Go for the Gold, Mitt!


Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio

Mitt Romney will have many opportunities over the next three months to demonstrate to voters that they should choose him over Barack Obama: his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, the three presidential debates, major policy addresses, and more. But it may be that nothing will speak louder than his selection of a running mate.

Voters seem to care. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 74 percent of registered voters said the selection of a running mate will matter—48 percent saying it matters “somewhat” and 26 percent saying it matters “a lot.” In a close election, as this one seems likely to be, Romney’s pick could help determine the outcome.

It’s not the first time we’ve said it, but it could well be the last: Go bold, Mitt! Pick Paul Ryan, the Republican party’s intellectual leader, the man who’s laid out the core of the post-Obama policy agenda and ...

Unemployment Line

Unemploy Obama


The latest jobs report should persuade all those who worry about the president’s economic policies but find him likable that enough is enough, and that policy trumps personality when it comes to deciding who should occupy the ...


The Tea Party Is Alive and Well

Ted Cruz joins Richard Mourdock and Deb Fischer as its latest victors.


The Tea Party Marches on

On July 31, former Republican senator Bob Bennett made a bold pronouncement on the Fox Business Network. “I do feel that the Tea Party wave is receding,” he said, “and it’s not going to be nearly as big a factor in this election as it was in 2010.” There was a tone of hopefulness in Bennett’s prediction. In 2010, the three-term Utah senator had been one of the Tea Party’s top Republican targets, losing his renomination with a humiliating third place finish at the state GOP convention.

As it turned out, Bennett picked the wrong day to suggest the Tea Party was over. A few hours later, Ted Cruz of Texas, the latest populist conservative hero, was celebrating his win in the Republican primary runoff election for the U.S. Senate. “Tonight is a victory for the grassroots,” the 41-year-old Cruz said. “It is a testament to Republican women, to Tea Party leaders, and to grassroots conservatives.”

Benjamin Netanyahu

Bibi— Son of Benzion

The Netanyahu legacy.



Much of the reporting about Mitt Romney’s trip to Israel has focused on his statement that Israel’s success is linked to its political and economic culture. Yet the most significant geopolitical event during his journey was the ...

Europe Isn't Working

Europe, Bloody Europe

David Cameron’s EU problem.


It’s always bloody Europe. It was Europe (specifically, Tory splits over Britain’s relationship with the EU) that finally did in Mrs. Thatcher, and it did in poor John Major too. Now it is beginning to look like David Cameron might eventually go ...

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal’s Fan Club

What, exactly, did they admire about the man?


The most puzzling thing about the career of Gore Vidal, who went toes-up last week at 86, was the reverence in which he was held by people who might have known better. He was famous for announcing the “death of the novel” as an art form, and as ...

The Newlands of Hercules Industries

A Religious Freedom Election

A court case in Colorado shows what’s at stake this fall.


A recent federal trial court ruling has warmed the hearts of social conservatives and civil libertarians alike. A judge in Colorado on July 27 protected a Catholic-owned small business against the “free birth control rule”—which requires companies subject to the ...


A One-Man Department of Justice

Batman as the American hero



Batman is the hero for our age. The figures in popular culture who used to play the part of the hero​—​the detective, the soldier, the cowboy, the gentleman adventurer​—​have been replaced by superheroes, men with capes and masks who sprang from the pages of pulpy, dime-store comic books. These characters have now assumed the positions once occupied by Hercules and Ajax, Perseus, and Achilles.

When we want to tell stories about ourselves, stories about the biggest, most elemental parts of ourselves, we now tell them with superheroes. Mainstream novelists, writers such as Jodi Picoult, Brad Meltzer, Greg Rucka, and Orson Scott Card, frequently write superhero stories for comic books. Comic book characters have infiltrated television on shows such as Heroes and Smallville. Superheroes are now a mainstay of the modern cinema: Twelve of the top 100 grossing movies of the last 25 ...

Mitt Romney at the Wailing Wall

The Real Romney Trip

With the Republican candidate abroad


Regarding politicians, the press can keep only one idea in its mind at a time, a single defining characteristic. In Mitt Romney’s case, the idea is he’s gaffe-prone.

