EDITORIAL

Six Circumstances in Search of a Candidate

BY ​WILLIAM KRISTOL

2012 Candidates

Circumstance #1: Obama is a weak candidate for reelection. 

Obama’s approval rating, which has been drifting down for a while, began to accelerate downward last week, as voters noticed his utter failure of leadership in dealing with the debt ceiling and the debt itself. His July 25 primetime address to the nation could well go down as his “malaise” speech​—​the moment when the country lost confidence the president knew what to do or even what he was doing. Still, it will take a credible opponent at the head of an acceptable party to beat him next year.

Job Fair Photo

It’s Obama’s Economy

BY STEPHEN F. HAYES

According to the Commerce Department numbers released Friday, the U.S. economy is growing at just 1.3 percent. Maybe. First quarter growth, initially reported as a disappointing 1.9 percent, was revised drastically down to just 0.4 percent. Those numbers are ...

Obama Photo

The Great Dissuader

BY MATTHEW CONTINETTI

The talks were going nowhere. It was July 13, the fifth straight day of negotiations between President Obama and congressional leaders over ...

ARTICLES

The Boehner Recovery

The House speaker survives a near-death experience.

BY FRED BARNES

Boehner Photo

For House speaker John Boehner, Tea Party Republicans weren’t the problem as he sought support for a package of spending cuts attached to an increase in the debt limit. The biggest impediment to a House majority was Republicans fearful a primary opponent would use a vote to boost the debt limit against them.

House Republicans with Tea Party connections were divided, most siding with Boehner. Still, Boehner was left as many as 10 votes short of the 216 needed to win passage of his debt ceiling bill. None of the Republicans opposed to the measure would budge. Boehner had hit a wall.

And so we come to the series of events that led to last week’s approval of the final Boehner plan. It was a ...

Federal Spending Graph

Unhealthy Debt

Real health care reform is the only way out of our budget woes.

BY JAMES C. CAPRETTA & YUVAL LEVIN

From beginning to end, the debt crisis talks have come down to a struggle between advocates of tax increases and champions of domestic ...

Nguyen Cao Ky Photo

Death of a Patriot

Nguyen Cao Ky, 1930-2011

BY DAVID DEVOSS

‘When we moved to California, I got a new Cadillac Se

Qaddafi Rally Picture

With the Sabratha Brigade in Libya

Paper targets, Lacoste shirts, and homemade explosives.

BY ANN MARLOWE

Qasr el-Haj, Jafara Valley, Libya
Colonel Bashir sits on a mat in the ...

Oslo Photo

Slandering the Progress Party

Norway’s opposition isn’t extremist.

BY JAMES KIRCHICK

In 1986, five-year-old Mazyar Kesh-vari and his family fled their native Tehran for Oslo. His parents were opponents of the Khomeini regime that took power following Iran’s 1979 revolution, and there came a ...

Captain Crunch Image

Time to Stockpile Lucky Charms?

The Obama administration targets food marketed to children.

BY KATE HAVARD

The Obama administration is after your Lucky Charms, or at least your children’s. The public comment period closed on July 14 for a set of ...

Thomas Cotton

Political Grit

Meet Tom Cotton, from Yell County, Arkansas, near Dardanelle.

BY KENNETH Y. TOMLINSON

Why did Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross suddenly announce last week he is not running for reelection for the Fourth Congressional District ...

FEATURES

Civility, Obama Style

The portentous pronouncements of the humanities czar

BY ANDREW FERGUSON

Jim Leach Cartoon

Among the many surprises of Barack Obama’s presidency, perhaps the most unexpected have been his appointments to the federal government’s egghead agencies—the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Even his ardent admirers might admit that the current president’s selections were sub-Bushian. 

It was an article of faith with Obama’s snootier acolytes that George W. Bush was a philistine and a moron. (“Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot” was stripped across the bumper of many a Prius puttering around the reality-based community back in the day.) In fact Bush’s appointments showed he took the ...

Activist Celebration Photo

Vermont Stands Alone

Hi ho, the derry-o: the obsessions of a single-party state

BY GEOFFREY NORMAN

Dorset, Vermont

Books & Arts

The Old Ball Game

The mystic chords of the National Pastime.

BY JOSEPH EPSTEIN

Sammy Sosa Photo

When Marilyn Monroe divorced Joe DiMaggio, Oscar Levant remarked that it only went to show that no man can be expected to excel at two national pastimes. Time can do terrible things, even to wit, and this superior mot now has a slight flaw, which is that it is no longer clear that baseball is America’s other pastime. In the 1940s and early ’50s, the national pastime it indubitably was, a game that captured the country’s attention and enraptured the imagination of young boys and most men, who had earlier played it as boys. Just how it did and why it did and with what consequences is the subject of the intellectual historian Lee Congdon’s Baseball and Memory, a book about the game but also about much more.

The 1940s and ’50s, the years at the center of Congdon’s ...

Freud Photo

Who Said That?

Why certain combinations of words live in memory.

BY AMELIA ATLAS

Sooner or later, all good dinner table debates reduce themselves to semantics. Yes, John Stuart Mill argued that your freedom only extends to the point ...

Washington 1825 Picture

Things Not Seen

How faith was received in the Era of Good Feelings.

BY EDWARD SHORT

In The Making of the English Working Class, E.P. Thompson famously claimed that he wrote his history to rescue his subjects “from the enormous condescension of posterity.” This did not stop him from saddling his weavers, ...

Hugh Hefner Dancing Photo

Requiem for a Dream

The international man of mystery ain’t what he used to be.

BY JOE QUEENAN

When the pitiful octogenarian Hugh Hefner got ditched by his scheming fiancée a few weeks back, it was a pitiful reminder that the only ...

Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling Movie Still

Crazy Little Thing

How far do men go for love in this confused comedy? Too far.

BY BY JOHN PODHORETZ

Crazy, Stupid, ...

CASUAL

Ivan’s Island

Claudia Anderson, skittish sailor

BY CLAUDIA ANDERSON

Sviyazhsk Photo

A cruise ship sank in the Volga River in heavy weather a few weeks back, with more than 100 lives lost. On the radio I heard President Medvedev vow to banish the antiquated boats that ply Russia’s waterways. A commentator called them “rust buckets,” and a shiver went down my spine.

Eight years ago I went out on the Volga in just such a rust bucket. Looking back, I realize that our excursion to the historic island of Sviyazhsk was memorable not just for the sights we saw but also for the nagging unease I felt about that rickety boat.

On the surface, we were an enthusiastic ...

SCRAPBOOK

Not So Swift Boater

Those of us masochistic enough to have watched the 2004 Democratic convention might faintly recall the name Captain Wade Sanders. Sanders was one of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s fellow Swift Boat veterans, and Sanders was the man who introduced Kerry at the convention, whereupon the candidate saluted the crowd and uttered the immortal words, “I’m John Kerry, and I’m reporting for duty.”

Sanders’s role in the Kerry campaign was small but significant. Kerry was publicly being attacked by dozens of Swift Boat veterans who served with him in Vietnam. And Sanders was one of the few​—​perhaps only​—​fellow Swift Boat vets to ...

PARODY

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