Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Autorantic Virtual Moonbat

For some Saturday fun, check out the Autorantic Virtual Moonbat. Could save DailyKos and DDUnderground types a lot of time and their few remaining brain cells.

The "Upscale Left"

Don’t miss Thomas Byrne Edsall, writing in today’s New Republic online about the role of the "upscale left" in the Lieberman-Lamont duel, and why the result is bad news for Democrats in 2008.


The Lieberman-Lamont primary is a study, writ small, in what has ailed the Democratic Party over the last few decades. Simply put, Democratic presidential primary electorates continue to be dominated by an upscale, socially (and culturally) liberal elite. Democrats must first win the approval of this elite before they can compete in the general election. It’s a trap that no Democrat other than Bill Clinton has found a way to escape, and Lamont’s victory shows why.  

Moral equivalency = moral bankruptcy

Mike Wallace thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to demand that Israel be relocated to somewhere in Europe and Brian Williams thinks that suicide bombers are kinda like Navy SEALs.


Senate Baron

Back in 2001, when I was still teaching at the University of Georgia, I designed a political simulation for my upper-division course on the U.S. between the World Wars. It’s called "Senate Baron," and it’s meant to simulate the politics of the U.S. Senate during the 1930s. I tested it in the classroom, and realized it had some problems, which I’ve tried to fix in the latest version. Anyway, anyone who’s interested can find it here, at the site of the Academic Gaming Review. I wouldn’t recommend it for high school classes (except perhaps at the AP level), but I would welcome any comments--particularly from teachers.

Tough words, take 3

Newt Gingrich:

Defeating the terrorists and thwarting efforts by Iran and North Korea to gain nuclear and biological weapons must be the first goal of American policy. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if violence is necessary to defeat the terrorists, the Iranians and the North Koreans, then it is regrettably necessary. If they can be disarmed with less violence, then that is desirable. But a nonviolent solution that allows the terrorists to become better trained, better organized, more numerous and better armed is a defeat. A nonviolent solution that leads to North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons threatening us across the planet is a defeat.

More tough words from the WSJ

Daniel Henninger:

In a better world, the U.S. war on terror, at its core, would be bipartisan. That world was what Joe Lieberman’s politics represented. That world is dead. Democratic support for the Republican administration’s plans to fight these terrorists is down to about zero. This means the Democrats must have a plan of their own to defeat terror. Every Republican running for office at every level this fall should force his opponent to describe it. And if they aren’t certain about the details, they can call Ned Lamont.

Naomi Schaefer Riley:

If the religious left is serious about attracting more people of faith to the Democratic Party--Ms. Seger believes that even evangelicals will gather under the new big tent--its leaders might want to consider the kind of religion that people in America actually practice. Hint: It is judgmental. It sometimes involves public condemnation.

But of course, the religious left is less serious about a politician’s loyalty to religious belief than about his loyalty to the Democratic Party. "He’s going to run on the independent ticket," Ms. Sager notes of Mr. Lieberman, with disgust. "What kind of Democrat is that?"

Lessons from yesterday’s terror plot exposure

The WSJ has some tough words.

On Wisconsin?

The Alliance Defense Fund has written a letter to officials at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Superior urging them not to abridge the speech and associational rights of student religious groups. At issue is the conflict between university non-discrimination policies and the fidelity to their missions of groups like the Knights of Columbus and the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.

I noted the most recent such conflict here and wrote about a previous one here.

The Inside Higher Ed piece suggests that the only issue is access to funding, not recognition (and access to university facilities) per se.

I should also note that the fact that some groups prosper (by their lights) while conforming to the university’s non-discrimination policy says nothing about whether other groups ought to be required to do so. Different groups ought to be permitted to be different. Denying money to those who would be different does approach the kind of viewpoint discrimination against the Court ruled in Rosenberger.

Future Olympians

Here. If you care about all the gory details of the swim season, send me an email.

Prejudice, take 2

Watch the video here.

I wonder if Sondjata, who’s quite willing to accuse others of hatred, thinks this qualifies.

McKinney and her supporters continue to believe and continue to blame open primaries for her defeat:

Some voting rights advocates said that while crossover voting might be legal, it violated the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution because it effectively negated the right of a group — in Ms. McKinney’s case, black voters — to nominate the candidate of their choice.

