EDITORIAL

All We Are Saying . . .

BY WILLIAM KRISTOL

Photo of Rick Santorum

The establishment usually wins. That, after all, is what it means to be an establishment. But not always. Three of the last six presidents—Jimmy Carter in 1976, Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Barack Obama in 2008—ran against their own party’s powerbrokers, captured the nomination, and then took the Oval Office from an incumbent president (1976, 1980) or an incumbent party (2008).

True, establishment candidates have more often beaten back insurgents. But that hasn’t always turned out so well for their party. Gerald Ford lost the general election in 1976, Jimmy Carter (who had held off challenger Ted Kennedy for the Democratic nomination) lost in 1980, Walter ...

Photo of American soldier

No Superpower Here

BY GARY SCHMITT and THOMAS DONNELLY

With the end of the Cold War in sight, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell in the George H. W. Bush administration was asked how big the U.S. military should be. He replied, “We have to put a ...

Photo of Naval aircraft carrier

Taking Iran Seriously

BY JAMIE M. FLY

A funny thing happened last week in Iowa. Foreign policy—mostly the question of how to deal with the threat posed by a nuclear Iran—emerged front ...

ARTICLES

A Winning Message?

The neglected substance of the Santorum campaign.

BY JONATHAN V. LAST

Photo of Rick Santorum

Manchester, N.H.

Rick Santorum’s campaign is more sophisticated than it looks. Superficially, it’s a shoestring operation: Just a few days before the New Hampshire primary, he’s perpetually booked into venues that are two sizes too small. He often speaks without a microphone or professional lighting. The advance work is minimal, usually just a couple of lawn signs tacked to the walls and two small posterboard placards that read “Faith, Family & Freedom” and sit on tripods at the front of the room. On good days, there are enough staffers to man a table near the entrance asking voters to sign up for his list, but this job usually exhausts the staff’s ...

Photo of Mitt Romney

More Conservative Than You Think

The new Mitt Romney.

BY FRED BARNES

Salem, N.H.

Cartoon of Ron Paul

Ron Paul’s Timidity

Welcome to big government libertarianism.

BY JOHN MCCORMACK

Ankeny, Iowa

Photos of Walter Mondale, Bob Dole, John Kerry

Safe + Moderate ≠ Electable

Low-beta isn’t always better.

BY LAWRENCE B. LINDSEY

The conventional wisdom among the chattering class about the Republican field is that voters face a choice between “electability” and “ideology.” ...

Photo of Hassan Mchaymech

A Hezbollah Crack-up?

Lebanon’s fratricidal extremists.

BY LEE SMITH

Beirut

FEATURES

One Korea, After All

Time to undo the Kim family regime

BY ROSS TERRILL

Photo of Kim Jong Eun

With 28-year-old Kim Jong Eun propped up to handle Pyongyang’s succession crisis, three facts about North Korea are salient. Kim Jong Il, who died December 17, like his father was a tyrant whose damage makes Qaddafi seem a choirboy. After six decades of peaceful competition with the capitalist South, the socialist North’s per capita GDP is 5 percent of South Korea’s. Years of futile disarmament talks with North Korea compare with the worst peace-effort fiascoes of League of Nations days.

George W. Bush’s comment to Bob Woodward, “I loathe Kim Jong Il,” was a fitter summation of this cruel nonentity than the full-page world-historical pomposity of the New ...

Photo of a Naval craft

Dire Straits

Iran’s navy plays a dangerous game.

BY MICHAEL RUBIN

Tension between Iran and the United States flared on December 28, 2011, when Habibollah Sayyari, commander of Iran’s navy, threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the 34-mile-wide passage through which more than ...

Photo of Occupy Wall Street protestors

Bankers Versus Capitalism

When it comes to defending private enterprise, Wall Street is its own worst enemy.

BY IRWIN M. STELZER

America’s more or less free-market capitalism is not under threat from Marxist-Leninism: That system’s demonstrated failures have consigned it to ...

Photo of cargo ship

The Real Oil Shock

An Iran with nuclear weapons is the true threat to the world economy.

BY MICHAEL MAKOVSKY AND LAWRENCE GOLDSTEIN

In 1993, James Carville, President Bill Clinton’s political strategist, said that “if there was reincarnation,” he’d like to return as the ...

Books & Arts

Germany’s Godfather

The life and legacy of Otto von Bismarck

BY STEVEN OZMENT

Painting of ‘The Proclamation of the German Empire’ by Anton von Werner

Jonathan Steinberg presents the fabled German chancellor as both an egomaniacal hypochondriac and a political-military genius: “He is the statesman who unified Germany in three wars .  .  . a hypochondriac with the constitution of an ox, a brutal tyrant who could easily shed tears, a convert to an extreme form of evangelical Protestantism, who secularized schools and introduced civil divorce.”

The reader learns early and often that Bismarck “made Germany but never ruled it.” As chancellor (1862-90) he served a line of three long-lived kings, any one of whom could have fired him at will—and at the end, one did. Active in politics from 1847 to 1890, he also maintained a hate/awe relationship with the large political parties. ...

Photo of Dorothy Thompson

Women in Love

The high cost of mixing success and attachment.

BY ELIZABETH POWERS

In 1942 George Stevens made a romantic comedy for MGM called Woman of the Year. Based on the journalist Dorothy Thompson, one of ...

Photo of Robert Taft and Thomas Dewey

Choosing Sides

Ideological divisions in the GOP are not exactly news.

BY ALONZO L. HAMBY

The first master’s thesis defense committee on which I served, more years ago than I care to count, evaluated an effort titled “Liberal Deviations of Robert A. Taft, 1945-1953.” As a young assistant professor still ...

Photo of Shel Silverstein

It Could Be Verse

The unexpected poet among us.

BY ELI LEHRER

Based on his commercial success alone, Shel Silverstein (1932-1999) deserves a great deal of attention from those who care about American poetry. Consider the facts: Both the books of poems and drawings that Silverstein published during his ...

CASUAL

Unmugged by Reality

Christopher Caldwell, nostalgic for nasty New York.

BY CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL

Drawing of a girl running through Central Park

A friend told me at dinner over New Year’s break that people had started walking at night in New York’s Central Park again. In the year just ended, the New York Times reports, there was about one robbery in the park every three weeks. Back in the 1980s, when I started visiting, there were two a night. I can more easily imagine Wrigley Field in July without baseball than Central Park after dark without random violence.

In the wake of power
outages in 1977, Lord of the Flies-style looting spread across the city. Longtime residents—the kind of people who could remember strolling at midnight with their sweethearts by the ...

SCRAPBOOK

But Enough About Me

But Enough About Me

One of the most amazing moments following the Iowa caucuses went largely unremarked​—​our friend Wlady Pleszczynski at the American Spectator seems to have been the only other scribbler who was properly agog. It came when Rick Perry conceded his fifth-place finish in a speech to supporters. Such smoldering disasters usually call forth from experienced candidates a cheerful and tearful mixture of chagrin, gratitude, praise, personal modesty, and, depending on future prospects, either fatalistic resignation or steely resolve.

Not the governor of Texas. Rick Perry had just lost an electoral contest for the first time in his political career; this was his first concession ...

PARODY

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