Features Archives


Stop the Rot

Reform conservatism needs an anticorruption agenda
Feb 23, 2015

Since the founding of our nation, political defeat has been a catalyst for innovation. Federalist triumphs in 1796 and 1798 prompted the Jeffersonian opposition to develop the first party organization. The collapse of the Whig party, morally ambivalent on the issue of slavery, in the early 1850s gave rise to the Republican party’s staunch support of “free soil.” Thanks in part to the defeat of the Cox-Roosevelt ticket in 1920, Franklin Roosevelt learned how to sell progressivism to the nation at large, preparing the way for his landslide presidential victory in 1932.

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Paradox at the Pump

The politics of oil
Feb 16, 2015

"We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” As recently as two years ago, that’s what the president was saying—with his usual self-assurance—about the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and on oil in general. And he wasn’t the only one. The line was widely echoed on the political left, where the instinctive feeling is that petroleum is poison. It helped that the opposition, led by archvillainess Sarah Palin, was meanwhile chanting, “Drill, baby, drill.”

What more proof was needed?

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How to Keep Our Oil Bonanza

Time to counter the Saudis with a tariff?
Feb 16, 2015

We are in a war with Saudi Arabia—and losing. The Saudis aim to regain substantial control of our oil supply by driving from the industry many of our shale-oil-producing frackers who have reduced the power conveyed to the kingdom’s rulers by the underground ocean of oil on which their palaces sit. And we seem prepared to let them do just that, by failing to do what is necessary to prevent a reversal of the major strides we have made to get out from under the boot of an avaricious oil cartel.

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The Non-Candidate

Utah’s Mike Lee is the most important Republican not running for president
Feb 09, 2015

There’s an old saw in Washington that every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Utah’s Mike Lee doesn’t, though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Over the past two years, Lee has been delivering speeches and introducing policy proposals at a pace that far outstrips his tenure and experience. On the whole, it looks like the beginnings of a domestic policy agenda for a future presidential candidate.

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The Flag-Waving Greek Left

A collision between national sovereignty and the European Union in the birthplace of democracy
Feb 09, 2015

In Athens in mid-January, two weeks before the election that would make 40-year-old engineer Alexis Tsipras Greece’s new prime minister, a bunch of cleaning ladies explained to me why they planned to vote for his party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza, for its Greek acronym). We met where they had lived, at least part of the time, for the past 16 months: among tents on the sidewalk in front of the economics ministry in downtown Athens.

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Hard Times for Hezbollah

Is Iran’s Lebanese client losing its grip?
Feb 02, 2015

Beirut
Last week Hezbollah buried one of its princes, Jihad Mughniyeh, the 22-year-old son of the late Imad Mughniyeh, a legendary Hezbollah commander implicated in such infamous operations as the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. The assassination 

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Diplomatic Malpractice

Cultural preservation grants to culture-destroying regimes
Feb 02, 2015

The Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) is a federal program that, since its establishment by Congress in 2001, has granted millions of dollars—$47,750,971 through 2013—to about 800 projects of foreign governments seeking to preserve historic structures and institutions. Administered by the Cultural Heritage Center at the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, AFCP is little known to the American public. Grants are made on the basis of recommendations by U.S.

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Taking Ben Carson Seriously

The 2016 campaign’s most interesting long shot
Jan 26, 2015

As Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and untold others ramp up their campaigns for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, they’re going to be in for a surprise. A candidate neither they nor the political class regard as a serious contender is ahead of them in organizing a well-financed and unique campaign operation. It includes a “director of campaign culture” to motivate the staff and make sure the campaign reflects the vision and character of the candidate. 

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The Warthog Lives!

Happily, the Air Force has failed again in its crusade to kill off a great plane
Jan 26, 2015

 

This December saw the climax of one of the more peculiar conflicts in Washington. It was a battle over an Air Force plane. But it was not one of those standard-issue Washington procurement battles in which congressional bean counters seek to kill off a hugely expensive project that the relevant military branch insists is vital for American security. It was almost the opposite: The politicians were trying to save a weapon system, and the service brass, together with one of America’s aerospace giants, were trying to get rid of it.

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The Great Free Speech Experiment

What good have Holocaust-denial bans done?
Jan 26, 2015

France’s momentary appearance on the world stage as a champion of free expression, after the execution of the beloved Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, made for a break in her relentless culture of repression of free speech, which she shares with most of Europe.

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Liars’ Remorse

Democrats have second thoughts about Obamacare
Jan 19, 2015

In the Time magazine issue published after the 2008 election—whose cover depicted Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt—Peter Beinart anticipated a new “era of liberal hegemony” that would last until “Sasha and Malia have kids.”

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The Rise (and Fall?) of the NFL

There were Giants in the earth in those days .  .  . and Colts
Jan 19, 2015

The New York Giants faced the Baltimore Colts, and the winners would be the champions of the National Football League. But while it was a championship game, it did not sell out, meaning television was blacked out in the city where it was played. The Giants had the better record so the game was played in New York. Since the Giants didn’t have their own stadium, built for their game, they played in Yankee Stadium. Baseball was the American pastime. In the mind of the public, football was a college game, played by amateurs.

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Campus Security

Reflections on current outrages
Jan 05, 2015

Thanks to Rolling Stone and Lena Dunham, a big and sensational media issue today is rape on campus. Both the magazine and the author/actress appear to have published false accounts of rape that were written to fit a preconceived liberal or feminist agenda. Vulnerable women are raped by “a Republican” (Dunham) or gangs of fraternity boys who think it is their white, patriarchal privilege to treat women like chattel.