“There’s case law that says one party can’t interfere in another party’s primary,” said Mike Raffauf, a lawyer who filed a 2002 lawsuit in federal court against the State of Georgia on Ms. McKinney’s behalf.

So should we have whites only and blacks only primaries? If not, how far should we go in demanding that people prove their fealty to a party before permitting them to vote? Should we demand proof that they voted "the right way" in previous elections? Bring back the smoke-filled rooms, I say!

Is the New York Times next?

This morning, the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the Espionage Act, which permits prosecution of anyone who knowingly publishes classified intelligence information. The challenge was brought by two lobbyists for AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) who received classified information from a Department of Defense analyst during the Clinton administration and who subsequently republished that information to others.

The ruling should make the editors and publishers of the New York Times extremely nervous. As I noted in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence this past May, the New York times can be prosecuted under other provisions of the Espionage Act for its publication last December of our highly-classified and operationally-sensitive NSA surveillance program. Copy of my testimony is available here (registration required for download).

The Coolest Wristwear in Town

At the risk of offending some, might I recommend this high-fashion accessory? The Adam Smith Institute is sending complimentary ones out to anyone who e-mails.

I can’t help it

Looking ahead to 2008, I mean.

At the moment, I can’t imagine that national security won’t be the biggest issue. At the moment, I also can’t imagine that anyone closely connected with the Bush Administration could win. But I also can’t imagine that the Kossacks will let anyone on the Democratic side with a sensible approach to national security policy come close to getting the nomination. (I find myself--shudder!--hoping that HRC gets the nomination, because I think she actually stands a better chance of ultimately being sensible on these matters than do any of her currently likely opponents. Lots of other stuff would be awful, to be sure, but we might still be relatively safe, in part because she’s brazen enough to pay lip service to the netroots and then think for herself. Indeed, with her in office, I’d worry more about Congress.)

Which brings me to the Republicans. Right now, 2008 looks like it might be the year of the "independent" on the Republican side, which means McCain among those with close D.C. ties and Giuliani for those who don’t have them. I know, I know, Giuliani has baggage, as does McCain. McCain has begun to try to mend his fences with religious conservatives, and Giuliani is trying to figure out how to talk the talk. Given the likely general election options, and the likely high national security stakes, I don’t think that religious conservatives will sit on their hands.

And if evangelicals are indeed softening, I have just the ticket: McCain or Giuliani, with Joe Lieberman.

Update: RCP’s Tom Bevan notes lots of speculation about McCain-Lieberman. I’ll take Austin Bay and Michael Barone, and even David Brooks, but Andrew Sullivan???

In Case You Care

I’ll be gone for about 3 weeks on the annual family fishing/camping trip--so probably not blogging. I hope we catch a bigger fish than this and I hope there is no news as big as Katrina while we’re gone. Since I won’t really have access to computers or newspapers (and only minimal radio) I’m bringing along my new MP3 player and I’ll continue listening to these fantastic podcasts--particularly the ones on Teaching American history. I’m new at this, so any advice from readers and fellow bloggers on other podcasts I can take would be greatly appreciated!

More on the Ned-Joe Smackdown

Jacob Weisberg at thinks the Lamont victory is a disaster for Democrats. This is significant because Weisberg is no Rove-bot. Money quotes:

The problem for the Democrats is that the anti-Lieberman insurgents go far beyond simply opposing Bush’s faulty rationale for the war, his dishonest argumentation for it, and his incompetent execution of it. Many of them appear not to take the wider, global battle against Islamic fanaticism seriously. . .

We know this because we have been here before. The Lamont-Lieberman battle was filled with echoes and parallels from the Vietnam era. Democratic reformers and anti-establishment insurgents weren’t wrong about that conflict, either. Vietnam was a terrible mistake for the United States. But like Iraq, Vietnam was a badly chosen battlefield in a larger conflict with totalitarianism that America had no choice but to pursue. In turning viciously on stalwarts of the Cold War era like Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Scoop Jackson, anti-war insurgents called into question the Democratic Party’s underlying commitment to challenging Communist expansion.


