Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


CMC, US News Help End Race Preferences?

Not intentionally of course. But by inflating the test scores of its incoming students, Claremont McKenna College provides ammunition for critics of race and ethnic preferences in admissions.  How can we trust colleges to provide honest information? Won't they skew data about race to make the case for preferences? John Eastman's brief in an upcoming preferences case lays out this argument well.

In the meantime, a legal blogger has raised the possibility of law school deans serving jail time for falsifying student data and, biggest bonus of all, US News being charged with fraud for knowingly publishing false information.

U.S. News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data's accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with fundamental methodological errors.

Categories > Education


People Euthanizing Tasty Animals

The animal rights movement - like the environmental movement, the feminist movement and dozens of other would-be worthy causes - long ago devolved into a ridiculously radical left-wing group of zealots. Promoting "total animal liberation," PETA's motto is: "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." So much for a remake of Mr. Ed. President Ingrid Newkirk has written: "When it comes to feelings like hunger, pain, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." Rat = boy.

While PETA's somewhat convoluted idea that animals have human rights is absurd on its face, their tactics are the focus of most criticism. PETA supports "direct action" - that is, criminality - through "the militarism component" of their movement. "Thinkers may prepare revolutions," according to Newkirk, "but bandits must carry them out." Likening their cause to the civil rights movement, they comfortably condone terrorism and terrorist groups such as the ALF and ELF. It's a shame that once an organization succumbs to liberalism, violence and thuggery are only a few steps away.

The Daily Caller reminds us today that PETA also deserves a healthy dose of criticism for hypocrisy.

Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all
the time there is a plank in your own eye?


Maybe PETA should just stick to scantily clad women protesting fur.

Categories > Progressivism

Foreign Affairs

Berlusconied, Again

RONLT (Readers of NLT) know that I am helpless to resist the ever-evolving comedia of Silvio Berlusconi. I once proffered that his name would go down in history as a shorthand verb:

To Berlusconi: To act in the most egregiously juvenile manner while in a position of utmost authority without ever suffering the slightest consequences.

Well, he's done it again:

An Italian court on Saturday dismissed a corruption case against Silvio Berlusconi, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired on charges that the Italian billionaire allegedly paid his lawyer to give false testimony in the 1990s to shield him from prosecution.

Try to keep this in perspective. As the paper notes:

Over his 18 years in politics, Mr. Berlusconi has survived dozens of criminal investigations and many trials. In some trials, he was acquitted while in other trials the statute of limitations expired.

Of course, il caveliere lost his hold on the reigns of political power in November. Yet his personal powers of evasion still seem strong. I think that Italy and the world have not seen the last of Berlusconi - and it is a more interesting place for him.

Categories > Foreign Affairs


Grading the Teachers

From today's WSJ:

New York City on Friday released for the first time a database ranking nearly 18,000 public schoolteachers based on their students' test scores, a historic move that lifted the curtain on one measure of quality in the classroom.

How can it be that teachers are only now being evaluated on the basis of their work output? A teacher's job is to instill knowledge of a subject in their pupils. It seems only rational that their performance would be judged on the basis of how much knowledge they instill. By what standard have they been measured up to this point?

Of course, the answer is that they haven't been held to any standards whatsoever. That fact is reflected by the teachers' and union's zealous opposition to the evaluation database. The unions have a lucrative public monopoly over education and teachers are immune from discipline based on their performance - neither group have an interest in subjecting themselves to criticism, implementing objective standards of performance and upsetting the status quo.

I've written on American educational exceptionalism before and have been heavily critical of unions and public school unaccountability. The education bureaucracy surely sees any form of comparable evaluation criteria as one step in the direction of market competition in American education. Competition would certainly favor private, parochial schools - to the fiscal and political detriment of unions and to the utter dismay of liberal secularists. These cultural, political and economic factors are the true motivations behind America's public education policies and the opposition witnessed to teacher evaluation databases. 

Categories > Education


Affirmative Action Returns to the Front Page

This week's news that the Supreme Court will hear a case on policies to increase the number of black and Hispanic students enrolled at public universities in Texas reanimates the affirmative action debate, just in time for America to decide whether to elect its first black president to a second term. Our friend Joel Mathis forcefully expresses several pro-affirmative action arguments:

1. Diversity is good because diversity is good: "Why should diversity be a goal? That's easy," Mathis writes. "America is diverse. Unless you believe that white men possess all the talent and smarts - and some people really do believe that - it's criminal not to foster the resources and resourcefulness of all our country's citizens."

2. Fairness demands compensatory justice: "For more than 300 years, America's culture and law enforced racial preferences - whites, of course, were preferred. We still live with the ramifications: A few decades of affirmative action don't make up for the fact that many minority groups weren't allowed to start the 100-yard dash until whites got a 50-yard head start."

3. Affirmative action may be problematic, but its absence would be a significantly bigger problem: "[A]ffirmative action sprung up as a response to an actual problem: That ... 300 years of slavery and Jim Crow left a lot of folks without sufficient resources ... to achieve and succeed on society's new colorblind terms... [A] longstanding legal-cultural regime enforced both by senators and sheriffs for hundreds of years might've caused damage that still needs repair... Simply put, conservatives don't seem to have an animating principle that moves them to address problems of this sort."

I've never met anyone who really does believe that white men possess all the talent and smarts, and neither has Mathis. Happily, his sensible conclusion that we should foster all our citizens' abilities does not follow from his overwrought premise. Neither, however, does support for affirmative action follow from the premise that we should foster all our citizens' abilities. We - as a society, not just through public policies - should do so through good schools, safe and cohesive neighborhoods, strong families, voluntary organizations that deepen an ethos of caring and sharing, a vigorous economy that expands opportunities, and by strengthening the ties of affection and respect that bind Americans as Americans closer together by transcending race, class, faith, and ethnicity. 

Affirmative action is irrelevant or harmful to the goal of fostering every American's resources and resourcefulness. Instead of encouraging people to make the most of their abilities, it rewards them for making the most of their grievances, allocating opportunities and outcomes by calibrating the impact of the historical victimization of a large group on the life prospects of individual members of that group.

