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A Further Perspective

The Elephant in the Womb

By 8.7.15

When someone begins by saying “I promised myself I would not…” he or she is about to tell you why they are breaking the promise. The only suspense left is to see if they are making a clean break or they are reluctant to see the premise of the promise slip away. In that spirit, I promised myself I would not write any more about the Planned Parenthood videos, and I would allow my initial response to serve as my last word.

So sure enough Jeb Bush goes and sticks his fibula into his mandible and then fibs like a man doubling back over his tracks. Once the foot is in the male mouth, the female predator (Hillaryus Clintonus) can sink her claws into his throat. And so once again we have the usual Republican abortion and the usual Democrat trying to profit from the body parts.

Political Hay

Donald and the Apprentices

By 8.7.15

Conservatives pick Donald Trump for president because the media picks on him.

Even the Fox News referees went Matthew Dellavedova hard on the billionaire at the basketball arena last night. Megyn Kelly lambasted the Donald for calling certain women “fat pigs” and “slobs.” Bret Baier raised his history of supporting “liberal”—fighting words in that crowd—policies. Chris Wallace, pointing to Trump companies declaring bankruptcy four times, asked: “Why should we trust you to run the nation’s business?”

But the slings and arrows, which didn’t kill the candidate, likely make him stronger.

From Richard Nixon through George W. Bush, the intensity of the Right’s support for a politician correlates most closely not to his commitment to conservatism but to the degree of displeasure the politician causes journalists. You can impose price controls or attempt to foist illegal-immigration amnesty on the American people. Just don’t turn Chris Matthews’ sneer into a smile, receive a party invitation from Maureen Dowd, or allow something halfway nice about you to appear at the Huffington Post


From 1987: Robert D. Kaplan on Robert Conquest

By 8.6.15

The great historian and long-time Hoover Institution scholar Robert Conquest died on Monday at 98. His definitive work on the Stalinist horror in Soviet Russia, The Great Terror, remains a companion to The Gulag Archipelago. But he also authored The Harvest of Sorrow, a groundbreaking study of Stalin’s famine war on the Ukraine in particular. It was reviewed in the April 1987 issue of The American Spectator by a rising major writer named Robert D. Kaplan. —Ed.


How to Win a Political Debate

By 8.6.15

Thursday evening, the eyes of the political world will be on a stage in Cleveland, Ohio, where the top candidates for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination will face off in the first in a series of debates to be held over the next several months. A few of the candidates will have had significant debate experience — Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, for instance, is actually in the Princeton University Debate Team Hall of Fame — but many (e.g., Donald Trump, as he’s been reminding us) will have not. Cruz may actually be handicapped by his previous debate experience — a political debate is a totally different animal than a college debate. Consequently, the Rules for Winning Political Debates are also totally different — and the smarter candidates will be the ones who know that, and act accordingly.

Let’s get one thing straight at the outset: “Victory” in a political debate has nothing to do with being the candidate who offers the most compelling and logical arguments for his or her position.

Political Hay

Trump and the Reagan-Bush Divide

By 8.6.15

The two Republicans Carter’s political team feared most were Sen. Howard Baker and George Bush. Their favorite opponent: Ronald Reagan. Handling the extremist 69-year old ex-movie actor would be an easy piece of work, they thought, especially now that the issue of war and peace would be at the center stage of the 1980 campaign. “The American people,” (Carter White House chief of staff) Hamilton Jordan said, “are not going to elect a seventy-year old, right-wing, ex-movie actor to be president.” The polls supported Jordan’s confidence. In mid-December, a Gallup Poll showed Carter leading Reagan by a whopping 60 to 36 percent in a head-to-head match-up. (Carter pollster) Pat Caddell was confident of Reagan’s weakness. “There’s so much to work with, when you look at the data you just salivate.”
— Steven F. Hayward, The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order 1964-1980

The Nation's Pulse

Uber and the Democrats’ Old Ways

By 8.6.15

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton doesn’t get it. Obama administration Labor Secretary Thomas Perez doesn’t get it. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to get it, either, as he only reluctantly reversed a bad decision on the matter.

