What Cruz Wrought


Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz has sparked a Republican civil war. He has done the bidding of the GOP fringe, in a self-aggrandizing crusade. And while he has enhanced his own position in the conservative fantasyland he seeks to rule, the practical effect of his quixotic campaign to defund Obamacare has been to elevate the president and jeopardize the 2014 elections for his own party.

That, at least, seems to be the consensus in Washington. We’re inclined to a somewhat different view. We say two cheers for Ted Cruz​—​and for Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and their fellow crusaders. They succeeded in one crucial respect: Everyone is talking about Obamacare. And the more it gets talked about, the clearer its flaws are to an already skeptical public.

Shortly after an exhausted Cruz ended his 21-hour non-filibuster filibuster, Tom Harkin took the floor. The chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Harkin is an ...


Roll It Back


Obamacare remains decisively unpopular with the American people, and most Republicans are staunchly committed to its repeal. And why shouldn’t they be? The ideological core of the bill runs contrary to the vision of limited government, market-based solutions, and individual choice ...

Hemingway Coal

A War on Coal


On September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed strict new limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants. Energy industry critics, along with a number of influential unions, were quick to decry them. The regulations would limit carbon emissions for new coal plants ...


Water Wonks

Michelle Obama’s new cause.


Gary Locke

It probably seemed safe enough. The people advising the first lady may not even have taken a poll or run a focus group. After all, who could possibly be opposed to .  .  . water? Even Ted Cruz and Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity drink the stuff. Not enough, probably. Which might, come to think of it, explain a lot. Still, a campaign to get Americans to drink more water, with the first lady as the face and chief spokesperson—what could go wrong? No controversy. No politics. Just clean, pure water.

But, of course, everything but everything is political in this age, which might account for the state of both politics and everything else. They have tainted each other. But that is for another day. The matter at hand
is water. Clean, pure water.

The first lady’s campaign would urge all Americans to drink more of it. How much more? Or, indeed, how much? Surely there is a number ...

AP / Mary Altaffer

Rick Perry’s Second Act

The Texas governor’s new national campaign.



Texas governor Rick Perry goes where governors have never gone before. He’s been descending on blue states for months now, infuriating their Democratic governors with his pitch to CEOs to relocate their companies in business-friendly ...


The New Rouhani

Same as the old Rouhani.


Assessing contemporary figures on the world stage is tricky business. It takes time to properly reflect on what a man has done, and judgments based on brief acquaintance are often wrong. So it was that in May 1997, lots of Westerners and Westernized Iranians thought that the newly ...

YES 2013

Another Yalta Conference

From Churchill, FDR, and Stalin to Blair, Clinton, and Pinchuk.


On a charter flight from Kiev to Simferopol, before our two-hour drive here, I’m asked by the earnest reporter seated next to me whether I know what Victor Pinchuk looks like. I give a vague description—tired from having traveled nearly 24 ...


Germany Moves Left

Angela Merkel’s Pyrrhic victory


‘Keep Cool and Vote for the Chancellor’

The most valuable thing a politician has is gravitas. Even a politician with a sense of humor cannot afford to look like a clown. It was partly because he forgot this that Peer Steinbrück, lead candidate of the German Social Democrats (SPD), suffered such a drubbing last week at the hands of the Christian Democrat (CDU) chancellor Angela Merkel. The SPD is not the country’s elite party, like the French Socialists or U.S. Democrats, but it is the main repository of hope on the center-left. Much of the media roots for it desperately. After a televised debate in early September in which Merkel and Steinbrück exchanged platitudes, devoting all of three minutes to the unfolding crisis in Syria, polls showed Steinbrück lagging 15 points behind, just as they had before the debate, and just as they would on election day.