That enterprise isn't feasible, and wouldn't be fair if it were feasible. The rectification of racial injustice through affirmative action requires us to be a great deal smarter than we can be. In the 1978 Bakke decision, Justice Harry Blackmun defended affirmative action as a way of "putting minority [medical school] applicants in the position they would have been in if not for the evil of racial discrimination." The problem, as Thomas Sowell explained in Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?, is that "the idea of restoring groups to where they would have been - and what they would have been" if past discrimination had never taken place, "presupposes a range of knowledge that no one has ever possessed."

To make this impossible problem manageable, affirmative action proceeds from the planted axiom that in a society that has extirpated ongoing discrimination as well as all residual effects of past discrimination, every occupational and economic subgroup will be a demographic miniature of the entire population. Sowell points out that the world overflows with evidence refuting the idea that discrimination is the decisive variable explaining differences in the status and attainments among various groups: The Chinese have been and continue to be targets of discrimination in Southeast Asia. Yet, in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, "the Chinese minority - about 5 percent of the population of southeast Asia - owns a majority of the nation's total investments in key industries. By the middle of the twentieth century, the Chinese owned 75 percent of the rice mills in the Philippines, and between 80 and 90 percent of the rice mills in Thailand.... In Malaysia, where the anti-Chinese discrimination is written into the Constitution, is embodied in preferential quotas for Malays in government and private industry alike, and extends to admissions and scholarships at the universities, the average Chinese continues to earn twice the income of the average Malay."

Looking at America, Sowell notes, "Japanese immigrants to the United States also encountered persistent and escalating discrimination, culminating in their mass internment during World War II, but by 1959 they had about equaled the income of whites and by 1969 Japanese American families were earning nearly one-third higher incomes than the average American family." In general, Sowell examined many ethnically and racially heterogeneous societies and concluded that, "large statistical disparities have been commonplace, both in the presence of discrimination and in its absence." He cites one scholar comparing different societies who wrote, "All multi-ethnic societies exhibit a tendency for ethnic groups to engage in different occupations, have different levels (and, often, types) of education, receive different incomes, and occupy a different place in the social hierarchy," and another who "examined the idea of a society where groups are 'proportionately represented' at different levels and in different sectors. He concluded that 'few, if any, societies have ever approximated this description.'"

There is an inescapable zero-sum logic: The goal of ensuring that no group is "under-represented" in society's sought-after berths necessarily means it's intolerable for any group to be "over-represented." It is hard to see how a society embracing that mission can be fair or free. Blacks, for example, constitute 13.6% of the U.S. population, but 0% of the U.S. Senate. Jews, meanwhile, represent 2% of the U.S. population and 12% of the Senate. (From 1992 to 2010 both senators from Wisconsin, the state with the highest proportion of German-Americans in its population, were Jews.) Fixing this "problem" by race-norming elections so that under-represented groups start out with additional votes and over-represented groups with a vote-handicap would be consistent with the spirit of affirmative action, but irreconcilable with the idea of free elections in a democracy.

Prior to the 1978 Bakke decision, "diversity" was a negligible consideration in the affirmative action debate. It became important - indeed, became a word synonymous with affirmative action - only because a tie between four justices who opposed affirmative action as illegal racial discrimination, and four who favored it as compensatory racial justice, was broken by Justice Lewis Powell's concurring opinion. Powell said that school admissions quotas impermissibly discriminated against applicants in the wrong demographic categories, but that using race as a "plus factor" permissibly furthered schools' legitimate interest in a diverse student body. The affirmative action supporter Dahlia Lithwick has shown admirable candor in admitting that Powell's diversity rationale doesn't pass the laugh test: "Powell wasn't really interested in filling colleges with Alsatian goat herders. He was looking for some neutral-sounding reason to give minority candidates a small 'plus' in the admissions office. But subsequent courts of appeals have called him on it. Refusing to honor his code, they take him at his word. If diversity is important, they say, admit more Wiccans."

Mathis, like most affirmative action defenders, uses the diversity and compensatory justice rationales interchangeably. They are not only distinct, however, but also at cross-purposes, as Ilya Somin has argued. Eight years ago Harvard University faced a controversy when Jesse Jackson, Sr. accused it of practicing affirmative action in a way that did too much on behalf of diversity but too little to advance the cause of compensatory justice. A majority, perhaps a large majority, of Harvard's black undergraduates were immigrants or the children of immigrants from the West Indies or Africa, or the children of biracial couples. (Barack Obama is both, a different kind of two-fer.) That meant that most of the blacks at Harvard did not have four grandparents descended from slaves, the blacks "for whom affirmative action was aimed in the first place," according to Jackson.

Affirmative action's defenders would do well by the virtues of coherence and candor to bring a merciful close to 34 years of cant about diversity and talk about what affirmative action is and has always been about: Figuring out how big a head start blacks should be given now to make up for the discrimination blacks endured for many years, how long that head start should be given to them, and how we'll know when affirmative action has succeeded and can be retired. To work within such a frame, however, would be a radical departure from a half-century of bad-faith advocacy on behalf of affirmative action. The most forceful advocates of the 1964 Civil Rights Act insisted over and over that it would never, by any stretch of the imagination, require employers or educators to favor any applicant over any other applicant on the basis of race, or to face sanctions for having the "wrong" demographic mix in a workforce or student body. The wheels that would break this promise started turning the day President Johnson signed the bill into law. If affirmative action's friends want to help it they can, at long last, tell the truth about what it entails. If a law that says no person may be discriminated against means some persons may, and must, be discriminated against, what recourse and what justifications do we offer to applicants denied school or employment opportunities on account of their race?
Categories > Race


Royalism on the Left

The cover of Newsweek:

The Seals: How Obama Learned to Use His Secret Weapon.

Shouldn't that be "America's Secret Weapon"?

Categories > Journalism

Quote of the Day

Quotes of the Day

In honor of Rick Santorum.

Thomas Jefferson:

 Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest

And John Winthrop:

There is now set before us life and good, death and evil, in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments and his ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our covenant with him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other God-our pleasures and profits-and serve them , it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it: Therefore let us choose life, that we and our seed may live by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him, for He is our life, and our prosperity.