Romney doesn’t understand this. On the second ...

Books & Arts

The Tory Anarchist

George Orwell deserves better than Jeffrey Meyers.


George Orwell

He loved the past, hated the present, and dreaded the future.

—Malcolm Muggeridge on George Orwell

Jeffrey Meyers has never had an unpublished opinion. He is the author of over 40 books and is a specialist in literary biography, although he occasionally dabbles in popular culture, writing about the lives of such film celebrities as Gary Cooper and John Huston. Meyers also was the first American scholar to bring the writings of George Orwell to serious academic attention. Now, to cap his career as an Orwell specialist, Meyers has gathered together 21 of his essays and reviews that deal with the man rightly regarded as the most influential English writer of the 20th century.

Orwell: Life and Art has all the strengths and weaknesses of a collection of essays written over a 40-year span: Some are outdated, and, as a whole, they are often repetitious. ...

Rosie O’Donnell (right) and then-spouse Kelli O’Donnell, 2006

Marriage à la mode

The conservative case for gay marriage is not made here.


It may not be a foregone conclusion that gay marriage will one day be a legal fact in all 50 states, but an awful lot of people seem to think so. The Republicans in the “inevitability” camp—and there are plenty, especially in blue states—tend to tolerate their party’s ...

Slade Gorton at a public hearing of the 9/11 Commission, 2003

Two Good Men

A pair of names to remember when thinking about Congress.


Sam Rayburn famously divided lawmakers into two categories: workhorses and show horses. In an era when the most dangerous place to be is often between a lawmaker and a television camera, it is refreshing to read about two members of Congress who have made ...

A city burns

Downward Slide

Cultural ‘snapshots’ of America in crisis.


If you are at all plugged in to the happenings of Hollywood, or have stood in line at the grocery store, or glanced at a newsstand, you know that the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce has been almost omnipresent since the news broke two months ago. Everybody ...

President Lyndon B. Johnson

Fair Enough

Competing visions of economic justice.


When CNBC’s Rick Santelli took to the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade on February 19, 2009, to launch a tirade against a government plan to assist homeowners with troubled mortgages, few could foresee that the Tea Party would come into existence and exercise such ...

Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano

The Dreamgirl

A writer’s creation comes to life—and then some.


Ruby Sparks takes an age-old high-concept romantic comedy idea—writer falls in love with the character he’s creating, who then springs to life—and works a series of fascinating, unexpected, and haunting variations on it. Zoe Kazan, who ...


C'est Chick

Matt Labash loves him some hatechicken



Last week, at the beach with my family, I deliberately ignored all newspapers. Not for the reason most people do—because print is dead. But because whenever I’m surrounded by salt -water, steamed crabs, and even mediocre fishing, I tend to hold that true happiness is having no idea what chronically bothered people are talking about.

 It never lasts. Civil war has a way of puncturing happiness bubbles. No, not the atrocities in Syria. I’m talking much hairier than your run-of-the-mill massacre: I’m talking about the Chick-fil-Gay wars. Ever since Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy, who is against gay marriage, dared offer that he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit,” the indignant have been manning their outrage stations.

There are boycotts and kiss-ins. D.C. mayor Vincent Gray, in a solemn Tweet, decried “hatechicken.” Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said ...


Sympathy for the Sympathizer

President and Mrs. Assad

The Scrapbook admits to a twinge of grudging sympathy for Joan Juliet Buck. Last week the fashion magazine writer published an apologia in Newsweek, “Mrs. Assad Duped Me,” trying to explain why she wrote a fawning and shockingly stupid profile of the Syrian dictator’s wife for Vogue last year. Published only a few weeks before the Syrian uprising started, “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert” was roundly criticized in these pages and elsewhere for its obsequious posture toward a couple that had secured its Vogue-worthy privileged lifestyle by spilling the blood of others. Now Buck is wrestling with her conscience in public, which is to her credit.

“I landed in Damascus in the snow late on the night of Dec. 12, 2010,” she writes in Newsweek. “The next day a large woman pulled my toes and cracked my back with indifferent dexterity in the Hammam Amouneh, where the flagstones were worn ...


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