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Democracy and Nobility

Was the Civil War a second American Revolution?
Jan 05, 2015

Americans love revolutions. Our national identity began with a revolution, and a revolutionary war that lasted for eight years; and we cheer on other people’s revolutions, as though we find satisfaction in multiplying our own. “I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing & as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical,” wrote Thomas Jefferson.

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The Next Shale Revolution?

The astonishing promise of enhanced oil recovery
Dec 29, 2014

Just five years ago, almost no one outside the natural gas industry had heard of fracking, even though the basic technologies were not new; today, the shale gas revolution has transformed America’s energy markets, with profound effects for economic growth, competitiveness, security, and environmental quality. In a nation still deeply concerned about its energy future, this extraordinary success story should prompt the question: Can we do it again?

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Iran’s Supreme Censor

The evolution of Ali Khamenei from sensitive lover of Western literature to enforcer of Islamic revolutionary orthodoxy
Dec 22, 2014

The Blind Man’s friend:  Don’t suffer because of the past. You censored books for the sake of God. .  .  . What is
it you are taking? 

The Blind Man:  Valium. I’m taking it to forget everything, even God.

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What Do Illegal Immigrants Want?

Time to bring the immigration debate out of ‘the shadows’
Dec 15, 2014

The predictable furor over President Obama’s executive order offering relief to approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants has obscured the fact that his initiative is much bolder in form than in content. Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to offer less than what immigrant advocates have for years been insisting is an absolute necessity: full citizenship.

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The Benghazi Report

An ongoing intelligence failure
Dec 15, 2014

After a long day on November 13, 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner walked down the marble hallways of the Longworth House Office Building to the personal office of Representative Devin Nunes for a drink, a cigarette, and maybe a brief reprieve.

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French Curtains

Eric Zemmour’s raw attack on France’s elites is the talk of Paris
Dec 08, 2014

French readers follow the herd. They believe in prizes. When a French author wins the Goncourt or the Nobel, people rush to bookstores and send his books rocketing to the top of the bestseller lists. But today the French have other things on their minds. President François Hollande is France’s least popular leader since World War II. His poll ratings are even lower than Barack Obama’s. A gay marriage law he rushed through the National Assembly in 2013 has continued to bring enraged (and previously apolitical) protesters into the streets in 2014.

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The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas

How it is that we once again find ourselves rooting out sin, shunning heretics, and heralding the end times
Dec 01, 2014

1. The Return of Original Sin 

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Obamacare’s State of Crisis

Halbig, but King bigger
Nov 24, 2014

In their final push to enact Obamacare, Nancy Pelosi urged her fellow Democrats to “pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” They probably should have found out first. Now they need the Supreme Court to “find” once again in their favor.

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Hartache

Democratic hero worship then and now
Nov 24, 2014

One month short of his 78th birthday, and 27 years after his self-immolation, Gary Hart has been given a present of sorts by writer Matt Bai, who in All the Truth Is Out recasts the past as Hart wants to see it, a great man brought low by a change (for the worse) in the national zeitgeist that deprived the United States of a truly great leader, and a great mind of its mission in life. 

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Berlin, 25 Years Later

As Germans celebrate reunification, they are reluctant to confront a Russia that is once again seeking to divide the continent
Nov 24, 2014

Berlin

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The Afghan Handover

It’s not too late for the president to rethink his arbitrary end date
Nov 17, 2014

Kabul

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The End Game

Sherman breaks the deadlock
Nov 10, 2014

On September 2, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln received a telegram from General William Tecumseh Sherman that read, “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.” This was more than a victory. It was deliverance.

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Virtues, Past & Present

The old ones are still the best ones
Nov 10, 2014

In November 1993 an unlikely book appeared at the top of the bestseller lists. William J. Bennett’s The Book of Virtues was a tome: 832 pages of moral instruction. People ate it up. Newsweek called it “just what this country needs,” and Time said it “ought to be distributed, like an owner’s manual, to new parents leaving the hospital.” Looking at a copy of The Book of Virtues today is like examining a relic from some forgotten age.

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A Constitutional Congress?

How the legislative branch can resume its rightful role
Oct 27, 2014

What difference will it make if the Republicans win the Senate and hold the House in November? The House can already block Democratic legislation Republicans do not like, and President Obama would still be able to veto Republican legislation he does not like. The Republicans are talking of a positive, problem-solving agenda.

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Neo-Victorianism on Campus

Is this the end of the collegiate bacchanal?
Oct 20, 2014

Sexual liberation is having a nervous breakdown on college campuses. Conservatives should be cheering on its collapse; instead they sometimes sound as if they want to administer the victim smelling salts. 

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Failure Upon Failure

The disintegration of the Obama presidency
Oct 20, 2014

A year before his first inauguration, Barack Obama laid out the objective of his presidency: to renew faith and trust in -activist government and transform the country. In an hourlong interview with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal on January 16, 2008, Obama said that his campaign was already “shifting the political paradigm” and promised that his presidency would do the same. His model would be Ronald Reagan, who “put us on a fundamentally different path,” in a way that distinguished him from leaders who were content merely to occupy the office.

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Sandstorm

The Middle East in chaos
Oct 13, 2014

The great medieval historian Ibn Khaldun centered his understanding of history on asabiyya, which is perhaps best translated as esprit de corps mixed with the will to power. In his masterpiece, the Muqaddima, or Prolegomena, the Arab historian saw as the primary locus of asabiyya the tribe—a smaller unit than the ethnic group, and the most powerful military unit in Islamic history until the Mameluks perfected the use of slave soldiers.

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