Categories > Quote of the Day


The Logic of Birthright

Instapundit point us to this incident, in which a citizen was denied the right to travel because he damaged the chip in his passport: "The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."

But is holding a passport a "privilege" or a "right"?  Interestingly the dissenters in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (Fuller, joined by Harlan) noted that "birthright" or the notion that soil determines citizenship, was associated with subjecthood--under common law, anyone born on soil belonging to the king could only leave the country with his explicit consent.  That's why that argued that in 1776 the U.S. broke from not just allegiance to the crown, but also from the idea of birthright.  They argued that American citizenship was based upon the principles of 1776--mutual consent between current citizens and any new would-be citizen.  It seems some of our bureaucrats are following the logic of "birthright citizenship" all too well.

Categories > Politics


How An American Debt Crisis Will (Might) Be Different From The Greek Debt Crisis

In 2009, George Papandreou led his party to an election victory in Greece using the slogan "the money exists."  Basically, his platform was to promise to spend a lot of money the country didn't have and then deal with all of the real world difficulties after the election.  As this clip of Paul Ryan and Tim Geithner shows, President Obama is planning to run for reelection using a George Papandreou-style strategy.  Geithner basically agrees that his strategy is to borrow now, spend now, only increase taxes on high earners now (and the scary looking debt graph is with Obama's proposed tax increases factored in), leave entitlements unreformed and then go broke.  Well either that, or spring huge middle-class tax increases and huge benefit cuts on the voters after the election. 

Papandreou became Prime Minster and it turned out that the money really wasn't there.  Papandreou pretended that he thought that the money had really existed, and that the previous government had lied about the extent of the government's debt.  He was half right.  The previous government really had lied about the extent of the government debt, but Papandreou had to know that government spending was unsustainable whatever the exact details.  He knew he was writing a check he couldn't cash.

Papandreou's election promise to spend wasn't part of some master plan.  It was just what he needed to say to get from Point A to Point B.  As Prime Minster, Papandreou continued to just say whatever would get him through the day and then let tomorrow take care of itself.  The result has been higher taxes (and some effort to improve tax collection), pension cuts for current retirees, health benefit cuts, labor market liberalization, planned civil service layoffs, planned privatization of state-owned enterprises, and over 20% unemployment.  Somewhere in there Papandreou was forced to resign in disgrace.

So a campaign of promise now and deal with reality later would look like a bad deal for Obama.  Maybe, but I think that Obama believes that a Papandreou election strategy can work in an American context.  I think that Obama believes that he has a strategy by which America's debt can be brought down to a sustainable level in an Obama second term.  He just doesn't believe that he can win reelection by running on that strategy. That is because the strategy is middle-class tax increases and centralized cuts in health care spending.

I think this works in two steps.  First, get reelected on green energy subsidies and promising not to touch entitlements and on only raising taxes on the top 2%.  Then let the debt crisis get a little closer.  Here is the thing: the closer we get to a debt crisis, the more a debt reduction strategy of tax increases and IPAB-style Medicare cuts becomes the most plausible path to a sustainable budget.  People on old age entitlements have structured their live around the promises of those programs.  You can institute changes, but they have to be gradual so that each cohort can adjust during their working years.  It is possible to put together a premium support plan for Medicare that gradually reduces government costs while allowing the medical system to develop more efficient delivery systems.  Instituting such a plan under emergency conditions as Medicare spending was suddenly cut by tens of billions would be politically impossible.  As a political matter, it would be much easier to increase middle-class taxes and empower a government board to deny care (and maybe push to adopt single-payer for the working-aged as Obamacare pushes insurance premiums higher.)  It won't be popular exactly, but it might be the least unpopular alternative and Obama won't be running for reelection anyway.  And once instituted, those changes would be hard to undo.

Obama is betting that his unsustainable promises will get him though the election.  He is then betting that an emergency situation in his second term (an emergency he is doing his part to engineer) will help him transition the United States to a higher level of taxation and more centralized control of health care.  Obama might be betting wrong, but that is the game he is running on us.  Who will tell the people? 
Categories > Politics


Stormy Weather

Fred Astaire called this dance routine the greatest to ever be caught on film. The Nicholas Brothers, Fayard and Harold, were tap dancing stars of Vaudeville and the Harlem Renaissance, their careers continuing well into the 1990s. While the 1943 film "Stormy Weather" was primarily about its star, Bojangles Robinson, the "Jumping Five" sequence by the Nicholas Brothers really steals the show.
Categories > Leisure



NY Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin exhibits American virtues, not Chinese ones. One could conclude this from simple observation as well from this book on Chinese (PRC) professional baseketball. "Why are there no Jeremy Lins [point guards] coming out of China?" The answer lies in politics--the sports of a free society and those of a totalitarian one.

Speaking of Lincoln, note this 1860 cartoon of the presidential candidates, featuring baseball metaphors. Lincoln installed a baseball diamond on the White House grounds, as Diana Schaub relates in her classic essay on the All-American sport.

Categories > Sports

The Founding

Founders: Historians versus Politicians

This WaPo account of how various Republicans (why only them, one might ask) use/ransack the founding fathers pits the politicians against historians who criticize this alleged naievete.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology history professor Pauline Maier, author of several books about the period from the 1760s to the writing of the Constitution, says: "It is interesting why so many politicians and even judges today want to show that their ideas had firm foundations among the founders. In some ways, I suppose that defines a new phase in the culture wars over 'who is most American.' "

But, she adds, "that can also be very regressive: No founder ever embraced abortion or endorsed affirmative action. Eight­eenth-century Americans did take rights seriously, but their rank list of rights was probably different than those of rights-conscious people today. They lived, after all, over two centuries ago and on the rights front can seem pretty dated."

Like another fine historian of the Declaration, Carl Becker, Maier falls prey to historicism, the notion that one's historical circumstances poses an absolute barrier to finding transcendent truth. Evidently, to judge just from the professors cited in this article (Jack Rakove, among others), it's the scholars versus divisive Republican politicians.

But the contrast shows how much the defense of the Constitution resides in ordinary citizens and the politicians who reflect their concern. As the Progressives predicted and urged they would, intellectuals take the side of progress and history against the people's pride in their country as founded. Of course, not all thinkers agree with those consumed by Progressivism. Here's a shorter piece.

