Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Yuval vs. ObamaCare

The SCHEME is vulnerable on the government insurance option, which is clearly a way of de-privatizing most or all of American coverage over a fairly short period of time. Bill Kristol, Yuval’s coauthor, worked with that underrated statesman Bob Dole to stop HillaryCare, and we can hope there’s comparable leadership in Congress today. The key, as the article suggests, is the steadfastness of moderate Democrats and respectable interests such as the AMA. But maybe "we" ought to be adding that, this time, stopping "the government option" is just a prelude to working for sensible, market-based reform that we can all believe in. That would include key components of McCain’s plan, which he forgot to talk about doing the campaign, of devolving coverage to individuals with government subsidization. More and more, Yuval is the man on this stuff.

Obama is the Opposite of Clinton

SO observes the always astute Dick Morris. Obama remains personally popular, but confidence in his policies if fading. Clinton was at times regarded as personally scum, but the voters almost always had confidence in his policy competence. People tend to vote, Dick reminds us, on competence, not character, although it’s always better to have both.

Right now Obama gets a pass because the recession is still blamed on Bush’s incompetence. The president will be in big trouble when the voters can distinguish between the old Bush recession and the new one caused by his gratuitous stimulation and the resulting inflation. Meanwhile, voters are already skeptical enough that Republicans should be doing what they can to undermine the already flagging confidence in the president’s ability to direct health care reform--not in the hope of avoiding reform but to make it more sensible.

But, as Ivan the K remind us, what’s still lacking is Republican leadership. Palin and Letterman are engaged in pro wrestling to revive their flagging careers. I’m not going to repeat my views on the limitations of Newt. Gov. Mitch Daniels is not going to be a national figure. The leadership has to come from a competent and somewhat charismatic members of Congress.

The Way Forward in Afghanistan

The new commander in Afghanistan, as quoted in the WSJ

After watching the U.S. try and fail for years to put down insurgencies in both countries, Gen. McChrystal said he believes that to win in Afghanistan, "You’re going to have to convince people, not kill them.

"Since 9/11, I have watched as America tried to first put out this fire with a hammer, and it doesn’t work," he said last week at his home at Fort McNair in Washington. "Decapitation strategies don’t work."


For all you men out there (and all you women with a sense of humor still in tact) the question posed above this video was, "Are women born this way?

Last Two Installments of the Peter Robinson/Charles Kesler Interview

. . . are now posted.

The Bourgeois Bohemian Today

Here’s a pretty pithy paragraph summarizing ME on the bourgeois bohemians (or Bobos, as named by that "it takes one to know one," David Brooks).

Here, quickly, are three points for discussion on the Bobos today:

1. They are the WHITE PEOPLE summarized in the book that describes what they like. So they are really for Obama, for bohemian or cultural reasons. That’s why Bobo Republicans (who remained GOP for bourgeois reasons) switched over to Barack. McCain and Palin, in different ways, were anti-bohemian candidates (and to some extent even anti-bourgeois--in the sense of anti- the class described by Marx). Many an alleged conservative said to ME: At least the CULTURE will be better with Obama as president. And certainly the people who specialize in caring about cultural stuff are happier.

2. Bobos lack compassion for those who don’t flourish in our unprecedented meritocracy. Preferring the more serene Eastern religions, they don’t practice or even recognize the virtue of CHARITY. That’s why studies show that conservatives give much more time and money to charitable activities, and they are quite typically motivated by a religion that emphasizes personal love when they do so. "Bourgeois Christian" is more charitable than "bourgeois bohemian," which is why it sometimes pains me when Crunchy Cons paint ordinary Republicans as simply bourgeois and offer a criticism of them that has many bohemian features. That’s not to say that bourgeois bohemians are adverse to government doing more to make everyone (especially themselves) less anxious and more secure) and to relieve them of the burden of thinking about the poor.

