EDITORIAL

The Winning Answer

BY WILLIAM KRISTOL

Burke, Reagan, Christie

Almost 25 minutes into last Wednesday night’s presidential debate, it was already clear Mitt Romney was doing better than expected, and that Barack Obama was a bit flat. But it wasn’t yet obvious at the end of the debate’s first segment that the debate would produce a decisive winner.

Then moderator Jim Lehrer moved from taxes to a discussion of “what to do about the federal deficit, the federal debt.” Mitt Romney spoke first. His two-minute answer was the inflection point in the debate. After that, he was on a roll—a conservative roll. And President Obama would be reduced to an ineffectual defensive crouch—a liberal crouch.

‘I will lower taxes on middle-income families.’ - Romney

Tax Cut Man

BY JOHN MCCORMACK

When Mitt Romney stepped on stage at the first presidential debate in Denver on October 3, he had been losing to President Obama on the ...

ARTICLES

Obama’s Boys on the Bus

The media pull out all the stops to reelect the president.

BY FRED BARNES

The Liberal Media

The Time cover story last week was headlined “The Mormon Identity.” The cover, featuring Mitt Romney in a stained-glass window, said in smaller type, “What Mitt Romney’s faith tells us about his vision and values.” Newsweek had President Obama on the cover, identifying him as “The Democrats’ Reagan” and heralding the story inside as “What Obama Will Achieve in His Second Term.”

Neither of the stories, to put it mildly, was helpful to Romney’s presidential campaign. The piece in Time was fair, but the timing, long after Mormonism had faded as a factor in the election, was suspect. In Newsweek, Obama was lionized, ...

Mitt the Manhandler

An Unspinnable Debate

How Romney won a clear victory in Denver.

BY JAMES W. CEASER

The highly anticipated debate in ...

"You Rocked that Debate Mitt!!" sign

Rocky Mountain High

Romney resets the race.

BY JAMES PIERESON

Until last week’s debate, the presidential campaign had followed a fairly ...

Obama looking pensive

Obama’s Ennui

And Romney’s achievement.

BY HARVEY MANSFIELD

Two things were notable ...

 Eugene D. Genovese, 1973

A Historian Taught by History

Eugene D. Genovese, 1930-2012.

BY RONALD RADOSH

Nigel Farage

Happy Warriors

For Merrie England, against the Dreary EU.

BY ANDREW STUTTAFORD

Birmingham, England

Abigail Fisher

Another Reason to End Preferences

Affirmative action also hurts the ‘beneficiaries.’

BY TERRY EASTLAND

FEATURES

To Viktor Go the Spoils

Is Europe right to distrust Hungary’s prime minister?

BY CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán in Brussels, January 24, 2012

‘Probably the nation which is most difficult to govern is the Hungarians,” says the man who governs them. It is late on an unseasonably warm Friday in September. Sunlight is slanting through the windows of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s office, which looks onto the Danube from the crimson-domed nineteenth-century parliament building in Budapest. “Ten million freedom fighters,” Orbán says. “That has some advantages, but from the governmental side it’s difficult.” 

Orbán, the youngest of Hungary’s Cold War heroes, ought to find it easier to govern ...

Books & Arts

The Stakes Are High

The threat of Obama’s second term.

BY JEFFREY H. ANDERSON

The high-water mark of hopey-changeyness

This is perhaps the most lucid, even-handed, and convincing examination to date of the threat that President Obama—and his potential reelection—poses to our republic. No one who reads I Am the Change will come away thinking this election is about the economy. In truth, this election pits America’s founding principles against Obama’s efforts to transform them. Obama noted as much in October 2008, declaring in a rare moment of candor, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Kesler cautions: “Those words mean this will be a different country when he’s finished with it”—“a new land.”

Geoff Dyer

The Fandom Tollbooth

Calculating the price of obsession.

BY STEFAN BECK

"What really matters,” said Rob (John Cusack) in High Fidelity, “is what

HBO

Insight Hollywood

Won’t Back Down’s Lance Reddick has something to say, on- and off-screen.

BY KELLY JANE TORRANCE

Halfway through what feels like the usual interview with a Hollywood entertainer in town to promote a new work, I’m stopped short. 

‘The Nightmare’ by Henry Fuseli (1781)

Perchance to Dream

One-third of a lifetime in a twilight of the mind.

BY TEMMA EHRENFELD

David K. Randall begins this glide through dreamland with a quote from Aldous Huxley: ...

Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya, ca. 1940

Emigré’s Song

It’s a long, long while since Kurt Weill got his due.

BY JONATHAN LEAF

Joaquin Phoenix

Passeth Understanding

An impressive rendition of nothing at all.

BY JOHN PODHORETZ

When a movie receives rave reviews from critics who say they need to see it again to understand ...

CASUAL

Dim Viewer

Philip Terzian, the non-moviegoer

BY PHILIP TERZIAN

Terzian reads at the movies.

I recall an interview with William Faulkner in which he said that he didn’t read books but read in books, the distinction being that he seldom consumed a volume from start to finish but preferred to stick his toes in here and there, read favorite chapters over and over, proceeding from finish to start if necessary. 

I don’t precisely follow Faulkner in this—although I do like to scandalize my alluring wife by reading the ends of novels before the beginnings—but it occurs to me that, over a lifetime, I have tended to dabble in movies rather than watch them from opening credits to finishing scroll. Why is this? I’m not sure. ...

SCRAPBOOK

Mau-Mauing the Kennedy Center

Michael Kaiser

The Scrapbook resolutely refuses to take the Kennedy Center Honors seriously, and this year’s carefully balanced, politically vetted selection of lifetime achievers in the performing arts​—​Dustin Hoffman, Led Zeppelin, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova, David Letterman​—​prompts us to change our mind not one whit. Discerning readers will note that there is the requisite Hollywood figure (Hoffman), African American (Guy), TV personality (Letterman), and representative of High Art (Makarova). We’re not quite sure where Led Zeppelin fits in here, but since last year’s list featured Neil Diamond, and Sir Paul McCartney made the cut the year before, we have an idea where this is going.

Those with ...

Republican or Democrat?

Absurd on Its Face

Anyone who doubts that the social psychologists of our great nation are underemployed will want to wait for the new issue of the ...

Obama and Romney

Sentences We Didn’t Finish

"The first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, so long anticipated, quickly sunk into an ...

Eric Hobsbawm

Unlamented

In noting the death last week in London of Eric Hobsbawm, The Scrapbook observed its usual doctrine of de mortuis nil nisi bonum. But then our attention was drawn to his ...

Joseph Epstein, Essays in Biography (Axios Press)

Required Reading

The Scrapbook is delighted to commend the latest collection from our celebrated contributing editor Joseph Epstein, ...

Harvey Mansfield

HarveyMansfield.Org

Elsewhere in this issue you can read Harvey Mansfield’s elegant résumé of the Romney-Obama debate. But if, like The ...

Obama's out cold

PARODY

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers