bored at these things. She plays with her huge scarves. She talks...to herself? She gets bored applauding. And seems to think "the real deal" and "bring it on" are childish. Poor "Judy Dean" and her front page story in the Times. What about "Mrs. Kerry"?
Posted at 09:39 PM
MY ANSWER: 6 [Jonah Goldberg]
Question: Guess how many times a day John Kerry shaves.
Posted at 09:38 PM
MOVE.ON [Jonah Goldberg]
Chip - I was just about to post a correction. You're right. I forgot. I'm still underwhelmed.
Posted at 09:35 PM
TIMING [Chip Griffin]
Symptomatic of the Clark campaign. Can't even time a speech to get a little free media
Posted at 09:34 PM
I TOTALLY FORGOT.... [Jonah Goldberg]
There's a network called "MSNBC."
Posted at 09:33 PM
ABOUT MOVEON [Chip Griffin]
Dean didn't get quite enough to get the MoveOn.org endorsement. Kucinich ate into his numbers so he didn't get the 50% or whatever was required.
Posted at 09:32 PM
"HEIRESS TO THE HEINZ PICKLE AND KETCHUP FORTUNE" [Jonah Goldberg]
That's how Brit Hume described Mrs. Kerry. Maybe I'm still a bit woozy from all the flu medicine. But I think "pickle and ketchup fortune" sounds frickin' hilarious and I can't stop giggling. Okay I stopped. But still, if I wrote about a pickle and ketchup heiress in a novel it'd sound pretty silly.
Posted at 09:32 PM
Clark and Kerry taking their stages simultaneously.
Posted at 09:31 PM
RE: MOVEON [KJL]
Guess they're drowning their sorrows with Gore and Bradley. And jakcet-holder Harkin.
Posted at 09:29 PM
SHARPTON [Chip Griffin]
I'm sure if Sharpton had contested NH he could have won.
Posted at 09:28 PM
MOVEON.ORG [Jonah Goldberg]
Didn't they endorse Howard Dean? Wasn't that supposed to be a bid deal? Wasn't that a huge advantage of some kind? Didn't MO.org make a big deal about it? I visited their site and you'd have no idea their candidate was even running. What sham.
Posted at 09:27 PM
"SURGING" JOE [Tim Graham]
Lieberman's campaign recently sent supporters an e-mail claiming Joe was "surging" in the polls...to 12 percent. Does that really open any wallets? Didn't think so. You may say Gore's endorsement was a curse to Dean. But Gore's endorsement of Lieberman might have made Gore look worse, even though it would have been honorable, and spent for a candidate who hasn't waffled his way through the waffle houses on the war.
Posted at 09:27 PM
RE: SHARPTON [KJL]
It's just wrong Kucinich seems to have beat him. Really.
Posted at 09:26 PM
SHARPTON AT O.1 PERCENT [Tim Graham]
What, where are all those potential black cabinet members in New Hampshire? Did they all move to Vermont?
Posted at 09:25 PM
SMART ANALYSIS OF KERRY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from Noam Scheiber: "[C]onsider this rough history of the campaign: Last summer, Dean seizes the front-runner mantle from Kerry and runs up an early lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, locking up large numbers of committed supporters. The effect is to make it difficult not only for Kerry to get traction in the race, but for any other candidate to get traction, as well. Then Dean proceeds to melt down--which sends people scurrying back to Kerry, who, as the former front-runner, is best positioned to re-absorb their support. (Again, no one other than Kerry has had a chance to emerge as an alternative to Dean during all the months Dean is padding his lead. Because of that, Kerry remains the de facto alternative.) And then, to cap things off, the instant conventional wisdom about how Dean (and Gephardt) lost Iowa is that they were too negative--which makes every candidate reluctant to criticize the new front-runner from this point forward. In a nutshell, Dean took a lot of voters out of play early and sat on them, then handed them over to Kerry just before the voting started, then made it virtually impossible for anyone to win them back. Kerry, as the beneficiary of such an incredible set of circumstances, does not strike me as a battle-hardened candidate. He strikes me as an extremely lucky SOB."
Posted at 09:19 PM
DEAN'S FLAG [Jonah Goldberg]
Dean's rally stage has a heeeeeeuuuuge American flag set up as the backdrop. The comparison to Patton is unavoidable, at least so it seems since I just heard Brit Hume make it just as I was thinking it. I've got no problem with the flag backdrop, but you'd think Dean wouldn't be too eager to draw comparisons between himself and Patton -- a man who, fairly or not, acquired a reputation of not having a calm enough temperment to be a wartime general leading an armored invasion in an all out battle for the future of Western civilization.
Posted at 09:18 PM
TRUE RIGHT [KJL]
An e-mailer: "Shouldn’t you be rooting for the rightmost Dem so they’ll crowd Bush further right? No risk no reward!"
Posted at 09:18 PM
EXPLODING WHALE [John Derbyshire]
If you saw this headline on Drudge and didn't click to read it, you are close to total brain death
Posted at 09:17 PM
MASSACHUSETTS NIGHTMARE [KJL]
Will Saletan on Kerry:
At Edwards' rally, the candidate was introduced for maybe three minutes and spent the rest of the event making the pitch himself. A Kerry rally is nothing like that. It's more like a roast. First Shaheen sang Kerry's praises. Then a former state senator sang Kerry's praises. Then Ted Kennedy sang Kerry's praises. Then Kennedy's son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., sang Kerry's praises. Then Kerry spoke for a bit and handed the mike to his stepson and wife, who sang Kerry's praises. It's like going to a concert and sitting through a bunch of speeches in which the musician's friends attest, "this guy can sing."Read the whole thing here.
Posted at 09:13 PM
UM, AH. [Jonah Goldberg]
You guys give me so much grief about my ums and ahs when I'm on TV and yet I'm not nearly as bad as Fred or Mort on Fox and their TV careers are smoking.
Posted at 09:13 PM
THE RACE FOR THIRD [Jonah Goldberg]
You would think that the talking heads would spend a bit more time talking about the still very close race for third since that's where the drama is.
Posted at 09:11 PM
We're talking about New Hampshire penguins, right?
Posted at 09:10 PM
SPIN ROOM [Chip Griffin]
If Dean can claim a solid second, can Lieberman claim a solid fifth?
Posted at 09:09 PM
BTW... [Jonah Goldberg]
I've received 8 billion links to other PB sites, like this one. But the scoring is much easier on this one. Now, back to New Hampshire.
Posted at 09:07 PM
"WE CAME IN A SOLID SECOND" [KJL]
Dean on CNN now. "We were knocked down pretty hard" when he was the frontrunner, he says, in explaining how Kerry happened.
Posted at 09:06 PM
RE: PENGUIN BATTING [Jonah Goldberg]
Sooooo much email about the Penguin Batting link (I know, I know the future of Democracy is at stake tonight, blah blah blah. But my email runs 9 to 1 'guin battin' to NH primary info). The best reported score so far, 326. But I like this email:
Posted at 09:04 PM
GREAT NIGHT [Chip Griffin]
The Kerry team really has beautifully orchestrated this. The Curtain Cam shot on CNN all this time, waiting for Kerry, is priceless.
Posted at 08:59 PM
THE GENERAL [Chip Griffin]
CNN says Clark won't do interviews tonight
Posted at 08:58 PM
LOOKS LIKE [KJL]
a bad night for exit polls (forgive me cautious readers).
Posted at 08:48 PM
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE CLINTON [KJL]
CNN was just reporting Kerry team says he is the comeback kid, having been so behind Dean pre Iowa.
Posted at 08:46 PM
WHEN IT ALL STARTED TO TURN? [KJL]
This guy should get a job with Kerry.
Posted at 08:44 PM
THE GRANITE STREETS [KJL]
A reader from Peterborough:
You noted in the Corner that NH readers have been quiet today. I think it is because we all had to take an extra trip to the town dump to unload all the Dean propaganda left at our doors.
Posted at 08:41 PM
FRAMING IT [Chip Griffin]
Kerry is trying to make sure that Dean can't claim win
Posted at 08:39 PM
10 MINUTES [KJL]
Kerry is evidently expected to speak...
Posted at 08:36 PM
CNN HAS A COOL COUNT GRAPH [KJL]
Posted at 08:36 PM
READERS WARN: [KJL]
K-LO, it all depends on where votes are counted.
Posted at 08:33 PM
OH THE DRAMA [Chip Griffin]
A side effect of CNN's spinning for Dean early could make it appear to be an even bigger Kerry win if these numbers hold up (and the lead appears to be expanding not shrinking)
Posted at 08:31 PM
MY OTHER CNN WHINE [KJL]
The war-room (Begala and Carville relive their past)! (I'm sure I'm just jealous Rich didn't get us one.)
Posted at 08:30 PM
MORE [Chip Griffin]
Kerry won Manchester more than 2-1, Concord by a solid margin also. Only significant place won by Dean so far is Keene, which he eeked out (and it is a town on Vermont border).
Posted at 08:29 PM
THE COUNT [Chip Griffin]
Current results have Manchester and Concord mostly in. Portsmouth and Nashua have not reported at all (two MA border cities)
Posted at 08:25 PM
CNN PROJECTS FOR KERRY [ KJL]
They just flashed it across the screen. Someone must be watching Fox.
Posted at 08:22 PM
WHAT A NEWSFLASH! [Chip Griffin]
In a breaking news email that could as easily have been sent this morning, ABCnews.com reports:
“ABCNEWS estimates, based on exit poll information and vote results received so far, John Kerry and Howard Dean are contending for first place in the New Hampshire primary.”
Posted at 08:21 PM
has people blabbing. Then showed a history package. Then went to commercial. As Fox called and had Carl Cameron do a comprehensive analysis.
Posted at 08:18 PM
CALLED: KERRY WINS [KJL]
Less dramatic, Fox has called it for Kerry. 38/24 with 14 percent in.
Posted at 08:16 PM
NOT AS CLOSE? [KJL]
I don't know how these precincts break down in terms of how they lean, etc., but the early showings are suggesting a big Kerry lead (scroll down). Meanwhile CNN, as Chip notes, keeps blabbing about how Dean could win. I was selfishly rooting for him, sure, but alas.
Posted at 08:12 PM
SPINNING DEAN [Chip Griffin]
And I'm claiming if I can climb a flight of stairs without getting winded, I'm going to be named to the President's Council on Physical Fitness...with the silly caveats CNN is giving, they're already helping make Dean the comeback kid II
Posted at 08:09 PM
FOR THE RECORD [KJL]
I blame JOE-nah if Lieberman does pathetically tonight, as is likely.
Posted at 08:06 PM
GOOD ENOUGH [KJL]
Candy Crowley reporting Dean camp says if he comes in in second place in single digits, he has made a comeback...
Posted at 08:05 PM
CNN is showing 38/24 Kerry/Dean, but that is with 13 percent of the precincts in. FNC showing the same numbers.
Posted at 08:00 PM
I'M HEARING [KJL]
from media sources that folks are nervous it's too close to call yet. don't expect kerry coronations too quick.
Posted at 07:59 PM
KERRY & IRAN [KJL]
Kerry’s Fund-Raiser Worries Advocates Of Iran Democracy
Posted at 07:50 PM
LONDONDERRY, NH [KJL]
has run out of ballots, according to MSNBC.
Posted at 07:44 PM
FULL SLATE [KJL]
Most recent Dean release:
Governor Howard Dean will be making campaign stops in the following cities over the next five days. A full schedule of events and details will be released tomorrow, Wednesday, January 28, 2004.
Posted at 07:39 PM
sees Clark in 4th place.
Posted at 07:34 PM
HANG IT UP, DAN [Tim Graham]
Dan Rather did some junk-food journalism last night in interviewing Dean, Edwards, and Clark -- all useless horse-race jaw-jaw and Weekly Reader-tough solicitations, like this to Clark: "And General Wesley Clark’s strongest argument against another four years of a Bush administration is...?”
Posted at 07:27 PM
THE MONEY RACE [KJL]
Dean raised the most in NH
Posted at 07:22 PM
43 MINUTES AND COUNTING! [KJL]
till the polls close!
Posted at 07:15 PM
LATEST NUMBERS [KJL]
All Kerry-Dean, late afternoon numbers: FOX 36-31, CBS 37-30, LA Times 36-33
Posted at 07:03 PM
ON OUR READERS' MINDS [KJL]
Reading Morrow's engaging dream sequence, Dean's Secret Revealed, I thought: if I had to associate the candidates with a member of LOTR, where would their lots fall?