3. Bourgeois bohemian, as I’ve explained, tends to be, just beneath the surface, more bourgeois than bohemian. That accounts for the increasing puritanical, prohibitionist paranoia when it comes to one’s own health and safety, and safety--as in safe sex--has seemingly become the whole of Bobo morality. (Let me be clear that I’m not against health and safety; it’s just ridiculously degrading as the whole of morality.) So FEAR would drive the Bobos back to the Republicans. The Democrats are vulnerable to new crime waves, perceptions of dangerous weakness in foreign policy, and runaway inflation. Bill Voegeli was surely right that the Republicans victories against the forces and evildoers that scare us (Guiliani, Reagan, even Bush) are the cause of Bobo complacency. If the FEAR FACTOR remains low or tolerable, Republicans should target non-Bobo voters, who are actually less fearful, more admirable, and have more fun.

Hayward’s Reagan

Steve Hayward’s first volume on Reagan, The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964-1980, is just out in paperback. Everyone interested in the fix conservatives find themselves in today ought to re-read this volume immediately, and then the up-coming second volume, The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, out in August.

Al Qaeda leaving Pakistan

This NY Times article is probably near the truth--that al Qaeda fighters are leaving Pakistan and are moving to Somalia and Yemen--and the future becomes visible: chasing them down and rebuilding failed states, so the climate will be less hospitable (as long as you don’t talk about regime change, of course). And I note in passing that we are leaving Kyrgyzstan.

Speaking of Cuba.... Hisss

From the WaPo, a 72-year old retired State Department analyst, "a member of one of Washington’s most prominent families," Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, spied for Cuba and hoped to sail there soon with his wife.

"The bureau people are very angry about it. Really angry. But also bewildered," said Wayne White, who worked on Middle Eastern issues in the bureau for a quarter-century before retiring in 2005. "This seemingly intelligent and urbane person was convinced that Castro’s Cuba was this terrific place?"

In case this stirs you, see this thorough account of Senator Joe McCarthy’s investigations and charges, M. Stanton Evans’ recent book.

Reverend Wright and the Holocaust Museum Murderer

They both believe Jews control Obama.

The Museum murderer:

“The Holocaust is a lie,” [his] note read.“Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America’s money. Jews control the mass media.”


"Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office," Wright told the Daily Press of Newport News following a Tuesday night sermon at the 95th annual Hampton University Ministers’ Conference.

"They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. ... I said from the beginning: He’s a politician; I’m a pastor. He’s got to do what politicians do."

UPDATE: Wright explains he meant "Zionists"--not all Jews.

Such attacks on Jews reflect hatred for people of faith generally. Consider Karl Marx’s early anti-Jewish screeds in this regard: His call to expunge Judaism anticipates his assault on Christianity and revealed religion in general. Marx of course inspires deviations from religious orthodoxy, including black liberation theology.

Freedom is Just Another Word...

FOR a computer program that disables the Internet for a specified period of time. The temptation, otherwise, is too great not to give your sustained attention to this or that important task. I mention this only to prod those who don’t have TVs but have laptops into reflecting on the incoherence of their "lifestyle." It goes without saying that relying on a technical solution to technical addiction is probably stupid.

Par for the Course

So let’s see if I have this straight: California is broke, facing literal insolvency in just a few weeks, and threatening to close all state beaches (that would include my favorite summertime sea kayaking spot), but not to worry: San Francisco is stepping up--and toughening its recycling laws.

Corporate Lobbying

An on-line travel company sent me this. Interesting campaign for them to take up.

At . . . [company name] we believe passionately in the power of travel to transform lives. And we believe that people should have the freedom to travel wherever they choose.

Americans today have the right to travel to any country in the world except Cuba. Three weeks ago, we launched, a campaign that gives people a way to petition U.S. leaders to end the 50-year Cuba travel ban and give all Americans the freedom to travel to Cuba.

With Congress considering the bipartisan Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, the opportunity to end the 50-year ban hangs in the balance.

