Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

What is to be done about the academy?

Joseph Knippenberg reflects at length on the meaning of the new study out of Santa Clara University showing that registered Democrats far outnumbered registered Republicans on the faculties of some of America’s most prestigious college campuses. After overcoming his shock at such a revelation, he asks, "What is to be done?" Read it all. Excellent.

Abolish the Electoral College?

Rep. Zoe Lofgren has proposed a constitutional amendment that would abolish the Electoral College, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. O.K., what does one say about this silliness? Read the story to see how full of barren ignorance she is; also note that the reasonable Tara Ross from the Heritage Foundation is quoted at length, to the advantage of the EC. This is essentiually Lofgren’s argument: (see her website): "The Electoral College is no longer a fair way to elect our President. Voters in California and other large states don’t have an equal say."

Lofgren should have this read this by the late Senator Moynihan
, and this minority report from 1970, or even this
or this,
never mind Federalist 39, or 68.

Why Bush won

Rolling Stone talks with Ruy Teixeira, Peter Hart and David Gergen about why Bush won the election. While I do not think these guys are Solomonic, nor are they non-partisan, they are still worth reading because of tid-bits of information come out, and it is fun seeing how each is inclined to argue. For example, this is how Teixeira starts: "If you want to look at ground zero of how Bush expanded his coalition, the key change from 2000 was that he did a lot better among white voters. His margin of victory among whites widened from twelve to seventeen points -- and almost all of that was among white working-class women."

Kojo Annan and oil money

Kojo Annan, the U.N. Secretary-General’s son,
"got monthly payments more than four years longer than was previously known from a Swiss firm that won a lucrative contract under the scandal-ridden U.N. oil-for-food program, the United Nations said on Friday.

Kojo Annan, the U.N. leader’s son, was paid $2,500 monthly — a total of $125,000 — by Geneva-based Cotecna from the beginning of 2000 through last February, as part of an agreement not to compete with Cotecna in West Africa after he left the firm, U.N. chief spokesman Fred Eckhard said." More here.

Ukraine’s predicament

Ukraine’s Parliament "in a vote providing a moral boost for opposition supporters massed in the capital, said on Saturday the disputed presidential poll handing victory to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was invalid.

Parliament has no legal authority to annul the election results, but with vast crowds backing liberal challenger Viktor Yushchenko’s call for a new vote, the declaration carries political weight.

The declaration was issued two days ahead of a Supreme Court case examining Yushchenko’s complaints of poll irregularities and as the European Union said it wanted to see new elections."

Simon Sebag Montefiore has a few interesting thoughts on this matter, as well as some history.  

The governing majority

This is Charles Babington, writing for the Washington Post, thinks it remarkable that the GOP majority in the House will try to act like a majority. This, combined with the President appointing people agree with his policies to head agencies, just about does it for the MSM and the Liberals. We are looking at naked despotism folks! And the AP reports that there is "turmoil at the CIA." That is, the new Director is doing what he thinks needs to be done to make the Agency operational again. Naked. I say, naked.

The gospel of self-esteem

Here’s a review of a new book by Frank Furedi, a sociologist who thinks that the people who run universities, museums, and other places that are supposed to promote intellectual and cultural excellence have taken the self-esteem gospel hook, line, and sinker. And not with good results for society. This is not a new argument, I know -- it’s a little bit like Allan Bloom with "data". Still, the review is a good read, and some of the anecdotes are very funny.

Stone’s Alexander

I saw Alexander last night. Sorry I went. It was simply awful.
You have one of the great characters in history conquering most of the known world and it so happens that Aristotle was his tutor. Does this have possibilities? The boy was brave and thoughtful and unusually ambitious. There are many nations to be be conquered, many acts of heroism, and some of kindness and magnanimity. Sure, there is cruelty and savagery. Show it all, make some distinctions, perhaps even draw some lessons. But to show it as a creepy Freudian thing with his mother, a weird relationship with his father, and then there is the homosexual emphasis and over emphasis....I was hoping the thing would end after an hour. Terrible. Not worth seeing.
Stephen Hunter, writing for the Washington Post says that Oliver Stone’s Alexander "is more like a desperate housewife than a soldier." He thinks it’s a weird movie. He’s right. Stay away.

