Liberalism, Manic & Depressive


Biden and Obama

In the first presidential debate of 2012, we saw, up close and personal, what Harvey Mansfield called in last week’s issue the ennui of Barack Obama. Obama’s ennui is related to his dislike for the real challenges of governing. More fundamentally, his ennui reflects his declinism. What’s exciting about governing for the next four years if it’s just going to involve managing austerity at home and decline abroad? It’s a depressing prospect.

Obama is depressed because today’s liberalism is depressing. Obama is world-weary because modern liberalism is world-weary. Hope and change was just campaign talk. The real existing liberal president lives in an atmosphere ...


Obama Didn’t Save Us


About the only talking point Joe Biden didn’t repeat in his debate with Paul Ryan was the one lionizing President Obama for having saved the ...

Benghazi in Flames


Staggering Idiocy

Panicky progressives struggle for reasons to support Obama.


Panicky progressives

A website called 90days90reasons.com went online this summer, after the writer Dave Eggers got worried about the diminishing enthusiasm for Barack Obama among people like him. Eggers is a hipster, I guess you’d call him. He lives in San Francisco. He’s best known as the author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a long, funny, clever, and annoying memoir, which was published, like Barack Obama’s less funny and less annoying memoir, when its author was scarcely pushing 30. Kids grow up so quickly these days. The memoir’s immense commercial success, along with the popularity of a magazine he edits, led the New York Times to call Eggers “the magnetic center of a literary counterestablishment.”

Normally when the Times calls a fellow a ...

Cookie Monster

Big Bird Is Big Business

PBS’s well-feathered nest.


The mini-storm over Mitt Romney, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Big Bird pitted two visions of the show’s finances against one ...

Middle east in flames

Confusion or Coverup?

What we knew about the Benghazi attack and when we knew it.


On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, ...

Anti-China sentiment

Who’ll Get Thrown Off the Island?

The greater East Asian co-hostility sphere.


Relations between China and Japan, never particularly placid, have reached bona fide crisis proportions over the past several months—and could get ...

Ivanishvili: Democracy? Maybe, maybe not.

Back in the USSR?

Georgia elects an oligarch.



Maximum Personal-cost calculations


Addicted to Race

The left’s long twilight struggle against imaginary bigotry


Obama Golfing

Slowly but surely, the toxin of bias is being leached out of American culture, if incrementally and by degrees. A Catholic was elected president in 1960, and since then Catholic nominees and candidates have become commonplace. A Jew was nominated in 2000 for vice president, and was a help to his ticket. In 2004 and 2008 respectively, Joe Lieberman and Rudy Giuliani ran for president, and their names and religions did not become issues. The country’s first black president was elected four years ago by a fairly large margin. This year, a black woman and a Hispanic were the first choices of many Republican voters for vice president, and children of Hispanic and Indian immigrants are rising Republican stars. Pockets of bias remain, but this country has reached the stage at which no success is beyond the reach of any American for reasons other than personal failings. But as racism fades, concern over it ...

Randall Terry

Randall Terry Shoots an Ad

The anti-abortion crusader’s latest campaign


Romney, ...

Books & Arts

Comedy Isn’t Pretty

The religulous journey of Bill Maher.


Bill Maher

Bill Maher’s fans worship him. Some 4.1 million of them faithfully watch his Real Time with Bill Maher, whether at its 10 p.m. Friday time slot on HBO or in its on-demand and digital-recorder formats. Those are niche numbers compared with the weekly 14 million or so for ABC’s Dancing with the Stars but still fairly impressive considering that Maher’s show is on premium cable. Also, he aims for an audience that considers itself many cuts in sophistication above the “mouth-breathers,” one of his favorite synonyms for the ...


The Wonder Man

A second opinion on Mozart’s final days.


Discussions of what would prove to be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last years tend to ...

Ronald Reagan campaigns for president, 1980.

The Lady Is a Lamp

What you don’t know about the Statue of Liberty.


‘Slowly the ship glides into the harbor,” wrote one turn-of-the-century immigrant of arriving in New York, “and when it passes under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, the silence is broken, and a thousand hands are outstretched in a greeting to this new ...

Suri Cruise

The Kids Are Alright

And maybe the target should be their parents.


I’m going to go out on a limb and say that blogging is not the greatest byproduct of the advent of the information age. (That would be Double ...

Anna Kendrick as Beca


Young love and young standards sound good.


The fizzy and exuberant


Death Be Not Proud

Fred Barnes's Polish errand


Alan Stallings III

On the Weekly Standard cruise to Bermuda in July, I received an unusual request. After dinner one evening, I was approached by Carrie Ann Stallings from Jackson, Mississippi. She was on the ship with her husband, Alan.

She had heard I’d be leaving the cruise early, flying to London, and joining Mitt Romney’s trip to Israel and Poland. Maybe I’d mentioned my plans when I spoke to cruise participants. I don’t recall. But Carrie Ann and Alan were interested in the fact I’d be going to Poland.


Against Big Bird

Big Bird in China

Here’s what The Scrapbook learned last week: Democrats believe any suggestion that taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize the Public Broadcasting Service​—​even if it means continually borrowing from China​—​is off the table, a political third rail, strictly taboo. Republicans seem to believe the opposite, especially in light of public television’s substantial income (see Jonathan V. Last’s “Big Bird Is Big Business” on page 14)​—​although some think that Mitt Romney might have been wiser to choose, say, Bill Moyers as the personification of PBS, rather than Big Bird.

Alas, The Scrapbook must respectfully disagree with that last point. In fact, we thought ...

Cheshire Biden
Chevy Volt

Revolt of the Drivers

Yes, we’ve chronicled the saga of the Chevy Volt before, but The Scrapbook is nothing if not tenacious when it comes to documenting public-private ...

Nicholas Eberstadt

Alexis de Eberstadt

Scrapbook readers will be familiar with the work of Nicholas Eberstadt, the nation’s bravest and most prescient demographer, from his appearances ...

Don’t Speak

Don’t Speak

It’s exceedingly rare for the bureaucrats who hand out the cultural Nobel Prizes to get it right. Two years ago they did, awarding the ...


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