Interns Gone Wild

This article tells us about a new website dedicated to all the stupid, naive, and embarrassing things young interns in DC do as they descend upon the city "like the Eighth Plague" (in the words of some residents). I’m only surprised that it has taken this long for the thing to materialize. Of course, I’m sure we won’t be hearing about any Ashbrook Scholar interns on this particular site . . .

Charles Kesler on the "Third Wave" of Liberalism

Ever wonder how the thinking of the prudish Woodrow Wilson begot the 60s generation and the "sexual revolution"? Charles Kesler takes up that theme and others in today’s installment of his interview with Peter Robinson at NRO-TV.

UPDATE: Peter Robinson’s Forbes article on the same theme.

Peace, peace, when there is no peace . . .

Camille Paglia on President Obama’s speech in Cairo:

Barack Obama was elected to do exactly what he did last week at Cairo University -- to open a dialogue with the Muslim world. Or at least that was why I, for one, voted for him, contributed to his campaign, and continue to support him. There is no more crucial issue for the future of the West, . . .

The Cairo speech is well-organized, ticking off central thorny issues region by region. But there is an unsettling slackness and even sentimentality in its view of history. . . . Obama’s lack of fervor may be one reason he rejects and perhaps cannot comprehend the religious passions that perennially erupt around the globe and that will never be waved away by mere words. By approaching religion with the cool, neutral voice of the American professional elite, Obama was sometimes simplistic and even inadvertently condescending. . . .

But before he can sway hearts and minds, the president will need to show that he understands the ultimate divergence and perhaps incompatibility of major creeds. At the finale, his recitation of soft-focus quotes from the Koran, Talmud and Bible came perilously close to a fuzzy New Age syncretism of "all religions are the same" -- which they unequivocally are not. The problem facing international security is that people who believe something will always be stronger and more committed than people who believe nothing -- which unfortunately describes the complacent passivity of most Western intellectuals these days.

I wonder whether that last bit hits the nail on the head with regard to the President’s view of the world. Are there any irrepressible conflicts in the world?

Ann Althouse posted that last bit on her blog, and one reaction to it:

[Paglia] is conflating fervor with belief and frenzied excitement with persistent character. Most fundamentalists aren’t acting out of real fervor for their chosen god, most are acting out of insecure egos who are attempting to manipulate the seen world so as to secure their own identity as dominating and secure their meager faith in some kind of obvious sign of their supposed devotion.

The religious passions of so many are not really religious at all, but are expressions of a deep-seated insecurity in the face of a rather dismissive world.

That’s the debate. Are the world’s great conflicts reduceable to such material or psychological causes, or do many of them grow from things of the spirit? Is conflict sewn into the human condition?

John Adams answered that question this way:

Wars are the natural and unavoidable effects of the constitution of human nature and the fabric of the globe it is destined to inhabit and rule. I believe further that wars, at times, are as necessary for the preservation and perfection, the prosperity, liberty, happiness, virtue, and independence of nations as gales of wind to the salubrity of the atmosphere, or the agitations of the ocean to prevent its stagnation and putrefacation. As I believe this to be the constitution of God Almighty and the constant order of his Providence, I must esteem all the speculations of divines and philosophers about universal and perpetual peace as shortsighted, frivolous romances.

Pres. Obama Calls for New “Epistemology Czar”

Yesterday, Pres. Obama and Vice Pres. Biden declared that the $787 billion stimulus program enacted in February would create or save 600,000 jobs in the next 100 days. The president said it had already created or saved 150,000 jobs. On Sunday, his advisor David Axelrod said the plan had “produced hundreds of thousands of jobs.” Vice Pres. Biden recently said “the act is on track to generate or save 3.5 million jobs by September 2010,” according to Reuters.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jared Bernstein, an economic advisor to the vice president, “said in an interview that the president’s citation of 150,000 [jobs saved or created] is ‘an estimate’ based partly on what the economy would look like in the absence of the stimulus package. But Bernstein said he could not break down how many of those jobs were created versus saved. ‘That’s a division we’re not able to make at a level of accuracy we’re comfortable with,’ he said.”

