Flashback

Flashback

Blumenthal: New Age Gooney Bird

By 5.22.15

The Rise of the Counter-Establishment: From Conservative Ideology to Political Power
Sidney Blumenthal/Times Books/$19.95

(Reviewed by Penn Kemble in our September 1986 issue)

Sidney Blumenthal is the jaundiced eye through which the Washington Post views the politics and culture of the New Right, the neoconservatives, and those it believes are the “objective” allies of these distasteful usurpers. My colleagues and I at Prodemca—many of us Democrats who had the presumption to favor aid to the Nicaraguan resistance—have been a regular object of his attentions. I accepted the offer to review his new book with the expectation that it might explain whatever broader perspective underlies his animadversions. I am still confused.

Flashback

Buy George

By From the October 1994 issue

From our October 1994 issue: "Buy George: Is that what top people at NationsBank were thinking when they gave Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos an exceptional $668,000 loan?"

In May, with the help of a $668,000 loan from NationsBank Mortgage Corp. (a NationsBank subsidiary), George Stephanopoulos bought an $835,000 D.C. building containing a posh apartment above an eyewear retail store. Gossips, realtors, and all manner of investigative reporters immediately began asking: How could someone who pulls down a mere $125,000 a year—with a net worth between $30,000 and $100,000—afford such pricey real estate? “Stephanopoulos got a great deal,” says one source in the banking world. “They waved it in front of him. The only thing he did wrong was he should’ve known NationsBanc wasn’t giving him this deal because he was Joe Schmoe off the street. He was given this deal because of who he was.”

Flashback

Sing Praises to Alastair Sim’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

By 12.24.14

Alastair Sim in the 1951 adaptation set the standard.

Flashback

Book Review: All The President’s Men

By From the Sept/Oct 2014 issue

Editor’s note: Forty years after Richard Nixon left public office, he remains in college journalism textbooks merely a stage prop used to set the scene for the heroics of the intrepid Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. But as our own Ben Stein noted in this 1974 review of All the President’s Men, a book-length treatment of the Watergate investigation, the duo’s greatest talent is perhaps not reporting but self-promotion. They have, after all, convinced a generation of moviegoers that they singlehandely—well, perhaps doublehandedly—felled a United States president.


At one point in the story of how two reporters for the Washington Post covered the Watergate story and broke much new ground in it, the following lines occur: “They had not broken the law…that much seemed certain. But they had sailed around it and exposed others to danger. They had chosen expediency over principle and, caught in their act, their role had been covered up. They had dodged, evaded, misrepresented, suggested, and intimidated, even if they had not lied outright.”

Flashback

Ocean City Cop: Aug. 1997

By From the August 1997 issue

The spring of 1962, age 21, I became a policeman for the summer in Ocean City, Maryland, a ten-mile-long island on the Atlantic and the state's most popular summer resort.

To hear cops on TV shows like "America's Most Wanted" tell it, they all joined the force because they wanted to "give something back to the community" or because police work is "about helping people." Etc., ad barfum. TV cops these days all sound like that scary-looking Dr. Joyce Brothers.

Also, they are lying. They wanted to be cops so they could be paid to be adrenalized; to see trouble and drama and dark emotion; to chase cars and people, to exercise authority, to exact a little justice, maybe to impose their will on somebody else. Or maybe they just needed a job.

I certainly had my motives. The strongest of them was that I wanted to be a writer. I thought being a cop would help me psyche people out, license me as a kind of pragmatic shrink to analyze the orb's patients up close.

Flashback

Hill 1969

By From the August 1993 issue

(Editor's Note: Memorial Day and post-Vietnam era liberal presidencies haven’t always been made for each other. This year’s Veterans Affairs scandal is showing our current commander in chief in the worst possible light. Twenty-one years ago, his draft-dodging predecessor was perhaps in an even dicier position. Just to be safe, Bill Clinton’s team made sure to keep Vietnam veterans protesting his appearance at the memorial wall in Washington far away from the actual site. A nice reminder of the Obama team’s effort to shut off access to the war memorials on the Mall in our nation’s capital during last year’s so-called government shutdown. David Clayton Carrad, whose report we flash back to here, was near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day, 1993. It was an ugly, sobering event.)

On Memorial Day this year I got up and caught the 8:22 a.m. train to Washington, D.C., and headed for the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall to join the protest against Bill Clinton's presence there.

Flashback

How to Keep Pressure on the Sandinistas: Jul. 1989

By From the July 1989 issue

Editor's Note: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is back in the news again as a possible “Establishment” candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. But there was a time when he considered perhaps more Reaganite than his father, who had just been elected president. Consider the two un-ghosted columns he wrote for us in 1989. The first (republished last week) reveals him to be unabashedly Jack Kempian and supply-siderish, the second (below) solidly anti-Sandinista and pro-democratic regarding Nicaragua. Among conservatives in those days, he and not his brother George was regarded as the young Bush to watch. Perhaps today’s right is being too quick to dismiss him?

Flashback

The Capital Gains Mandate: Jun. 1989

By From the June 1989 issue

Editor's Note: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is back in the news again as a possible “Establishment” candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. But there was a time when he considered perhaps more Reaganite than his father, who had just been elected president. Consider the two un-ghosted columns he wrote for us in 1989. The first (republished below) reveals him to be unabashedly Jack Kempian and supply-siderish, the second (to come next week) solidly anti-Sandinista and pro-democratic regarding Nicaragua. Among conservatives in those days, he and not his brother George was regarded as the young Bush to watch. Perhaps today’s right is being too quick to dismiss him?

No, it wasn't Willie Horton or the Pledge of Allegiance—the issue that took the prize for sheer demagoguery in last year's presidential campaign was, of all things, the capital gains tax rate. And the candidate who led the charge in misrepresenting what the issue was all about was Governor Michael Dukakis, who, with class-warfare rhetoric, argued that a cut in the tax would be a "$40 billion giveaway for all of Bush's rich friends."

Flashback

A Lonely Visionary

By From the December 1987 issue

“Sorry to bother you, but haven’t we met before? Aren’t you…what’s his name?”

“I doubt you’d know my name,” he said. “Nobody does these days.”

There was a trace of bitterness in his voice, just enough to prod my curiosity. On the whole, he was quite an ordinary looking old man, around seventy-five I would guess, with a flabby face and a bald head. But there, right on the top of his forehead, was the painfully familiar huge purple mark resembling the outlines of some exotic land on the globe. Perhaps South America, or even India…. I could swear I’d seen him before.

We were sitting in a bar on Fisherman’s Wharf, the most crowded spot in San Francisco, where you can run across anybody from this or the next world. California, as you know, has the reputation of a weird planet: if there are ghosts, this is their homeland. There is no way of knowing who you might see across the table. Was this fellow one of Hollywood’s old faces, a character from a great but unjustly forgotten movie? He looked a bit like Edward G. Robinson, or someone from The Untouchables.

“Have I seen you on television?”

Flashback

Thomas Jefferson: A Scientific Man — Aug.-Sep. 1978

By From the August-September 1978 issue

In honor of president's day, the Spectator will be republishing this week essays and reviews on our nation's best — and worst — leaders.


Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence
By Garry Wills / Doubleday / $10.00

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