The Spectacle Blog

Edward Gibbon, Call Your Office

By on 9.27.15 | 12:25PM

In his visit to America, Pope Francis has had considerable truck with politicians. And has pronounced and prompted (some – not I - would say hectored) on subjects not generally considered the province of religious leaders. This had led to a spate of foolish assertions and spurious expressed hope on the part of TV talking heads, political writers, and others in the chatterati.

No. The Pope, no matter how sincere he is, will not leave behind him a better political atmosphere. The differences that existed when he arrived will persist irreconcilably after he leaves. The scales will fall from no one’s eyes. I suggest it’s time for those asking these silly questions and expressing this dubious hope to revisit their Gibbon.

He spoke to the impact of religion on politics: “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.”

Mets Clinch NL East; Make Post-Season for First Time Since ‘06

By on 9.26.15 | 8:19PM

Here is what I wrote about the New York Mets at the beginning of the 2015 season:

The Mets will shock the world and capture an NL Wild Card berth. 

The New York Mets did one better. Today, they clinched the NL East with a win a 10-2 victory over the hapless Cincinnati Reds today. The much maligned Matt Harvey threw 6 1/3 innings with Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson and David Wright each hitting home runs. It marks the first time the Mets have made the post-season since 2006.

The Mets got off to a strong start with a 15-8 mark in April which included an 11-game winning streak. But the Washington Nationals would rebound in May and take over the division on May 20th. The Mets would rebound in June and regain first place on June 11th. But less than two weeks later, they would drop seven in a row and fall under .500. During that losing streak, they only scored more than two runs once. The impeccable pitching of Harvey, Jacob de Grom, Noah Syndergaard and the ageless Bartolo Colon plus Jeurys Familia wasn't enough. 

Jolly Calls Conservatives Idiots

By on 9.26.15 | 3:00PM

Republican Congressman David Jolly has represented the 13th District of Florida – mostly the city of St. Petersburg – since he won a special election in 2014 after the death of long-time Congressman Bill Young. Lines have been redrawn so that CD13 now favors Democrats, so Jolly will seek the U.S. Senate seat Marco Rubio is leaving in order to run for President.

Jolly has been known as a Republican moderate. He’s pro-life and strong on gun rights, but early on became one of the first, perhaps the first, Republican member of Congress to support same-sex marriage. “I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty.” He explained, “To me that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their (sic) faith and by their (sic) church, not by their (sic) state.” He hasn’t said whether this standard also applies to polygamists and sheep fanciers. 

Call the Caterer

By on 9.25.15 | 6:05PM

Interviewed by a CNN reportress Friday on the occasion of John Boehner’s resignation as House Speaker, Rep. Peter King (R-New York) expressed the hope that the new Speaker would not try to “cater to the crazies,” meaning conservatives, who would like the see the Republican House every once in a while do something, well, conservative.

I guess this is the kind of Republican one should expect to run across in New York. The kind that, with a 246 to 188 Republican majority, is more comfortable when the House caters to Democrats.

When Boehner Invited Bibi

By on 9.25.15 | 2:22PM

No doubt there are many conservatives rejoicing at House Speaker John Boehner’s sudden resignation which takes effect at the end of next month.

It can be justifiably argued that Boehner was ineffective in shepherding a conservative legislative agenda and acting as an official opposition to the Obama Administration. His habit of tearing up at the slightest provocation didn’t help matters much. However, I strongly suspect that Boehner, who is Roman Catholic, probably made his decision to depart as he was listening to Pope Francis address Congress yesterday. It could very well be the case that he has found another calling.

Boehner’s Confusion

By on 9.25.15 | 2:09PM

John Boehner announced earlier today that he’s leaving the post of Speaker of the House. During his remarks he made this stunner of a statement that shows, for those who didn’t believe it already, that it’s way past time for him to turn the gavel over. Be seated for this:

“The first job of any Speaker,” John said, “is to protect this institution that we all love.”

No, John, it is not! It. Is. Not. The first obligation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is to the country, its security, its prosperity, and its cultural and spiritual health. The U.S. House of Representatives exists to ensure these things for the country. The country doesn’t exist for the care and convenience of the House and those who wish to carve out a comfortable career in it.

Trump Fighting the Good Fight? Not!

By on 9.25.15 | 11:46AM

In his latest on Donald Trump, my AmSpec colleague Jeff Lord praises The Donald as a fighter. Jeff writes, “What was Donald Trump doing just yesterday? He was fighting. Fighting with Fox. And before that? With Jorge Ramos. With Univision. With Megyn Kelly. With CNN. With Rosie O’Donnell.”

O.K., so we know who Donald Trump is fighting. But what exactly is Donald Trump fighting for?

The Donald makes for good TV. But so does the WWE. By this standards perhaps we should elect Vince McMahon or John Cena to the White House. I say this in all seriousness because we should consider Jeff’s assessment of the recently departed Scott Walker:

Meanwhile there was Scott Walker busy talking. He was talking… talking… talking. Here’s a sample Walker quote from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a while back:

Boehner and Benghazi

By on 9.25.15 | 11:31AM

House Speaker John Boehner’s abrupt resignation brings to mind The American Spectator’s experiences with him. They have not been all that bad. In fact, one experience in 2014 was very good. It was in the aftermath of our report on the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens at Benghazi. In that report Jed Babbin and I chronicled how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had ignored the ambassador’s calls for beefed up security in Libya and around Benghazi. In fact she had weakened the security. We sent the report to Speaker Boehner along with a petition signed by notable figures asking for the Speaker to convene a Select Committee to inquire into the tragic event. In a matter of hours his aides notified us that our piece had had its effect. A Select Committee was being convened. In a matter of time Congressman Trey Gowdy was tapped to head it and we were off and running to investigate Hillary on yet another front. Perhaps we were not running as fast as we wanted, but in the months ahead I think we shall see real consequences.

Royals Clinch AL Central

By on 9.24.15 | 11:50PM

The Kansas City Royals have clinched the AL Central with a 10-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners. It marks the first time the Royals have won a division since winning the AL West in 1985. The Royals reached the post-season last year by way of the AL Wild Card and went on to win the AL pennant before losing the World Series in 7 games to the San Francisco Giants. 

A lot of people (myself included) thought the Royals were a fluke. The Royals are better than they were a year ago. They did battle with the Detroit Tigers in April and the Minnesota Twins in May, but would be in first place for good on June 9th. 

The Royals led the division by as many as 14 1/2 games on August 19th. September has actually been their worst month with a 9-13 mark. However, they won the Central by 11 games over the Twins.

First Ann Coulter Came For The Jews, Now It’s the Catholics’ Turn

By on 9.24.15 | 2:26PM

First it was “f---king Jews.” Now Ann Coulter has turned her attention to Catholics.

In response to a tweet from David Limbaugh who spoke in agreement with Catholics who object to Pope Francis’s economic critique, Coulter tweeted, “I’m an American and this is why our founders (not ‘immigrants’!) distrusted Catholics & wouldn’t make them citizens.”

Some might argue that she is merely being sarcastic. Please forgive me if I fail to see the sarcasm of “f---king Jews.” But if her comments about Catholics were an attempt at sarcasm, it might be useful if she attempted to demonstrate a rudimentary knowledge of American history.