What If Everyone’s Wrong?


Republicans at GOP

What if what everyone knows about presidential elections is wrong? 

Everyone knows vice presidential candidates don’t matter. Except that on August 11, the day Paul Ryan was announced, Mitt Romney trailed by almost 5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Two weeks later Romney had pulled to within 1 point​—​his strongest rally of the general election season.

Everyone knows that when a president is running for reelection, the race is a judgment on the incumbent​—​and that if the country isn’t in great shape, it’s very much in the challenger’s interest to keep the focus on the incumbent. Make it a referendum on the president. Don’t let the incumbent make it a choice.

Except that with the Ryan pick, the race became much more of a choice and less of a referendum​—​and Romney has been doing better ...

The Spirit of 76

The GOP’s '76ers


‘America is more than just a place,” Paul Ryan told the Norfolk, Virginia, crowd during his first speech as Mitt Romney’s running mate. “It’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government.” The ...


The State of the Race

Obama is ahead, barely.


Obama Reaches for the Brass Ring

With just over two months until Election Day, Barack Obama holds a narrow lead over Mitt Romney in the race for the presidency. The lead is shallow, however, and a careful look at the landscape reveals significant weaknesses for the president. The key question remains whether Romney can capitalize on them. 

President Obama has enjoyed a lead over Romney in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls every day since October 2011. Yet the president is bedeviled by problems. For one thing, he remains locked at around 47 percent support; for the last quarter-century, this has been roughly the floor for Democratic presidential candidates, suggesting that all the president has done to date is consolidate the Democratic base.

Beyond that, Obama faces substantial roadblocks. His job approval rating has hovered between 47 and 48 percent for months. Given that ...


Who’s the Extremist?

Obama’s radical position on social issues.


Long before Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin flapped his gums about the female body’s magical ability to prevent pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape,” Democrats were conducting an aggressive campaign to cast Mitt Romney as an extremist on ...

Sen. Harry Reid

Dirty Harry

Why are Republicans giving Reid a pass?


Democrat Tammy Baldwin is running for the Senate in Wisconsin, but a TV ad criticizing her opens with a smiling House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the screen. Democrat Joe Donnelly is his party’s Senate candidate in Indiana. An ad targeting him quotes ...

David Koch

Citizen Koch Goes to Tampa

Meet the left’s public enemy number one.


Not even the most experienced reporter is likely to recognize him as he takes his seat in the New York delegation or struggles to make his way through the jostling crowds on the floor of the Republican National Convention this week in Tampa. ...

The Ryan Generation

Generation Ryan

The first post-boomer nominee.


Mitt Romney’s vice presidential short-list came down to a choice between a baby boomer, Rob Portman (born 1955), and a Gen Xer, Paul Ryan (born 1970). Romney’s decision to pick Ryan—the first post-boomer ever to run on a national ticket—was widely described as bold, in ...

Reince, Ryan, Romney, Walker

Reince Rules

It’s a high-stakes election for the GOP chairman.


Green Bay, Wisc.
It’s a good time to be Reince Priebus. Beyond the obvious—that he’s from Wisconsin and the Green Bay Packers are once again a favorite to win the Super Bowl—the chairman of the Republican National ...

Joe Soptic

Where Does It End?

The illogic of Obama’s attack on Romney.


Boy, that Mitt Romney can screw up your life. Or possibly end it. To hear the left tell it, he is not merely a vampire and/or vulture capitalist, getting rich while leaving millions of people in misery, he is also able to give people cancer, at a distance of ...

Expect less: Erlander

If Sweden Can Do It . . .

. . . the United States can reform entitlements, too.



During his long reign, Tage Erlander, Swedish prime minister between 1946 and 1969, spoke grudgingly of the impending “discontent of growing expectations.” He was referring to how the Swedish labor movement, after decades ...


Sound Money Gains a Champion

Paul Ryan, good as gold.


What are the chances that President Barack Obama and his Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, will ever have anything meaningful to say about monetary policy​—​beyond continuing to try to coax Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to print ever more dollars ...


Numbering the Days

Memories of Strat-O-Matic baseball


Baseball Games

He kept a diary—a friend, a boy we knew when we were young, all those years ago—and at the end of most entries he would assign himself a line from a baseball box score, defining each day as though it were part of some classic pennant race against .  .  . well, who knows? The general malevolence of the universe, maybe, or the daunting future and his own adolescent doubts, glaring down at him from the pitcher’s mound. June 2—Sue Mercer stopped to talk while I was sitting on the steps, so cute I couldn’t think of anything to say. Read a little, not much. Mowed the lawn. Shot hoops in the driveway; okay but inconsistent. Won at cards with my brothers. Today: 4 at bats, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 RBI, 1 error

And then, at the end of the summer, Glen would add up how his days had gone, totaling his box scores to make a card for the season: 512 at-bats with a .291 ...