Categories > The Founding


In Defense of Bush's National Security Policy

Steve Knott, who teaches at the Naval War College, has just published Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics, which offers a vigorous defense of President Bush's national security policies. Knott (who teaches in the MAHG program) argues that the assessment of any presidency requires a "decent interval" before judgment can be pronounced.

I've read all of Steve's books (though not the Don Knotts book in the link) and respect his scholarship and judgment greatly.  He certainly picks his books' subjects well: Reagan, Hamilton, and covert actions. This is the defense Bush and his team should have been giving when they had the power (and the duty) to do so. Their failure to do so has led to cynicism in the public, the Obama election, the rise of Ron Paul, and decline in support for the vigorous foreign policy our country requires today. May Knott's work reverse these trends and advance prudence in politics.

Categories > Presidency

The Founding

An All-Star George Washington Panel

At AEI earlier today. Not only Steve Hayward but also Harvey Mansfield, Diana Schaub, and Rick Brookhiser, with Leon Kass presiding. I thought Steve and Harvey might duel later over what Americans should want in an executive. Diana could have given the eulogy, and Dr. Kass, MD, could be the attending physician. The panel featured elegant brief presentations by Diana and Rick on Washington's Farewell Address and his Presidency.

Another commentary on Washington can be found here, along with the text of the Farewell Address.

Hayward struck the day before with this observation on think-tanks and partisanship a few blocks away at the Hudson Institute. The crucial point: 'A slight paraphrase, but Churchill once wrote that "The distinction between politics and policy diminishes as the point of view is raised; true politics and policy are one." This distinction between politics and policy is one that I think is unsustainable.' Steve reminds us of Plato's wisdom--thinking and acting must somehow be one. 

Categories > The Founding

Pop Culture

Nostalgia Playing in Hollywood

Two of the top contenders for film awards this year are focused on the early years of cinema-- Martin Scorsese's Hugo and The Artist, by French director Michel Hazanavicius. The former leads the pack with the most Oscar nominations, while the latter is sweeping awards for direction, writing, and acting--and picking up a few Best Picture trophies, including one from the British equivalent of the Academy Awards. Both films have been described as "love letters to cinema" by their creators, and both are charming in that regard.

Hugo is focused on the birth of film and the crossroads of science and storytelling that gave the movies their magic, and it is unlike anything else I've seen by the normally-gritty Scorsese. The film pays homage to Georges Méliés, the great French illusionist who pioneered special effects at the turn of the last century and is regarded as the father of the science fiction and horror genres of cinema. Méliés and his work had a tremendous influence on other wizards like Thomas Edison and Walt Disney, who would help America to become the leader of filmmaking. Most of the Méliés films were lost during the Great War, and the man spent much of his later life in obscurity, selling toys and magic tricks in a Paris train station--where Hugo picks up his tale. Eventually, interest into the innovations of Méliés and his surviving films began to pick up, and in 1931 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor (presented by none other than Louis Lumiere), and Méliés spent the rest of his life teaching the next generation of filmmakers. As he sat in a hospital bed losing a battle to cancer, he invited some friends to his bedside to show them the final picture he would draw--a champagne bottle with the cork popping off. "Laugh, my friends. Laugh with me, laugh for me, because I dream your dreams." This sentiment was shared well in the film.

The Artist is a fantastic example of filmmaking. The movie is about the death of silent films and the rise of the talkies, and it is itself both black-and-white and silent. The silence of the film forces the actors to use their abilities to tell a story through actions and expressions alone, and they are magnificent at it, especially lead actor Jean Dujardin. The Frenchman plays George Valentin, king of the silent silver screen, who resists the rise of sound in film, initially shrugging it off as a passing fad and then falling into despair as a new generation of actors with voices steals his limelight. While I was originally skeptical that a full-length silent movie could completely keep my attention in this day and age, I found myself loving every minute of it--the movie was great fun. Though I have yet to see The Help and The Descendants, I expect this film to win the Oscar for Best Picture (though some people tell me The Help and The Descendants are as good if not better than The Artist).

Both movies capture pivotal moments in the history of cinema, and in the process allow the artists to express their own thoughts on their craft. It is no surprise that Hollywood is in love with these love letters, and I think this could be a good thing; they capture the essence of what makes movies fascinating, fun, and sometimes even important. Films can make us laugh or cry, get us to think about things we normally would not, and allow us to escape the world for a few brief moments and let our imaginations play in the fantasies that these wizards conjure up. It is no coincidence that many of the earliest pioneers of cinema were also great scientists and magicians. Hugo plays with a well-reported scene from one of the first movies: the Lumiere brothers had taken a brief shot of a train coming down a track, and were showing it on the carnival circuit. When people watched it and saw that train come towards them on the screen, legend says they all panicked and began ducking for cover, fearing that the train was actually coming at them and would leap off of the screen to crush them. It was magic that it did not. From the pioneers like Méliés, Lumiere, and Edison to the titans like Disney, Hitchcock, and Welles to the plethora of great storytellers and technical wizards over the last century, they continue to entice us. It is good for Hollywood to explore its roots now and then, to remember where it came from and why it went that way, and to continue looking to the future for new ways to divert us and new magic to conjure up.
Categories > Pop Culture


A New Book on Clarence Thomas

Ralph Rossum describes Justice Thomas's jurisprudence in a lengthy conversation at the Liberty Fund's LibertyLaw website. The constitutional law scholar details the differences between Thomas's original understanding jurisprudence and that of Justice Scalia.
Categories > Courts

Foreign Affairs

No Egyptian Hostage Crisis for Obama

There had better not be, after this $1.3 billion payoff. But this is a great opportunity for other countries around the world, pre-election. Obama is imitating Carter but would rather avoid this Iranian hostage comparison. "President Barack Obama asked that military aid to Egypt be kept at the level of recent years -- $1.3 billion -- despite [sic! because of] a crisis triggered by an Egyptian probe targeting American democracy activists."
Categories > Foreign Affairs

The Civil War & Lincoln

Lincoln as Shakespeare Critic

Douglas Wilson, who recovered how Lincoln criticized and edited his speeches (link corrected, thanks, reader), reflects on his serious study of Shakespeare. Wilson notes that Lincoln knew the differences between Shakespeare's texts and the stage versions used by actors. It does give insight into his direction of America's greatest drama--the Civil War.


