The Audacity of Nope


Sock 'em

President Obama has gone on the offensive at the beginning of his second term, and Republicans aren’t happy campers. Of course, every Republican camp is unhappy in its own way.

There are the lamenters. Shouldn’t Obama have been less partisan in his Inaugural Address? Who gave liberals the right to launch ideological offensives? Doesn’t Obama know this is a center-right country? Didn’t he learn any lessons from Bill Clinton? Beneath these rhetorical questions, of course, lurks the fear that Obama will succeed.

But he won’t. There’s no need to worry that Barack Obama will be a liberal Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s foreign and economic policies succeeded. Obama’s policies are failing, at home and abroad.

But will the public notice? This is the concern of the second camp, the despairers. Liberals will ...

Sec. Hillary Clinton

Hillary Bobs and Weaves


Hillary Clinton’s testimony last week on Benghazi was in many respects a fitting end to the multi-layered scandal that seems unlikely ever to grow beyond scandal childhood, at least in the minds of those responsible for determining ...

Scene of the crime: the Algerian natural gas facility

The Obama Vacuum


One thing Hillary Clinton got right in her testimony before Congress last week: “When America is absent,” she said, “there are consequences.” But the administration she served has chosen to be ...


No More Swinging for the Fences

Paul Ryan, Mr. Prudence.


Ryan punts

Paul Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee, an unofficial but influential member of the House Republican leadership, and a loyal ally of Speaker John Boehner. As such, he is counseling “prudence” in dealing with President Obama, which he defines as “choosing your fights wisely and not fighting for the sake of fighting.”

Ryan is also the GOP’s dominant voice on domestic policy. That includes everything from spending, taxes, and entitlements to antipoverty initiatives. Having been Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Ryan is now one of the most sought-after Republicans for speeches, TV appearances, and fundraising. In this role—and possibly as a presidential candidate in 2016—he is expected to be bold, exciting, and forward-looking. That is, anything but prudent.

Reconciling these two roles won’t ...

Richard Blanco

Blanco Verse

Really bad inaugural poetry.


Many, many thoughts crossed my mind as Richard Blanco finished reading his inaugural poem at President Obama’s swearing-in last week. Well, I guess it could have been ...

 Stan “the Man” Musial

When a Cardinal Ruled the Roost

Stan Musial, 1920-2013.


If you lived in the decade following World War II in the American Southwest or a goodly portion of the South and were a baseball fan, there is a good chance you were a fan


Israelis Ignore Obama

They know their interests better than he does.


Tel Aviv

The international media get a lot wrong in their reporting on Israel, but the latest election results have thrown into stark ...


Putin’s Innocent Victims

A mean-hearted ban on the adoption of Russian ­children by American parents.


After retaking Russia’s presidency last year, Vladimir Putin seemed to be headed for master-of-the-universe status. The political stage had been cleared of potential challengers to his power. The protest movement that had risen in ...

israel flag and american flag!

The Real Israel Lobby

It’s the American people.


The Jewish Lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. .  .  . I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator. I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution ...


Coed Combat Units

A bad idea on all counts


A woman in combat

For over two decades, I have been arguing against the idea of placing American women in combat or in support positions associated with direct ground combat. I base my position on three factors. First, there are substantial physical differences between men and women that place the latter at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to ground combat. Second, men treat women differently than they treat other men. This can undermine the comradeship upon which the unit cohesion necessary to success on the battlefield depends. Finally, the presence of women leads to double standards that seriously erode morale and performance. In other words, men and women are not interchangeable.


Physical ...

Obamcare getting signed into law.

Delay, Repeal, Replace

The Obamacare fight has just begun


Watching Congress take the final steps to pass Obamacare in March 2010 was a bitterly disappointing moment for the law’s opponents. They didn’t have to be told that what was being rammed through ...

The scourage of 'human rights' commissions

The Sensitivity Apparat

On the scourge of ‘human rights’ commissions


Tony Tomelden never wanted to be a First Amendment crusader. A lifelong resident of Washington, D.C., he’s a working-class guy in a town that’s consumed by politics. He runs a bar called The Pug. And it’s not just any bar, it’s the ...

Books & Arts

Look and Learn

Camille Paglia on the best of the West.


