The Greatest Conservative Generation


Robert Bork, 1927-2012

"There were giants in the earth in those days.” The death on December 19 of Robert Bork—superb legal scholar, preeminent constitutional thinker, principled public servant—calls to mind the other giants of American conservatism who have left us in the last decade: Bill Buckley and Irving Kristol, Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, Richard John Neuhaus and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. They were the greatest conservative generation. They rode into the valley of liberal orthodoxies and emerged sometimes triumphant, always unbowed. When can their glory fade? They left our nation stronger and better for their efforts. 

Those who knew them do their best to carry on the ...

A firefight in Helmand province: Three U.S. soldiers and one Afghan soldier

Abandoning Afghanistan


When Senator Barack Obama was running for president back in 2008, he accused the Bush administration, his opponent Senator John McCain, and their supporters of taking their eyes off the ball by fighting a war in Iraq and ignoring the “necessary war”—the war in Afghanistan. Well, four short ...


The Indispensable Man

Arizona’s Jon Kyl retires from the Senate.


John Kyl

There’s a wise old saying that no one in politics or elected office is indispensable. But Republican senator Jon Kyl of Arizona comes pretty close.

Now that Kyl is retiring after 8 years in the House and 18 in the Senate, his absence will be felt instantly. He knows more about more issues than anyone else in Congress—ranging from missile defense to the estate tax. His influence was magnified less by his position as Senate minority whip since 2007 than by his ability to deal respectfully with both Republican and Democratic senators, even ...

CEO John Schnatter

Spaghetti with Regulation Sauce

Restaurant owners work overtime to figure out Obamacare.


The owner of an Italian restaurant in Baltimore was going to talk to me about how his business was preparing for Obamacare, now that it is going to be the law of the land. But ...

Hamas militant with  a Belgian FN F2000

Smugglers Galore

How Iran arms its allies.


An explosion in southern Lebanon last week destroyed what is believed to have been a Hezbollah weapons depot. This latest in a series of mysterious “accidents” in ...

The IRS building

The ‘Open for Business’ Tax Plan

Let’s eliminate tariffs and corporate taxes.


It’s not hard to find people in Washington who say they favor ...


Batman v. Spider-Man

Which is the greater hero?


Spider Man, Batman

Jonathan V. Last penned a paean to the Batman earlier this year in The Weekly Standard, making the case for understanding the Caped Crusader as the hero of the modern liberal order against illiberal threats, including and especially those that emerge from within modernity itself (“A One-Man Department of Justice,” August 13, 2012). Last is right to argue that modernity needs restraining. He is mistaken in thinking that this is a job for Batman.

Batman seems ...

Major-General Charles Orde Wingate in Reading, England, September 1943

What Wingate Wrought

The astonishing raids of a Special Operations pioneer in Palestine, Abyssinia, and Burma


Everyone still remembers T. E. Lawrence, if only because of David Lean’s magnificent movieLawrence of Arabia and Lawrence’s own literary masterpiece,Seven Pillars ...

Books & Arts

Sincerely, Young Possum

T. S. Eliot on the threshold of eminence.


Inside the offices of Faber & Gwyer, London, 1926

'I don’t like reading other people’s private correspondence in print, and I do not want other people to read mine,” wrote T. S. Eliot to his mother in April 1927. 

Sounds definitive enough, yet six years later, he would confess in a lecture that there was an “ineradicable” desire to hope one’s correspondence might be preserved for complete strangers to read: “We want to confess ourselves in writing to a few friends, and we do not always want to feel that no one but those friends will ever read what we have written”—put with a ...

Daniel Klein on Hydra

Growing Older

The best is yet to be, with adjustments.


Allen C. Guelzo

Aftermyth of War

The Lost Cause is among the casualties in this definitive history.


Visiting Martian, President Jack Nicholson, ‘Mars Attacks!’ (1996)

Art of the Possible

Surprising lessons to be learned in popular culture.


Rob Lowe, Sheryl Berkoff

Happier Ending

In the ranks of show-biz memoirs, an unexpected gem.


Memoirs by performers are the cotton candy of autobiography—insubstantial, undemanding, and alluring, but when you’re done you can’t remember why you wasted the calories ...


When Good Trees Go Bad

Andrew Ferguson, arbor assassin


A tree threatens the house

We bought our house years ago in deepest autumn, when the towering oak in the backyard had scarcely lost a leaf, and the leaves it had yet to lose were daubed by the lengthening year to a shade of red I’d never seen. The sun passing through them gave the browning grass an unearthly shimmer, as light from a rose window will brighten the shadows in a sanctuary. The house was okay and the neighborhood was good but I think the reason we felt compelled to make an offer was this very thing, this overspreading tree with its power to impose moods on an otherwise unremarkable plot of ground in suburban Virginia. You sign a stack of papers and take possession of a house, and pay taxes and insurance premiums that prove, among other things, it’s yours. But the categories of ownership are too puny for a tree like this one. You don’t buy it or take possession of it, ...


Great Scott

Rep. Tim Scott

The Scrapbook did not expect that the New York Times would express much joy at the appointment of Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina to the Senate seat vacated by Jim DeMint. Mr. DeMint is a conservative Republican, Mr. Scott is a conservative Republican, and the governor who anointed Scott, Nikki Haley, is a conservative Republican, too. 

And the truth be told, The Scrapbook would prefer to underplay the “historic” nature of Scott’s ascent to the Senate. Yes, he is the first black Republican in the upper chamber since Edward Brooke (1979) and the only African American in the Senate at all; and he assumes the seat once held by Strom Thurmond, the 1948 Dixiecrat candidate for president. The times they are a-changin’ ...

Sen. Daniel Inouye, 1924-2012

Sen. Daniel Inouye, 1924-2012

Daniel Inouye, Democrat from the state of Hawaii and president pro tempore of the Senate for the last two years, died last week at age 88. The Scrapbook rarely found ...

Come, Let Us Converse Together

Since the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the media have been braying about the need for a national conversation on gun control. Putting aside our suspicion ...



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