As William McGurn noted in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Max Baucus recently expressed unease with the unfalsifiable “create or save” formulation: “You created a situation where you cannot be wrong,” said the Montana Democrat. “If the economy loses two million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would’ve lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs.”

Today, Pres. Obama announced a bold new initiative to rescue the nation from the “false choice” between “hopeful, inspiring press conferences and media events featuring me and members of my administration” and “fatuously precise data, ultimately based on guesswork, delivered by me and members of my administration.” He is appointing the nation’s first “Epistemology Czar,” who will direct the White House Council of Counterfactual Analysis. “The American people are tired of the old, cynical politics,” Obama said. “They made clear last November that they are ready for leaders who will describe events that have not gone through the formality of taking place with the same detail as ones that have.”

Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, later informed reporters that the Council of Counterfactual Analysis had already produced several valuable reports. They show that: 217,000 Americans are already “feeling a little better, thanks” in anticipation of major health care reforms; General Motors is “37% less bankrupt” than it would have been without federal bailout funds; and Vice Pres. Biden says “4 more weird things” in an average week than he would if he were still in the Senate. Mr. Higgs said the council consists of three metaphysicians appointed by the president, and a staff of 12 civil-service researchers on loan from the Journal of Irreproducible Results. He noted, however, that once one took into account the multiplier effect of the spending by members of the council, plus the additional employment generated by academic, journalistic and research organizations trying to read their reports, the full number of people employed by the council is “probably a couple thousand. Or something.”

Part Two of the Charles Kesler/Peter Robinson Interview

. . . is up today.

ME on Kass and Rousseau


Sign of the Times?

Is one consequence of the plunging economy likely to be the forcing of gritty, edgy, independent "artist" types to actually adopt the lifestyle of sacrifice and hard knocks that they advocate and glorify? This article about the decline of "trustafarians" (gotta love the term!) suggests that it is. Good to see that there is at least one area of common agreement between hard-working middle class Americans who expect their children to grow up and take care of themselves and the more authentic voices of those who might be seen to be "counter-cultural." It makes one wonder who the real bourgeois and the real bohemians are . . . and also if, in America, there really is that big of a difference between them.


The Great Energy Society

A rough parallel hit me the other day while pondering the continuing farce of the Waxman-MarKey "American Clean Energy and Security Act." (By the way, why doesn't the word "climate" appear in the bill's title, since it is aimed at preventing climate change?--Ed. Probably because polls show it is a loser with the public.) Back in the 1960s, the Great Society was the vehicle for the "war on poverty." That went well. Today, what might be called "the Great Energy Society" is being proposed to carry out what should be called our "war on carbon." It will likely work out just as well. I offer further thoughts over on The American Blog.
Categories > Environment

Pronouns Reflect Reality

That’s the view of STANLEY FISH, normally not a guy who’s big on reality. Obama has switched to the very assertive "I," which reminds us of the most imperial of the cinematic Godfathers more even than God himself. That’s fine, Fish observes, if he has a god’s rate of success. Fish’s astuteness should be news to egalitarian communitarians such as Susan McWilliams, who was all excited over the presidential candidate for being such a "We" guy.

Old White Men

1. I’ve been meaning to get around to saying a few things about Bill Voegeli’s great diagnostic article linked by Joe below.

2. The first point concerns its perhaps (we’ll see) justified pessimism about the immediate future. If the country had had the demographic of 1992 in the 2008 election, McCain would have won. The biggest change was the decline in the percentage of white, non-college men. McCain WAS the candidate of relatively old, white, unsophisticated men. He was the candidate of my country in fairly rural GA--where he won 23K to 10K. There’s no chance in heck this demographic trend is going to turn around, of course.

