Why Ryan Matters


Mitt Romney, Niccolo Machiavelli

Vice presidential picks don’t matter. Except when they do. If John Kerry had chosen Dick -Gephardt instead of John Edwards in 2004, and had then parked Gephardt in Ohio during the general election campaign to make the Democratic case to working-class voters, Kerry might well have won the Buckeye State—and the presidency. In 1992, Bill Clinton’s selection of Al Gore, a Southerner and hawkish, confirmed the notion that Clinton was a different kind of Democrat, and the successful Clinton-Gore bus tour following the convention helped lock in their huge post-convention bounce that put the Democratic ticket ahead for good. In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s selection of George H. W. Bush helped unite the party, minimizing the damage the renegade liberal Republican John Anderson could do running as an independent in the general election. It also showed Reagan as a confident and strong leader, willing to pick his toughest opponent as his running mate.

Obamacare protestors

Obamacare at Center Stage


In the summer of 2009, President Obama and congressional Democrats faced a dilemma. In the midst of a severe economic downturn, and less than a year after the national debt had reached the 14-figure mark for the first time in American history, they wanted to launch a brand-new ...

Out of Money

Out of Money


The end of Medicare and Medicaid as we know them—through reform, the Ryan way, or -bankruptcy, the Obama way. The direction of the country—via the Romney-Ryan right track, or the Obama-Biden wrong track. Those are the choices, made stark by the addition of Paul Ryan to the ...


Fighting to Win

The Romney-Ryan ticket welcomes a battle over entitlements.


Paul Ryan

Waukesha, Wisc.
So much for conventional wisdom. These things were considered either highly unlikely or impossible before August 10: Mitt Romney picking Paul Ryan as his running mate; the Republican presidential ticket choosing to campaign on Medicare reform; and Republicans actually winning that political fight. 

But Mitt Romney did pick Paul Ryan as his running mate. And the new Romney-Ryan ticket is, in fact, choosing to fight on Medicare reform. “Usually Republicans are talking about a lot of other things, but Medicare’s one of those that’s very important to talk about,” said Romney at a fundraiser Thursday in Greer, South Carolina. “We want this debate,” said Ryan, in an appearance the night before at his alma mater, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “We need this debate. And we will win this debate.” 

It’s early, but so far Ryan is right. Republicans, ...

Ryan's Raiders

Ryan’s Raiders

The GOP class of 2010 is the key to his influence.


Paul Ryan has an army. It’s also known as the House Republican freshmen, 87 strong and dedicated to the proposition that conservative reform is not only possible but achievable, so long as Mitt Romney is elected president.

Romney/Ryan in Norfolk

He Does Retail, Too

Paul Ryan’s a more experienced pol than people realize.


Oxford, Ohio

Paul Ryan stepped onto the stage at a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on August 11, the day Mitt Romney named him his running mate, and wiped away a few tears. “Hi, Mom!” Ryan said, his voice ...

Virginians for Romney

Can Romney Take Richmond?

A close campaign in Virginia.


Manassas, Va.

August 11 had been a long day. By about 5 p.m., when the Romney for President bus reached this Washington suburb, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan had traveled over 200 miles throughout Virginia. The ...

The Workers Stand for America rally: one Bill of Rights is not enough.

Obama’s Labor Problem

The unions are unhappy campers.



On Saturday, August 11, some 40,000 union members descended on the City of Brotherly Love for what was billed as the first-ever “Workers Stand for America” rally. The ostensible purpose of the rally—organized by the International Brotherhood ...

A pregnant woman

Sex and the City

Ten years of counseling at a crisis pregnancy ­center.


For the past 10 years I’ve volunteered at the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, a pro-life Christian ministry in the troubled heart of Washington, D.C. Over this decade of listening to women in crisis, talking with them, helping them find the resources they need, praying ...


Unto the Hills

The sober wisdom of Calvin Coolidge


 Calvin Coolidge

Plymouth Notch, Vt.

As historic sites go, the one at Plymouth Notch is decidedly low key, downmarket, and not much to look at. You could be forgiven for driving right on by if you were on your way to, say, Woodstock, one of the designer villages of contemporary Vermont, stylishly done over with Rockefeller money. Plymouth Notch belongs to a leaner time when, if there was money, there wasn’t enough, certainly, to appease boutique tastes.