Republicans: the Party of the Poor (relatively) and Fertile

The Economist reports that “people worth $1m-10m supported Mr. Bush by a 63-37% margin, whereas those worth more than $10m favoured Mr. Kerry 59-41%.” It also reports that “Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation points out that the fertility rate in the Kerry states is 12% lower than in the Bush states. Vermont, the home of Howard Dean and perhaps the most left-wing state in the country, produces an annual average of 49 children for every 1,000 women of child-bearing age; in Utah, where 71% of the population voted for Mr. Bush, the figure is 91. In deep-blue cities such as San Francisco and Seattle you find more dogs than children.”


Here is the latest tid-bit on the Ukraine mess from the Washington Post. "Ukraine’s outgoing president will meet Friday with opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko in the presence of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and European envoys in a bid to solve the country’s political crisis over its disputed election, a European Union official said.

The meeting by President Leonid Kuchma will include European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, said Solana’s spokeswoman, Christina Gallach."

What does all this mean? I’m not sure. But it does seem that this matter will not go away. Pressures--which apparently are real and serious--from both the U.S. and the E.U. seem to be helping. So far, Russian intransigence (a la the Soviet mode?) is the dominant fact; without it, Kuchma’s party doesn’t have a chance to keep power. Also note that Poland
has become deeply involved, including Lech Walesa. The Ukraine Supreme Court barred the publication of the official presidential election results for a week until it has examined an appeal lodged by the opposition against them. This seems to be the first official victory of the opposition.
This commentary from La Sabot Post-Modern might be useful, as is this from Chrenkoff
. And this from a guy who lives in Kiev, Reuben F. Johnson, is worth reading.

The Muslim vote

Although real information is scarce, including exit polls, Peter Skerry has a brief note on the Muslim vote.
"Pre-election surveys indicate that between 70 and 80 percent of Muslims voted for John Kerry. This is hardly surprising, given that most Muslims, certainly most leaders, accuse President Bush of betraying his 2000 campaign promise to protect them from racial profiling and other infringements on their civil liberties." And: "One surprise is that the partisan shift of Muslim voters since 2000 is not quite as dramatic as claimed. Then as now, there was no reliable exit poll data. Then as now, the void was filled by leaders claiming to have delivered a bloc vote -- as much as 72 percent to Bush. But a more reasonable estimate, based on pre- and post-election surveys, is that in 2000 Bush received about 50 percent of the Muslim vote, Gore about 25 percent, and Ralph Nader 10 percent.

Nevertheless, does this year’s vote suggest an emergent Muslim unity? Not exactly."

Intelligence matters

The New York Times reports that two more senior officials of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service are stepping down. These two very senior guys--not feeling "comfortable" with the new management--cannot be named because they are undercover. In the meantime, President Bush has ordered a major expansion
of the CIA, "calling for the beleaguered agency to add thousands of analysts and spies as part of an ongoing buildup in the war on terrorism."
Also see Porter’s. House

Reading of the Declaration of Independence Banned in a school

From Reuters: A California teacher
has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

"It’s a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful," said Williams’ attorney, Terry Thompson.

"Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country," he said. "There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence." There is more at The Remedy.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here is Washington’s
Proclamation, and Lincoln’s.

A little, saving angel?

New York Times reports on a new scholarly book on Arthur Schindler, righteous gentile. The book seems raise some questions about Schindler, and points out some problems in the Kennealy novel and the Spielberg movie.

