About This Month

About This Month

It’s Never Easy

By From the September 2013 issue

WANT TO HEAR a good one? According to the New York Times, not that it’s endorsing him, what’s the one thing that qualifies Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. for the U.S. Senate? Answer: He “helped write the Affordable Care Act.”

Once you’ve stopped guffawing, consider, as Jim Antle has done meticulously, Obamacare (among other related issues; see p. 26). With its “persistent flaws” and unpopularity, this jobs killer is doing as much as anything else to weaken Obamarule’s grip. Indeed, the law is making it possible to conceive that the deeply pessimistic question Jim posed in his essential recent book, Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? (Regnery), could actually have a bracing answer. Much of course will depend on Republicans displaying “political competence,” as Jim diplomatically puts it, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

About This Month

Losing It

By From the July-August 2013 issue

THESE ARE WORDS that will live on famously: “The administration has now lost all credibility.” Most of us could have written that on January 20, 2009. The New York Times finally saw things our way on June 6, 2013, at least for several unbelievable hours. Then cooler heads prevailed and the paper offered a slight emendation, adding “on this issue” to the end of its famous sentence. So let the record stand corrected: While the Times no longer can support the Obama administration’s ravenous surveillance policies, it continues to find its credibility unimpeachable on everything from Benghazi and the IRS to the harassment of journalists and the corrupt enforcement of what it fondly calls the Affordable Care Act. 

Of course it might be a little too late for that. Having let the cat out of the bag, the Times failed to declaw it. It allowed the sentence that immediately followed the revised one to remain untouched, and in the larger scheme of things its content is infinitely more damning. It said: “Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”

About This Month

A World Turned Right Side Up

By From the June 2013 issue

Could it be we took Mrs. Thatcher for granted? That’s the fate of many a good woman, particularly at the hands of men, as I’m reminded again, writing on Mother’s Day. But there’s no denying it. Search as we did on her death for a cover story the Spectator might have run of her, we came up with nothing. Disgracefully sad but true. During her prime we did run cover portraits of such distinguished of her compatriots as Orwell, Churchill, the Queen, even Michael Foot, not to mention President Reagan and Pope John Paul II. But never Margaret Thatcher.

Not until now, now that she belongs to God (p. 44) and to History (p. 20), newly appreciated and revered everywhere except perhaps in diehard Argentina (p. 24). No doubt she would enjoy and wave off what an erudite, poetic friend just told me, calling her “the greatest of the queens of Britain, an Elizabeth the First, a Victoria, or going back in time…she was Boudica, resisting the Roman invasion, she was the Faerie Queene, she was the soul and heart of England”—and he was just warming up. 

About This Month

Boys and Girls

By From the May 2013 issue

For once let me say President Obama is getting a bad rap. In between shutting the White House to tourists and ogling California’s attorney general, he took to the basketball court during this year’s Easter Egg Roll and, according to official scorers, missed 20 of the 22 shots he attempted. Even more embarrassing, he was unguarded. Scores of adoring kids looked on. Yet there is no evidence he was on any Easter candy sugar high. He didn’t appear to be the least concerned about the crazy threats coming out of North Korea. The latest, ever lousier job numbers were still five days away. So what possible excuse did he have? 

That one’s easy. Have you ever tried shooting baskets on a hard court in a dress shirt, dress slacks, and dress shoes, and, on top of that, with a heavy wristwatch strapped to your shooting hand? It can’t be done. End of discussion. I’m only surprised he smiled through the whole ordeal. A real B-baller would have called time and gone to the locker room to change into shorts and sneakers. Once again Mr. Obama was not up to the demands of his job.

About This Month

American Rand Stand

By From the April 2013 issue

Maybe it’s the Tiger Woods curse. The world’s greatest golfer befriends and mentors young Rory McIlroy, a chief rival and rising superstar, and next thing you know the boyish McIlroy is walking off the course in mid-tournament after plopping yet another shot into the water. His reputation may not recover. The same might be said about Woods’ golfing partner of February 17. “He’s got an amazing touch,” Woods devilishly said of Barack Obama’s game afterward. It was a turning point. For once the press was irate over being excluded from the president’s country-clubbing, and it made no sense for him to be luxuriating while otherwise committed to a fear-mongering campaign about the coming sequester. He played the wrong political club, it may be said. 

About This Month

Sounds of Silence

By From the March 2013 issue

Months after the fact, Republicans are said to be reeling still from the setbacks of November 6, not to mention the hurtful campaign speech delivered by our president in place of a second inaugural address. They clearly do need to display some thicker skin. Or let things wash over them, the way that stalwart Democrat Chuck Schumer did after the brazen Beyoncé made a fool of him by lip-synching our national anthem at the inauguration. The fact of the matter is, as pols are wont to say when facts aren’t on their side—but in this case, they are facts Republicans should face squarely—our president campaigned dirty and now he intends to rule dirty. Or dirtier, actually. If they don’t know this by now, they may never know. “There isn’t any resistance to Obama anywhere,” Rush Limbaugh said last month, “and it’s going to get even worse from this point.”

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Clearing the Air

By From the February 2013 issue

These are head-scratching times. Last I checked, the Republican Party controls the House, yet from all appearances and expectations its leaders there act as if they were in charge of a minority, happily deferring to the Democratic Senate to settle a major budget dispute on which constitutionally the lower house of Congress should be in the lead. The question then becomes not so much whether they have the courage of their convictions but whether they still have convictions and what efforts if any they’ll make to articulate them, to advance them, to defend them.

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We’ve Survived Worse

By From the December 2012 - January 2013 issue

As I type, a Washington Post online headline announces, I assume gleefully, “Romney becomes persona non grata to a shell-shocked Republican party.” Isn’t that nice. I’m not going there, other than to note that the story quotes few Republicans by name, and the only one of any political prominence is Chris Christie, who was happy to play Judas in the final stretch to Election Day. I would think he’ll have a better future than Romney as a persona non grata among Republicans. As it happens, Christie, during the GOP’s primary season, was the darling of those now trashing Romney—they know who they are—as they urged and urged him to get in the race. They would have been better off recruiting James Gandolfini. Of course, they’d had earlier favorites. One of them was David Petraeus, a hero like no other in their view. Better luck next time.

About This Month

The Quality of Mercy

By From the October 2012 issue

You no longer have to take our word for it, now that President Obama has inadvertently declared the death of liberalism, and thus of his candidacy. It was a major theme of his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention. “The path we offer may be harder,” he conceded a quarter of the way in, “but it leads to a better place.” And in case anyone misheard, he repeated at the end, “Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place.” Mr. Obama, you’re killing us. Normally when someone dies we console ourselves by saying he’s gone to “a better place.” But Mr. Obama seems insistent that the final reward for the wretchedness he champions is heaven on earth. That’s not really how religion works—but tell that to this Messiah.