Posted at 06:54 PM
Zogby: Late Lieberman Surge Might Stun Pollsters
Posted at 06:49 PM
AS LONG AS WE'RE STILL IN THIS LITTLE LULL [Peter Robinson ]
...here's another dose of military history--this time, from NR's own Jim Fowler.
"I don't have my facts in front of me, but there was a time that I was actually writing a book (yes, me) on the subject of Barbarossa. While the importance of the German force diversion to the Balkans is indeed over-estimated by almost everybody, it did still affect the war. It is fair to say that an insignificant holding force and the satellite Axis nations could have held back any Allied danger present in the Balkans while the main German striking force went into Russia. The German force that went into the Balkans was huge. The effort required to bring that force back into the attack on Russia was indeed time consuming. One only need note that the Germans, by early December 1941, were within view of Moscow. The delay of Barbarossa as caused by Marita, even if it was as little as two weeks, was PROFOUND. Perhaps the Germans would not have completely taken Moscow, perhaps they still would have been thrown back in disarray, but Moscow would have been attacked and the psychological effect on the Soviets would have been, in my estimation, shattering.
"As for Crete, there was also a crack German mountain division present at the battle along with the paratroops and all of the necessary transport/supply/Luftwaffe units to carry out the operation. A minor loss in force, but the German units did take quite a beating at Crete, where they lost many trained soldiers and NCO's. Not so insignificant when one considers that they were later used as line troops in Russia. Good troops are hard to come by."
Posted at 06:48 PM
LOST MAN HOURS [Jonah Goldberg]
So many people have sent me email proclaiming "DAMN YOU GOLDBERG!" because they've spent so much time Penguin-Batting. Hey man don't click the link if you can't do the, uh, something that rhymes with link.
Posted at 06:00 PM
LATEST #'S [Rich Lowry]
One source says the update is 36 Kerry, 30 Dean, 12 for Edwards and Clark. I'm told Edwards folks have been saying that their internal #'s show them doing better than this. For what it's worth. We should know more soon...
Posted at 05:28 PM
PENGUIN BATTING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 05:25 PM
WEE! [Jonah Goldberg ]
The CESMs are starting to sweat about ties to Saddam. Hopefully this will be the first of many stories.
Posted at 04:57 PM
LOOKING AHEAD [KJL]
David Frum's already thinking about NEXT TIME in New Hampshire.
Posted at 04:55 PM
NADA [Rich Lowry]
No new scuttlebutt. Although here's little item from politicsNH.com suggesting a close race:
"On primary day we hear:
- We hear there might be a good reason why John Kerry did a last minute trip to wave at cars in Manchester at the corner of Granite and Canal Streets."
Posted at 04:45 PM
BUSH ALMIGHTY [Peter Robinson ]
As we await the final results, a little light entertainment.
Resolved: That the title of John Podhoretz's soon-to-be-published book, Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane, represents not a wild provocation but the plain truth, namely, that George W. Bush is a great president, and that a great many liberals are crazy.
For: John Podhoretz
Against: Ron Reagan
Posted at 04:37 PM
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT [KJL]
Check in The Corner tonight for the latest on the primary, etc. As long as the coffee keeps brewing...
Posted at 04:25 PM
KERRY: NO BEIGNET IN EVERY POT [Jonah Goldberg]
Hey since we're all venting about Kerry & Co. I thought I'd share on my favorite little tidbits about the kind of man Kerry is. From John McCaslin's Washington Times column, June 2, 2003:
Guard your beignets
Posted at 04:17 PM
IT WAS SNOWING THEN, TOO [Peter Robinson ]
Last weekend, when things were, shall we say, a trifle slower, some readers and I got going on a nice historical riff about Vietnam and World War II. For all those who would like to take a break from New Hampshire for another little sip of history:
"You quoted a correspondent as follows:
"'The Brits fought in Greece due to principle. Even though they lost that battle, their sacrifice caused the Nazis to postpone their invasion of Russia from late April to late June.'"
"This is not true (the part about causing postponement). I used to think so myself, but have since learned that...
"Only a small part of the German army was diverted from the preparations for Operation BARBAROSSA to carry out Operation MARITA (Yugoslavia and Greece).
"Aside from the paratroop corps which fought in Crete in late May, the Germans were back in place on the Soviet border by mid-May.
"What held up the invasion was not the diversion to the Balkan theater, it was the muddy and impassable condition of roads and countryside in the USSR. The spring thaw in Russia is called the 'rasputitsa.' When it happens, everything turns into glop, and nothing moves except on paved roads. In 1942 and 1943, campaigning shut down for months when the rasputitsa arrived. (It's possible to campaign in winter, because the ground is frozen.)
"In 1941 there were almost no paved roads in Russia, and the Germans had to wait till the ground was dried out. The spring of 1941 was unusually rainy, and so the rasputitsa lasted longer than usual.
"It should be noted that Operation BLAU, the German offensive of 1942, began on June 28, six days later than BARBAROSSA. The 1943 offensive, Operation ZITADELLE, began on July 5.
"Yours in hope of striking a head off the Hydra of popular historical error."
Posted at 04:17 PM
YES...BUT IT'S SNOWING [KJL]
In my most humble opinion, you should tally up the predictions from your Corner contributors and post a comparative chart along with the actual New Hampshire results. Now THAT would be a cool feature!Sounds like a job for our cat-electrocution dude.
Posted at 04:12 PM
THE REAL KERRY VULNERABILITY? [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "Subject: Kerry's problems
I think Kerry's biggest problem is neither gaffes nor flip-flops, but the "Winter Soldier Investigation" which Mackubin Thomas Owens talks about in his piece today. I don't think most people realize the extent of Kerry's involvement with the Jane Fonda wing of the "anti- war" movement. I know I didn't until post-Iowa, and I'm more engaged with politics than most people.
Kerry is going to have to answer questions about his accusations (the most basic of which is, "Were they true?"), and I can't think of any answers which would help him."
Posted at 04:02 PM
TRIAL LAWYERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rich: I didn't see where you dismissed Edwards's electability, but I entirely agree with your correspondent on the point that conservatives overestimate the unpopularity of trial lawyers (as they also do with regard to "union bosses"). The trial lawyers have made fortunes for themselves my 1) telling appealing stories 2) in a persuasive way. It is a perfect position in which to hone the demagogic arts. I think the bigger problem for Edwards will be that he's a first-term senator with no pre-9/11 profile on national security (and I think his liberal fans overestimate the appeal of his "work vs. wealth" campaign theme--as I explain in the latest issue of NR).
Posted at 03:48 PM
LAROUCHE: BRING HIM ON! [KJL]
A reader observes:
Larouche isn 't ever included in the lineup of Democrat contenders, even thought the most current report available (which isn't all that current - as of 9/30/03 - the next one is to be filed 1/31/04) Larouche outraised Kucinich, Braun, Graham, Sharpton and Clark. (As of that date, Larouche had raised over $5.6 million - had spent it, too!) It will be more newsworthy to compare his fundraising with the "conventional" candidates when this next report comes in - I'd expect he'd be behind Clark. Even so, Kucinich and Braun go to forums and debates as though they were contenders, yet "everyone knows LaRouche is crazy" and he doesn't. Is he really that much more unlikely than Kucinich?
Posted at 03:32 PM
KERRY BLANKET [KJL]
Ad blitz rolls out tomorrow in Arizona, South Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Delaware and North Dakota.
Posted at 03:19 PM
FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH: PRIMARY PRIORITIES [KJL]
CNN citing early-in-the-day exit polls saying top issues are 26% Healthcare/Medicare; 22% Iraq 21 % Economy Jobs. Worried about terrorism? 76 % are; 18% No. The Economy? 20% Excellent; 72 % Not Good. 51 percent IDed themselves as liberal.
Posted at 03:15 PM
A TECHY LOOK AT SPORTS [KJL]
Nick Schulz has a new blog.
Posted at 03:11 PM
GAFFE POLICE [Tim Graham]
Rich, I can't agree with your GOP strategist that the Democrats are going through "intense gaffe-policing." Only Howard Dean's scream received something like that, and that was more mockery than policing work. Most things we would identify as gaffes -- Clark identify life as beginning when the mother says it does, or Dean putting Job in the New Testament -- may be hot talk on the Net, but not on the tube.
Posted at 03:02 PM
BREAKING NEWS [Chip Griffin]
The hearty Dean Volunteers at the polling place across from my office are being fortified with Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins and coffee. They do not appear to have completely frozen to death yet. But then it is a balmy 21 degrees at the moment.
Posted at 03:01 PM
GOING FORWARD [John J. Miller]
Here's a good summary of what the Democratic campaigns are likely to do after tonight: Kerry will want to wrap things up as quickly as possible with a series of big wins next week, Dean will want to survive to big-prize primaries in early March, and Edwards and Clark will try to patch together victories however they can.
Posted at 02:59 PM
GERMANY TO RELEASE TERRORIST? [KJL]
Posted at 02:49 PM
KERRY V. DEAN [Rich Lowry]
Here is what one plugged-in Democrat makes of the New Hampshire numbers that are now buzzing around political circles and have Dean within five points of Kerry:
“Kerry is the frontrunner. If these numbers hold up, Dean will try to spin it, but he’s in trouble without a win. The road doesn’t get any easier for Dean. The polls in a lot of later states showed Dean absolutely crashing. It’s not clear whether they were doing this before Iowa or whether it’s a reaction to the rant. But he’s got some ground to make up. If nobody drops out, he can go hard left and win some states with pluralities. It’s also unclear how much money he has spent. As for Kerry, he’s got some things to prove on February 3rd too. I’d be surprised by Edwards’ showing if these numbers hold up. But if Clark finishes behind Edwards, he’s got a real problem.”
More on Dean:
“Some of his apparent comeback was just natural after the exaggerated reaction to the rant. And he’s changed the way he campaigns but he’s probably boxed himself in, because so much of his campaign was based on anger. I don’t know how much Deaniacs are interested in hearing him talk about the balanced budget. New Hampshire was really Ground Zero for his operation. It was an Amway strategy to absolutely solidify their core vote. So it makes sense that he still has support there. We always knew he had vulnerabilities when you move to the more conservative states. He was hoping to overcome that on a wave of hype. Well, the hype is gone. Dean has to get to February 17th, when he could do well in Wisconsin. And after that, he has to get to Super Tuesday on March 2nd which is a way long off.”
Posted at 02:48 PM
CRASH COURSE [John J. Miller]
The Institute for Justice has just launched a very good web page on school choice. If you're interested in following this debate, it's an outstanding resource. Check it out here.
Posted at 02:42 PM
EASTERDONNYBROOK [John J. Miller]
Ramesh: The most curious thing about Easterbrook's review of his reviews is that he doesn't link to them--and that he explicitly says he's not going to, as if it were somehow beneath him. One of the ethics of blogging, of course, is to link when possible or helpful. It's almost like Easterbrook knows his responses are lame but doesn't want his readers to know it--or at least not conveniently.
Posted at 02:39 PM
PLANET DENNIS [KJL]
Andrew Cline from the Manchester Union-Leader sends this (see his piece today elsewhere on NR), a photo he took at a Kucinich event--the things reporters have to do....
Posted at 02:19 PM
WOW [Rich Lowry]
Dean can really spin this as a kind of moral victory, if these numbers are roughly accurate (if past experience is any indication, they generally are). It would set up a Dean v. Kerry race going forward. (You’d have to favor Kerry heavily, especially given next week will be tough for Dean.) Edwards’ showing would be a big disappointment. Meanwhile, Lieberman is nowhere to be seen. Stay tuned…
Posted at 02:14 PM
OK, WHO WAS IT? [KJL]
From an AP story on Paul O'Neill and his blabbering: "One person walked up to me on Lexington Avenue in New York and said, 'This is a real profile in courage,'" O'Neill said.
National Review's offices are on Lexington Avenue.
Posted at 02:10 PM
GOOD POINT RE EDWARDS… [Rich Lowry]
…most people don’t dislike trial lawyers the way conservatives do. E-mail:
“Rich, simply because of the circles I inhabit socially here in Orlando (a spot of blue deep in Red Florida) I sometimes feel like watching liberals in the mist from behind my conservative duck blind; Because of my observations, I think you grossly underestimate Edwards' chances.
While trial lawyers are scum to most of us in the "personal responsability" camp, they are true blue heros to a not insignificant portion of the country who feels that everything that happens to them is a personal slight. Edwards is just the attractive, hip, peasant made good , legally empowered champion of the people that most libs are looking for. He actually talks without relying on soundbites, even if we see through it, many will just realize that he is more "articulate" than the Powerpoint stump style of Kerry or the fevered frenzy of Dean.