Mehlman’s opportunity

Washington Times reports on an interview with Ken Melhman, the incoming RNC chairman. He says that he wants to institgutionalize the grass-roots focus that worled so well in the last campaign. Mehlman: "We have an extraordinary opportunity — an opportunity that we as a party haven’t had in a generation — where we simultaneously have an ideologically conservative majority and an operationally conservative majority. And that’s what we didn’t have before." He’s right, and I can’t think of a better guy to take advantage of the opportunity (which he himself set up!). Go to it.

Happy Birthday WFB

Our friends over at The Corner remind us that today is William F. Buckley’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday big guy! He gets a special notice from the cartoon strip Mallard Fillmore.

Intelligence Reform

Here a couple of thoughtful pieces on this
hysterica passio regarding the intelligence bill. The MSM is angry as it can be that something isn’t done and done now before it is too late, etc. And, how come the President isn’t using his great authority to make these few stubborn rogues in the House do his bidding? I have seen a few interviews with Sensenbrenner and Duncan Hunter and they didn’t seem so unreasonable to me. I don’t claim to know the ins and outs of all this, but it seems to me that

William Safire understands more of this than most and he isn’t simply pushing an agenda. His points about the Senate are especially worth noting. Also see Tom Donnely.

Vaclav Havel as Secretary General of the U.N.

has a modest proposal: Have Vaclav Havel replace Kofi Annan. Not a bad idea. Of course, this is un likely. Yet, the proposing of it is in itself useful because we will have to turn to some first-principle questions and purposeful conversations about the nature of the U.N. Jonah Goldberg agrees. Glenn Reynolds quotes from a recent Havel op-ed:

"Let’s not allow ourselves to be manipulated into believing that attempts to change the established order and objective laws do not make sense. Let’s try to build a global civil society that insist that politics is not just a technology of power, but must have a moral dimension.

At the same time, politicians in democratic countries need to think seriously about reforms of international institutions to make them capable of real global governance. We could start, for example, with the United Nations, which, in its current form, is a relic of the situation shortly after World War II. It does not reflect the influence of some new regional powers, while immorally equating countries whose representatives are democratically elected and those whose representatives speak only for themselves or their juntas, at best.

We Europeans have one specific task. Industrial civilization, which now spans the whole world, originated in Europe. All of its miracles, as well as its terrifying contradictions, can be explained as consequences of an ethos that is initially European. Therefore, unifying Europe should set an example for the rest of the world regarding how to face the various dangers and horrors that are engulfing us today.

Indeed, such a task, which is closely tied to the success of European integration, would be an authentic fulfillment of the European sense of global responsibility. And it would be a much-better strategy than cheaply blaming America for the contemporary world’s various problems."

Salvation Army vs. Target

Joseph Knippenberg gently attacks Target for no longer allowing the Salvation Army to ring their bells in front of their stores. The spirit of Christmas is the loser. Spitbull has more, with good links.

Dan Rather is out

Dan Rather is finished. Great news. He will anchor CBS until March.

Re: GOP Dominance

Peter’s link below to the LA Times story about growing Republican dominance in the fast-growing exurban areas reminds me of a tongue-in-cheek theme I’ve used for a long time, which may not be so tongue-in-cheek any more. I used to joke that the support for mass transit was a liberal plot to get people out of the cars and away from Rush Limbaugh, and reading liberal newspapers instead. The corrollary, of course, is "smart growth," which explicitly aims to stop growth in exurban areas, and channel growth back into the big cities. This has obvious partisan implications now. Another reason for the GOP to be the "pro-growth" party in every sense of the word.

GOP’s domination of exurban counties

The L.A. Times "analyzed the 100 counties that the Census Bureau identified as the fastest growing between April 2000 and July 2003, the latest date for which figures were available. Stretched across 30 states, these counties grew cumulatively over that period by more than 16%, reaching a total population of 15.9 million."
It found that they "provided Bush a punishing 1.72 million vote advantage over Democrat John F. Kerry." That was almost half the president’s total margin of victory. Bush’s advantage in these counties was almost four times greater than the advantage they rpovided Bob Dole in 1996. In 2000 Bush won 94 of these counties, and with a smaller cumulative advantage of 1.06 million votes.