Gloomy hawks

If you haven’t already read Stanley Kurtz’s "Hawkish Gloom," you should. And while you’re at it, read David Warren’s gloomy piece.

A cautionary tale from Precinct 6

My mom is an election official at local Precinct 6 in Norton Shores, Michigan. Her district is solidly Republican, but after yesterday’s primaries, she told me this cautionary tale: Dick DeVos, the Republican nominee for governor, ran very well in her precinct (and is ahead of Governor Jennifer Granholm in the polls); but Pete Hoekstra, the incumbant Republican Congressman, only garnered a few hundred more votes than the unknown Democrat in the opposite primary. DeVos is running a good campaign and Michigan is hurting economically, so his advantage is not a big surprise. But Hoekstra’s slim margin in a safely Republican district does not augur well for national Republicans around the country.

This little story is a prelude to explaining why Adam Nagourney of the New York Times is right when he offers a sobering note to the GOP after the Connecticut primary. As he says, while the Lieberman defeat creates a number of problems for national Democrats, Republicans should especially beware because "the Lamont victory suggested that many Democrats — stirred by their opposition to the war and hostility toward Mr. Bush — are as energized as any group of voters in years, enough so to move them to the voting booth in huge numbers." Of course, punishing Bush is not a political platform and really doesn’t play well with moderates and independents, but the ordinary person on the street also doesn’t like $3 gas and the perceived failure to win in Iraq.

All politics may be local, but not all the time. DeVos is strong but Hoekstra is weak. And if the Democrats can somehow marry liberals’ anger with moderates’ unease, Precinct 6 may be a harbinger of serious trouble for the GOP in the fall.

The Emerging Leisure Class

Maggie Gallagher marshalls up some more evidence in support of this growing thesis that men are suffering setbacks in education (particularly higher education) and marriage these days. In the course of her writing, I think she hits upon two important insights. First: Men don’t marry because they don’t have to. And second: The decline in marriage comes with a weakened inclination to work.

One of the guys she discusses has failed in two marriages, worked his way onto a third (a wife who--surprise--collects disability payments), and now spends the bulk of his time playing classical piano, reading history books and writing reviews for What’s wrong with this picture?

Plenty. First, it appears that despite setbacks in "formal" education, some of these guys still have plenty of mental energy. The guy mentioned above argued that he found all available work to be either "demeaning" or "underpaid." I don’t know what kind of work the guy was looking to do, but I’m sure that whatever it was, collecting his wife’s disability check is alot easier. After all, like all philosophical sorts, he places a high value on his leisure.

That’s all very nice, in its way, but I doubt the federal government can sustain very many of these philosophers. I further doubt that there are enough disabled women to support this emerging leisure class.

Yet another emerging trend is that of middle-aged single men who have very little inclination to change their situation--even if it does mean a disability check. These guys, according to Gallagher’s account, fear marriage and also doubt their capacity to be faithful in a world where uncomitted free sex is a smorgasboard for guys willing to take it. Gallagher titles her column: The Trouble With Men but I wonder if "the trouble with men" might better examined in looking at "the trouble with women." The sad fact is that men are capable of all kinds of wonderful things when properly inspired. But they have very little interest in doing those wonderful things if they don’t get the proper kudos for doing them. Remember, as Mansfield said in his book Manliness, men NEED to feel important.

Scoop Jackson Wing, RIP

From Robert Kaufman’s biography, Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics:

Lieberman may someday emerge as Jackson’s true heir in the U.S. Senate. His political perspective largely mirrors that of Henry Jackson: a liberal on domestic issues, an opponent of Affirmative Action; a staunch advocate of vigilant internationalism and a strong military. Sen. Lieberman confessed, however, that it will be an uphill battle "to reinvigorate the international aspects of the Jackson legacy in the Democratic Party."

Lieberman’s defeat

You can read about it here, here, here, and here. Democrats clearly don’t want Lieberman to run as an independent. But if Lieberman continues to poll well as an independent, what’s to stop him? Lamont received around 144,000 votes. In 2004, Christopher Dodd received over 923,000. In 2000, Lieberman received 828,000 votes. Surely the general electorate in Connecticut is not as intense as the primary electorate. Can Lamont really expand his appeal that much, running against a proven vote-getter and campaigner like Lieberman?

