The Current Crisis

The Current Crisis

Once Again Mr. President, You Misspoke

By 4.27.16

President Barack Obama on Friday at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron convinced me whether or not the British should stay in the European Union. The vote is on June 23. On Friday our president also penned a column in the Daily Telegraph, Britain’s equivalent of the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Both at his press conference and in his column Mr. Obama argued that Britain should not vote to leave the EU. The British should stay in Europe.

Until Mr. Obama marshaled his case, I was uncertain as to what our British allies should do. Now I know. After reading his column and listening to his press conference the answer became clear. Britain should opt out of the EU. Once again President Obama’s reasoning made the case inescapable. Once again he was wrong and arrogantly wrong.

The Current Crisis

Crazy Bernie’s Curious Pursuit of the Presidency

By 4.20.16

It comes down to this. Crazy Bernie Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton because no other Democrat would stick his/her/its neck out. Hillary was billed “Hillary, The Inevitable” and the rest of the gullible Democrats believed it. Of course, Crazy Bernie was not really a Democrat. He was a self-proclaimed democratic socialist. There was a day when a democratic socialist was too outré for the Democratic Party. Back then the democratic socialist would have had to run on a third-party ticket, perhaps on a fourth-party ticket. Now, of course, the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left that Bernie can claim he speaks for the party’s base.

That makes him a pretty potent adversary for Hillary, at least with Democrats. One wonders, what would happen if Crazy Bernie had gone beyond socialism. What if he had declared himself a Communist? Would the Democratic base still be with him? After all he did honeymoon in the Soviet Union in 1988 after visiting Nicaragua in 1985. Maybe next time around an aspiring Democratic candidate will run as a Communist.

The Current Crisis

Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill Is History

By 4.13.16

Over the last few days former President Bill Clinton displayed one of the salient weaknesses of our famously weak contemporary politicians. He did this even while reminding Americans of one of his rare lapses into true leadership, his 1994 bipartisan legislation to lower crimes rates, particularly in the inner city. When confronted by the low information crowd known as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement he wilted. It took him 24 hours, but eventually, after an eloquent defense of his 1994 leadership, he groveled, whimpering: “I almost want to apologize.”

Why apologize, Mr. President? The incarceration of criminals that followed that 1994 act saved many lives, made marginal neighborhoods livable, and allowed the residents of those neighborhoods to live productive lives. Now they could start climbing up the rungs of the ladder to the middle class. It was a great day for the Republic! Moreover, you made the cities that those warring neighborhoods were in even better cities to live in. Why the retreat, Bill?

The Current Crisis

A Tragic Night

By 4.6.16

At 9:30 the other night I was about to be presented with a tragic lesson regarding one of our country’s pig-headed policy errors, devised ever so quietly by President Barack Obama in league with progressives all over the country. Most Americans are unaware of this policy. They never voted for it. They never debated it. The progressives are just imposing it on us through stealth.

This is the Democrats’ latest advance in democratic process.

The other night I had retired early after a long day of writing when suddenly my wife shook me. Had I heard the disturbance outside the window of our town house, she asked with some urgency. Well I had heard a thud, and so I rushed to the front window a few feet away. There, one story below, in the dull illumination of the streetlight a man in a gray hoodie was leaning over what looked like a stovepipe. On second glance, the stovepipe was actually a male victim lying on his back with blood streaming out a wound on the left side of the back of his head. The lout in the hoodie was frisking his upper body. As I opened the window he furtively withdrew, leaving the man alone on the sidewalk.

The Current Crisis

Paul Ryan’s Road Ahead

By 3.30.16

The Speaker of the House, the Hon. Paul Ryan, recently expressed his hope for a “confident America.” He went on to say “we don’t shut people down. If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don’t insult them into agreeing with us.” He spoke of the superiority of persuasion to execration.

Close observers of the Ryan métier thought he was addressing Donald Trump. After listening to the campaigns in both parties, I have a different view. To my mind, Ryan was urging caution on everyone campaigning for the presidency this year. Certainly his remarks were aimed at his fellow Republicans including Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Yet they were also aimed at Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, both of whom whenever they take to the podium disparage Trump, Cruz, Kasich, and forget not the infamous one percent.