I think we conservatives should be careful, if he wins the primaries, he will give Bush a run for his money, and may have more than the slick charm to compare with Clinton.”
Posted at 02:05 PM
SOURCES SAY IN EARLY RETURNS: [Rich Lowry]
Kerry 36, Dean 31, Edwards 12, Clark 12
Posted at 02:03 PM
ON KERRY [Rich Lowry]
Here is a smart Republican strategist on John Kerry: “If you look at the kind of intense gaffe-policing we’ve had from the press lately, John Kerry has been almost entirely absent. He hasn’t made stupid mistakes. That’s very notable. He’s been thinking about this for a long time. So we’re not going to have the good fortune of having a nominee who machine-guns himself in the foot every day, as Bill Safire put it of Howard Dean. But he’s got real vulnerabilities. The primary one is his 20-year voting record. It’s not one that he’s going to want to run on, whether it’s advocating steep intelligence cuts, cuts in the FBI, running for Congress in the 1970s against the CIA, voting against DOMA, or advocating a 50-cent gas tax increase. As for the South, he says Southerners too care about clean water and clean air. True. But they also care about whether you are going to raise taxes and defend marriage. Democrats continue to live in this dream world where they think they can advocate huge tax increases, avoid defending marriage, and oppose banning infanticide and say to Southerners, ‘Forget about all that – look at my health care plan.’ It’s a little like Republicans who believe they can win the African-American vote on vouchers when they are against affirmative action. Not going to happen.”
Posted at 02:00 PM
DEAN ON THE DAILY SHOW [Rich Lowry]
This interview with Dean last night is pretty funny. This transcript is courtesy of the indispensably brilliant daily compendium of political news, The Hotline.
Posted at 01:56 PM
DR. JUDY [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "Subject: First Lady Doc
It would not be entirely without precedent. Tom Clancy novels portray Jack Ryan's wife as a practicing physician and being dropped off at work by helicopter at times. As with most things Democratic, fiction cannot be ignored."
Posted at 01:46 PM
EASTERBROOK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm all in favor of authors' reviewing their reviewers if they have worthwhile points to make. Pathetic whining is another thing. So the Times and the Post are coming at Easterbrook from different directions? And we are supposed to draw from this what conclusion? Easterbrook doesn't even seem to have read the reviews carefully. He complains that the Washington Post reviewer faulted him for not addressing the possibility that a higher minimum wage would cause unemployment, when he did so address it. But the actual complaint was that Easterbrook's assurances that unemployment would not rise are implausible. More here.
Posted at 01:42 PM
"I CANNOT MARRY YOU" [KJL]
Healthy trend (or at least it is a trend for the purposes of this article): clergy saying "no" to couples they judge not ready or not right for marriage.
Posted at 01:34 PM
CORNER READERS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE [KJL]
I'm not getting a lot of feedback from you guys today--must be getting the vote out for Sharpton.
Posted at 01:26 PM
TOLKIEN ON SWORD-CONTROL [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader (note: I haven't checked this for accuracy yet):
In "Return of the King" (the book), when the forces of the West are arrayed before the Black Gate for their final battle with Mordor, the Mouth of Sauron (his Messenger) lays down the peace terms:
Posted at 01:17 PM
" LASAGNA, LASAGNA, LASAGNA. " [KJL]
Jonah, maybe you should run for president.
Posted at 01:08 PM
LUNCH-HOUR VOTING [Chip Griffin]
Out my office window I can see a polling place in the heart of Concord. I note that during the peak of lunch hour voting, only the Dean and Clark campaigns had troops holding signs. The Kerry camp has a few signs stuck to a nearby fence, and the other candidates have no obvious presence. Like a tracking poll, it means nothing. But since I have nothing to add to the Oscar discussion, I offer this in its place.
Posted at 01:00 PM
QUEBEC FOR DEAN [Chip Griffin]
While we still don’t know how Dean will fare with NH voters, I can report that he has a 1-0 lead among voters from Quebec. A car with Quebec plates and a Dean bumper sticker just pulled over to confer with some Dean supporters holding signs at the major intersection in downtown Concord, NH. (And yes, you read that correctly. “The” major intersection in downtown Concord.)
Posted at 12:56 PM
KEEP YOUR EYES ON GRANDMA [KJL]
Is there anything John Kerry won't do to get nominated?
Posted at 12:49 PM
IN AMERICA [Rich Lowry]
Glad to see that “In America” made out in terms of Oscar nominations. It’s a tad sentimental, but has some very important things to say about grief and loss, and the screenplay is just superb.
Posted at 12:41 PM
THE SCREAM [Rich Lowry]
The amazing thing about the scream is that Dean may perform better after it than before it. Remember: he finished with 18% - 18%! – in Iowa before his yelp. He appears set to perform much better today in New Hampshire, a week after the shriek. Of course, Dean is way off his New Hampshire highs a month or two ago, but his Iowa showing was going to bring him down anyway. I also take the point that the scream may have hurt him elsewhere more than it has in New Hampshire, since New Hampshire voters know him from Vermont. But perhaps the bellow has been overrated, or at least overplayed on TV, thus creating a mini-backlash.
Posted at 12:39 PM
GO JUDY! [Rich Lowry]
If Dean is really making gains among women in the late-going in New Hampshire, his wife Judy has to be at least partly responsible. I find her winning and utterly charming (even if her ambition to continue practicing medicine as First Lady is totally unrealistic and kind of odd). That Dean has now trotted her out and apparently benefited from it shows how certain political conventions are conventions for a reason. It is important to know what a candidate’s spouse is like and how they get along – it tells us something about him as a person. In this case, Judy raises the prospect that, despite all the evidence we have seen over the last year, Howard Dean is kind of normal. Dean could have used this implicit testimonial on his behalf long ago.
Posted at 12:37 PM
AL FRANKEN PREEMPTS? [Rich Lowry]
“AL FRANKEN QUESTIONS:
1. Was this not a preemptive strike?
2. Isn’t it true, that the heckler did not pose an imminent threat to Dr. Dean?
3. The heckler was taunting, using language as a weapon, with no WMD evident.
4. Franken should have consulted the ACLU, Al Sharpton, Peter Jennings, and developed a multilateral consensus before attacking!
5. Isn’t this shocking, Franken behavior reminiscent of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and Gore Vidal?
6. Why couldn’t Franken give diplomacy a chance? Franken did not exhaust all avenues of diplomacy before his unilateral militaristic attack!
BR> 7. On what evidence, did Franken declare this heckler an illegal combatant?
8. This is not the first unlawful attack by Franken and friends. It follows unprovoked attacks on Kosovo, Somalia, Rick Lowry, and others.”
Posted at 12:32 PM
I have to say, I hope Joe throws it in, too, like Joe-nah did. I want to be able to better focus on the guys who have a shot. (That means you, two, too--Kucinich and Sharpton--need to go.)
Posted at 12:31 PM
JOEMENTUM: UNSUSTAINABLE [Jonah "Fists of Fury" Goldberg]
I'm sorry, but as it is in New Hampshire so it is in the Corner. The Joe-mentum simply didn't catch on. So, I am reverting back to my proper name.
Posted at 12:21 PM
APOLOGIZING TO HOWARD DEAN [KJL]
Way too much navel gazing.
Posted at 12:20 PM
KERRY'S NEW SOLDIER [Joe-nah Goldberg]
I know Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. But does that really exonerate him from any criticism of his record? Whether you're offended by his anti-war activities or not , I think Kerry's effort to be on both sides of the Vietnam issue could come back to bite him because it will be perceived as a metaphor for wanting to be on "both sides of every issue" -- as the Dean campaign is fond of saying. See the Owens article I linked to below. Or just look at the cover to his book, "The New Soldier."
Posted at 12:19 PM
I SECOND [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 12:11 PM
WHAT HE SAID [Joe-nah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Hey Jonah, Nice tribute to Joe Leiberman. You know, he's done his share of political spin and wavering over the past few years, but his inevitable drop from the race makes me a bit sad. He and Dick "Pinky" Gephardt both seem like good men who love their families and their country. Of course I reject almost all they say concerning domestic policy, but there does seem to be something genuine about both guys.
Posted at 12:04 PM
OUT ON A LIMB [Michael Graham]
Any reporting I might do on New Hampshire is almost certain to be as lame as most of the reporting I've seen from the mainstream media on South Carolina, however...
After getting several head-swelling emails when I predicted Edwards' big Iowa finish, I can't resist the temptation to ruin my reputation. So here goes:
Dean comes in third. That's my prediction for the big story out of New Hampshire. (Does the order of the rest of the candidates really matter?)
Why? Something I learned running campaigns in the 1990s that I called "voter booth conservatism." It's easy to shout "Go, Howie, Go!" in a high school gym. But when you put your finger on that voting machine switch and the phrase "leader of the free world" rings in your mind, it's not uncommon for supporters of er, "less stable" candidates to get cold feet.
If there is a record turnout, and that turnout is fueled by thoughtful independents who really want to get rid of President Bush, those people are particularly susceptible to the fear of casting a really, really stupid vote.
Who will benefit? Maybe a bigger margin for Kerry, maybe a pickup for Edwards or even Lieberman. But Dean is Number Three, because he tries too hard.
Posted at 12:04 PM
THE 35% THRESHOLD [Rich Lowry]
James Carville says Kerry has to get above 35% or it’s not really a victory. Kerry seems in real danger of getting bad spin out of tonight. Most people seem to recognize that he is just an adequate candidate and not particularly exciting. That means the winner in the media/expectations game tonight could be John Edwards. If Dean is wounded and has lost in his two strongest states – Iowa and New Hampshire – and Kerry seems uninspiring, well then, it’s John Edwards’ turn to get a big media boost, and just in time for the South Carolina primary…
Posted at 11:58 AM
FYI [Joe-nah Goldberg]
Mack Owens' piece on Kerry has a lot of good stuff.
Posted at 11:50 AM
BTW [Joe-Nah Goldberg]
If Dave wants to go by David Joe-Pel and Ramesh by Ramesh Joe-Nnuru they should feel free. It would be a sign that the Joe-Mentum is catching.
Posted at 11:25 AM
BUSH'S CONSERVATISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is anti-libertarian, writes Andrew Sullivan. And here's my own take on the subject, from 1999.
Posted at 11:24 AM
HMMM PREDICTIONS [Joe-Nah Goldberg]
Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part, but if those ARG numbers posted by Rich are right, then maybe I want to revise my prediction. I think Dean might squeak this one out. Why? Because that would make life more fun.
Posted at 11:22 AM
FRANKEN FANTASIES [Joe-Nah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Is it wrong to day-dream about Al Franken trying to wrestle me to floor? Before you jump to conclusions, my fantasy includes opening a 40oz bottle of whup-ass on him. Of course, being 6’4, 260lbs he’d probably think twice about approaching me and should hope I don’t see him first. I’d show him fascism like he’s never seen…..
Posted at 11:19 AM
PREDICTIONS [Dave Kopel]
My prediction: Dean 30, Kerry 29, Edwards 19, Lieberman 12, Clark 9, Kucinich 1, Sharpton 0. Second prediction: No-one drops out between now and Feb. 3. Instead, every candidate looks for a state to win on Super Tuesday. Clark goes all-out in Oklahoma, Edwards in South Carolina, Kerry in Missouri or Arizona, Dean in Delaware or New Mexico. Lieberman tries to place or show in enough states so that he can survive until early March, and win Florida and New York. And because South Carolina will have a real choice among several serious candidates, the state's blacks decide not to waste their vote on Al Charlatan, who finishes under 10%.
Posted at 11:18 AM
ARG TRACK: KERRY 35; DEAN 25; EDWARDS 15. [Rich Lowry]
Analysis: “The most significant result from the tracking for today [Jan. 26] is that support for Kerry, Clark, and Edwards dropped along with the continuing increase in support for Dean. Women 45 and older are returning to Howard Dean, helping to give him a 4 percentage-point gain on January 25 and a 5 percentage-point gain on January 26. Verbatims among this group point to fairness/sympathy for Dean and not beating George W. Bush driving the return to Dean. If the trend to Dean continues into tomorrow, the race will be very close as it appears that Kerry will not capture the undecided.”
Posted at 11:13 AM
EDUCATION--EAST AND WEST [John Derbyshire]
Warning: some of this is PG-13.