NRO has a symposium here.

Public opinion and the culture wars

In this week’s TAE Online column, I ruminate on the Pew poll released last week.

This is, for the moment at least, my last week column for The American Enterprise. James Glassman, the new editor, has plans that right now don’t include regular daily columns on the website.

I guess I’ll have to find other venues for my slightly more formal pontifications. But I am of course grateful for the opportunity I had there, and continue to have here.

Have you voted yet?

I was the only voter at my precinct this morning. But then, that’s not surprising, since, outside Georgia’s 4th Congressional District, there are only some down-ticket statewide races to which to give thought.

The 4th, where Cynthia McKinney has pulled out all the stops in her attempt to beat back a challenge from Hank Johnson (who, if elected, will likely be the only Buddhist in Congress). McKinney, of course, thinks President Bush should be impeached, thereby displaying her typically judicious demeanor. Turnout in the run-off may exceed that in the primary three weeks ago, which is almost unheard of:

In McKinney’s district, only about 8,900 voters selected a Republican ballot in July, which means there are 278,384 registered voters eligible to participate in the runoff. Nearly 62,000 voted in the Democratic primary.

There’s your benchmark.

I’ll also be watching Connecticut, but this one hits too close to home.

Update: This story suggests that some precincts in what would be McKinney territory haven’t seen much traffic yet. Note also that McKinney has returned to her old staple--allegations of voting irregularities. This in a county run by African-American Democrats.

Will Hinton is live-blogging the day. Turnout seems to be up in precincts likely to be populated by Johnson (or anti-McKinney) voters. No doubt there’s some plot here too.

Update #2: Here is the official site for GA 4th election returns. As of 9:40 p.m., Johnson is ahead, but no votes have yet been counted in Dekalb County, which is the lion’s share of the district. But if you compare these partial returns to those from the July 18th primary, you’ve got to like Johnson’s chances. He’s doubled his vote total in Rockdale County (home of the fair Mrs. Knippenberg’s family), and McKinney will be hard-pressed to match her total from three weeks ago.

Update #3: Apparently they’re having difficulty uploading memory cards from voting machines in Dekalb County. More grist for CM’s conspiracy mill.

Update #4: The latest results, with 89% of the precincts reporting, give Johnson what I take to be an insurmountable lead. Turnout will exceed the 62,000 who voted three weeks ago. And Johnson appears to be winning comfortably in Dekalb County. I wonder if there’ll be a concession speech tonight.

Last update: Johnson has declared victory. Here’s some instant analysis, which I don’t instantly buy.

A reason to elect a Democratic House this fall

If, that is, you’d like nothing more than a high-stakes game of chicken. Byron York summarizes this report, calling it "a detailed road map for the impeachment of George W. Bush, ready for use should Democrats win control of the House of Representatives this November."

While I think a John Conyers-led witch hunt would blow up in the Democrats’ faces, the distraction it would provoke would not be good for our efforts to deal with our determined adversaries abroad. So, despite my temptation, I think I’ll pass.

Feminist Grannies Gettin’ Busy?

Kay Hymowitz surveys a plethora of navel gazing literature (with titles like Sex and the Seasoned Woman and--I’m not making this up--Still Doing It, Better Than I Ever Expected,) from aging feminists that reveal something even more amazing about feminism than my suggestive title might indicate: feminism seems to have come full circle. Hymowitz notes that although they remain defiant in their attitudes and hyper-organized and effusing in their methods, the practical effect of their "politics" is now almost apolitical. ". . . their personal is no longer very political; even their political isn’t very political. Nobody’s putting it this way, but it seems that liberation politics have become irrelevant to what is now their most pressing concern, which – depending on your emphasis – is: how to bring meaning to their dwindling years, or how to avoid being mistaken for their grandmothers."

Put another way, after a lifetime of war against nature expressed in an attempt at cultural revolution (i.e., a kind of war on society and its perceived oppression of women in favor of patriarchy), it turns out that the battle must turn inward in order to complete itself. When your war is against Nature it (naturally) turns back in on You. So now feminists have turned their attention toward the best ways of fighting bad knees, bad hips, sagging skin, diminishing sex drives, and, of course (the perennial) "lack of fulfillment." All of which begs these questions: If feminism has been such a boon to women, why are these chicks still complaining? If careerism is as fulfilling as they claimed it was in the late 60s, why are they still unfulfilled? And if nature is irrelevant respecting sex differences, then why aren’t all the old guys writing exhaustive accounts of their exploits fighting impotence and night trips to the toilet? Finally, is the new feminist anthem: "I am Woman, Hear me Moan?"