In 2004 Bush won about 63% of the votes cast in these 100 counties; he won 70% or more of the vote in 40 of them. I repeat, these are the fastest growing counties in the country; note that the Demo base of support (big urban counties) continue to lose population. Also note near the end of the article that Demo operatives and pollsters, so far, haven’t understood any of this, why it happened and what it means for their party.

Bias in the academy

John Fund points out (no surprise to any one who has spent any time on an American campus) that there are various studies out showing the lack of intellectual diversity on university campuses, whose faculties are overwhelmingly Liberal. Here is one study (of Berkely and Stanford faculties) he mentions from Santa Clara University (PDF file, 34 pages). This study shows that Democratic professors outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 in eceonomics, 28 to 1 in sociology, and 30 to 1 in anthropology.
"For Stanford, we found an overall Democrat to Republican ratio of 7.6 to 1. For UC-Berkeley, we found an overall D to R ratio of 9.9 to 1. Moreover, the breakdown by faculty rank shows that Republicans are an ’endangered species’ on the two campuses."

European values and radical Islam

A well-known Dutch politician has called for a halt to non-Western immigration: "We are a Dutch democratic society. We have our own norms and values. If you chose radical Islam you can leave, and if you don’t leave voluntarily then we will send you away. This is the only message possible." And the AP reports that the EU’s justice and interior ministers agreed that new immigrants to the 25-nation bloc should be required to learn local languages, and to adhere to general "European values" that will guide them toward better integration.

The Cowboy in Chile

The more I read about the episode in Chile with the Secret Service agent and Bush, the more I like what Bush did. Also, it got the right people angry. See this

Washington Post report, for example: "Chilean journalists were critical of Bush’s actions. Marcelo Romero, a reporter with Santiago’s newspaper La Cuarta, said: ’All of us journalists agree that President Bush looked like a cowboy. It was total breach of protocol. I’ve seen a lot of John Wayne movies, and President Bush was definitely acting like a cowboy.’" Bingo. Nothing more needs to be said. I hope Bush was wearing his boots. Also see these
still photos of the fracas. Interesting.

Reshaping the electorate

Michael Barone, in U.S. News & World Report, points out that the appointment of Ken Mehlman as GOP National Committee Chairman is a very important move.

"If Karl Rove was the architect of George W. Bush’s thumping re-election victory, Mehlman was the structural engineer who turned the plans into reality. Mehlman’s great achievement was to create a largely volunteer organization of 1.4 million people who turned out the vote in counties big and small for Bush."

"With the absentee votes in California and Washington finally counted, it appears that overall turnout was up 12 percent. John Kerry’s popular vote was also 12 percent above Al Gore’s. But the popular vote for Bush was up a stunning 20 percent. Before the election, some liberal commentators were claiming that Bush would win no votes he hadn’t won in 2000. Not quite: He won 10 million more."

"Bush’s popular vote was up 23 percent in the 13 battleground states that decided the election. Kerry’s paid-worker, union-led turnout drives in central cities nearly matched that--his vote was up 21 percent over Gore’s in the battlegrounds. But that wasn’t enough to outdo the Bush volunteer efforts in the make-or-break states of Florida and Ohio. Elsewhere Bush had a bigger edge. His popular vote was up 21 percent in safe Bush states and 16 percent in safe Kerry states, compared with 12 and 5 percent for Kerry. The Bush organization literally reshaped the electorate. The 2000 exit poll showed an electorate that was 39 percent Democratic and 35 percent Republican. The 2004 exit poll, which was tilted toward Democrats, found a dead heat: 37 percent to 37 percent. That means that Republican turnout was up 19 percent and Democratic turnout up only 7 percent. This is the most Republican electorate America has had since random-sample polling was invented." Read the rest of it!

