Feelings of déjà vu run strong here these days. Once again the experts can’t agree on whether Saddam has toys capable of hitting Israel. Nevertheless, the shelters and hospitals are being prepared and the gas masks have been given out. It reminds you of the last months of 1990 and the first two weeks of 1991, when the Americans and British were gathering their armies in case Saddam defied the UN and refused to quit Kuwait. He refused, the Allied bombing started, and a few hours later the Scuds were flying over this city and dropping on Tel Aviv.
Five days after his inauguration, Bill Clinton named his wife Hillary to head a taskforce charged with drafting a bill within a hundred days to reform the health care system. In the first flush of the hundred-day effort, Hillary framed the outline of the Clinton plan and talked to members of Congress, lobbyists, interest groups, and the public, in an effort to create momentum and rally support.
She made dozens of courtesy calls on Capitol Hill, testified before committees in both houses of Congress, and went on a nationwide speaking tour. As part of a massive public relations blitz, Hillary went to Capitol Hill to introduce her plan to Congress that fall: "I'm here as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a woman," she began. In marathon sessions before five key House and Senate committees, the first lady demonstrated her command of the subject. "No previous first lady occupied center stage so aggressively or disarmed her critics more effectively," the New York Times said. "I think in the very near future," Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski said, "the president will be known as your husband. 'Who's that fellow? That's Hillary's husband.'"
TWO THINGS ALL conservatives love are narratives of decline and talking about conservatism. Put those together and you have the popular argument that conservatism ain’t what it used to be. The chart of that supposed decline, if you were to draw it Ascent of Man style, would start with Edmund Burke looking intelligent and walking upright, followed by William F. Buckley as Australopithecus, slouching. The present age would be represented by some knuckle-dragging, prognathous creature like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. First comes very smart, then pretty smart, and then not very smart at all.
AS THE GOP goes wobbly, red states go purple, then blue. This is the cautionary tale that California offers national Republicans. Texas, it seems, is in the crosshairs next. Republicans need the Lone Star State’s 38 electoral votes to anchor any future presidential victory. Democratic strategists, knowing this, have launched “Battleground Texas,” a multi-million-dollar attempt to make the state competitive again. The effort has drawn attention from the likes of the liberal rag the American Prospect, and the unthinkable prospect of a blue Texas has even burdened a few heads on Capitol Hill. “In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” Senator Ted Cruz told the New Yorker last year. “The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party.”
Writing at the Spectator online, Reid Smith compared the situation to that of Colorado, a once solidly red state, turned blue after establishment Republicans went flaky:
Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
Don't criticize what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging.
You can say that again, Bob. Live in a nice house in the suburbs; buy your kid a BMW and the other trimmings of the prosperous life; teach him tolerance and medicate his demons—and he still turns into a storm trooper who happily slaughters schoolmates and hopes to land a hijacked jetliner in the Trump Tower.