3. So while I’m glad to see Fox beating the heck out of CNN in viewership (as Steve H shows us below), I sure would like to see the demographic of its audience before having a party. And because I’ve said already things about the limited appeal of Rush, Newt, Hannity, etc., I won’t repeat them--and I certainly mean nothing personal about the capabilities or intentions of those men.

4. Bill V. reminds us of the immigration debacle in President Bush’s second term. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and the issue is hugely complicated. But the outcome is undeniable: The Hispanic voters (who are rapidly growing as a percentage of the electorate) came to see the median Republican as much more racist than they used to. So middle-class, admirable, family oriented, church going etc. Hispanics voted much more like African Americans of the same description. Perceived racism trumped socially conservative concerns. Bush and McCain, whatever their practical shortcomings, shared the opinion that Republicans can’t win without holding, say, 40% on the Hispanic vote. That will likely be more true in the elections to come than it was in 2008.

5. I fear the appointment of Sotomayor was a brilliant move on Obama’s part to solidify the Hispanic vote. I appreciate the courage of the African American Shelby Steele in condemning the president for preferring "identity politics" to purely meritocratic, post-racial considerations. But it’s also true enough that presidents have often used Court appointments to further political goals. And she does have a very credible resume for the job and all that. Certainly white, male experts fell into the president’s trap by using "racism" to describe her or her views. (The president’s appointments of Republicans McHugh [Army] and Leach [NEH] were even better, of course. They were calculated to peel away even more upscale, white sophisticates away from the Republicans, and they can both certainly be justified on meritocratic grounds.)

6. There’s probably nothing stupider than the advice by Frum etc. that the Republicans should try to become more competitive by abandoning their identity as the more socially conservative, pro-life party. Social conservatism in some sense, for one thing, will somehow become the party’s way of winning a decent percentage of Hispanic and African American vote--although maybe not real soon. And the country and young people especially, all the studies show, are becoming more pro-life. Religious and moral considerations will continue to have singular power in country in trumping race, class, gender, and all that. What’s wrong with Kansas and various other states is that people have more elevated and noble view of their self-interest than any economist can explain.

7. Huckabee, who does nothing for me now, was right after all early in his strange campaign in noticing that middle-class Americans are afflicted with both moral and economic anxiety--even before the economic crisis that nobody understands but affects us all. The Republicans can’t hope to beat eloquent Democratic empathy on the economic front, although they should do everything they can to show that the best way not to be disoriented is to be personally responsible. So they have to include, in their appeal, concern for the excesses of relativism, creeping and sometimes creepy cultural libertarianism, etc.

Plug: On Sale Today!

The paperback edition of volume 1 of The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order officially goes on sale today. (It’s also available in a Kindle edition for tech mavens like Schramm.) A prelude to the launch of the second and final volume on August 25.

Rights in Bankruptcy . . .

Were California to declare bankruptcy, would it get relief from federal mandates?

Fox Kicking Everyone’s A**

Top 20 Cable News Programs by total viewers, April 2009

1. "The O’Reilly Factor" (Fox News): 3,498,000 total viewers

2. "Hannity" (Fox News): 2,566,000 total viewers

3. "Glenn Beck" (Fox News): 2,230,000 total viewers

4. "On the Record with Greta van Susteren" (Fox News): 2,173,000 total viewers

5. "Special Report with Bret Baier" (Fox News): 2,047,000 total viewers

6. "The Fox Report with Shepard Smith" (Fox News): 1,915,000 total viewers

7. "The O’Reilly Factor" (Fox News, repeat): 1,723,000 total viewers

8. "Your World with Neil Cavuto" (Fox News): 1,520,000 total viewers

9. "America’s Newsroom" (Fox News): 1,505,000 total viewers

10. "Studio B with Shepard Smith" (Fox News): 1,314,000 total viewers

11. "Happening Now" (Fox News): 1,247,000 total viewers

12. "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" (MSNBC): 1,237,000 total viewers

13. "The Live Desk" (Fox News): 1,210,000 total viewers

14. "Larry King Live" (CNN): 1,093,000 total viewers

15. "Anderson Cooper 360" (CNN): 1,058,000 total viewers

16. "The Rachel Maddow Show" (MSNBC): 1,042,000 total viewers

17. "Situation Room" (CNN): 898,000 total viewers

18. "Lou Dobbs Tonight" (CNN): 826,000 total viewers

19. "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" (CNN): 786,000 total viewers

20. "CNN Newsroom" (CNN): 725,000 total viewers.

