This issue: November 22, 2010 (Vol. 16, No. 10)
The calls were unexpected. Early in 2010, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, began receiving requests for information about the Roadmap for America’s Future, his ambitious plan to reform entitlements, taxes, and spending. Ryan, a Republican star, is no stranger to press inquiries. But these were coming from an unexpected source: Republican candidates for Congress who were looking for solutions—any solutions—to America’s fiscal crisis. Ryan estimates that he sent about 100 copies of the Roadmap to interested candidates. “We didn’t plan that,” he says.
Nor did Ryan fully anticipate the left’s ferocious response to his suggestions. Almost as soon as the updated Roadmap was ...
Do conservatives want a smaller and better government than we now have—properly limited and governed by the rule of law, but also energetically capable of accomplishing its appropriate ends? Or do ...
At a conclave of big shots, Lindsey Graham steals the show.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
On a dangerously windy early November afternoon, a military plane carrying a delegation of six U.S. senators made four successive approaches attempting to land at Halifax airport before giving up and turning around. Rather than heading for home, though, the plane landed in Bangor, Maine, where senators and staff overnighted before trying Halifax again, this time successfully, early the next morning.
There was, then, a certain determination in their ...
Alabama goes very, very red.
How about politics without politicians?
I think we lost the election on November 2. Every race was won by a politician. True, we elected some angry nuts. These are preferable to common politicians. Their anger provokes honesty, and their mental illness prevents honesty from ...
A political tendency is born.
When Cat Stevens was introduced at Jon Stewart’s recent “Rally to Restore Sanity,” the musician also known by his Muslim name Yusuf Islam was greeted with warm applause and howls ...
Why won’t the Pentagon stand up for ROTC?
Is the Solomon Amendment a dead letter? The statute, enacted in 1996, forbids federal funding to universities that prohibit military recruiters or Reserve Officer Training Corps ...
It’s now or never for Republicans.
Every time I hear Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell dismiss concerns over earmarking, I think of his fellow Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers, the senior House appropriator who ...
The decline of liberal idealism.
For the now aging partisans of Camelot, November is a month of anniversaries. It was 50 years ago last week when John F. Kennedy was elected to the presidency as the sophisticated ...
The vanity of Barack Obama
Why has Barack Obama failed so spectacularly? Is he too dogmatically liberal or too pragmatic? Is he a socialist, or an anticolonialist, or a philosopher-president? Or is it possible that Obama’s failures stem from something simpler: vanity. Politicians as a class are particularly susceptible to mirror-gazing. But Obama’s vanity is overwhelming. It defines him, his politics, and his presidency.
It’s revealed in lots of little stories. There was the time he bragged about how one of his campaign volunteers, who had tragically died of breast cancer, “insisted she’s going to be buried in an Obama T-shirt.” There was the Nobel acceptance speech where he conceded, “I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war” ...
Lessons from the corrupt prosecution of Geert Wilders
Since January, the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, Beach Boy-haired founder and leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), has been on trial in Amsterdam for inciting hatred against ...
How Norman Podhoretz made it
by Thomas L. Jeffers
Cambridge, 408 pp., $35
Biography is more of a trade than an art form. And while the troubles of the trade are legion ...
A president remembers what some have forgotten.
The lives and loves of a medieval matriarch.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Queen of France,
Queen of ...
Why disbelieving doesn’t always make it so.
Absence of Mind
What happens when a mind is held hostage by the imams.
The Ayatollahs’ Democracy
. . . And the Pulitzer Prize for biography goes to Theodore Sorensen!
Did John F. Kennedy really write Profiles in Courage? It’s a question that has been on the table ever since Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957, and with the death of Theodore Sorensen—Kennedy’s able ...
Christopher Caldwell's Nightmare Cab Ride
Not knowing how to say “Buzz off” in German, I consented when the taxi driver insisted I put my briefcase in the trunk. I was in a rush—I had a meeting at a government ministry. Almost from the moment the taxi began to move it was clear I had made a mistake.
It was a new-ish Mercedes, neat as a pin. Like every other Berlin taxi, it was a wan yellowy-beige. The upholstery was the same color. It would show any stain. Hence the cabbie’s rule against my briefcase, which had been sitting on a puddly stretch of sidewalk when I hailed him.
The sweeping Republican victories in the midterm elections have yielded the customary progressive analysis: Americans are not just fearful and irrational, they are angry and downright dangerous as well. And as everybody knows, when non-progressives get mad—when they suffer a mass temper tantrum, or vote their hatreds, or lash out against some unidentified “other”—the long dark night of national shame ensues. Already, responsible observers, recognized experts, and prominent newspaper columnists are publicly worried about being targeted by right-wing crazies, whipped into an ideological frenzy by the fire-breathing rhetoric of Fox News, Rep. Michele Bachmann, or the Wall Street Journal (take your pick).
The trouble with this scenario is that it is not only patently untrue, ...
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