In fact, generally, in a somewhat surprising reversal, many so-called Democratic “progressives” want to protect the old ways. But there are exceptions, like Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who worked with Uber to create a legal framework in his state; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who says that hailing a cab has provided some of his most humiliating moments; and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), a Brooklynite who during Uber’s recent showdown with de Blasio said, in essence, “What’s wrong with a little competition?”

On the other hand, Republicans, who are accused occasionally of supporting “crony capitalism,” have embraced the new way and have been eager to let in new businesses to compete. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential hopeful, gets it. One of the chapters in his recent book is titled, “Making America Safe for Uber.”

Special Report

European Union Becomes the Disunited Bailout Union

By 8.6.15

The European Project, as it is known, has been treated as an almost sacred process by the continent’s elite. Nothing—certainly neither fiscal responsibility nor popular sovereignty—should be allowed to stand in the way of creating a united Europe like the dominating American republic across the pond.

No doubt European cooperation, which began small before growing into the Common Market and then the European Union, has had beneficial effects. It bound together fractious, warring states in a cooperative enterprise, broke down trade barriers among small and large countries alike, and later drew former Soviet satellites westward.

However, the negatives have become ever more evident. Brussels has aped Washington, D.C., by hosting a growing bureaucracy dedicated to micromanagement and social engineering. Benign national cultures and traditions increasingly are suppressed by a new continental PC. An Eurocratic elite, made up of the usual gaggle of politicians, academics, journalists, businessmen, bureaucrats, and related folk, is determined to create a continental consolidated government irrespective of the desires of European peoples.

Ben Stein's Diary

Mr. Obama and His Klimate Kontrol Kommisars

By 8.5.15

Tuesday, Beverly Hills
Now for a few words about current events....

American Airlines needs some work. They consistently mistreat us passengers on the flight from DCA to LAX. Why? I guess we are just considered dog food. But Saturday’s flight was a disaster. Almost three hours late leaving DCA. No apology. AC barely working. Dinner was literal dog food. When we got to LAX, very late at night, the terminal was a scene from hell. Mobs of immigrants and citizens, none speaking English, jostling each other, pushing, shoving, shouting, riding on skateboards through crowds of old people. It was the street scenes from Blade Runner. Neither more nor less. Yes, get Blade Runner and watch it. That’s LAX right now.

Why do we have the worst airport in the world? Why doesn’t anyone there speak English? In Spokane, everyone speaks English. What happened?

Anyway, Mr. Obama’s “clean energy” plan:

Political Hay

The Biden Bull Market

By 8.5.15

The chattering class is all atwitter about the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden entering the Democratic presidential primary race. Whether or not it happens, the fact that (as Douglas Adams would have put it) “the slightest thought has begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing Joe’s mind” is great news for Republicans and a nightmare for the less-inevitable-by-the-day Hillary Clinton.

Latte Nation

The Age of Sentiment and Cruelty

By 8.5.15

“Kimmel Chokes Up On Air Over Cecil the Lion,” read one headline last week. Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has come a long way from the The Man Show. He used to skewer weepy, sentimental celebrities. Now he has become one of them.

Kimmel joined a chorus of celebrities in denouncing a dentist for the “self-indulgent” killing of an African lion. Would Mia Farrow and company ever describe abortion as self-indulgent? Killing unborn children, we’re told, is now an essential part of the human lifestyle, an acceptable cost in a society that prizes recreational sex.

Somehow this same society can look at recreational hunting and see barbarism. Its awe for nature doesn’t extend to human nature. The more impure modern man becomes, the more purity he demands outside of himself. Amidst all of his ghoulish experiments on defenseless unborn children, he insists that nature go untouched. While polluting his body with drugs, he insists on unpolluted skies.