Books & Arts

A Celebrated Editor

The curious case of Benjamin Bradlee


Sally Quinn, Benjamin Bradlee, Ali Wentworth, and George Stephanopoulos, 2009

Grey Gardens itself is a marvel. .  .  . Like Ben and Sally’s other two homes, it’s ritzy and historic and perfectly restored and all of that, but more than anything it’s just a beautiful place. The gardens take up an entire acre and are as lush as you can imagine, full of archways and hydrangeas and picturesque seating arrangements that nobody ever uses. .  .  . Time spent there is an idyll. You get up whenever you want. .  .  . Evelyn cooks your breakfast to order. .  .  . In the Hamptons, there’s always a party, and Ben and Sally are always invited. .  .  . One of Ben’s favorite aphorisms, taken from the Jewish elders, is “Love work, hate domination, and steer clear of the ruling class.”

One of my favorite aphorisms is: Never cite Jewish aphorisms on the perniciously seductive ruling class when you’re writing an extended mash note to Benjamin Bradlee and his various residences, all of it stuffed with ...

Stethoscope and Apple

Healthy Trend

First, do no harm­—and then repeal Obamacare.


Thirteen years ago I co-authored a book that I thought could cut the Gordian knot of the health care dilemma. The dozens of copies sold proved insufficient to promote the needed revolutionary change. John ...

Stack of Books

Smart Writing

It’s good to be published, and better to be understood.


Modern academics are not celebrated for the clarity and felicity of their writing. One of the most important lessons a postgraduate student can learn—and if he doesn’t learn it soon, he’s doomed—is that academics generally do not write books and articles for the purpose of expressing their ...

Taipei by night, 2010

One-China Syndrome

The self-deception that believes the lies about Taiwan.


In the past three decades, there have been three big stories in East Asia. 

The first is the Thirty Years’ Peace. The decades prior had seen both cross-border and internal violence on a grand scale

‘A boxing match, or another bloody nose for John Bull’ by William Charles (1813)

Washington on Fire

Why the War of 1812 is our second war of independence.


Louis Serurier, a French diplomat stationed in Washington in the early 19th century, observed that the War of 1812 lent America “what it so essentially lacked, a national character founded on a common glory to all.” The American war effort was hardly ...

Tom Mankiewicz

A Fan’s Notes

This movie masterpiece comes in printed form.


Tom Mankiewicz, who died in 2010, was a Hollywood hack of limited abilities. He found his greatest success as a screenwriter of several second-rate James Bond pictures and as a director of the very weird big-screen comedy version of Dragnet. So it comes as a ...


Learning to Like Mitt

Andrew Ferguson, reluctant Romneyite


Super Mitt

Now that he’s officially the Republican nominee for president and has an excellent chance of becoming the most powerful man in the world, I feel free to admit, in the full knowledge that nobody cares, that I never liked Mitt Romney. My distaste for him isn’t merely personal or political but also petty and superficial. There’s the breathless, Eddie Attaboy delivery, that half-smile of pitying condescension in debates or interviews when someone disagrees with him, the Ken doll mannerisms, his wanton use of the word “gosh”—the whole Romney package has been nails on a blackboard to me.

Evidently not many of my fellow Republicans agreed. I assumed I was missing something and resolved to dive into the Romney literature, which I soon discovered should post a disclaimer, like a motel pool: NO DIVING. By my count the literature includes one good book, The Real Romney, by two reporters from the Boston ...


Fact Checking the Fact Checkers (cont.)

Writing in these pages some months ago, Mark Hemingway made the case for being -skeptical of media “fact checking” operations (“Lies, Damned Lies, and ‘Fact Checking,’ ” December 19, 2011). They routinely get the most basic facts wrong; they laughably claim that Republicans lie more than Democrats at a rate of three-to-one; and they niggle over obviously rhetorical statements—but only when Republicans utter them. Hemingway ended his piece by warning that media fact checking organizations were about to launch a blitzkrieg in an attempt to leverage their undeserved status as impartial arbiters to reelect Barack Obama. 

Indeed, with the election drawing near, the disingenuous deluge from fact checkers has been something to behold. Since Paul Ryan was -nominated, there have been scores of misleading and outright false “fact checks” relating to his Medicare reform plan. An Associated Press “fact check” actually ...


The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 20 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers