EDITORIAL

Bittersoft Liberalism

BY WILLIAM KRISTOL

Photo of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

Life is, undoubtedly, bittersweet. But not America. According to President Obama, America is bittersoft.

In April 2008, candidate Obama told donors in San Francisco that small town Midwesterners “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Last Thursday, President Obama said in a TV interview, “The way I think about it is, you know, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and, you know, we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades.”

Photo of Obama touring the Solyndra facilities

Solyndracracy

BY MATTHEW CONTINETTI

In happier times, the firm had been celebrated as a harbinger of the future. The political connections it enjoyed were the fruit not only of ...

Photo of Bombs going off behind a hotel in Kabul, Pakistan

Frenemies in Pakistan

BY ​MAX BOOT

The fact remains that the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani Network operate from Pakistan with impunity. Extremist organizations ...

Photo of a soldier in combat running in front of a helicopter

No More Cuts

BY GARY SCHMITT and THOMAS DONNELLY

Among the many shortcomings of the Budget Control Act and its spawn, the “Super Committee,” is that the threat of a sequestration “nuclear option”—in which some $600 billion would be cut automatically from national ...

ARTICLES

Defending the Defensible

Texas’s college tuition policy is not the abomination Mitt Romney claims.

BY JONATHAN V. LAST

Cartoon of Mitt Romney getting angry while a college student does homework

Rick Perry is not always his best defender. For the last two weeks, Mitt Romney has hammered Perry over a Texas law the governor signed which allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. At the Orlando debate, for instance, Romney said sardonically, “To go to the University of Texas, if you’re an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is? That’s $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien, go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

In his defense Perry dolefully concluded, “if you say that we ...

Photo of U.S. Navy planes and ships traveling in formation

The Law of the Sea

The U.S. Navy trumps a U.N. treaty.

BY MICHAEL GOLDFARB and STEVEN GROVES

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (or LOST), presents a dilemma for some national ...

Photo of U.S. Navy planes flying over the ocean

NATO in Libya

A one-of-a-kind intervention.

BY GARY SCHMITT and JAMIE M. FLY

The scene was one of jubilation, as British prime minister David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Libya’s capital on September 15 to ...

Photo of nuclear submarine

Nuclear Modernization

The Obama administration’s fading commitment.

BY MARK SCHNEIDER

The Obama administration’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review adopted the goals of reduced reliance on nuclear weapons, continued nuclear weapons ...

Photo of Herman Cain giving a speech

Raising Cain

The very different life lessons of the president and his challenger.

BY FRED BARNES

Both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain went to graduate school. Obama got a degree at Harvard Law School. Cain did his graduate work at Purdue and Burger King University. That doesn’t ...

FEATURES

Overrated

Rumors of Barack Obama’s political skill have been greatly exaggerated.

BY NOEMIE EMERY

Obama making a grumpy face

For a success, Barack Obama is a very bad politician, the worst politician to win the presidency by an electoral landslide, to never lose a major election, or to rise to the presidency from a state legislature in little more than four years. He has gone from sterling campaigner to put-upon leader; from the new FDR to the next Jimmy Carter; from being the orator who could hold millions spellbound to the man who moves no one at all. The man who promised everything is delivering nothing. Journalists who wept when he won the election now grind their teeth in despair. Maureen Dowd admits he isn’t the one for whom even he had been waiting. The gap between sizzle and steak never seemed so large or alarming, and inquiring minds want to know what went wrong. 

Drawing of elderly Thomas Carlyle

From Hero-Worship to Celebrity-Adulation

The problem of greatness in an age of equality.

BY TOD LINDBERG

In the mid-19th century, the Scottish man of letters Thomas Carlyle coined the term “Hero-worship,” by which he meant the high regard, entirely proper in his view, that ordinary people have for the great figures of ...

Books & Arts

Paper Tigress

When owning a newspaper was profitable — and fun.

BY RICHARD NORTON SMITH

Photo of Cissy Patterson sitting at a newsroom desk

I said a lot of things, but Cissy did them.

—Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Long before Marilyn, Jackie, or Liz, there was Cissy—more precisely, Eleanor Medill “Cissy” Patterson—the imperious, principled, dissolute, ...

Photo of René Blum in a tuxedo circa 1930

Dance Master

The extraordinary career that ended at Auschwitz.

BY JOEL LOBENTHAL

Hamlet without one of the principal players. That is the way that accounts of European culture between the two World Wars now begin to look after René Blum & The Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost ...

Photo of Brad Pitt with Billy Beane

Getting Beaned

How much does ‘Moneyball’ resemble the game?

BY LEE SMITH

If there’s no crying in baseball, as Tom Hanks explained in A League of Their Own, there is plenty of weeping in baseball movies—from Bang the Drum Slowly and The Natural to the newest ...

Photo of soldiers holding a Nazi flag

Fighting Chance

World War II was a close-run thing.

BY AARON MACLEAN

Harry Butcher, an aide to General Eisenhower throughout his time as supreme commander in Europe, and gossipy diarist par excellence, ...

Photo of Khalil Gibran dressed in flowing robes

‘Prophet’ With Honor

The enigmatic man behind the perennial bestseller.

BY ALASDAIR SOUSSI

In 1941, a decade after the death of Kahlil Gibran, his good friend Witter Bynner responded to a query from a student asking about the Lebanese-born ...

A still shot from the Americathon movie of John Ritter talking to his girlfriend

Happy Days

It’s always Morning in America in Obama’s Hollywood.

BY JOHN PODHORETZ

We are either in the third or fourth year of the great economic crisis, and Hollywood’s response has been, quite simply, to act as if there isn’t ...

CASUAL

The Bain of My Existence

Victorino Matus does nothing.

BY VICTORINO MATUS

Cartoon of little boy playing with fire truck and excavator

Two weeks ago my three-year-old son was supposed to talk about our family at his preschool, so I prepped him: “What if the teacher asks what your daddy does for a living?” After a thoughtful pause, my son replied, “Nothing.” At which point I instructed him to tell the class that his father writes. “My dad writes,” he dutifully repeated, and then added, “and writing is nothing.” On the other hand, his two uncles have easily explainable, “real” jobs. One is a firefighter and the other is in construction. What my brothers-in-law do is tangible to my son, who plays with both a fire truck and an excavator. I guess I could give him Strunk & White.

The ...

SCRAPBOOK

Mock the Vote

Photo of voting booths

The Scrapbook is not superstitious, but there was a curious, and slightly disconcerting, convergence of Deep Think last week that caught our attention. It began with a front-page story in the New York Times—“As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around the Globe” by Nicholas Kulish (Sept. 28)—which could be excused as one of the Times’s routine efforts (usually confined to the Arts pages) to rekindle the sixties spirit. Or maybe not. The article chronicled a worldwide cycle of mass protests—from India and Israel to Greece and Spain—against elected governments, reflecting “wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.” One young Spanish woman summed it up this way: “Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” Marta Solanas told the Times. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is ...

PARODY

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