UPDATE: KLO GIVES THIS AN R RATING
Posted at 11:07 AM
RE: FRANKEN MONSTER [Tim Graham]
Jonah, it would be funny to see how Newsweek would treat this, given they just slammed Rush as an anti-social loser who sits home on his couch and watches football instead of tackling hecklers. Franken is very much a primal-rage type like Dean. Fox showed him in a profane rant at a New York Dean rally, but the rest of the media are staying quiet. When Radio Franken goes national, let's see them put any of these uncomfortable facts in their boosterish articles.
Posted at 11:05 AM
IN TRIBUTE TO JOE LIEBERMAN [Joe-Nah Goldberg]
And his calls for Joe-Mentum, for the rest of the day I shall go by "Joe-Nah."
Posted at 10:56 AM
NEWSWEEK POLL [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:52 AM
DEAN WINS! [Jonah Goldberg]
According to this reader from Owensboro Kentucky:
It appears to me that the polls (particularly Zogby) show a strong late surge for Dean. Plus, "Republican-leaning" independents will vote for Dean as the easiest to beat [for] Bush. The pundits don't have the guts to make such predictions, but I do! Please post this message on The Corner, thus displaying my brilliance for all to see!!
Posted at 10:49 AM
FRANKEN FLACK [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of readers want me to be more outraged by Franken's tackle. Sorry I can't oblige. I'm not saying -- or I didn't mean to say -- that he was right to do it. Obviously, it was a dumb thing to do. I just think it's a more forgiveable/human response than a lot of folks do.
That said, tackling him from behind -- a fact I'd somehow missed originally -- doesn't speak too well of Al. First, it demonstrates that he didn't try to talk to the heckler before resorting to violence. Moreover, he says he employed a wrestling move. Well, um, where did he wrestle that he got the opportunity to tackle opponents from behind? A school for the blind?
Posted at 10:48 AM
NEWSWEEK POLLS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Don't forget, Jonah, that Newsweek's poll found a plurality of its respondents (41 percent) against the confirmation of John Ashcroft as attorney general in early 2001. It got that result by asking respondents, "Do you think Congress should approve Bush's choice of John Ashcroft for Attorney General, or reject Ashcroft as too far to the right on issues like abortion, drugs, and gun control to be an effective Attorney General?" It was a loaded question. Only the charge against Ashcroft was provided. When ABC ran a poll mentioning only that Bush had nominated Ashcroft, it found 54 percent support for his confirmation. A poll is only as good as its wording.
Posted at 10:47 AM
WMD PREDICTIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
Calpundit compiles a list of people -- other than Scott Ritter -- who voiced skepticism about the Iraqi WMD threat. It's an interesting list of quotes, but as Calpundit very honestly notes, very, very few of the skeptics believed there were no WMDs. In fact, Calpundit could find only one person who was anything close to unequivocal at the time, Vladimir Putin. And, for most of us, Putin was less than a completely reliable source considering Russia's ties to Iraq. The issue for pretty much everyone else was whether or not Iraq posed a serious or imminent threat, not whether or not it had WMDs.
Posted at 10:39 AM
NH WEATHER REPORT [Chip Griffin]
Cold, no snow expected until polls close. Weather won’t impact turnout. Longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner forecasts 184,000 Democrat and 116,000 Republican votes cast today. You can pretty much make book on his numbers, based on his past performance. The Democrat number would beat 1992’s 170,000 ballots in the Tsongas-Clinton battle.
Posted at 10:26 AM
FRANKEN FLAP [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, it's true that if Rush Limbaugh had tackled a protester, Al Franken in particular and the media in general, would make a huge stink about it. We'd see the protester on the Today Show talking about the "fascist" tendencies of the American right with Katie Couric nodding along. So, Franken's a hypocrite and the media has a double-standard. Big news there.
But generally speaking I don't have that big a problem with what he did. Larouchies are crazies and who knows what kind of vibe the guy was giving off at the time.
What does trouble me is that Franken's Johnny-on-the-spot take down demonstrates a martial acumen no one had suspected. Maybe Rich Lowry should be worried?
Posted at 10:25 AM
RICH LOWRY [KJL]
is a smart, smart man.
Posted at 10:20 AM
SCANDINAVIA [Stanley Kurtz]
Yesterday I posted an announcement of my new piece on gay marriage. This piece, I believe, will shift the gay marriage debate from speculation about the future to a discussion of present realities. For that reason, I see it as the most important piece on gay marriage I’ve ever published. I was disappointed to discover yesterday that the web version of this article contained some errors. Parts of the text were garbled and out of place. Those errors have now been fixed. Although this new piece is significantly shorter than my earlier piece, “Beyond Gay Marriage,” the website is having trouble with longish articles right now. To solve the problem, my new article has been broken up into a Part I and a Part II. The parts are linked and you can easily read through the whole thing. But if you want a printed version, you’ll have to print both parts separately. Sorry for the trouble. At any rate, here once again is my announcement–this time with a link to a good version of the text.
Will gay marriage strengthen or undermine the institution of marriage? That question is the core of the gay marriage debate. Up to now, both sides have been confined to speculation. Now, however, I believe I have shown that gay marriage does undermine marriage. My new piece, “The End Of Marriage in Scandinavia,” makes a systematic case that gay marriage has furthered the decline of marriage in Scandinavia. In the course of this argument, I show that the Scandinavian experience refutes the “conservative case” for gay marriage. While I concentrate on Scandinavia, this piece has much to say about the meaning of gay marriage–and the state of marriage itself–throughout the Western world. This piece shows why the United States is particularly vulnerable to the disruptive effects of gay marriage. It shows why a state-by-state patchwork solution for gay marriage won’t work. It shows why Vermont-style civil unions will leave us no better off than formal gay marriage. It shows why the analogy between interracial marriage and gay marriage is misplaced. Above all, this piece shows that marriage can die, and is in fact dying somewhere in the world right now (not coincidentally, in the one part of the world that has had de facto gay marriage for more than a decade). Again and again, advocates of gay marriage have spoken of the resilience of marriage, and the supposedly false fears of their opponents. To them I say, look to Scandinavia and you’ll see what the future of marriage will be if you have your way. Some conservatives, noting that we lack sufficient empirical data on the effects of gay marriage, call for state-by-state experimentation. In “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia,” I show why these experiments will be neither containable nor reversible in their effects. Fortunately, we have no need for experiments in gay marriage. Scandinavia has run our experiment for us. The results are in. Have a look at “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia.”
Posted at 10:20 AM
NH PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Based upon absolutely nothing save my TheraFlu® induced visions, Kerry 32%, Dean 29, Edwards 19. Granite-staters choke back their Joe-mentum and poor Lieberman comes in a distant 4th.
Note: This prediction subject to change throughout the day.
Posted at 10:19 AM
LIFE IN THE GARDEN STATE [KJL]
New Jersey is arguably the state most immersed in the culture of death, at least if you look at the latest law on the books. But that doesn’t mean the pro-life movement is dead there--looking at the latest newsletter from the NJ Republican ProLife Coalition, it far from it. Fresh from the pro-life march in Washington, the coalition has a full spring schedule, including a Grassroots Training Day sponsored by the effective Susan B. Anthony List on April 24. For more information, the Coalition’s website is here.
Posted at 09:48 AM
NEWSWEAK POLLS [Jonah Goldberg]
Does anyone know anything specific about how Newsweek does its polls? I ask because during the impeachment brouhaha it was generally accepted that Newsweek's polls were implausibly rosy towards Bill Clinton. Now, it seems like Newsweek's polls are implausibly anti-Bush. Anyone have any serious idea as to why?
Posted at 09:46 AM
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU OH (ALLEGEDLY NON-EXISTENT) HIGHER POWER [Jonah Goldberg]
Peter Singer has a new book out attacking George Bush's ethics and morality. Please, please, please, please, please let the Democratic nominee embrace, quote, mention or even nod towards this book! If the Democrats want to be associated with an atheistic pro-infanticide, pro-monkey buggerer, who are we to stand in their way? Indeed, I will renounce my view that we should not take Singer seriously , the moment John Kerry or Howard Dean tout him as a moral authority. Take the bait Dems!
Posted at 09:32 AM
Just announced: 11 nominations for LOTR: ROTK.
Posted at 08:48 AM
PLAN POST-PRIMARIES PEACE: R&R&NR ON BERMUDA CRUISE [Jack Fowler]
GREAT NEWS: former New York mayor and famous tell-it-like-it-iser Ed Koch has just agreed to join Bill Buckley, Bill Bennett, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and NR editorial all-stars Rich Lowry and Jay Nordlinger, on the National Review 2004 Bermuda Cruise. You've got to join us for what's certain to be a humdinger of a week of high-end policy discussion and can't-be-topped luxury cruising (on the world's premier small-ship cruise line--Radisson Seven Seas). The big floating shindig -- the perfect way to "come down" from all the hullabaloo and insanity of the presidential primaries -- is scheduled for May 12-19, on the acclaimed MS Navigator, and prices are very affordable. We'll be announcing even more guest speakers soon. For more info or to sign up click here.
Posted at 08:16 AM
"BAGHDAD IS BUSH'S BLUE DRESS" [KJL]
Robert Scheer wants President Bush impeached.
Posted at 07:50 AM
ABC'S TEEN IDOL [Tim Graham]
George "Rock Your Body" Stephanopoulos is riding around in New Hampshire in a bus last used by pop idol Justin Timberlake, reports the WashPost. (But Stephy is reading this and saying, geez, Kurtz, did you HAVE to report I went to the restroom?) The interesting part is where George says he's not interested in making news so the candidates can be "less uptight." Talk about the wimp factor...This will not help with his Democratic coat-holder image.
Posted at 07:14 AM
DENNIS THE DARKEST HORSE [Tim Graham]
Kucinich said yesterday morning on Fox that he's in the race (albeit many furlongs behind) for the long haul, the Jerry Brown of this cycle. Maybe he thinks that when Howard Dean collapses, that massive leave-Saddam-in-the-palace vote will come through for him.
Posted at 06:43 AM
NH PREDICTION [Chip Griffin]
Kerry 30, Edwards 24, Dean 23, Lieberman 12, Clark 10. Independents give a big boost to Edwards and a lesser one to Lieberman.
Posted at 06:39 AM
FEARLESS PREDICTION [John J. Miller]
Kerry 36, Dean 23, Edwards 18--Clark, Lieberman, and Kucinich trailing. The media will interpret New Hampshire voters as affirming Iowa's decision to go with the "steady hand" over the "clenched fist," to borrow the well-rendered phrases coming out of Kerry's camp (thanks, Bob Shrum!). Kerry's victory won't carry the same glamor of surprise, but who needs that when you're coming in first? Dean will stay in the race but now becomes desperate for a few victories next week. The same is true for John Edwards, who will be noted for another respectable performance but also for the fact that he still hasn't won anything. Clark is finished, and deservedly so. He may try to limp through next week but he's no longer a major candidate. Lieberman may finish a little ahead or a little behind Clark; he's done, too, and may be expected to offer a gracious concession and withdrawal. Kucinich has nothing to lose in continuing to lose and loves the attention. He's slog on. But can we start to ignore him now?
Posted at 05:51 AM
WATERGATE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s an item from the latest New York Magazine (scroll down and do not get distracted by the photo of Charlize Theron) on that great populist, that regular guy in a baseball cap, that scourge of the privileged and the pretentious, Mr. Michael Moore:
"Stupid Thirsty Men: Moore Water!
"Dude, where’s my French bottled water? It appears that man of the people Michael Moore has gone completely J.Lo on event organizers with pre-event demands. Before he’d agree to present an award for the best 30-second anti-Bush ad at a Manhattan MoveOn.org benefit earlier this month, Moore’s handlers insisted that he have a supply of Evian backstage. “Even Poland Spring wasn’t good enough,” says our inside source. “They called up to make sure he would have Evian…”"
This story is obviously false. No true man of the people would behave in this way. And that, of course, is just what Moore is. Isn't he?
Posted at 05:48 AM
DIXVILLE NOTCH [KJL]
went Clark, btw.
Posted at 05:38 AM
DEAN LOSES A FEW VOTES IN WEST DES MOINES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 05:27 AM
Monday, January 26, 2004
A GAMBLER'S GUIDE TO THE GRANITE STATE [KJL]
A cool Carl Cameron feature:
"You can lose while winning and win while losing."There's much more though, see here.
Posted at 11:10 PM
A reader writes:
As a political junkie and lover of democracy, I am having a wonderful time thinking about you, the insomniac, waiting to get the first returns. But even more fun is the mental image of Rich and Jonah in a Jeep somewhere in Dixville Notch with snow falling in a white out, trying to stay warm without attacking each other and stalking the line of voters entering the poll on this, the 228th anniversary of the Great Experiment. This is so wonderful, I want to howl like Dean!!!I'm sorry to disappoint, but I will be asleep as the residents of Dixville Notch vote.
