Why Not the Best?


Photo of Obama and Clinton in Unity, N.H. in June 2008

This issue of The Weekly Standard features advice from Yuval Levin and Jay Cost for Mitt Romney in his presidential race. A Romney victory is devoutly to be desired. But a truly grand victory requires worthy opponents. Barack Obama is one. With all due respect to our affable vice president, Joe Biden is not. 

For our part, we’d like to see a decisive triumph for Romney and his running mate over two formidable representatives of contemporary liberalism, rather than a discounted victory over a flawed ticket with only one strong candidate. So we sincerely suggest to President Obama: Dump Joe Biden. 

Photo of Steny Hoyer and Eric Cantor

Cronies ’R’ Us


We were struck last week by a pair of instances of Republicans doing what Republicans do—one encouraging, one not so much. On the encouraging side, ...

Image of a Middle Eastern man with a sign that says "Freedom"

How About Leading from the Front?


According to recent news reports, the Romney foreign policy team is trying to figure out what the presumptive Republican candidate thinks America’s ...


Monumental Battles

Why we build memorials.


Photo of The Freedmen’s Monument in Washington’s Lincoln Park

In the midst of the current controversies over the Martin Luther King and Dwight Eisenhower memorials in Washington, it’s worth examining the human impulse toward memorialization, so that we can appreciate what is at stake in the inevitable battles—aesthetic and moral—over the shapes our collective memory will take. The best guide for this inquiry, to my mind, is Frederick Douglass, the great 19th-century abolitionist and agitator, who for all his radicalism was also, in key respects, profoundly conservative. 

After the Civil War, and even as he campaigned for expanded rights for blacks and women, Douglass devoted great efforts to remembrance of things ...

Photo of Mitt Romney

Keep It Simple, Team Romney

The core Republican message is a winning one.


Now that Mitt Romney has sewn up the Republican presidential nomination, the general election battle has begun. Team Obama obviously recognizes ...

Photo of Mitt Romney graduating from high school

Mitt Romney’s Schooldays

The Washington Post invents a narrative.


There is literal truth, grounded in fact; there is poetic license, which is truth stretched a little to make it seem stronger; and then there is ...

Photo of Mitt Romney at the Liberty University commencement

Morality, Not Theology

The importance of Romney’s Liberty University speech.


In 2007, Mitt Romney, facing a surging Huckabee campaign in an Iowa caucus that was supposed to launch him to the nomination, delivered a speech ...

Photo of French protesters of the austerity measures

Forgive Us Our Debts?

The war between lenders and borrowers.


Debtors of the world, unite—you have nothing to lose but your IOUs!

Cartoon of Obama shooting himself in the foot

No More Mister Nice Guy

Obama squanders the likability factor.


By the time he took office in 2009, President Obama had fashioned a reputation as an idealist committed to reforming the way business is done in ...


The Politics of Polarization

Why you won’t see a centrist Third Way this year.


The organization “Americans Elect” spent $35 million on a new “centrist” party and nobody came. In announcing that no presidential candidate ...


Our Age of Anxiety

Romney’s challenge is to address the deep uneasiness in America and point the way to a comeback.


Photos of Obama and Romney

There is something very strange about the 2012 presidential race so far. The election comes at a time of extraordinary public unease, which clearly demands some response from the political system, and especially from the men running for the highest office in the land. But the two presidential candidates are both running campaigns oddly detached from what is rightly worrying voters. 

If you were to judge the state of the country by listening only to the Obama campaign, you would conclude that we are on the verge of the long-awaited triumph of the liberal welfare state, and that all that stands in the way is a gang of retrograde Social Darwinists who somehow manage to be simultaneously nihilistic and theocratic. That band of ...

Photo of Scott Walker

High Noon in Wisconsin

Governor Scott Walker hangs tough.


Caledonia, Wis.
Geeta Jensen had some exciting news: Governor Scott Walker was visiting Jensen Metal Products ...