There are a hundred other questions (both serious and not) this thoughtful essay brings to mind, so read it all. Worth a few mugs!   

Forget the Picture; What About the Words?

Michelle Malkin has a terrific summary of the details of the unfolding story of the Reuters photographer caught doctoring photos. Reuters has withdrawn all 920 photos they have used from this fellow. In an age of pixels, pictures do lie.

Good start. Now, when is Reuters (or al-Reuters, as some people perceptively call them) going to fix its doctored reporting? After all, if fiddling with pixels is deceptive and inaccurate, how about the way its correspondents fiddle with words (like avoiding the term "terrorist")?

Funny how Hezbollah never fires any of its rockets from near the Reuters office building. Just a thought.

Some NLT Cheesecake

Glenn Reynolds brought us "Hot Lebanese Protest Babes" in 2005; John Hinderaker at Powerline provides regular coverage of swimsuit competitions at beauty pageants around the world, so the least NLT can do is bring you Hot Babes of the Israeli Military.

Hat Tip: Tim Blair.

Peretz on Lamont, II, and Maybe a Heresy

The problem with blogging from the West Coast during the month of August is that Knippenberg gets a three-hour head start on linking to the best stuff like the Marty Peretz article linked on the previous post. (Of course, I’ve long started referring to NLT as "Knippenblog" anyway.) Peretz is a reasonable liberal who has learned from mistakes, including some of his own. After all, Peretz was one of the primary funders of the 1967 "New Politics" conference in Chicago that was a shot in the arm for the nutty New Left. Bet he wishes he could get his money back on that escapade.

One interesting tidbit in his article that I had previously missed is that Ned Lamont is the nephew of the old Stalinist Corliss Lamont. Of course, we don’t visit the sins of the uncle on the nephew, but both Ned and Corliss enjoyed their frivolous politics because of enormous inherited wealth. Remind me again, someone, why conservatives support abolishing the Death Tax? I know, I know, it hits small and medium-sized family businesses, farms, etc, would give more money to the government, is against justice, and so on, but for every John Walton who does something decent with his inherited wealth (or Martin Peretz, who bought The New Republic with his inherited fortune), it seems there are 20 Ned Lamonts and 200 Kennedys and 2000 Rockefellers who are mostly wastrels or who do relentless malicious mischief. I’m almost ready to flip on this one.

Peretz on Lamont

My sentiments exactly:

Finally, the contest in Connecticut tomorrow is about two views of the world. Mr. Lamont’s view is that there are very few antagonists whom we cannot mollify or conciliate. Let’s call this process by its correct name: appeasement. The Greenwich entrepreneur might call it "incentivization." Mr. Lieberman’s view is that there are actually enemies who, intoxicated by millennial delusions, are not open to rational and reciprocal arbitration. Why should they be? After all, they inhabit a universe of inevitability, rather like Nazis and communists, but with a religious overgloss. Such armed doctrines, in Mr. Lieberman’s view, need to be confronted and overwhelmed.

Almost every Democrat feels obliged to offer fraternal solidarity to Israel, and Mr. Lamont is no exception. But here, too, he blithely assumes that the Palestinians could be easily conciliated. All that it would have needed was President Bush’s attention. Mr. Lamont has repeated the accusation, disproved by the "road map" and Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza, that Mr. Bush paid little or even no attention to the festering conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. And has Mr. Lamont noticed that the Palestinians are now ruled, and by their own choice, by Hamas? Is Hamas, too, just a few good arguments away from peace?

The Lamont ascendancy, if that is what it is, means nothing other than that the left is trying, and in places succeeding, to take back the Democratic Party. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters have stumped for Mr. Lamont. As I say, we have been here before. Ned Lamont is Karl Rove’s dream come true. If he, and others of his stripe, carry the day, the Democratic party will lose the future, and deservedly.

Read the whole thing.