Posted at 11:08 PM
CLINTON'S TWO E-MAILS [KJL]
Of course he didn't e-mail--no instant gratification.
ALTHOUGH, in one sense--and if he were a decade or so younger, he would have gotten into the groove--e-mail fits the Clinton world: picture Bill sitting as his computer at 3 A.M, after watching Cinemax or whatever (The L Word on Showtime?); he turns on his computer to e-mail Monica, the Speaker of the House, the Veep (who invented it all, recall), and someone random and low-ranking he met during the day (just to let her know that important HE is thinking of normal American her), so they all know he is worried about what concerns them at 3 a.m. instead of sleeping.
I realize I am posting this at 10:30 p.m., so...I will stop now.
Posted at 10:33 PM
WHAT'S UP, DOC? [John Derbyshire]
An eagle-eyed reader notes that University of Michigan, in the billing for my Feb. 12 event, calls me "Dr. Derbyshire." He wants to know where I got my doctorate.
It was a very small college, Sir -- right next to the church of which the Reverend Al Sharpton is pastor.
Posted at 10:10 PM
READER'S SPEAK [John Derbyshire]
Reader e-mail round-up:
[On economics] "All comparative advantage says is that a nation of ignorant couch potatoes that trades with India will be better off than a nation of ignorant couch potatoes that refuses to trade. That doesn't mean a nation of ignorant couch potatoes isn't heading for trouble - just that free trade isn't the problem."
[Same topic, another reader]
"I am not an economist and can't judge any better than you the argument between Kling and Paul Craig Roberts. Nevertheless, I would go with Kling. In my experience, when you have one person saying that some phenomenon is causing everything to go to hell and the other person saying no it's not, the second person is invariably right. Every prediction of disaster that I have heard for the past 35 years -- since I have begun noticing such things -- has been wrong. Well, the Episcopal Church might be one exception. But aside from that...."
[Same topic, a terrifically well-credentialed reader]
"Kling is dead on. It is simply impossible not to have a comparative advantage in something. Anyone who talks about losing comparative advantage in everything (which is said all the time) is simply throwing around a term he doesn't understand. Kling is a little imprecise about one thing. Trade can cause losers, it's just that the gains of the winners, country by country, offset the losses of the losers. If America can outsource Hindi to English translation to India, then American Hindi speakers will lose, since they no longer have such a rare skill. But the amount that American translation buyers gain will be more than the American translators will lose. Back to 'Whom should the non-expert believe?' My answer: Non-academic economists are almost without exception complete hacks. ... Kling seems to be the only exception I can think of. By non-academic, I mean anyone not currently an economics professor. (I understand that includes myself, but my job is an exceptional oasis for a researcher). Having a Ph.D. seems necessary but not sufficient. A basic fact, again almost without exception, is that Ph.D graduates who take non-academic jobs do so for the simple reason that they can't get an academic position. Further, those who start with academic positions but leave almost always do so because they fail to get tenure at their first institution, nor any other academic institution lower in the pecking order. So the 'business economists' and political type economists (like Arthur Laffer and Paul Craig Roberts) and so forth out there are the flunkies."
[I sent the following reply to that last guy]
"Hold on... I used to work for First Boston, which had an Economics department headed by a very charming gent with a Polish name I can't remember. He always sounded to me absolutely brilliant. Much more to the (economic) point, the firm paid him a ton of money for his opinions -- much more, I am sure, than any academic ever got paid. I note also that our own Larry Kudlow, a non-academic business economist, is rich beyond the dreams of avarice. So... is this an exceptionally inefficient market? Or what?"
[On America's wonderful universities]
"It may very well be that American higher education is the envy of the world, but I view it as a Trojan Horse. It is all well and good that we have the finest science and engineering faculties but we also have the social sciences and the humanities, the latter being nothing more than left wing madrassahs."
[Same topic, another reader]
"I am doing my PhD in Political Science at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. The Spanish government (which, in my opinion, is totally under-rated for many reasons and in many ways) explicity formed a top-tier university in Madrid to be free from the stultifying traditions at traditional universities. Catalonia, which fancies itself its own country, demanded one of their own: the result, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. It seems to be working despite some kinks.
"The teaching at the PhD level at the UPF is outstanding. We have visiting professors from Notre Dame, Univ. of Chicago, MIT, etc., as well as very, very solid professors here in Barcelona that are from all over Europe. The department is small which means that the options are limited, but if you are doing political theory or comparative, you're in the right spot. There are some complaints about funding for PhD students but, admittedly, the tuition for the unfunded is really pretty low.
"Even better, we are blessedly free of politically correct nonsense. No lesbian studies; no queer theory; no womyn's issues. In my Theories of Demomcracy class we are spending three sessions on Greek thought (we read Thucydides today); in my economic sociology class we are marinating in Weber and Durkheim; for my federalism class, we are read Elazar (Jewish, and a teacher at Temple and somewhere in Jersualem). There is a refreshing rigor and lack of sentimentality over here that is bracing like a just too cold breeze."
Posted at 07:03 PM
LOSERS FOR DEAN [KJL]
Has anyone seen Al Gore or Bill Bradley anywhere near New Hampshire stumping for their supposed man? What has happened to them?
Said Gore on Dec. 9: "In a field of great candidates, one candidate clearly now stands out and so I'm asking all of you to join in this grassroots movement to elect Howard Dean president of the United States." Not so clear now?
Gore said, "I'm very proud and honored to endorse Howard Dean to be the next president of the United States of America." Where did the pride go? The honor?
Posted at 06:52 PM
RE: DERB DOES OHIO [John Derbyshire]
In response to several queries: Any appearances to promote Prime Obsession are listed on my website here . Note the link to the Michigan event.
Some readers want to know, following the lead remarks in my October 2003 Diary, whether I am going to be shrieked at by gay activists at any of these events. Well, anything is possible in the colorful world of opinion journalism, and I always adhere to the Boy Scout motto; but to the best of my knowledge, no disturbances are scheduled.
Posted at 06:40 PM
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S SPENDING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The White House is making a big deal out of its plans to hold the growth of non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending below 1 percent. It appears, however, to be continuing to capitalize on confusion between "budget authority" and actual spending. So the pledge amounts to a promise to control a misleading measure of a fraction of the budget. All of this is done in the service of cutting the deficit by half over five years--a pathetically modest goal. The administration would be better off setting a real spending target, and abandoning the idea of a deficit target altogether.
Posted at 05:48 PM
CFR, THE AMAZON WAY [KJL]
Amazon 's new donate-the-candidates feature looks great--an easy way for people to donate a little (or more) to their guy. It's convenient, and it also psychologically makes donating to political campaigns more accessible to people who might not be likely to write a check (for lack of expendible funds, for a general feeling that donating to campaigns is something only the upper classes do).
Best of all, I gather Amazon did this on their own--no FEC mandate or advisory required.
I'm sorry to see, though, that the Bush campaign isn't on board yet. Heck, I think they should sell their official merchandise on Amazon.
Posted at 05:08 PM
FROM A READER [Michael Graham]
"I'm not sure which is more depressing. Finding out that no one in the South wants to be associated with us, or finding out that John Kerry does! "
Posted at 04:49 PM
DERB DOES OHIO [John Derbyshire]
Some readers want to know: Are my Ohio appearances (at Denison and Kenyon) on for this Thursday?
Answer: Yes, I am flying in to Columbus Wednesday night.
I am told that the weather in the area is really appalling, with a foot of ice covering everything. This doesn't bother me, but it might make for a thin turnout. Since the colleges are paying my fare and accommodation, this would be a poor return for their time, trouble, and money; so if you can possibly make the events, please do.
Posted at 04:29 PM
NEW HAMPSHIRE SURPRISE [Michael Novak]
For the record, led only in part by the Zogby poll, I smell something turbulent and upsetting in the New Hampshire results. Watching the candidates under pressure this week–catching more than I have before on C-Span and elsewhere–I have noted the fire, mischief, and spirit in the eyes of Howard Dean. Demagogue that he can be, careless of mind and tongue, he shows a lively spirit, a slightly ironic fun-laden turn of mind, and a reckless abandon that is somehow classic to the American story. Is it Huck Finn? Is it the American flirtation with the outlaw and the bad boy? There is something alive there.
By contrast, I find John Kerry very impressive, but only at times, and especially when he is telling war stories-about anybody else but himself. His strongest card is his experience of war, the aura of heroism past; and second is his almost-presidential sonorous seriousness....But then there is also something dullingly boring about him, grinding, distant, self-serving. Does one really want to listen to him for four years? He has a way of sounding impressively presidential, but then he goes ponderous, and then the drone turns on, and then...
A full week of Kerry just might have bored New Hampshire to death, dampened the romance, made heart and eyes restless....
The devil in the heart may conclude that, what the h—, a night's date with Howard sure would be fun, no matter the electability thing, let that take care of itself. If being serious means having to listen to Kerry over and over again, being serious can wait.
This is just a feeling, not very rational. Some polls say that Kerry is far, far ahead. So what do I know? ... Only, I won't be surprised by a surprise. Maybe a lot of people feel that way.
Posted at 04:28 PM
SIBERIAN AMERICANS [John Derbyshire]
Numerous readers take exception to my diocesan newspaper saying that "other than Native Americans, most of us come from immigrant stock." The so-called Native Americans (these readers wish to remind my diocese) trekked across the Bering Strait in the last Ice Age, when there was a land bridge, and so are most properly designated "Siberian-Americans."
Posted at 04:27 PM
CHARLIZE THERON: WELL-DESERVING [Mike Potemra ]
I was pleased to read this morning that Charlize Theron won a Golden Globe last night for her performance in the film Monster. Her portrayal of a brutal (and brutalized) woman was a masterpiece of craft. As for the movie itself, it's an excellent and serious work, one with no time for easy left-wing excuses about "root causes," or simplistic sermonettes about up-by-the-bootstraps personal responsibility. Its analysis of the human condition is fundamentally Biblical: Our condition is gravely sinful, calling us to be worse and worse; and yet we bear responsibility for our choices. I caution, however, that this film is not for everybody: The violence is extreme, and the portrayal of human desperation is unforgivingly realistic. If you have a strong stomach, this is not-to-be-missed work of art.
Posted at 04:26 PM
RE: MOW YOUR OWN LAWN [Mark Krikorian ]
I agree with John that the "jobs Americans won't do" stuff is offensive to our country's egalitarian mores, but I get lots of e-mail of the "immigrants are great/Americans are lazy" variety. And there is a kernel of truth to this -- it's not just that wages in blue-collar occupations are held back by immigrants, but that fact has caused a lot of Americans to consider such work beneath them and, in the case of the poor, prefer welfare handouts to honest, dirty work. Conservatives have long been concerned about the corrupting effects of welfare, and passed welfare reform in 1996 to address the problem. Unfortunately, the unfinished part of welfare reform is immigration restriction -- so the poor are eased out of welfare after a certain period of time and the jobs available to them are better paying and held in higher regard than before. We did the first part in 1996, but not the second part, which means the job is incomplete.
Posted at 04:18 PM
RE: PATRIOT [KJL]
Department of Justice response (from spokesman Mark Corallo):
"The Department was already seeking en banc review of the holding of a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit which invalidated parts of the 1996 material support statute, and the Department is reviewing today's District Court ruling regarding an additional portion of the law.
Posted at 04:12 PM
RE: NOVAK AND THE MARCH [Tim Graham]
Why no coverage of the March for Life?
1. Reporters are dramatically “pro-abortion rights.” One 1995 survey by Stanley Rothman and Amy Black found the number at 97 percent.
2. A corollary: the March is (appropriately) held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but liberal reporters probably see this interloping holiday protest as the civil rights equivalent of David Duke hosting a march on Martin Luther King’s birthday. How dare they wave their baby signs on Kate Michelman Day!
3. Unlike highly promoted anti-war rallies, pro-life marches show an embarrassingly huge mass of people marching for the wrong side. The press only reports on protests to bolster their own political preferences as the voice of the people, which most do. If they cover this routinely massive march, they might cause viewers to wonder why the feminists can only hold a march (in warm weather) about once every dozen years.
4. The March for Life is not strident and Dean-screamy from the podium, but solemn and prayerful and mourning. That would clash with their media profile of pro-lifers are violent haters.
5. A corollary: not only are the speakers in a religious mode, a vast majority of the marchers are conservative Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. Media secularists think their views should not be mixed in with the business of state. (That sort of mixes in with Stan’s mention of class snobbery, that media types might think intensely religious people are only found in churches and trailer parks.)