Ryan calls for reflection and restraint from both parties. Nonetheless he is in a tricky position. In a year of riotous politics, he has taken a chance of offending the rabble rousers by calling for a sense of restraint. He even has a Tea Partier challenging him back home.

The Current Crisis

Enunciate After Me, ‘President Donald Trump’

By 3.23.16

People on the left are forever thinking well about themselves when they exalt the lowly poor. When they cry out for world peace. When they declaim over race. As these Americans on the left prattle on about their alleged noble ends — as opposed to the means to those ends — some American conservatives have grown downright envious. Why cannot these conservatives think well about themselves too when they talk about poverty, about international relations, or about race? The answer is that conservatives generally talk seriously about policies that lead to jobs for the poor, a modus vivendi for hostile nations, and the rule of law for all Americans. Still, such talk leaves these conservatives covetous of America’s sanctimonious left.

The Current Crisis

Last Weekend Was 1968 All Over Again

By 3.16.16

I have been an attentive observer of political protests for many moons. You might say I was present at the creation. For me, that would be back in 1968 at Chicago’s Grant Park. My brother and I stood between a line of young Chicago policemen as they grew increasingly anxious, their backs to the hotels that faced the park and in which such luminaries of Democratic politics as Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey were putting the final touches on their convention performances. What provoked the young cops — mainly of Irish and Italian descent — was a mob of college-age demonstrators, members of the vaunted youth movement of 1968, in other words the New Politics. They were about to get what any sane observer would have anticipated. The Tyrrell boys were reliably sane, and we faded from the scene.

The Current Crisis

The Action Is Not All in Washington

By 3.9.16

As the race for the presidential nomination enters the pandemonium stage, I take solace in the soothing wisdom of my friend the British historian, Paul Johnson. He writes: “America is a big country, with vast regions and endless opportunities for polycentrism.” Another way of putting it is that America is a federalist system with endless opportunities for variation. It is always a mistake to focus too intensely on Washington or New York. What about Indianapolis, or Wichita, or Raleigh, North Carolina?

Today the campaign for the Democratic nomination is entering an eerie stage. The campaign for the Republican nomination is entering a terminal stage. Yet out there in America things are taking place that should be reassuring.

The Current Crisis

The Death of Liberalism Updated

By 3.2.16

I wrote a book in 2011 with the felicitous title The Death of Liberalism. The book’s title pretty much said it all. By 2011 the ideology of Adlai Stevenson, of Hubert Humphrey, of Daniel Patrick Moynihan had expired. In the book I explained why Liberalism was dead. Today the evidence is even more abundant. A socialist and a Liberal naysayer as the sole candidates for the Democratic nomination? Liberalism is history.

President Bill Clinton in his 1996 State of the Union address was succinct: “The era of big government is over.” President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s made it so. Newt Gingrich in the 1990s was seeing to it that the Liberal corpse could not be resurrected, and not much that Clinton did in his presidency resuscitated Liberalism. By 2011 I thought it was time for an autopsy.

The Current Crisis

A Pother at Old Georgetown

By 2.24.16

I am certainly glad that the Washington Post reported on a controversy at Georgetown University last week, which was created by the sad death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Thanks to that informative report I am canceling my million-dollar bequest to old Georgetown and channeling it elsewhere, probably to Donald Trump’s super PAC, if I can find his super PAC.

The controversy arose because of a dean’s perfectly civilized published statement of grief. A press release from the Georgetown Law School announced, “Georgetown Law mourns the loss of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” a Georgetown undergraduate and summa cum laude graduate. The dean of the law school, William M. Treanor, then praised Scalia as “a giant in the history of the law, a brilliant jurist whose opinions and scholarship profoundly transformed the law.” As I say, the dean was perfectly civilized in lauding the passing of this great teacher and jurist, to say nothing of his achievements as a father of nine children.