But Plymouth Notch is where President Calvin Coolidge was born and is buried. It has been preserved in its essentials so that when you visit, you hardly notice the very modest and inevitable commercialism of the place and admire, instead, the simple clapboard buildings, the sturdy barns, and the tidy cemetery where the 30th president is buried, in a grave marked by an austere granite stone no different from the one that would ...

Just whose hands are you talking about?

Medicare Jujitsu

How Romney and Ryan are turning the Democrats’ favorite campaign attack against Obama


In the wake of Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, conservatives and liberals seemed almost equally happy. To the right, the pick represented a bold decision to make a forthright case against President Obama’s vision for the country and ...

Books & Arts

American Speak

This tongue has many colors.


Navajo code talkers during the battle for Bougainville, 1943

In the musical My Fair Lady, snooty dialectician Henry Higgins searches in vain for “purity” of expression in English; he winces at the Scots and the Irish, shudders at the Cockney London accent. His parting shot is, however, fired across the Atlantic: There even are places where English completely disappears, / In America they haven’t used it for years! sings the Englishman.

Higgins’s prejudice is absurd, but his identification of American parlance as quite distinct from his own is correct. The difference between American English and British English is considerable—at least as wide as the difference between an American and an English muffin. Both are made from similar ingredients, but they feel very different on the palate. American English (it seems to my British ears) has greater rise and bounce. “Awesome!” was a word I first encountered at university, spoken by ...

Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Recycling to Nowhere

The green economy meets the facts.


Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the Department of Labor and now a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute (as well as a former colleague of mine at the Hudson Institute), likes to tilt at windmills, and in her latest book she has an ...

Tending to a shooting victim, Londonderry, January 30, 1972

Bloody Inquiries

Separating truth from fiction in Ulster.


Whenever discussion turns to the causes of the Irish “Troubles,” the decades-long terrorist campaign of the Irish Republican Army to force the British government to relinquish Ulster as part of the United Kingdom, it inevitably focuses on ...

The Agora, the central gathering place in Athens, at the foot of the Acropolis

The Greek Gift

On the classical origins of democratic freedom.


‘Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize .  .  . is God’s gift to humanity.”

So said George W. Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address, ...

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

The high costs of feeling good about yourself.


In academia, few sins are as grave and unforgivable as criticizing the “studies” programs. Journalist/author Naomi Schaefer Riley found that out this past spring when she wrote a blog post for the Chronicle of Higher Education ...

Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep in Hope Springs

Holy Deadlock

After 31 years of marriage, what is holding them together?


Marriage is one of the great subjects—perhaps the great subject—of the novel. That is not true of the cinema. Movies end with marriages; they do not begin with them. Marriage is the ...


The Great Apartment Hunt

Joseph Epstein's sweet home, Chicago


Looking for a place in Chicago

I spent a good part of the last three weeks helping a young friend look for an apartment, and the experience was revealing. Among other things, it made me realize that so much has changed in the city where I grew up and have lived most of my life that I scarcely know it. The experience also showed the crucial role of computers even in such fundamental activities as finding shelter. And it revealed, finally, the pressure that the current economy has put on the stock of available rental property. 

My friend is in her early twenties, attractive and intelligent, a visual artist by training. She has been renting an apartment on the twenty-third floor of a building overlooking Lake Michigan with a spectacular view of Chicago’s downtown skyscrapers. Views, though, even magnificent ones, will take a person just so far. She has felt isolated in this apartment, and longed to live in a livelier neighborhood among ...


Joey, We Should Have Known Ye

Sheriff Joe

‘Joe Biden,” wrote the editorialists of the Salt Lake Tribune four years ago, “is smart, articulate, and blunt.” Well, grant our Utah colleagues this much: One out of three is better than nothing. Joe Biden is blunt as a night stick, as he proved once more last week with his instantly infamous declaration that Mitt Romney hoped to enchain his fellow citizens (whom Biden articulately referred to as y’all). As for “smart” and “articulate,” the Trib’s editorialists were writing at a time, August 2008, when we were all required to marvel at what a formidable personage old Joe was. At least they didn’t use the word “gravitas”—an omission that could have gotten them run right out of the International Guild of Opinionmakers and Gasbags.

Remember? There was a period there, in the early days of the Obama Delusion, where Biden and gravitas were nearly synonymous. ...


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