Free Viagra

NLT is not being spammed: In light of the president's recent health insurance coverage edict, I propose that the President require insurance corporations to make Viagra free for all males over the age of __ (subject to compromise). My man-date poses no free exercise of religion problems (the Church approves of the drug, and not of the alleged compromise). True, it might lead to grandpappy Newt and Bob Dole making up, and re-excite Chris Matthews. But this is how bureaucracy can help strengthen the family. (Not that it would be available only to married men.)

Don't go wobbly on us, Barack. Use the mighty powers you wielded for free contraceptives on behalf of free Viagra. We Medicare-constrained geezers are watching you! Will you grant us a dream older than Aristophanes, and fulfill the Economic Bill of Rights our only greater President only wished for?

Categories > Presidency


Sensible Fanaticism

Having won back a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010, congressional Republicans "were in the grips of true fiscal fanaticism," which led them to approach last year's negotiations over spending cuts, tax increases, and the federal debt ceiling by "threatening the country with financial ruin unless they got their way." That, at any rate, is how the New Republic's Noam Scheiber sets the scene for last year's negotiations over the federal debt ceiling. According to Scheiber's account, the negotiations collapsed because it was impossible to split the difference between Republicans who wanted to cut spending - including spending on entitlement programs - without raising any taxes, and Democrats from the White House and Capitol Hill who thought debt reduction without tax increases was unconscionable. One congressional Democrat involved in the talks challenged the Republicans to justify "a conversation asking [Medicare recipients] to pay [higher premiums] unless you're talking about closing corporate tax loopholes and special breaks for corporate jets."

The point where the talks broke down, in Scheiber's telling, came when one GOP negotiator said, "Let me get this right. You're saying there are Medicare savings you think would be good policy. But you won't do them unless we agree to raise taxes?" The Obama administration's representatives "looked back at him stone-faced and simply said, 'Yes.'" The unearthing of that detail tells us that Scheiber is a good reporter. Since the Republican's reasonable question and the Democrats' matter-of-fact intransigence never causes him to question his framework about earnest, sensible Democrats trying in vain to deal with GOP crazies, however, it does little to enhance his reputation as a political analyst.

It's possible to make sense of his vignette in a different framework:

1) The revelation that powerful Democrats believe some policy changes would make government social programs more efficient or better targeted to the people who need them most, but prevent those changes in order to bargain for tax increases rather than make them in the interests of good governance, neither flatters them nor reassures us.

2) The most plausible explanation for this dereliction is that these Democrats have a stronger commitment to the care and feeding of the liberal coalition than to the successful implementation of the liberal agenda. Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana told an interviewer, "I argue to my most liberal friends: 'You ought to be the most offended of anybody if a dollar that could help a poor person is being squandered in some way.' And some of them actually agree." But a lot of them don't agree: The money being "squandered" on bad governance is being devoted to smart politics, buying support from public employees who administer programs and deliver public services, and beneficiaries whose needs are less acute but whose votes are numerous.

3) The tax code hasn't had a good scrubbing since 1986, and is overdue for another. After passing the Tax Reform Act of 1986, however, Congress immediately began treating the miraculous accomplishment of blowing up the accretion of bad and weird tax breaks from the past as an opportunity to start amassing new ones.

4) The template from 26 years ago, nonetheless, still deserves to be emulated. The 1986 success depended on decoupling how to tax from the how much to tax, by insisting any reforms be revenue-neutral.

5) A tax system is a useful device for funding government operations, but a poor vehicle for realizing nebulous visions of distributive justice. Even people who favor more progressive taxes, such as Clive Crook and Matthew Yglesias, believe that raising taxes on the rich is peripheral to the question of increasing opportunity and economic security for everyone else, especially the poor. Crook writes that the "US income tax system is more progressive" than the ones found in other modern nations. He cites a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, showing that those in the top decile of the US income distribution pay 45.1% of all taxes and receive 33.5% of all household income. That ratio (1.35 : 1) is higher than in any of the other 23 countries OECD examined. Sweden, by contrast, is more egalitarian in the sense that its top decile receives a lesser portion, 26.6%, of all income, but less egalitarian in terms of tax progressivity: the top decile pays 26.7% of all taxes. Yglesias agrees: Three years ago he wrote, "The United States already does about as much as any other country to curb inequality through the tax code."

6) Crook and Yglesias agree, further, that if American liberals want the U.S. to more closely resemble social democracies around the world, the big change required is a more generous welfare state. "In most industrial countries," Crook contends, "social benefits such as unemployment insurance and other cash supports are easier to get and more generous than in the U.S. - and typically two or three times more powerful in reducing inequality." (He notes in passing that "American liberals find high incomes more upsetting than poverty. It's an instance of how distorting the preoccupation with inequality can be.")

7) The indispensable fiscal requirement for Swedenizing America's welfare state would be to raise taxes, considerably, on most Americans, not just on the top decile or percentile. Americans who care about inequality, according to Yglesias, should ensure "that there's enough tax revenue to finance generous public services" by emulating Scandinavian social democracies, where "a cradle-to-grave welfare state [is] financed largely through regressive taxation..."

8) In a democracy, that fiscal necessity engenders a political one: The people committed to a much bigger welfare state must explain its virtues to the voters in a way that will attract wide support, or at least acceptance, for the large, broad-based tax increases need to pay for such a welfare state. "The politics of this approach are tricky," Yglesias writes, with considerable understatement.

9) The politics have been made far trickier by liberalism's sins of omission and commission. Liberals have devoted much energy over many years to encouraging the belief that a big welfare state that benefits almost everyone can be paid for by a highly progressive tax system that burdens almost no one. To clear up, at long last, this teensy misunderstanding will require liberals to draw on credibility they've squandered and overcome skepticism they've earned. It will, further, require them to assure taxpayers that the additional funds they surrender will be put to their best and highest uses - spent on weak claimants rather than weak claims, as David Stockman used to say. This will require a liberalism that is obsessive, rather than reluctant and conflicted, about making sure that a welfare state dollar that could help a poor person is not being squandered on government workers' pay and benefits, or on beneficiaries whose needs are not especially, or even vaguely, acute.

The Obama administration officials Scheiber describes rejected entitlement program changes that were cuts, but also improvements, unless they were paired with tax increases that had little to do with increasing the government's revenue stream and everything to do with the optics of "shared sacrifice." The Republicans who negotiated with them had no incentive to make liberalism more coherent, candid, or successful, but inadvertently offered them just that opportunity. Their failure reveals that liberals are more interested in painting themselves into an even tighter corner than in finding a way out of it.
Categories > Politics


From Obscure Blogger to Campaign Wordsmith

How to build your resume by blogging: Tim Seibel, who blogged on Santorum the Servant, provides material for Foster Friess's introduction of the GOP aspirant at CPAC today. (See my post here on his original.)  Tim explains the mix of purpose and serendipity that led to his posting.

BTW, Tim comes out of University of Dallas and Claremont Graduate School and currently resides in Colorado Springs.

I knew someone who got a job with then-EEOC Chairman Clarence Thomas by writing letters to the editor of prominent newspapers and articles for the Claremont Review of Books.

Update: And while we're touching on CPAC, note Paul Ryan's speech, which contained this great line: "The only class warfare that threatens America comes from a class of bureaucrats and crony capitalists rising above society - calling the shots, rigging the rules, and securing their places of privilege at our expense." Cf. this NLT post decrying the use of the phrase "class warfare" by Republicans.

Categories > Presidency

Pop Culture

Iowahawk Revisits "Halftime"

It made my day. "Halftime in America"--"Goddammit, somebody get me a throat lozenge."

Update: This one is my favorite (obscenity alert)--Obama does Henry V.

Categories > Pop Culture


Moral Rhetoric

Our old friend Bob Reilly explains the need for a Republican moral rhetoric that can beat Obama's. "Political language is inherently moral, not managerial. It must convey visions, not just plans. It must explain why some things are good and others bad." A moral rhetoric is not a moralizing one, either. And it is essential for survival, too:

If you cannot articulate the cause for which you are fighting in moral terms, you will lose. Because they cannot do this, businessmen suffer from a sense of illegitimacy when they come to Washington. When your opponents scent this vulnerability, they go in for the kill.

Categories > Presidency


Desperate Or Confident?

The proposed federal rule that would force religious hospitals and social service agencies to cover contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations strikes me not only as wrong, but as politically interesting. As a matter of policy, President Obama is well on the far side of the pro-choice spectrum.  He is for the legality of partial birth abortion on demand. It was Obama's good luck that the circumstances of the 2008 election worked to prevent an extended review of Obama's abortion position.  The McCain campaign was more interested in identity politics "hockey mom" posturing than in any domestic policy issue that mattered and in any case the financial crisis sucked up all the political oxygen.  As President, Obama has been patient and prudent in how he has advanced his social liberalism.  When he had an overwhelmingly Congress, Obama spent his political capital on getting Obamacare rather than the Freedom of Choice Act.  He has appointed two young liberal Supreme Justices Court Justices and he only needs a second term and a vacancy among any of the five not-consistently-liberal Justices to make a Supreme Court with a decisive and aggressive liberal majority. 

So why is the Obama administration picking this fight now? In the last few years, when Democrats have latched onto abortion/mandated contraception issues in the course of a heavily contested election, it has been because they were losing.  When Virginia Democrat Creighton Deeds was losing the debate on the economy, taxes, and public sector efficiency to Bob McDonnell, Deeds tried to change the subject to abortion in the hopes that this would help Deeds get elected governor.  In 2010 Martha Coakley was losing the debate over Obamacare to Scott Brown. She tried to change the subject to Scott Brown supporting a conscience exception that would have allowed Catholic hospitals to opt-out of providing emergency contraception to rape victims while referring them to other medical providers.  Deeds and Coakley both lost so it must be said that these strategies failed.  But Deeds and Coakley were losing anyway.  Changing the subject to abortion and contraception was a Hail Mary play.  And as the New England Patriots will tell you, that play usually doesn't work.

So is the Obama administration's mandate that religious hospitals cover contraceptives a desperation play?  I doubt it.  The timing is off.  Deeds and Coakley only tried to switch the subject to abortion/mandated contraception when it was obvious that they were losing to an opponent who had defined himself as within the mainstream of American politics.  If you are Obama, and you want to change the conversation to these issues, you don't announce this policy in February when the media is focused on the Republicans clawing each others eyes out.  I think the Obama people know that this policy announcement is a net negative to his reelection.  I think they announced this mandate because they think it is good policy and because they thought it wouldn't be much of a voting issue in November.  They might be rethinking that second assumption.  I think it shows that they are pretty confident that they will beat any of the current Republican candidates.  It is also just a taste of what we can expect in an Obama second term.          
Categories > Politics


Recalling Reagan

On his 101st anniversary of his birth, consider this reflection on Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural, and compare it will these thoughts on FDR's First Inaugural. You will see encapulated the contrast between liberty and the desire for security. We also realize how difficult it is to make the case for conservatism--to ask for liberty means to undertake responsibilities, and Americans seem to grow weaker by the day.

Note how FDR asks Americans to trust him with extraordinary, even extra-constitutional power. By contrast, Reagan honors ordinary Americans by returning liberty to them.

Categories > Conservatism


Tired Of This Campaign

Sorry I haven't been around.  I'm trying to keep my Republican horserace thoughts off this blog, but the race has been monopolizing my thoughts on politics. I don't think that is health and am working on it.

1.  I think there is less distance between Ken and I than this post might indicate.  I agree that the debates exposed Perry's weaknesses along several dimensions.  Perry wasn't conversant on national issues.  He couldn't make a coherent case against Romneycare after he was challenged on his scripted two minute answer.  Perry also couldn't effectively defend his past statements on Social Security.  Perry went into the race without a good understanding of how the dynamics of public opinion in the national Republican Party were different from those in the Texas Republican Party.  This wasn't simply a left/right "Texas is more conservative" thing.  It took him too long to figure out that, on illegal immigration, the national Republican electorate was more restrictionist and less accommodationist (on matters like in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students) than the electorate Perry was used to winning over.  Perry was just devastated by his early debate performances and never caught up in talking fluently about national issues.  He mostly seemed to resort to identity politics gestures (comparing himself to Tim Tebow, and asserting that he would be on the gun range at 10:30 PM on a Saturday night - it really happened during one of the debates.)  The debates did expose Perry's weaknesses and it was good thing.  If you can't make the case against Romneycare to a Republican electorate, how are you going to make the case against Obamacare to the general public?

The case of Santorum and the debates is a little tougher.  He was too whiny and hostile during the early debates and it hurt him.  It was one of the reasons why there was a Cain boom before there was a Santorum boom.  He looked like he belonged in the last couple of Iowa debates.  He is the only Republican candidate who has drawn blood with his attacks on Romneycare.  He is the only candidate who has manged to make a real argument for moving toward a more consumer and patient-centered health care system and how Romneycare moves us farther away from that goal.  But then he was swamped by the coverage of Gingrich's tiffs with the moderators.  Still, Santorum is the best thing that has come out of the debates.  My biggest worry about Santorum is that not one of the Republicans I most respect (Mitch Daniels, Bob McDonnell, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush) have endorsed him.  Still, in a constrained choice, I prefer Santorum to the rest of this crew.  But...

3.  Run Mitch Run

4.  I get the sense that running for President is becoming a fulltime job earlier.  I was a kid at the time, but I think I remember Democratic presidential candidate forums held in calender year 1987.  Still, it seems like most candidates running for President are spending more of their time visiting the early states, debating and giving campaign speeches a full eighteen months before the election as compared to 1988, 1992, and 1996.  If true, this would seem to be a major advantage to candidates who had no real job or had a job that could be easily neglected (like Senator.)  Then again, Carter in 1976, Reagan in 1980, and Mondale in 1984 were basically unemployed guys who had been professionally running for President for years (even though they were unannounced for much of the time.)      
Categories > Politics


Romney's Sell-Out Potential

"Given the increasingly likelihood that Romney is on his way to the GOP nomination," Steven Hayward has begun "Deconstructing Romney" over at Power Line. The theme of his first post contemplates his hope that, while Romney is far from a conservative star, "maybe he'll sell out to us."

It's a somewhat sad commentary on the times that the conservative movement must hope that our soon-to-be standard-bearer will betray his ostensible principles and pursue conservative policies. Obama was a far-left liberal who pretended to be a moderate during the campaign and subsequently governed as a far-left liberal. Nothing surprising there. Romney is a moderate running as a conservative - the manner of his actual governance is completely open to speculation.

Hayward (and the writers to whom he links) has a plausible argument that Romney will stay the rightward course. But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't need to speculate over plausible arguments?

Categories > Elections

Foreign Affairs

Germany's Eastern Policy ... in Central Europe

The Economist runs an article citing that "Germany's eastern policy has never been stronger." I've long been an advocate of a New European reorganization which promotes Central Europe as a pro-American, fiscally-responsible political bloc between the Old Europe of the west and Russia's continuing sphere of influence in the east. I thus find it promising that Germany - the unrivaled engine of the European economy - "trades more with Poland's healthy economy than it does with Russia's sickly one" and that "once-communist countries such as the Czech Republic are closely linked to German industry's supply chains--more so, in fact, than some 'western' neighbours like Belgium or Denmark."

Of course, the nations of an emerging Central Europe are diverse and often raise competing interests - as the article aptly notes. But of particular interest is this note on influences across Europe:

Also waning is American power. The Obama administration's explicit reorientation towards Asia and military withdrawal from Europe is eroding old Atlanticist loyalties.

The result of America's power vacuum is that it "gives Germany more diplomatic space." And insofar as German entanglements continue to shift eastward, the strengthening center of Europe could prove greatly to America's interest. This is a win-win situation for the U.S., which can take a laissez-faire approach to Europe and still end up with a pro-American result. All we must do to seize this opportunity is to not actually antagonize our would-be allies - a feat which has thus far proved beyond Obama's ability.

P.S. The title of the article is "Love in a Cold Climate." Fittingly so. Here is Prague:


Categories > Foreign Affairs


The Debates and the Nomination

Pete, we miss you, though this may go too far: "The debates have been basically worthless other than for showcasing the weaknesses of the various candidates." But wasn't it important for us to see some significant sifting out (e.g., Perry)? And true, as Pete points out, the debates kept alive candidacies (in his view, Newt and Cain) that should have died out much sooner or never even have been taken seriously. Yet what does the example of Rick Santorum show us? He excelled at retail politics in a friendly market and had a distinctive voice in the debates, but he clearly lacked the money and the national experience that Romney has. The debates gave Santorum exposure he wouldn't otherwise have had.

Pete is right that it is impossible to run a state effectively (at least in times like these) and run for president--thus closing the door to perhaps the GOP's strongest candidates among governors Reagan, Bush I, and, it appears, Romney are two examples of those able to run full-time without the encumbrance of office (that is, significant office); Clinton and Bush II had friendly capitols.

Categories > Presidency


More on Obama's War on Catholics ... and Civil Society

Ross Douthat's op-ed, "Government and its Rivals" picks up on Jonathan Last's theme in my post below and accurately frames Obamacare's assault on the Church within the context of liberals' war against communities and aspects of the civil society which are not either liberal or pet agencies of the government.

WHEN liberals are in a philosophical mood, they like to cast debates over the role of government not as a clash between the individual and the state, but as a conflict between the individual and the community.


Critics of the administration's policy are framing this as a religious liberty issue, and rightly so. But what's at stake here is bigger even than religious freedom. The Obama White House's decision is a threat to any kind of voluntary community that doesn't share the moral sensibilities of whichever party controls the health care bureaucracy.

Douthat has also quoted and responded to his critics on the issue in a rejoinder titled, "Liberals and Catholic Hospitals."

It is impossible to speak intelligently on this subject without confronting the practical issues and principles raised in these two articles (and several of the articles to which they link). 

