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Serve and Volley

Tennis for Churchillians

By 7.7.14

Right away, on Roger Federer’s first service game, Novak Djokovic counter-attacks against the older man’s superior net game, as if to show him he is unafraid. Federer holds, with some effort, and Djokovic, who held his own first service easily, deploys his own weapons, a strong serve — Federer’s will turn out to be more effective over the course of the match — and relentless baseline defense to immediate effect, holding the third game at love. Contrasting styles of play, which sharpens the battle of wills: who is going to crack the other’s confidence in his own game plan?

On the immaculate Centre Court of the All-England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, you are not supposed to crack. If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew…

Federer is unfazed. In his own second service game he serve-and-volleys repeatedly, with gorgeous classic shots, a backhand volley in particular. At 2-2, Djokovic is serving as hard as possible again, he opens with a service winner and an ace, then opens up the court on the third serve to give himself a forehand winner, finally makes the same play on the backhand side.

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The Right Prescription

Can Shameless, Baseless Propaganda Save the Dems?

By 7.7.14

For most of 2014, the Democrats looked on the looming congressional elections with considerable dread. All of the standard indicators portend an unhappy outcome for their party. The voters are deeply dissatisfied with the direction in which the country is headed, the President’s popularity—an important gauge of a party’s prospects in any midterm—is at rock bottom, and most competitive seats are in places where Mitt Romney performed well in 2012. Consequently, the Democrats had abandoned hope of winning back the House and stood in real fear of losing their Senate majority. Then came last week’s Hobby Lobby ruling.

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Loose Canons

Caliphaking It in Iraq

By 7.7.14

It’s more than a little pretentious for the jihadis of ISIS — the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” itself an aspirational title — to claim they have established a new Islamic caliphate. But so they did proclaim last week, and in his inauguration address Mr. Caliph Ibrahim — aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — told the assembled crowd that they should use the month of Ramadan to escalate their jihad against “the enemies of God,” according to a video posted online on Saturday.

The claim of a new caliphate is a power grab: a claim to have re-established an Islamic empire that hasn’t existed since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. By making that overtly religious claim, ISIS was asking that all Muslims — at least Sunni Muslims — join and fight for it. Even before the claim to a caliphate, ISIS had attracted many jihadis from Europe and some from the United States.

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Political Hay

Hillary’s ‘Not One of Us’ Problem

By 7.7.14

It did not take Hillary’s book fiasco to show she is no Obama. Hillary Clinton’s problems predate and far exceed her currently botched book tour. They extend to her relations with the Democratic base. If she cannot correct these, and quickly, she is likely to relive her 2008 humiliation at their hands.

That Hillary Clinton’s book tour — ostensibly promoting Hard Choices, but really paving the way for a 2016 White House run — has been terrible goes without saying. What should not go without noticing is just how unlike Obama it is.

In just weeks, Hillary has brought back the bad memories that cost her the nomination six years ago. To attain it two years from now, she needs to be far more like Obama and far less as she was then and is now.

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In Memoriam

God and Dick Scaife

By 7.5.14

I was saddened to wake up the morning of July 4 and learn that Richard Mellon Scaife, Pittsburgh billionaire, conservative philanthropist extraordinaire, and spearhead of Hillary Clinton’s ominous “vast right-wing conspiracy,” died at age 82. How appropriate that this patriot bid goodbye on July 4. It’s fitting, too, that his death comes within a year of the deaths of his two principal lieutenants at his foundation, Dan McMichael and Dick Larry. Together, these three men established numerous conservative programs, institutions, and even individuals. They made a huge impact.

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Ben Stein's Diary

They’re Planting Stories in the Press

By 7.5.14

July 4, 2014

Someone’s got it in for me.
They’re planting stories in the press.
Whoever it is, I wish they’d cut it out quick.
But when they will, I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named Gray,
And took his wife to Italy.
She inherited a million bucks,

And when she died,
It came to me.
I can’t help it if I’m lucky.
People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act.
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images, and distorted facts…
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the back roads heading south.
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.…

The ultimate genius, Bob Dylan, of course.

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A Further Perspective

Living on Fire

By 7.4.14

Daniel Kelly’s posthumously published Living on Fire: The Life of L. Brent Bozell Jr. would make an incredible movie. More than a decade ago, going under the name A Beautiful Mind, the basic story won Best Picture at the Oscars. The uncanny similarities between John Nash and L. Brent Bozell Jr. include massive contributions to their fields, debilitating madness, and storybook-ending redemption.

If younger conservatives recall Brent Bozell’s name at all, they generally associate it with his son who has waged an unwinnable battle—perhaps inheriting a gene for lost but noble causes—for media fairness, objectivity, and verity. The amnesia is a shame. Bozell the elder found himself at the center of many important debates during the formative period of the postwar conservative movement.

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Enemy of the Week

Trotting Out Their Big Guns

By 7.3.14

His place in history assured — or at least in post-World War II history, as befits a nation largely unaware that anything preceded its idea of the Big Bang — our president is settling into his Quinnipiac-confirmed role as worst U.S. president in living memory. It’s a terrific honor actually, a salute to a leader who has displayed both vision and valor.

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Special Report

Return to Mississippi Summer, 1964

By 7.3.14

In 1964, at the age of 22 and just out of college, I went to Mississippi as part of the Freedom Summer effort that broke the back of Jim Crow society, setting off what I still think was probably the most radical and abrupt social transformation in American history.

I was not a leader of the effort or even particularly brave. I was just a mere foot soldier. I suspect the real reason I went was to impress an old girlfriend who had broken up with me the year before. Years later someone sent me a copy of my application form and I had listed her along with my relatives as the people I wanted notified of my mission. But why does anyone go off to war at age 22? For that’s what it felt like.

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Another Perspective

Hillary’s Religious Hobby

By 7.3.14

A few years back I wrote book on the faith of Hillary Clinton. To this day it jolts liberals and conservatives alike that I, a principled Reagan conservative, would have written God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life, especially on the heels of books I did on the faiths of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

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