A Further Perspective

A Further Perspective

Slippery Arguments

By 7.2.14

The Left remains in a lather over the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, treating it as a shocking act of judicial invention. It is the “first time” businessmen who run closely held corporations have been accorded religious freedom, says Hillary Clinton, among other liberals. This claim would surely have come as a surprise to the framers of the Constitution. They never viewed employers at family-owned businesses as instruments of state secularism devoid of religious freedom or conscience rights.

A view of businessmen as cogs in the secularist machine is of recent vintage and it is baldly unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers would have been appalled by the assumption implicit in Hillary’s post-ruling musings on Monday that businessmen lose all right to religious freedom the moment they decide to open a business. Such an assumption is worthy not of a constitutional republic but of a totalitarian state that grants an hour of “freedom of worship” on Sundays.

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A Further Perspective

Hillary’s Rusty Populism

By 6.25.14

In 2008, Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist, counseled her to emphasize that she was “born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century.” Her populism on painful display in recent weeks draws upon this strategy.

Hillary hasn’t thrown back any beers and whiskeys yet, as she did in 2008 to prove her populist credentials in the Indiana primary, but she is getting there. She has complained about her “dead broke” status upon leaving the White House and insists that she and her husband, together worth about $100 million, aren’t “truly well off.”

One would think parlaying public service and mere celebrity into easy and extravagant wealth might offend liberal scruples. But Hillary doesn’t appear bothered. She has even suggested that her celebrity-driven wealth is the product of “hard work,” unlike that of the unworthy rich, by whom she means businessmen who have created tens of thousands of jobs. Hillary has created a few jobs for ghostwriters in her pursuit of wealth, but that’s about it.

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A Further Perspective

Hillary Can’t Have Her Cake and Sell It Too

By 6.20.14

“Whichever sales estimate you accept—under what scenario does Simon & Schuster make back [its reported] $14 million advance from Hillary [Clinton’s] book?” asked the Washington Examiner’s Byron York the other day.

His implication was, probably never. Let’s do some back-of-the-envelope math and see if that’s the case.

Madame Secretary Senator First Lady Clinton’s new book about her four years as head of the State Department, Hard Choices, sells for $35 a pop in hardcover. Assume her agent negotiated a primo royalty of 20 percent for the entire run, with no graduated rates. That works out to a maximum payout to her of $7 a copy.

At that rate, the book will make its advance back if it sells 2 million hardcover copies.

Simon & Schuster paid so much for this book because her 2003 book Living History was a megabestseller. The publisher cleared more than a million copies that year. The book easily made back its $8 million advance.

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A Further Perspective

Amnesty Lite Is Still Amnesty

By 6.13.14

Not since a 42-to-1 underdog named Buster Douglas knocked out undefeated heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in 1990 has there been an upset like economics professor Dave Brat defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in Virginia.

You couldn’t write a script like this for a movie and have it be believable. Congressman Eric Cantor, with all kinds of name recognition, and outspending his opponent by 5 million dollars to $100,000, lost 55 percent to 45 percent against somebody that virtually nobody ever heard of before. Polls, incidentally, had predicted that Cantor would defeat Brat 62 percent to 28 percent.

To add a touch of absolute fantasy to the story, Dave Brat’s Democratic opponent this fall is another professor at the same Randolph-Macon College where Professor Brat teaches.

Who would believe that in a movie?

In the end, all of this will be just a curious footnote to what this election means to the Republican Party and — more important — to the country at large.

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The Weaknesses of Hashtag Diplomacy

By 6.10.14

Social media is buzzing; demonstrations are being held across the U.S.; petitions abound, and outrage is growing toward the government of Sudan because of the death penalty against Dr. Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag (age 27) who is subject to death by stoning as soon as she weans her newborn daughter. In the meantime, she will receive “only 100 lashes” in punishment while she nurses her baby. Her crime? Dr. Ibrahim is accused of apostasy because she married a Christian man after being born to a Muslim father who abandoned his family when she was a child and was raised as a Christian by her Ethiopian mother, who is an Orthodox Christian.

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Texas Primaries: A Chance to Prove the Tea Party Right

By 5.30.14

HOUSTON – Texas Monthly is famous for three things: long-form stories of crime and punishment unsurpassed in American journalism, a barbecue editor who is the Robert M. Parker of smoked meats, and the political commentary of Paul Burka, whose experience and influence gets him called the “dean of the Austin press corps.”

While each of the first two is sui generis, Burka is generic, a perfect representative of what Jay Rosen once called High Broderism, the mainstream approach to political journalism that claims authority by pushing off against “ideologues” on either side. Since Texas is short on commies, Burka ends up pitting Democrats, open-wallet Republicans, and “pragmatists” like himself against conservatives, whom he describes as “extremists,” “bullies,” “ideologues,” “ultra-conservatives,” or anything else that marks them as deviants.

Since the primary runoff was held Tuesday, Burka has exhausted his synonyms for “zealot.”

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Reparations and the Great Unmentionable

By From the February 1998 issue

Call it American history à la carte. Over at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the magazine’s national correspondent, has written a long and instructive piece titled “The Case for Reparations.” In which Coates supports Congressman John Conyers’s H.R. 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act.

Let me start here by saying I don’t doubt Mr. Coates’s sincerity. And since one of his objectives is doubtless to launch a serious discussion on the issue of race and specifically the issue of reparations, I’m happy to oblige. This is a long and serious article. Yet for all of the facts and passion, Coates never gets around to the Great Unmentionable. He begins with this subheadline: “Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.” 

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A Further Perspective

King of the Monsters

By 5.15.14

Some years ago, I predicted the coming bomb that was the 2008 remake of the classic 1939 comedy, The Women. I wrote at the time:

In 1939, nearly all of the major characters in The Women, even the saintly Mary Haines at the end, were the antithesis of American womanhood — aggressive, self-centered, catty, materialistic and vacuous — and therefore, profoundly unhappy. Today, they represent the aims of the average woman; at least according to Hollywood and the rest of the media. Indeed, were the 1939 group around today they would, each and every one of them, have their own talk or reality shows.

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Santo Domingo Strikes Again!

By 5.14.14

For months con men have been preying on grandparents by telephone, apparently finding them a Mother Lode of money. Just last seek I learned how a Long Island, New York couple lost $4,500 to these smooth talkers who presented a plausible scenario.

It went this way: Their grandson, a college student, called from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic (it sounded just like him). He had gone there during spring break. Alas, the car he was in from the airport to his hotel was stopped for a traffic violation. When the officer saw young men in the car, he ordered them out and searched the car. In the trunk he found a bag of cocaine hidden under the floor mat. It was off to jail for all.

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Secularist Alarmism

By 5.7.14

The Supreme Court this week ruled in favor of permitting voluntary prayer at city council meetings—a matter so benign that Eric Holder’s Justice Department didn’t even bother to oppose it. America’s long history of prayers and official chaplains at legislative sessions, both at the federal and state level, made the ruling an unavoidable decision for the Court, though four liberal justices dutifully lined up against it, treating a handful of Christian prayers at a town hall meeting in New York as a form of potential oppression.

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