Notice that the O’Reilly re-run (#7) is doing better than MSNBC and CNN.

"You Scare Me"--The Open Letter to Obama

This is very well done, from a fairly substantial person rather than a crank. I wonder if the veneer is beginning to peel.

Mr. Orszag’s 30 Percent Non-Solution

Barack Obama is clearly determined to make Bill Clinton’s greatest domestic policy failure – leaving office without a national health insurance program – his own greatest success. The reason it will be difficult, even for a president with high approval ratings facing an opposition party in disarray, is that the government cannot dramatically expand its entitlement obligations at a time when voters are expressing bailout-fatigue and global bond markets are signaling federal deficit-fatigue. The solution to this political problem is obvious and inevitable: the Obama health care plan will be sold using liberalism’s when-all-else-fails rhetorical device. It’s the one that assures a dubious public not to fear a vast and expensive-sounding proposal, because the program will “pay for itself” and probably “pay for itself many times over.”

The basis of the argument that America can restructure its health care system to guarantee coverage to millions of people not insured today without taking on enormous new financial burdens is that by eliminating wasteful spending and duplication, more care will not require more dollars. The leader of this effort is Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. According to a recent New Yorker article, Orszag became “obsessed” a few years ago with research by the Dartmouth Institute on Health Policy and Clinical Practice that strongly suggested “there must be enormous savings that a smart government, by determining precisely which medical procedures are worth financing and which are not, could wring out of the system.” Sure enough, a report last week from the Council of Economic Advisors relied on the Dartmouth data to assert that “nearly 30 percent of Medicare’s costs could be saved without adverse health consequences.” Extrapolating from the portion of the population covered by Medicare to the entire nation, the report says, “[It] should be possible to cut total health expenditures by about 30 percent without worsening outcomes,” which would be the equivalent to finding an additional 5 percent of GDP in a drawer in the nation’s closet that we had forgotten about.

Wait a minute, said Virginia Postrel on her blog last week. Before we make the entire nation a guinea pig for testing Orszag’s cost-reduction theory, why not try it on the big portion of the health-care market that the federal government already dominates? “[You] do have to wonder,” she said, “why a report that claims that Medicare is wasting 30 percent of its spending thinks it’s making a case for making the rest of the health care system more like Medicare.”

The New Yorker breathlessly declared that Barack Obama is “betting his Presidency” on “Orszag’s thesis” that “a government empowered with research on the most effective medical treatments can, using the proper incentives, persuade doctors to become more efficient health-care providers, thus saving billions of dollars.” The success of Obama’s presidency is a goal in which the New Yorker is heavily invested, of course. Perhaps there are even higher stakes that its editors could imagine, however, such as the solvency of the federal government, or the health and peace of mind of millions of patients who have more confidence in their doctors’ recommendations than those issued by a federal agency.

To his credit, Orszag phoned Postrel after her “Medicare First” blog post received a lot of attention. His argument against her idea – “changing Medicare and waiting to see how it works before messing around with the rest of the health care system” – is notably weak, however. The politics of what she suggests are impossible, according to Orszag. “I don’t think you’re going to get these aggressive changes in Medicare unless you do some coverage expansion now,” he told her. An example he gave Postrel is that the AARP “will accept significant changes in Medicare only if the money goes to expanding coverage.”