Matt Bai, in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, tries to fiddle with this problem by, oddly, looking at the Demos (read
America Coming Together and other 527’s) failure to do anything like this; but, along the way, you do get some notice of the GOP success and some tidbit of interesting information; including how the GOP had built "their own kind of quiet but ruthlessly efficient turnout machine." And note this:

"Therein, perhaps, lies the real lesson from Ohio, and from the election as a whole. From the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and especially after the disputed election of 2000, Democrats operated on the premise that they were superior in numbers, if only because their supporters lived in such concentrated urban communities. If they could mobilize every Democratic vote in America’s industrial centers -- and in its populist heartland as well -- then they would win on math alone. Not anymore. Republicans now have their own concentrated vote, and it will probably continue to swell. Turnout operations like ACT can be remarkably successful at corralling the votes that exist, but turnout alone is no longer enough to win a national election for Democrats. The next Democrat who wins will be the one who changes enough minds."

Also see this
by a Kerry worker and supporter in Virginia. He seems to recognize part of the problem, and suggests (this should not be a surprise to NLT readers) that Demo Gov. Warner of Virginia is to be imitated by the national Democrats: to try to convince "culturally conservative" folks that the Demo Party is on their side. Good luck.

Charles de Gaulle

Today is Charles de Gaulle’s birthday, as No-Passaran reminds us. De Gaulle allegedly said to Churchill, regarding the aid and effort the Brits and the Americans gave to France in lberating them from the Nazis: "We shall stun you with our ingratitude."

Eyebrow-Raiser of the Week

I’ve long been a fan of Target stores. Then I saw this.

Europe’s Civil War?

Europe’s Muslim population has doubled to 20 million in the last 10 years. Some 30,000 new Muslims arrive to Holland every year (and about 500,000 to Europe), where the Muslim population is about 6 percent of the whole. "They tend to live among themselves, with their own schools, mosques and restaurants. Most are horrified by what they view as sacrilegious in their own religion. Their imams speak no Dutch and know nothing of the Netherlands’ history and culture." Arnaud de Borchgrave explains the problem.

Schaub on Himmelfarb

Diana Schaub reviews Gertrude Himmelfarb’s The Road to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments.

Colorado as a lesson for Demos?

This Washington Post article (only two pages) is worth a look because it claims to report on how Salazar’s victory (and the Demos also picked up one House seat) in Colorado may well become the
model for the national Party.
"We campaigned on pragmatism," state Democratic Chairman Christopher Gates said. "We set ourselves up as the problem solvers, while the Republicans were hung up on a bunch of fringe social issues like gay marriage and the Pledge of Allegiance.

"The notion that moral issues won the 2004 election was disproven in Colorado," Gates continued. "We offered solutions, not ideology, and won almost everything." Well, maybe this will work, maybe it won’t. But it is worth keeping on eye on because Salazar did (by and large) run as a moderate, and the GOP in Colorado does seem to be in dissaray.
If I were advising the Dems I would say that you should, now, begin a large term strategy to build your party from the ground-up. This will take about twenty years, but it may be your only shot at becoming the majority party again. They could look at states like Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Florida. But, this will be a long haul, and will seem easier at first because they will be in opposition to long-standing rule to the GOP and their policies, but harder as they have to begin to stand for something and pragmatism will not do it. So-called competence is not enough. But the Dems have to get beyond statements like this: John
blames the Osama bin Laden tape for his loss. And, more fundamentally, the Dems have to get over their haughty attitude toward ordinary that George Will outlines. This will be no small task, I think.

Bush gets tough in Chile

All morning TV news ran the clip of the President in Chile rescuing one of his agents
from Chilean security. I thought it was a pretty good move by Bush; he noticed the problem, went over and reached in the crowd to pull the agent in with him. I haven’t seen much of it in the print media this morning, save this from

Washington Times and this shorter note from the AP.