6. The speakers aren’t high-profile enough. President Bush’s phoner is always cheered and appreciated, but imagine the coverage if he walked down the South Lawn with his detail and surprised the crowd by speaking in person. Memo to Karl Rove: it’s sad the president is brave enough to go to Baghdad, but travels to New Mexico instead of being “too” prominent in the culture of life.
Posted at 03:53 PM
PATRIOT NEWS [KJL]
Bad news: "LOS ANGELES - A federal judge has declared unconstitutional the part of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations."
Good news: It's the ninth circuit.
Posted at 03:49 PM
NR READERS LOVE OUR "CLASSIC" KIDS BOOKS [Jack Fowler]
We’ve received countless letters from very satisfied customers praising of our “classics” books. Here’s one -- from Ray and Juanita Johnson of Colorado -- that is typical:
“Upon receiving our copy of the NR Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature we are fully delighted with the treasuries it holds for our own grandchildren and children throughout the country. Thus we wish to order two more copies, for their home and for our daughter’s 5th grade classroom in Maryland. As retired teachers my husband and I fully appreciate the value of this volume of Classic Children’s Literature . . .”
We're always happy when someone orders our books. But we take special satisfaction when someone re-orders (and we have a lot of those "someones"): It's proof we're doing something right. Now, why don't you do the right thing and order those special someones in your life (children, grandchildren, niece, nephew, godchild, or that nice kid who lives down the street) any or all of our great titles: the original edition or new "Volume Two" of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature, and our new book designed especially for younger, beginning readers, The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (a lavishly illustrated collection of enchanting stories by the great Thornton Burgess). Order here.
Posted at 03:40 PM
ECONOMICS PRIMER [John Derbyshire]
In a column I wrote a while ago I confused comparative advantage with absolute advantage. This brought in many scathing e-mails from economists. Economists can be very scathing people.
Here is Arnold Kling being scathing. Now, the thing I -- I, uneducated in economics but not, I hope, math-phobic -- want to know is this: Just how indisputable is what Kling says here?
Sure, Arnold Kling is terrifically well-credentialed. So, however, is Paul Craig Roberts, at whom he scoffs. Whom should the non-expert believe? It's like listening to an auto mechanic telling you waht's wrong with your car and how much it will cost to fix it. Sure sounds plausible, but... ?
Posted at 03:38 PM
THE SOUTH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A lot of Democrats have been flirting with this write-off-the-South idea. This is an ideal year to try it out, what with Senate races in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and both Carolinas. An ideal year, that is, for Republicans. Go, Kerry, go!
Posted at 03:20 PM
ERROR [Stanley Kurtz]
Earlier today I posted notice of a new piece of mine, "The End of Marriage in Scandinavia." I am very sorry to report that some significant bits of text in the latter part of this article are garbled and out of place. While you can certainly get more than the gist of the piece right now, the text is flawed and has to be fixed. The website has been alerted, and the problem will be fixed, although I am not certain just when that will be. Again, I apologize for this mix up. This is a very important piece to me. As far as I am concerned, it puts the gay marriage debate on a new footing by moving the debate from speculation about the future to the close consideration of present realities. You will be hearing much more from me about this piece. But the first order of business is for me to post a notice later today or tomorrow when the text has been fixed.
Posted at 03:14 PM
MYSTIFIED [John Derbyshire]
It would be a great relief if someone would please explain to me the point of the cartoon on p. 68 of the current (Feb. 2) New Yorker. Or is this some new postmodern style of cartooning, with no point at all? ---Baffled in Huntington
Posted at 02:44 PM
FOCUS ON THIS MYSTERY [John Derbyshire]
The following is front-page lead in the current (February 2004) issue of Dominion, the monthly newspaper of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. I am going to transcribe it without addition, subtraction or alteration.
"The 137th Convention of the Diocese of Long Island, with the strong support of Bishop Walker, designated the Second Sunday of Lent, March 7, as Immigration Sunday throughout the diocese. Parishes are asked to focus worship, preaching, and adult and children's education on the concerns and experience of immigrants.
"Most Americans, with the exception of Native Americans, come from immigrant stock. Our forbears were born someplace other than the United States. This experience provides a rich story of lives of faith within every congregation. It also provides an opportunity to celebrate our diversity as a church.
"Many members of our Diocese are recent immigrants, struggling to build family lives under the pressure that comes with being recently arrived. For some it involves learning a language. For all it means learning about new institutions such as schools, health care, employment policies as well as living in a new culture. This would be enough of a reason for a parish to celebrate and recall the immigrant experience.
"Many people worshiping in the parishes of the diocese each week are undocumented. In the US at the moment many people are coming to work to assist in building the country who are not being granted legal status and are therefore living as undocumented peoples. America needs these workers in our homes, in our restaurants, caring for our gardens, growing and processing our food. For these individuals immigration holds particular challenges. People are fearful of being identified and deported. People are working at jobs where there are no legal protections as to working conditions or wages. People have little access to health care. People are separated from their families and usually are sending money home to support family while working very low-paying jobs.
"We as a nation are also facing a time when many of those working will retire. Increased immigration seems the only way that we will be able to have enough workers to maintain our way of life.
"Our Diocese and our national church have gone on record to insist that the US provide legal status for all workers in the country along with legal protections on the job and access to permanent residency and citizenship.
"In the midst of this, Long Island has seen the growth of ugly anti-immigrant groups who are actively resisting immigrants and have committed acts of violence against immigrants. Our experience of living in the midst of this xenophobia requires us to speak out and to stand up.
"The Second Sunday of Lent is intended to recall to us the biblical imperative to do justly to the stranger living and working in our midst. On Thursday, February 12, Canon Juan Oliver has invited the clergy to a Clergy Day at Mercer to prepare for Immigration Sunday. It will include a look at the Sunday Propers with this theme in mind, suggestions about guest speakers and developing speakers from within the congregation, updates on the status of immigration legislation and access to immigration services for members of the Diocese. Lunch will be served. The day will close with evensong and a workshop for lay leaders over a light dinner.
"We, the members of Christ's Church must support and protect the stranger in our midst. People will 'come from the east and west and from the north and south and sit at the table in the Kingdom of God.' Let us prepare to focus on this mystery in our worship March 7th."
Posted at 02:41 PM
I PREDICTED JOHN KERRY WOULD WRITE OFF SOUTH CAROLINA... [Michael Graham]
...but I didn't expect it so soon.
Jake Tapper at ABC has a piece on Kerry dissing the South:
During a town hall meeting on the Dartmouth campus, Kerry noted that former Vice President Al Gore would be president if he'd won any number of other non-Southern states in 2000, including New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Ohio.Two things: Kerry is absolutely right and strategically correct. Since he CAN'T win in South Carolina or the South, he needs to prove that he doesn't need to win there in the first place. Isn't this smarter than pretending he's not DOA down South and losing big on February 3rd? Now when he loses to Edwards, he can dismiss it as irrelevant to his national strategy.
Second, on behalf of all Southerners, I want to thank Kerry for taking West Virginia off our hands.
Posted at 02:39 PM
"CAMPAIGNS" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Does anyone here know why we use the same word to describe political and military phenomena? I assume the word crossed over from war to politics, but when? Is there a story here? The question came to mind when I was thinking about the political journalist's habit--of which I am certainly guilty--of using words such as "attacked," "returned fire," "took flak," "shelled," "came under a heavy barrage," etc., when what is meant is generally "criticized" or "was criticized." Is this common usage the result of a journalistic tendency toward hyperbole, or something deeper?
Posted at 02:32 PM
THIS WILL NOT BE SOLD AT KERRY CAMPAIGN EVENTS [Meghan Clyne]
Here's the more White-House-run-friendly version.
Posted at 01:01 PM
ON TOUR [Randy Barnett]
I’m on my book tour for Restoring the Constitution. You can see my schedule for this week here. Be sure and come up and let me know you’re a Corner reader if you make one of them.
Posted at 12:49 PM
RE: AMERICA'S GREAT UNIVERSITIES [John Derbyshire]
A reader less clueless than myself has located a public-access version of that Economist article I mentioned, about the excellence of our higher education syste. Here it is.
Posted at 11:54 AM
AMERICA'S GREAT UNIVERSITIES [John Derbyshire]
Stanley: The PC horrors that afflict so much of life in our universities and colleges are indeed deplorable, and you'll get no argument from me about the poisonous influence of harpies like Rhonda Garelick.
There is something else that needs to be said, though: America's higher education system is in many respects the world's best. A story in the current issue of The Economist (which, in spite of having held one of their grossly expensive print subscriptions for at least 25 years, I can never get into online) lays out in detail the superiority of our system to most others.
After reading that article Saturday morning, I went into the city to have dinner with some friends visiting from China. The host was an ex-student of mine, now very successful in a branch of the Chinese security services. He has his 15-yr-old daughter in a school in Virginia, and she has her sights on a top-flight US university. My friend also brought along his brother, a successful entrepreneur in China, who has no interest in living in the US (and in fact can't speak a word of English) but very much wants to get his kids into American colleges, and nagged me for advice on applications, qualifications, visas, and so on.
There is a lot to object to in American higher education; but these are blemishes on a system that is still the envy of the world.
Posted at 11:19 AM
MOW YOUR OWN LAWN [John Derbyshire]
Mark: One thing that caught my attention in the President's Roswell address was this: "We've got people doing jobs in America that Americans won't do. And that's helpful to our economy. It's helpful that there are some people that are willing to the do the work that others won't do."
This business about "jobs Americans won't do" is crass economic illiteracy, of course. For the right wages, you or I would pick fruit. For the right wages, Warren Buffett would pick fruit.
I have an additional objection to it, though: I think it's offensive. To be exact, it offends my image of what America is, and what Americans are. This, to my way of thinking, is the can-do nation, the nation of pioneers and homesteaders, of barn-raisers and swamp-drainers and kids tinkering with their autos on a Saturday morning, the nation of Longfellow's "Let us, then, be up and doing." Few things in American life trouble me more than what a year or so ago I called "the Saudi-Arabianization of the workforce." I recall P.J. O'Rourke covering the first Gulf War, telling us that the journalists had opened a book on who would be the first to see a Saudi lift anything heavier than his billfold. I laughed at the time, but that was 13 years ago. I'm not sure I'd laugh now.
Posted at 11:17 AM
FRANCE HEARTS DEAN? [KJL]
A reader from France notes:
In its last issue, Le Nouvel Observateur has placed a picture of Michael Moore, as the Statue of Liberty, on it's cover. The disgusting title: "L'Amerique qu'on aime, il n'y pas que celle de Bush!" (The America we Love, there's more than Bush's America!).
Posted at 11:14 AM
CHEESE-EATING SURRENDER-MONKEY NEW HAMPSHIRE? [KJL]
A reader e-mails:
One possible reason for Kerry's choice of language (and perhaps his popularity in NH) is the large French Canadian population in the Granite State.
Posted at 11:09 AM
THE CRUD [Jonah Goldberg]
I picked up some weird bug this weekend, seems like a blend between giardia and epstein-bar; I keep wanting to fall asleep in the bathroom. Also, I haven't been online in almost 48 hours and my email box overflowed. So my apologies to anyone who sent me mail between now and Saturday evening. It didn't come through. Anyway, I won't be around for much of the day.
Posted at 10:57 AM
DEAD HEAT [KJL]
Curious: Does anyone in here think Dean can pull this off still? Rich pegged him as "wistful" on Friday, but WHAT IF he squeazes out a first-place win tomorrow? Is his anger/insanity going to eventually kill his candidacy anyway?
Posted at 10:27 AM
LIFE MARCH BLACKOUT [Rick Brookhiser]
Michael asks why the blackout. It is religion configured as class. On the inside cover of Paul Fussell's sharp, nasty little book, called Class, he gave as class signifiers these statements: (Upper) Grandfather died. (Middle) Grandma passed away. (Lower) Uncle was taken to Jesus.
Posted at 10:23 AM
WRONG ON KERRY [John Derbyshire]
It's possible I missed something, but I haven't yet seen any of my colleagues admit to having underestimated Kerry. I sure did. In a conversation with an NR editor just 3 or 4 weeks ago, I expressed astonishment that Kerry, who at that point, as Donna Brazile so nicely put it, "had no pulse," should have taken out a humongous mortgage on his house to help fund continued campaigning. I expressed the opinion that he must have slipped into a delusional state. Well, here we are with Kerry riding high, and it's my own comment that looks delusional. What a game it is, this politics!