Obama's attempt to weaken and destroy Catholic institutions is both morally and socially repugnant. On the first prong, he is abusively employing the power of the government to force liberal social policies on private groups (whose "diversity" and liberty is apparently of little value to Obama). Secondly, the result of Obama's campaign would be to weaken America's social services for the poor and needs, who are presently served in large numbers by Catholic charitable institutions. It is no coincidence that liberal policies are both unprincipled and socially harmful.

Categories > Religion


Obama's War Against Catholics

Jonathan Last writes a pivotal article for The Weekly Standard entitled "Obamacare vs. the Catholics." It is absolutely required reading, not simply for Catholics, but for all who seek an insight into Obama's tactics, vision and ideology. Last situates Obama's utter betrayal of Catholics - by forcing Catholic institutions to close their doors or provide contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacients - within the broader context of Obama's antagonism toward civil society.

As Yuval Levin noted in National Review Online last week, institutions such as the Catholic church represent a mediating layer between the individual and the state. This layer, known as civil society, is one of the principal differences between Western liberal order and the socialist view.

Couple those observations with Last's wholly-truthful, though counter-intuitive, remarks on Catholic demography, self-identity and political strategy, and you have a must-read article which I cannot more strongly recommend.

Categories > Religion



It's driven by IQ. The Sage of Mt. Airy draws a conclusion:

Check out this headline and story: "Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism"

It's not my fault then, correct?

So where do I go to get my subsidy started? Who do I see about my government grant? Does this mean they'll forgive my mortgage? Shouldn't there be a tax break? Where's the block on this form to mark "Low I.Q."? How much more time will I get to take the exam? The "passing" score's lower, right? Ain't I entitled to a parking space? When will the first check arrive? Huh? When? I got my rights you know?

While you're at his site, read the Sage's thoughts on vigilante movies--really movies about the founding and preservation of regimes, I would say.

Categories > Conservatism

Foreign Affairs

Our Lincoln Memorial, Iran's Cardboard

This is the Iran now arming itself with nukes. The ceremony led me to think about University College London having preserved Jeremy Bentham's body. And we do have those races around the Washington Nationals' stadium featuring giant dolls of Washington, Jefferson, LIncoln, and TR. No worries.

Categories > Foreign Affairs


Obama Abuses Lincoln

Of course, you say, but Harry Jaffa corrects Obama's SOTU misquotation precisely, in Charles Johnson's interview with him:

Professor Jaffa noted that this quotation leaves out a great deal. The 93-year-old Jaffa recited the full statement from Lincoln's speech, "The Nature and Objects of Government, with Special Reference to Slavery" (July 1, 1854) by memory:

"The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities."

Notice the difference? The emphasis is on the need to have done, not on government doing the action. "That distinction was missing from his quotation," Jaffa explains. Yet Obama has repeatedly invoked this misleading Lincoln quotation on both the campaign trail and during his presidency.

Johnson is the go-to guy for reporting on all things Claremont, including the recent admissions scandal. He is working on more stories on the scandal, one that could result in further resignations, including that of the President, who has effectively undermined the conservative scholars at the College.

Categories > Presidency


On the Trail with Santorum

The appropriately named TimManBlog gives an account of Santorum speaking in Colorado Springs. Tim designates Santorum as "The Servant"--contrasting him with the Executive, the Visionary, and the Ideologue:

Santorum is The Servant. He is the Servant of his Country, of his Constitution, of his Family and of his Faith....

People stood up for Santorum only once tonight. He is more soft-spoken than dramatic and people politely listen to him speak as if he were their neighbor next door....

Santorum will never present himself as your provider. He will expect people to pursue happiness and he will see his role as service to that pursuit by securing those natural rights we all deserve as people. In this way he will endeavor to be the Servant to Freedom.

Thoughout this process we've seen that we live in an age of great egos. We see pundits and journalists and presidents vying with each other for our accolades. Santorum is the exact opposite, a Servant, and that difference may be what the country needs right now.

Look for further Colorado reporting and commentary from TimManBlog. Here he relates a visit to Lubbock, Texas.

Categories > Presidency


Hayward's latest book

is The Politically Incorrect Guide of the Modern Presidents: From Wilson to Obama.  That it is good and true and well written and amusing goes without saying.  Buy a couple to give it to your friends, or better, to your political enemies.  I hope he makes a mint off this!
Categories > History


Race Preferences and the Claremont Scandal

Charles Johnson tracks Claremont McKenna's race preferences admissions policies with the scandalous inflation of SAT reporting to US News and the world. Once again we see how a perverse policy of preferences leads to further unethical conduct. The issue for Claremont McKenna is not the superb quality of its teaching and much of the research--it's rather whether its key administrators (its Dean of Admissions resigned) based the College's policies and altered its identity for the sake of a higher standing in US News.

Did the President create a culture of cheap ambition? The Administration could have further played up its Government and Economics programs and been happy with a major national niche. Perhaps the prominence of conservative scholars in those departments made such a strategy distasteful, though.

Categories > Education



I don't have much to say on the Florida primary that hasn't been said by others.  My assumption is that the creation of majorities in our republic
is--has always been--a messy business, and we shouldn't be surprised
that this GOP primary is messy and blurry, made more so by an
unimpressive media that focuses only on the fleeting.  Yet, the fog is
lifting now and it is becoming clearer that the only candidate who is
both a conservative and is able to practice the politics of
inclusion--of pulling folks toward his views on how to revivify
limited constitutional self government, and therefore creating a majority--is
Mitt Romney.  His impressive victory in Florida reveals this.  It is clear to me
now that he can and will cobble together a majority within the GOP because 
he is a smart man, a conservative, and let us admit, a well balanced individual.  
It is now also clear that his campaign is well run.  Gingrich, this so called man 
of ideas--all of them disconnected from one another and almost blurted out
as his ungovernable will may demand--is ungraciously appealing to--as he calls it--people power instead of financial power.  This makes me feel as if I'm participating in politics of the 
Philipines, instead of our constitutional republic.  This is not impressive and it is not conservative.  Gingrich, I should add, is  also tired, languid, and seems a bit desperate.  Romney should take the high ground from now on (he has made his point that he can be a tough guy)--as he did in last night's speech--and he will walk into the convention with a majority of the delegates and everyone will know he will have deserved  his victory.
Categories > Elections