I couldn’t find any evidence of this line in the sand on AARP’s vast website, but let’s stipulate that this is indeed their position. It’s hardly dispositive. The biggest lobbying organization in Washington, representing millions of people enrolled in Medicare, doesn’t seem as confident as the Council of Economic Advisors that the latest ingenious idea from academia can be imposed on its members “without worsening outcomes.” If Orszag is right, AARP’s members aren’t being asked to give up anything that improves their health and longevity. Before plunging into a national system from which none can exit, it would be interesting to know why they think differently.

With Sotomayor, Obama has shown "bad faith toward an America that has shown him only good faith."

So says Shelby Steele in today’s WSJ. His argument stretches back to his thesis from the election (and the title of his book on the subject) that Barack Obama is a "bound man"--especially on the question of identity politics. According to Steele, Obama claims to be and seems to seek to be "post-racial" in a kind of "bargaining" with whites whereby their embracing him absolves them of any share of guilt in America’s racist past. But Obama also cannot escape the political truth that much of his most loyal support comes from groups that also support exactly the kind of identity politics touted by Sotomayor.

If Obama was truly engaged in a kind of wise and statesmanlike tying together of these seemingly incompatible extremes for the purpose of actually arriving at something that is akin to a post-racial America, it would seem that he would have to point to something like a third way. Forget, for a moment, what the substance of that third way would be (for I suspect he doesn’t really know the answer to that himself). How would he point the way? He would have to affirm the legitimate grievances on both sides--the weariness with the guilt on the one hand, and the injured feelings and actual harm felt on the other. And, indeed, his speeches are full of "on the one hands" and "on the other hands" and rhetoric about "false choices" that, he argues, pit us against each other when there’s no need. We can all get along . . . but, for now, it seems we’ll have to do it through him. Even so, Obama can only keep this up, or seem to keep this up, in his speeches. When it comes to the reality test, the problem is that his balancing act doesn’t translate well into action. He’s just alternating the placating right now--and so running in place. Today he scratches the backs of the advocates of identity politics and winks at concerned whites . . . it’s o.k., she’s not really as bad as she seems. After all, she’s got my approval and look at who says she’s a racist . . . Newt Gingrich. Tomorrow, he will do a gimme to the other side, throw another hard-edged radical under the bus, and wink at the equally radical but less firm-footed. And this will work . . . for now.

But I begin to wonder how long this will last. Already, the cracks in his support on the left are beginning to widen. And the Sotomayor hearings may provide ample opportunity (if not stupidly handled) for conservatives to finally make a case against identity politics that accepts (and fairly explains) the blame conservatives have shared with liberals in escalating racial tension for political gain. The third way is to tell the truth about our history and our principles and make a solid case for embracing both. Barack Obama stops short in both instances and enjoys the fruits of playing this deceptive game.

Charles Kesler on the "First Wave" of Liberalism

Charles Kesler can be seen in the first of a five part interview with National Review Online’s Peter Robinson that aims to sort out--in layman’s terms--the "grand liberal project" of the last century. Worth a look, serious contemplation, and follow up reading.    

The Summer Edition of PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICAL SCIENCE out--well before summer officially begins.

There’s a PATHBREAKING symposium on the work of CHANTAL DELSOL, edited by PAUL SEATON. It includes articles by Delsol herself, Paul, Carl Eric Scott, Ivan the K, and, of course, ME.

If that weren’t enough, there’s a most judicious appraisal of biotechnology and liberal democracy by Darwinian Larry’s best student, Lauren K. Hall.

And there’s MORE, including a most penetrating review essay on Gillespie’s THE THEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF MODERNITY by Ralph Hancock. You’ll learn that Gillespie’s thesis is actually sort of plausible, but it’s still true, as Ralph explains, that Gillespie’s "rhetorical tendency to play up the Christian dimension of modernity seems to detract from [his] more fundamental claims."

Gender Studies for Teens

Vermont’s tax dollars hard at work.

Ducking the Issue?

Arthur Herman provides and apologia for Gitmo in his "The Gitmo Myth and the Torture Canard" in the latest Commentary