Posted at 10:21 AM
EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, DEAN IS “STABILIZING” IN NH [Rich Lowry]
ARG: Kerry 38, Dean 20, Edwards 16, Clark 15.
USA Today (released at 10 a.m. today): Kerry 38, Dean 25, Lieberman 12, Clark 10, Edwards 9.
Posted at 10:17 AM
HONORING ILLEGALS? [Mark Krikorian ]
I just last night read the president's comments last week in Roswell, N.M., on immigration. Now, considering the locale, maybe he was possessed by extraterrestrials, but something he said gave credence to the sense among immigration enforcement personnel that they are held in contempt by their superiors. The president said, as well he should, that illegal aliens "need to be treated with respect" -- they are, after all, children of God and must be handled humanely as they are detained and returned to their homes. But the next sentence was the kicker: "They need to be honored for their commitment to their families." Honored? No wonder conservatives are so angry.
Posted at 10:17 AM
SURPRISE SURPRISE [Stanley Kurtz]
Has the Op-Ed page of the New York Times got a new editor? I’m used to the Times’ liberal bias, especially on social issues. Lately, though, the Times Op-Ed page surprises me. I’ve already talked about the extraordinarily radical anti-marriage Op-Ed’s in Sunday’s Times. But did anyone notice “Career Girls,” by Rhonda Garelick, in Saturday’s Times? Actually, I’m grateful for Garelick’s piece, because it brings across the problem with today’s politically biased academy better than any conservative complaint could. It’s tough for folks who haven’t been around an American college lately to understand just how bad things really are. Read Garelick, and you’ll begin to get it. Garelick’s complains about students who refuse to jump on her leftist political bandwagon. Only that’s not how Garelick sees it. To Garelick, enlightenment, education, and democracy themselves are synonymous with left-wing politics. Those who aren’t in tune with leftist politics aren’t simply of a different mind; they’re downright stupid. Garelick unashamedly admits to indoctrinating her students–only Garelick calls this, “teaching ‘wakeful’ political literacy.” When her students meet her political harangues with “blank stares,” “paralysis,” “anxiety,” and “some disgruntlement over my deviating from the syllabus,” Garelick takes them for ignorant, apathetic cattle. Doesn’t she see that they don’t buy her politics, but are afraid to say so because she holds their future in her hands? Profs like Garelick are why websites like NoIndoctrination.org exist. If you want to know what it’s like to be trapped in a politicized professor’s classroom, read Garelick, and imagine that, through her grades and recommendations, this woman controls your future. Then again, maybe just by regularly reading the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, we’re all trapped in that same classroom.
Posted at 10:15 AM
PREDICTIONS [Rick Brookhiser]
With the Democratic race up in the air, I should revisit my prediction for November. I had said the race would be Bush v. Dean, that Dean's runningmate would not be one of the Democratic candidates, nor would it be Sen. Clinton, that Bush would get 53% of the vote, and that Dean would carry Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, the District, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, New England, and two out of four of California, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
I repeat the last two elements of that, whoever the Democrats nominate--Kerry, Edwards, or the Jacobite pretender. My thoughts were based on my idea of two parties' respective strengths. I don't think the finesse of the nominee, or lack of it, will make much difference.
PS: I guess I should give the GOP New Hampshire.
Posted at 09:42 AM
MARCH FOR LIFE [Michael Novak]
Has anybody on The Corner encountered any estimates on the number of marchers in the March for Life this year? Seen any photos of the full street, so that the crowd might be counted?
Can anybody think of any other civil rights cause in American history for which more Americans have demonstrated in a march, across as many years and in as great numbers?
Have bloggers done any better in doing justice to this march than the mainstream pro-abortion press?
What is the best guess as to the reason for the total press blackout of this reality? Is it class status--a culture war of the educated elite against the working class? Or is it purely a case of preferential bias, on account of rival moral sympathies?
I would be interested in speculation and argument on these points. But, most of all, in establishing the actual facts of the numbers of marchers this year, and cumulatively since the year after the decision in Roe v Wade.
Posted at 09:35 AM
UNINTENDED-PARALLEL WATCH [John Derbyshire]
From the NY Times Op Ed page: "One of the greatest threats to stability and democracy in Afghanistan [is] a renegade judiciary bent on imposing its fundamentalist interpretations of the Koran rather than enforcing Afghan law."
You don't say.
Posted at 09:17 AM
MORE IMUS BUZZ [Tim Graham]
Chris Matthews right now is just pounding the drum for Howard Dean. (Joe Trippi should pay the man.) He says Kerry is boring, Lieberman should stay in the Senate. He says voting for Dean would at least let you come out of the voting booth and feel like you've done something. (Congratulations, you've just emasculated our military and given free rein to nuclear proliferation!) Matthews says "I love the mavericks...I loved McCain." Imus asked which could beat Bush better, Dean or Hillary. Matthews said "as long as voting is private, Hillary will never win," meaning men won't vote for her unless their wives are watching.
Posted at 09:09 AM
GOBS OF GLOBES [Tim Graham]
If you watched the Golden Globes last night and wondered why they showered awards on HBO's "Angels in America," but you would never want to watch six hours of this sludge, see Brent Bozell's take:
"HBO, that jewel of the Time Warner empire, has taken Tony Kushner’s propagandistic Broadway smash – the theatrical version of one of those crazy letters to the editor that never end and have too many capital letters – and devoted $60 million to turning this stale 1980s artifact into a cinematic tour de fossil. They expected viewers to watch this for six hours! It’s like a long, slow root canal accompanied by a Fidel Castro address."
Posted at 08:49 AM
THE FUTURE OF MARRIAGE [Stanley Kurtz]
You can go to my new article, “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia,” for proof that gay marriage does in fact undermine marriage (see previous post). But the truth is, for anyone who has eyes to see, it’s already happening right in front of our eyes. Sunday’s New York Times carried an opinion piece called, “Single and Paying For It,” by Shari Motro. Motro deliberately uses the arguments of gay marriage advocates to make a case for the effective destruction of marriage itself. Plaintiffs in gay marriage cases argue that, by confining the legal and financial benefits of marriage heterosexuals, the law discriminates against gays. Motro agrees, but extends the point to singles. Why should married couples-–gay or straight–-get any benefits at all, asks Motro. But aren’t married couples parents? Motro dismisses this point with statistics that show that large numbers of children are born to unmarried parents. Of course, Motro’s “solution” would only guarantee a huge additional increase in the out-of-wedlock birthrate. In effect, Motro is trying to bring about the same equalization between singlehood and marriage that we find in Scandinavia. And her model is the argument for gay marriage. This shows that the effect of gay marriage will be (indeed, already is) exactly the opposite of the one claimed conservative advocates of gay marriage. Instead of strengthening marriage in society at large, gay marriage is opening the floodgates to a series of changes that can only result in the end of marriage.
Three years ago, in “It’s About Marriage.” I predicted what we just saw in Sunday’s New York Times. I pointed out that there are three things that are “not marriage:” sexual groups, gay couples, and singles. Once the special social support and encouragement given to heterosexual couples is condemned as discriminatory toward gays, I said, the same argument would be made by singles and polyamorists. By featuring a case for “singles rights” inspired by gay marriage advocacy, The New York Times has proven me right. And what about monogamy? Well, just above Shari Motro’s piece this Sunday was, “Should This Marriage Be Saved?” an Op-Ed by Laura Kipnis attacking the president’s marriage initiative. Although she only hints at it in this piece, Kipnis is an opponent of marriage in general, and monogamy in particular. Kipnis, in fact, is a fan of adultery. I blogged on Kipnis’s book last September. Kipnis and Motro would like nothing more than to abolish marriage and move to the Scandinavian system. And both are now featured in a typically “balanced” Op-Ed blitz in the Sunday New York Times. So this is where we are. The gay marriage debate has kicked off a crusade for so-called singles rights, and encouraged those who want to end to monogamy–and ultimately, marriage itself. The New York Times is on board. Take a look at Scandinavia if you want to see the future. But the truth is, the future is right here, right now–and it has absolutely nothing to do with the “conservative case” for gay marriage.
Posted at 08:46 AM
SSM IN SCANDINAVIA [Stanley Kurtz]
Will gay marriage strengthen or undermine the institution of marriage? That question is the core of the gay marriage debate. Up to now, both sides have been confined to speculation. Now, however, I believe I have shown that gay marriage does undermine marriage. My new piece, "The End Of Marriage in Scandinavia," makes a systematic case that gay marriage has furthered the decline of marriage in Scandinavia. In the course of this argument, I show that the Scandinavian experience refutes the "conservative case" for gay marriage. While I concentrate on Scandinavia, this piece has much to say about the meaning of gay marriage-and the state of marriage itself-throughout the Western world. This piece shows why the United States is particularly vulnerable to the disruptive effects of gay marriage. It shows why a state-by-state patchwork solution for gay marriage won't work. It shows why Vermont-style civil unions will leave us no better off than formal gay marriage. It shows why the analogy between interracial marriage and gay marriage is misplaced. Above all, this piece shows that marriage can die, and is in fact dying somewhere in the world right now (not coincidentally, in the one part of the world that has had de facto gay marriage for more than a decade). Again and again, advocates of gay marriage have spoken of the resilience of marriage, and the supposedly false fears of their opponents. To them I say, look to Scandinavia and you'll see what the future of marriage will be if you have your way. Some conservatives, noting that we lack sufficient empirical data on the effects of gay marriage, call for state-by-state experimentation. In "The End of Marriage in Scandinavia," I show why these experiments will be neither containable nor reversible in their effects. Fortunately, we have no need for experiments in gay marriage. Scandinavia has run our experiment for us. The results are in. Have a look at "The End of Marriage in Scandinavia."
Posted at 08:35 AM
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' [John Derbyshire]
Writing in the Los Angeles Times, reporter Lee Green ponders the reasons for California's overcrowding, traffic jams, collapsing schools, crime wave, environmental degradation, out of sight house prices and inter-group rancor. The main reason is... can he say it?... DARE he say it?... Yes! In the LA Times!!! What next? Will the New York Times declare Alger Hiss guilty?
Posted at 08:33 AM
FAIR AND BALANCED [Tim Graham]
Dennis Kucinich appeared on Fox this morning, so take that, all you "right-wing network" bashers. Kucinich has yet to be interviewed on the liberal broadcast network AM shows.
Posted at 08:28 AM
IMUS BUZZ [Tim Graham]
Imus has already interviewed Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, and Newsweek's Howard Fineman this morning. Brokaw joked a tad about what he called Dean's "I Have A Scream" speech. Russert pleaded with Republicans and Democrats to ponder how we can fix the credibility of our intelligence gathering. Fineman's going with the latest Zogby tracking polls and saying that Kerry will beat Dean by a whisker.
Posted at 08:28 AM
THREE POINTS [KJL]
between Kerry and Dean in New Hampshire, according to latest Zogby poll.
Posted at 08:18 AM
TWO WEEKS TOO SOON [KJL]
From an e-mailer:
On "Sixty Minutes", Kerry stated that it only took him two weeks in Vietnam to realize that the war was wrong. It took more than two weeks in Vietnam to get used to the weather, and there was an orientation period for everyone that lasted that long. The politics and confusion of Vietnam took much longer than two weeks to grasp for anyone. Kerry was trying to pass himself off as an astute observer but came off sounding like someone who jumped to conclusions based on nothing more than cynical observations. He's a Monday morning quarterback who's trying to convince everyone he could have won the game on his first possession.
Posted at 08:16 AM
LOOKS LIKE [KJL]
Jonah gets a snowday today.
Posted at 08:14 AM
VIETNAM VET TAKES ON KERRY [KJL]
Posted at 07:49 AM
DITCHING THE HONOR ROLL [KJL]
Nashville schools cater to underachievers:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The school honor roll, a time-honored system for rewarding "A" students, has become an apparent source of embarrassment for some underachievers.
Posted at 07:13 AM
CLARK HURTING [KJL]
Posted at 06:05 AM
AS IF [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rabin's killer wants to get married.
Posted at 05:55 AM
Sunday, January 25, 2004
THE OTHER CLINTON BOOK [KJL]
One person familiar with the draft describes the book as "really long and searching," an attempt to "pull all the pieces of his life together." It's hard for him to decide what to leave out. And it's also difficult for Clinton to "make final judgments and come to terms with things," says a friend. The writing has been taxing both "physically and psychologically," says another. The book runs from his birth to the present, and will likely include his own account of the Lewinsky scandal. Clinton "sees the book as a big part of his legacy," says an associate.So Clinton.
