Resistance Is Not Futile



In the states, Republicans are governing successfully. At the think tanks, conservatives are arguing intelligently. Around the country, activists are organizing energetically. All well and good. And important. But not enough.

Because in Washington we have a president and an administration, aided and abetted by a Democratic Senate, whose efforts over the next four years, if unchecked, could overwhelm the good deeds of Republican governors, the astute arguments of conservative policy experts, and the hard work of grassroots activists.

Handing off the flag to the ANA

The Afghan Endgame


President Obama’s decision to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the course of the next year is unwise. It greatly increases the risk of mission failure in that important conflict, jeopardizing gains already made in ...


The Papal Abdication

Benedict XVI’s problematic farewell.


Benedict XVI’s problematic farewell.

In 1294, Peter of Morrone—San Celestino, little St. Celestine, as popular devotion calls him—was elected pope of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Spirit moves where it will; perhaps a shy, ascetic monk was necessary at that moment, to remind the church of its truest calling. The college of cardinals thought so, at least, desperate after two years of failing to choose a successor to Nicholas IV.

Still, no one should have been surprised that a man who had previously lived as a hermit in a cave in Abruzzi would prove one of the least competent administrators the world ...

Watching the SOTU from Wisconsin

Governor Walker’s Play-by-Play

The State of the Union, as seen from Wisconsin.


Madison, ...

President Obama

The Obama Scorecard

Every government program is a winner.


Liberalism has its advantages. It puts government in the driver’s ...

Bumps Along the Path to Citizenship

Bumps Along the Path to Citizenship

Put not your faith in federal bureaucracies.


President Obama and the Democrats have made clear that their “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants should be as direct as possible. Many Republicans are not sure they want ...

Obama and Boehner

Fiscal Fitness

A political economy regimen for Republicans.


A winning agenda for a political party must simultaneously satisfy the requirements of economic effectiveness and political success. Ronald Reagan had such an agenda ...

Gov. Mike Pence

Railroad to Ruin?

Indiana’s new governor faces a mass-transit decision.


Fiscally conservative governors in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida have rejected billions of dollars in subsidies for the growth of high-speed rail and new public transportation projects in their states in recent years. Indiana’s new ...


Politicizing Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder’s agenda begins and ends with delivering favors to Obama’s constituencies


President Obama and Eric Holder

On the morning of January 21, just before President Obama’s second inauguration, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman and House budget chairman who had run unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for vice president, was roundly booed by the gathered crowd as he left the Capitol to attend the ceremonies on the Mall. Within minutes Daniel J. Freeman, a young career trial lawyer with the Voting Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division who was at the Capitol for the festivities, took credit in a Facebook post for instigating the anti-Ryan derision. “Just started the crowd booing when Paul Ryan came out,” he wrote.*

What is interesting about Freeman’s boast isn’t just that a career civil servant considered himself ...

Marco Antonio Rubio

The Perils of Reform

Our immigration system can be fixed, but Republicans should aim for better policies, not better pandering


Put vote-getting ahead of policy. Then conflate and aggregate. That’s all you have to do to make a mess of immigration reform. Which is what our political class seems determined to ...

Books & Arts

On the Other Hand...

The judicial temperament, in private.


Judge Learned Hand (center) is honored for 50 years' service on the federal...

Learned Hand, whose last year of judicial service was 1961, may be poised on the edge of obscurity, but Ronald Dworkin’s foreword to this volume serves as a reminder that many of Hand’s clerks ended up occupying very distinguished positions in the legal profession. A review of Hand’s opinions on the federal district court for the Southern District of New York, and on the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will reveal some marvelous performances; though, as with all judges whose tenures took place in past eras, opinions gradually lose their precedential weight, and a selective treatment of opinions in contemporary law school casebooks can distort impressions of a judicial career.

Fortunately, in some instances, collections of letters can serve to revive interest in a judge as an erudite observer of human affairs. But any list of American judges who wrote and received interesting letters would be a short one, and there have been precious few collections of judicial ...

Yorktown monument, Virginia

Surveying the Fields

And the (surprisingly) gradual process of commemoration.


Now that Gettysburg hotels sell out for the July battle anniversary by December, and the Virginia peninsula might as well be rezoned as a historical theme park, it’s worth looking back to a time when plenty of American history wasn’t the stuff of vacation plans. There was no permanent ...

Obama doctors

The Singapore Cure

An economic, not political, solution to the health care crisis.


David Goldhill is a liberal Democratic business executive whose father was killed by a hospital-borne infection several years ago. The experience drove him to study the American health care system in search of an explanation. “How is it possible,” he writes, “that my father’s death was an ...

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in 'Mr. and Mrs. Bridge' (1990)

Portrait of a Lady

A second look at Evan S. Connell's domestic masterpiece.


The death of Evan S. Connell last month prompts reflection on an American original who, over a lifetime of steady work—many volumes of novels, stories, biography, essayistic speculations—left as his permanent contribution to letters one brilliant, memorable book: the novel Mrs. ...

Rooney Mara

Red Herring Alert

You will be pleasantly surprised by the surprise here.


Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects is one of those rare movies that spends an hour seeming to be one thing until it pivots, about two-thirds of the way through, and becomes something entirely different.

The husband (Channing Tatum) of a depressed young New Yorker named Emily ...


Dreams from My Mother

Lee Smith’s Christmas present (and past)


Smith Family

We had hoped that she would live to Three Kings’ Day. My mother loved Christmas and all its rituals, and as a Puerto Rican, she taught us children that the finest day of the season was January 6, when the wise men from the east arrived at the stable in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. 

Only as an adult, when I went to study and travel in the Middle East, was I struck by the incongruity of Caribbean islanders’ celebrating the wanderings of Oriental royalty. But all through childhood, when we spent our Christmases in Puerto Rico, the similarities in climate appealed to us. Three magi riding past desert palms made more sense to us than a man in a fur-lined red ...


The Artist Known as 43

The Scrapbook finds itself in a quandary. A pair of paintings by George W. Bush have emerged in cyberspace. But they got there because the Bush family’s email account was hacked, and images of Bush’s art, intimate family gatherings, even George H. W. Bush’s recent hospitalization were quickly splashed across the Internet. So while The Scrapbook wants to get in its two cents on the subject of these two pictures, it does not wish to join in this outrageous invasion of privacy. (Bush seems to have emailed photographs of the paintings to his sister, Doro.) 

So let’s just say, for the record, that The Scrapbook had no idea George W. Bush was a Sunday painter, and let us say also that the ...

Stephen Glass

Knight Errant

You may remember the downfall last summer of Jonah Lehrer, a popular journalist and author of the bestselling books Proust Was a Neuro-scientist and Imagine: How ...

Gallaudet University

Civil Wrongs

The Scrapbook suspects that somewhere in the Washington Post stylebook there must be a paragraph advising reporters how to make a dubious subject palatable. Answer: Label ...



Last month the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that 37 percent of the hamburger products it had tested—all of which were labeled 100 percent beef—contained ...

Wine and Guns

Unmatched Pair

Some things are just not meant—in the largest possible sense—to go together. Teenage boys and good judgment. Democratic politicians and fiscal prudence. Sauerkraut and ...

It's not bigger government we need...


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