'Venus with a Mirror' (ca. 1555) by Titian

In this hugely informative and highly entertaining study, Camille Paglia argues that to survive in our frenetic visual environment, we need to refocus our eyes on the sculptures and paintings and other works that compose the sweeping artistic patrimony of the West. As she notes, “Looking at art requires stillness and receptivity, which realign our senses and produce a magical tranquility.”

She reports with some urgency on the impoverished state of the fine arts and art education, condemning the weakness (and absence) of art history surveys in schools and colleges, and pointing out that students in the humanities “graduate with little sense of chronology or the gorgeous procession of styles that constitutes Western art.” And she highlights an even more distressing problem: The elite contemporary art world sneers at religion, relies on shock value, and “has no big ideas left.”

Paglia’s antidote to this nothingness is to contemplate individual works of art one-by-one, ...

Million Man March at the Kremlin, November 1917

Red Dawn

Why the Bolshevik Revolution wasn't 'strangled in its cradle.'


When everything changes, what should be done?

Over 30 years after Ayatollah Khomeini lit the Islamic fire, the West is still fumbling its way to a proper response. Imagine, then, the challenge posed by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. A key partner in the Allied war against Germany had ...

Where Thornton Wilder wrote 'Our Town'

Cabin Fever

The creative sensation at the MacDowell Colony.


Peterborough, N.H.

Wednesday, June 6: The email notifying me of my acceptance to the MacDowell Colony could not have come at a better time. I’ve just begun writing a new short story—one so new I’m still writing it in longhand, sitting in coffee shops drinking ...

Jimmy Carter meets the press, 1977.

Lives of the Scribes

What you thought you knew about the Washington press corps.


On the strength of half-a-century’s work with newspaper people, I can confidently say that no cadre of that tribe is subject to greater superstition than Washington reporters. It seems a settled prejudice that all reporters, everywhere, are puffed-up Pulitzer-seekers and partisans in ...

Prince Henry Stuart by Isaac Oliver, ca. 1612

Testament of Youth

The elder brother of Charles I, in pictures and memory.


Henry IX is one of the most interesting monarchs Britain never had.

The eldest son of James VI of Scotland and his wife, Anne of Denmark, Henry, who was born in 1594, took after his mother in looks. He had a long, chiseled face with intelligent eyes, a long nose, and a small, determined ...

Destination Procrastination

All in Good Time

The key to success is getting around to it, eventually.


Before reading it, I had already decided to dislike this book. I had assumed, incorrectly, that it must be another clever panegyric on something traditionally thought of as a vice. I’ve grown weary of volumes purporting to reveal the hidden virtues of (to recall a few works from the last ...


Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Victorino Matus, wrong number


Victorino Matus, wrong number

In the 1986 movie Ruthless People, the character played by Danny DeVito answers the phone, responding, “Yeah, Debbie’s here, who’s this? Well, Ralph, uh, Debbie can’t talk right now. .  .  . How about if I have her call you back later when I’m done?” He then hangs up and says with a sinister grin, “I love wrong numbers.”

I once witnessed a friend tell the person on the other end of a wrong number that the man’s girlfriend was “upstairs in the club,” hanging out with all the guys, and that she refused to talk to him. (We were actually in my friend’s backyard, and the caller was severely intoxicated.)

Now, I’ve never pulled either of those pranks, but the opportunity does present itself each and every week—that is how often I get misdialed. My number consists ...


At Last

Ramirez Scrapbook

Treasury Internal Revenue Service

Our Robed Friends

Federal courts no longer check federal power. That’s been the disappointing truth of contemporary America, culminating in the Supreme Court’s timorous ruling upholding Obamacare last year. But 2013 could be very different. The first ...

Obama's light fingers

Light-Fingered Obama

As good as President Obama is at blaming others, he’s just as egregious at failing to give people credit when he uses their thoughts in a speech. The prime example: his second Inaugural Address delivered last week.

What We Saw at the Inauguration

What We Saw at the Inauguration

Thousands of patriots trekked to Washington not to witness the inauguration, but to be of service. These volunteers weren’t paid for waiting on those who ponied up for the evening balls, but they had the satisfaction of ...

hipster marx

Hipster Marxism

Since applied Marxism is responsible for 100 million or so corpses over the last century, it’s hard to imagine an ideology more worthy of scorn. But hipsters didn’t get the memo. Radical chic is alive and well in—where ...

personhood now

Unhappy Anniversary

Roe v. Wade turned 40 last week, and we were finally greeted with some bracing honesty from those ...


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