Posted at 09:39 PM
TAKE THAT, BUSH! AND YOU STOLE THE ELECTION, TOO! [KJL]
Meryl Streep at the Golden Globe Awards just now, winning a best actress in a mini-series award for her role in Angels in America: “I just want to say that I don’t think that our two biggest problems in America are that two people want to commit their lives to one another and steroids in sports.”
A movie series that takes a few swipes at Ronald Reagan didn’t require that much acting, I guess.
Posted at 08:37 PM
ENOUGH TO GIVE CONDI RICE IDENTITY ISSUES [KJL]
At a Women for Dean rally early today (I caught on FNC, I think), Howard Dean complained about the out-of-touch, white, heavyset males president Bush surrounds himself with. I, assume he was talking about Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. But then he went on to note that there is not a woman among them. Huh? Has Dean not noticed Condi Rice, Karen Hughes...Hate to complicate the knee-jerk stumping, but...
Posted at 08:14 PM
CHEESE-EATING, SURRENDER MONKEY [KJL]
Meghan Gurdon caught more of Kerry's French moment than I did. She e-mails: ""J'espere" he said, to his froggy well-wishers, who evidently called him M. le President, though it was hard to hear through the roars of enthusiasm."
Posted at 08:08 PM
WHO WAS THE BOSS? [Peter Robinson ]
Just why did General Clark have so much trouble with his superiors back at the Pentagon? Newsweek sheds some light on the question here.
Apparently Wesley Clark preferred to take orders from our allies than to take them from Americans. There may be a more serious charge that could be leveled against a general wearing our uniform, but I have trouble imagining it.
Posted at 08:02 PM
FROG ALERT [KJL ]
Kerry just practiced his French during the after-rally greet and meet.
Posted at 07:59 PM
KERRY GETTING THE LAROUCH VOTE? [KJL ]
Over on CSPAN, a John Kerry rally in Hampton, New Hampshire was handed over to a LaRouchite for a few minutes, who warned that Dick Cheney may not allow us to have an election. “This is America” so Kerry gave him the floor—but managed to end it as it was getting out of control. Kerry quickly brought it back to his refrain: Ronald Reagan’s illegal war, Republicans dirtying the air… the LaRouchite must have left semi-satisfied.
Posted at 07:58 PM
THE VIETNAM VICTIM CARD [KJL]
John Kerry just near broke down on 60 Minutes tonight talking about testifying before a congressional committee when he came back from Vietnam. Later on, Ed Bradley showed archived video of Kerry being interviewed on the same show around the same time. Morley Safer asked Kerry if he ever wanted to run for president. He, sounding like a normal young person, laughed and said “no.” But Kerry’s spin today: “I thought that my antiwar activities would disqualify me from running for office.” That’s, he said, why he answered the way he did. Clinton would have loved to be able to run like that.
Posted at 07:22 PM
WEEK IN REVIEW [NRO Staff]
Miss an NRO piece this week? Catch up on your reading here.
Posted at 03:00 PM
THE E-VOTING MESS, CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s a good piece in this week’s Economist (link available to paying subscribers only) about the growing e-voting mess. The magazine focuses on the chaotic way that this ‘improvement’ is being introduced and what is, perhaps, these systems' greatest flaw – the absence of paper receipts. The writer notes that California has become the first state to insist that all voting machines must produce a paper trail by 2006. But, as he goes on to say, “the debate is far from over. To begin with, some electoral officials oppose the idea of paper trails on the basis that printers will be too expensive, or they might jam. This strikes Rebecca Mercuri, an electronic-voting expert at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, as an odd argument: after all Diebold and other voting-machine manufacturers also make cash registers and ATMs, and they seem to work.[A Corner reader also points to the OTB’s system as another precedent.]
“Another objection is that voters might walk off with the paper ballots. Dr Mercuri's preferred solution is that voters should be able to see the paper ballot under glass to verify it, after which it drops into the ballot box. Another option would be to use paper forms that voters place under optical readers, which would confirm their choice before the form is placed in the ballot box. The counting is automated, in other words, but not the voting.
“It is hardly rocket science. But it is too late to sort out the mess before November, when perhaps 20% of the votes will be cast using paperless touch-screen machines. Worries over their reliability and security, and the lack of a common standard, mean the new machines may have made a Florida-like fiasco more rather than less likely. “We're going to have digital hanging chads,” says Dr Mercuri.”
Someone needs to get worried about this – and quickly.
Posted at 02:22 PM
RED CROSS MYSTERY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Oh, the Redgraves, not the Redgraves again. For years now Vanessa Redgrave and her brother Corin have been as well known (in Britain) for their hard left politics as for their acting careers. That says a lot, none of it good, about their character, their judgment and their commitment to intellectual honesty. Nevertheless if this account (by indefatigable blogger Scott Burgess) of an article in the (London) Mail on Sunday (it’s not online, so I haven’t seen the full text) by Corin Redgrave is accurate, it may represent a new low for the Redgraves.
According to Burgess the article is displayed prominently and comes with this headline:
“Even the Nazis let the Red Cross visit POWs. Why won't Mr Bush?”
Burgess quotes Mr. Redgrave as having this to say (among, I imagine, other things) about the plight of the Guantanamo detainees:
"Their welfare remains an unknown, because the Red Cross, which even the Nazis allowed to visit prisoner-of-war camps, has not been given access. The little information that has come out is alarming."
No Red Cross visits, eh? Well, let’s have a look what the Red Cross has to say about that:
“The ICRC [the Red Cross] visits around 660 people currently held at Guantanamo. The internees come from more than 40 countries, speaking around 17 languages.Each visit lasts around six weeks and comprises a team of ICRC delegates, highly experienced in detention work, as well as medical personnel and interpreters. By late October 2003, the ICRC had facilitated the exchange of more than 8,500 Red Cross Messages between the internees and their families.”
“The same standard working procedures have been put into place in Guantanamo that the ICRC demands in every place of detention it visits in the world. That is: ICRC delegates insist on speaking in total privacy to each and every internee held; teams should be able to inspect all cells and other facilities; Visits should be made at a frequency of the ICRC's choice and for as long as the people are held in detention; All detainees should have the opportunity to write to their families using the Red Cross message system; Delegates conduct confidential discussions with the camp authorities before and at the end of each visit to raise concerns and make recommendations where appropriate; Any internee about to be transferred out of Guantanamo is interviewed privately before his departure to ensure he agrees to be repatriated.”
The Red Cross is hardly uncritical of what the US is doing in Gitmo, nevertheless, their account of visits to the facility does seem, uh, rather inconsistent with the claim that the organization has been given no access.
Any explanation, Mr. Redgrave?
Posted at 02:04 PM
CLARK AND THOSE CHOPPERS [Peter Robinson ]
In my interview with him a couple of years ago (see the posting below), Wesley Clark described an incident that took place while he was commanding NATO forces in Kosovo. Clark suggested that the incident, which involved Apache helicopters, showed that the Pentagon was attempting to undercut him.
To which a reader responds as follows:
“I worked for Gen. Shelton [chairman of the joint chiefs at the time of the Kosovo conflict], but not for Gen. Clark. My specialty was the transition from the Deep Fight to the Close Fight which is where the Apache [helicopters] operate….
“My comments about Gen Clark's remarks center on his comment about the offer for the Apaches from JCS: The doctrinal use of that weapon system is well defined and the planners for that part of the battlefield are among the best in the world. (They are referred to as 'Jedi Knights' among the staff). I assisted in that kind of planning for General Shelton when he was commander of XVIII Corp. He is very capable of understanding a concept paper unless it departs from doctrine or [is] very poorly written.
“Furthermore, it is odd that General Clark would not have initiated the request for the Apaches BEFORE being asked if he could use them only days out from the Line of Departure, especially if, as he implies, they were so important to his success. It appears to me that he did not understand the use of those systems and was ignoring his planning staff until prompted by the JCS.
“Finally, I recall the most disturbing sight of that conflict, aside from the human horrors, was the footage of a Maverick missile destroying a [light] truck. This was paraded for the media as the success our technology could give us. Using that weapon to destroy a parked truck was not only a waste, but evidence that they did not have a target matrix worth a tinker's dam.
“In summary, I expect General Clark is more [of an] expert on gay marriage….”
Posted at 02:01 PM
NEW HAMPSHIRE INTRIGUE [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
A reader makes an all-together different kind of prediction. I’m not convinced, but it sure would make life interesting:
I grew up in NH in the People's Republic of Hanover and I think the NH results will surprise lots of people. Lieberman's push for the McCain independents finally appears to be paying some dividends in the poll results. Kerry may be in the mid 30 poll wise, but I have a feeling that his support is a little more squishy. Dean has 20% of the electorate ready to jump on grenades for him. He'll get another 5% from people who contemplated Clark, but are returning to him. My prediction is as follows
Posted at 01:59 PM
KERRY, VIETNAM…AND WORLD WAR II [Peter Robinson ]
I’ve been hearing from a lot of readers who know their military history. One makes an especially good point about Kerry, noting that although Kerry’s combat performance was impressive, there’s a great deal about the military today that Kerry simply doesn’t know:
“After [Kerry] left, the military changed as much or more than in the previous 150 years. This was mainly in the areas of professional leadership, decision making, and doctrine, not just technology. The military remade itself by confessing its mistakes and actually trying to fix them. John Kerry was unavailable for that and does not appear to understand that it has occurred….For 30 years Kerry has cashed in on 4 years of very limited experience.”
Another reader writes in praise of delaying actions:
“I agree with your comment over in the NRO corner that "despite its ultimate failure the war represented a holding action that helped to make possible the rise of the "Asian tigers," including Thailand and Taiwan.” The more that I read my history, the more I am led to draw the parallel between our fighting in Vietnam and the British fighting in Greece and Crete in the spring of 1941. The Brits fought in Greece due to principle. Even though they lost that battle, their sacrifice caused the Nazis to postpone their invasion of Russia from late April to late June. It is not too great a stretch to say that this laid the foundations for Allied victory in WWII, for by the time the Nazis got to the gates of Moscow the snow was already falling.”
Fight for the right reasons, and you can do a lot of good even if you lose. A nice point.
Posted at 01:55 PM
MULTICULTURAL MADNESS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Of all the wounds that the left have inflicted on western thought in the last half-century, the grotesque and racist dogmas of multiculturalism must be among the worst. Prompted by Pim Fortuyn’s long overdue critique of the shambles that is modern Holland, the Dutch parliament has produced a report on their country’s three decade long experiment with multiculturalism.
The Daily Telegraph takes up the story:
“While the report praised most immigrants for assimilating and for doing well at school, it attacked successive governments for stoking ethnic separatism. The worst mistake was to encourage children to speak Turkish, Arabic or Berber in primary schools rather than Dutch. The report concluded that Holland's 850,000 Muslims must become Dutch if the country was to hold together.”
That’s very true. But the proposed remedy - “cheap housing in the leafy suburbs” – won’t do the trick. The answer lies in getting rid of state-sponsored multiculturalism once and for all, without apology and without delay. It’s interesting to read, incidentally, that multiculturalism has led previous governments to sponsor some 700 Islamic clubs, including some under the control of the malicious and vicious pre-medievals who pass as clergy in some of Islam’s wilder reaches. That’s a disgrace, but I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised.
State-sponsored suicide is something of a Dutch speciality after all.
Posted at 01:42 PM
RE: RANDOM THOUGHT [Jonathan H. Adler]
I generally agree with John, but some nights -- like tonight -- we're lucky. (Note to K-Lo: Miller started this one, not me.)
Posted at 01:39 PM
VIETNAM REDUX, CONT'D [Peter Robinson ]
An eloquent email:
"Regarding your 'Vietnam Redux' post, indeed, your reader is spot on. The debate certainly would be different this time. And, in addition to the points that you make, most of the vets that I've read about or spoken to truly believed in what they were doing over there. They also held strong convictions that we could win, that we had the better army. They seem so far from the image that the left has inscribed on our collective memories.
"I'm sure it must eat away at them to see Kerry and his cohorts claim the high ground and try to control our perceptions of Vietnam. I know it does me. My father, an Airborne Ranger, was killed in action on his second tour of duty there. He was proud of America's mission and we're very proud of him. (I hate that black scar of a monument on the Mall in D.C., by the way.)
"By the way, I became a devoted Reagan man in 1980 when I heard a news account of a campaign speech he gave to a VFW conference. He was the very first public figure I ever heard describe our mission to Vietnam as a noble cause, and one we need not be ashamed of. What a striking thought at that time!"
Posted at 09:34 AM