Books & Arts

Big Wheels

The American and his/her car.


Photo of Jean Harlow in a Packard

Paul Ingrassia, former Detroit bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, is probably the best broadsheet reporter ever to cover the car business. He and Joseph B. White won a Pulitzer Prize for their articles about how General Motors got busted to corporal by its fool management and union. Ingrassia wrote the book on “The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster,” that being the subtitle of his Crash Course (2010). Now he’s broached yet a larger subject, the car’s whole effect on our entire nation.

Picking 15 vehicles as tent poles for this sprawling canvas was a good idea, and Ingrassia chose well. Ford’s Model T and GM’s first assay of the “affordable luxury” market, the 1927 LaSalle, exemplify the realist and symbolist schools of car selling. Contrasts between the VW bug and Microbus and the 1959 Cadillac show that the 1950s had more than one Cold War.  The Ford Mustang and the ...

Dan Vyleta

Viennese Waltz

The second novel from a master of historic horror.


Graham Greene famously divided his books into two categories: novels, and what he called “entertainments.” He wished from time to time to indulge an appetite for pulp, and it was only fair to let his readers know what they were getting into. The joke, of course, is that, ...

Dame Maggie Smith

Geezers’ Delight

A fable for the underserved, over-50 crowd.


Every year, there is a movie that becomes an unexpected hit because it finds an audience among people the Hollywood studios resolutely ignore: the over-50 crowd. Last year, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris struck a chord loud enough among those who still dream of ...

Picture of Joseph Alsop, 1963

Dramatic License

The character in ‘The Columnist’ is not the Joseph Alsop I knew.


As the perpetrator of two historical novels and other fictional pieces that place real people in imaginary situations, I can’t be sanctimonious about what follows. But my history genes are in turmoil over the new play about Joe Alsop, the late Washington columnist, and the ...

Photo of Rep. Anthony Weiner

Sexual Overload

Sometimes promiscuity is just promiscuity.


Sex addiction may not exactly be an existential threat to the United States, but as this book makes clear, the cultural trend which created this farcical “illness” has much graver consequences. The medicalizing of what was hitherto seen as a moral issue and the promotion of ...

Photo of Israel Meir Lau with Pope John Paul II

Chain of Miracles

A rabbi reflects on the meaning of survival.


There are many remarkable episodes in this compelling autobiography of Israel Meir Lau, the former chief rabbi of Israel. One in particular captures Lau’s character and shapes his future. Lulek (as he was called) was 5 years old in 1942 when he saw his father, Moshe, also a rabbi, beaten and ...


The Proustian Solution

Joseph Epstein, concertgoer on the edge of his seat.


Cartoon of a man looking bored at the opera

Five or six years ago I found the seats at classical music concerts becoming uncomfortable. I blame the seats, but in fact I had lost the Sitzfleisch—in German literally “seat meat,” in looser translation “bottom patience” —to sit through a concert. In concert halls my mind wandered, I counted the people around me who had fallen asleep, searched the audience for anyone under 40, frequently checked my watch. Time seemed to pass more slowly than in a laundromat.

I used to go to from 12 to 20 concerts a year. With my loss of attention at concerts, and given the expense of concert tickets, it finally occurred to me that I was wasting time and money in ...


Indentured Servant?

photo of USA Today cover

The Scrapbook’s Headline of the Week has to be a subhed from the front page of last weekend’s USA Today. It’s a story—a very long story, by USA Today standards—to the effect that Hillary Rodham Clinton has been an especially wonderful secretary of state, dazzling prime ministers, thrilling ordinary citizens, piling up the frequent flyer miles. “Hillary’s horizon,” the story is titled, and here’s the subhed: “As her tenure at State winds down, .  .  . Clinton’s all-in approach to diplomacy is seen as innovative and indefatigable—but ultimately, some say, indentured.”

How’s that again?


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