Weekly standard Photo Illustration / figure, Shutterstock

Womb for Rent

The brave new world of childless couples, enterprising lawyers, and surrogate mothers


In the late summer of 2011, a 29-year-old woman named Crystal Kelley of Vernon, Connecticut, agreed to become a surrogate mother for a Connecticut couple who already had three children, all of whom had been born prematurely and two of whom had subsequent medical problems. The ...

Books & Arts

The Horror, the Horror

Thirty-eight centuries of supernatural lit.


Vincent Price strangling Basil Rathbone in ‘Tales of Terror’ (1962)

In Unutterable Horror, his deeply knowledgeable, lively, and unabashedly opinionated history of supernatural fiction, S. T. Joshi suggests that a taste for ghost stories and weird tales is far more than a slavering hunger for blood and grue. The most important supernatural fiction doesn’t merely aim to make our flesh creep. Through it, ambitious writers—and their readers—are able to explore the full range of human experience. Like many classical tragedies, these unsettling stories typically introduce a sense of wrongness, followed by growing dread, and gradually build to a moment of supreme crisis and terror. And yet their final effect is often a cathartic sense of pity. There, but for the grace of God, go you or I.

Nothing human is alien to supernatural fiction. Transgressive by ...

At the Livadia Palace, Yalta, 1945

Stalin’s Cold War

The Soviet dictator, all by himself, was the cause.


One of the most successful endeavors of the academic left in the field of American history and foreign policy has been convincing many colleagues, and thousands of students throughout the country, that the traditional understanding of the Cold War is wrong. 

associated press

The Lost Cause

A reporter remembers the agony of South Vietnam.


Thirty-eight years after the last American helicopter took off from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, it might not seem possible for any new book to offer important insights and reporting on the Vietnam war.

With Fred Astaire, 1937

Fidgety Feet

The energy, and ingenuity, of Hermes Pan.


The news is good in this book, and the work is nice, indeed. Meticulously detailed and a joy to read, it recounts not only how much there was to Hermes Pan’s partnership with Fred Astaire, but how much there was beyond it. 

Did Hermes surpass Fred as ...

Valerie Plame, 2010

Undercover Novelist

Fiction as weapon of mass destruction.


"Valerie Plame’s career as a CIA operative was cut short when her cover was blown by George W. Bush’s White House,” reads the blurb of Plame’s latest imaginative stab. “Now, after dedicating herself to protecting the nation from its enemies, Plame turns to fiction ...

James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Two Quiet Lives

A near-perfect tale set in less-than-glamorous Los Angeles.


I went to Enough Said, the new movie starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini, certain I would not write about it. Its producer, Anthony Bregman, is a friend of mine—so if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t ...


Beltway as Metaphor

Philip Terzian's nostalgic ride around the Beltway


Washington Post / D.C. Public Library

Like the Eiffel Tower, the Capital Beltway is an industrial monstrosity that, inadvertently, has come to represent its hometown to the outside world.

I wouldn’t presume to compare Washington, D.C., to Paris, but there is (in my opinion) very little about the Eiffel Tower that suggests Paris, other than the fact that it is located there. By contrast, the Beltway, in its comparatively brief existence, has become all too representative of the nation’s capital: Wavering between undue haste and numbing gridlock, careening this way and that along a series of dangerous curves, it has become both a cultural symbol (Inside the Beltway vs. Outside the Beltway) and a metaphor for the federal city.

As a native, to be sure, I bring an entirely parochial perspective. I grew up in a suburban town (Outside the Beltway by a mile or so) which was bordered by a tributary of Rock Creek and a pleasant, undulating ...


Kermit Gosnell Revisited


When the cops finally raided the now-convicted killer’s house, he wasn’t particularly disturbed by the intrusion. In fact, he warned police not to go in the basement. Eventually, one of them put on a Tyvek jumpsuit and descended downstairs. The basement was mostly empty, but the flea infestation was so bad the officer’s shoes and pants turned black from the swarm that descended on him. The house was cluttered and full of spoiled food, though it contained several expensive appliances, including an autoclave machine, used to sterilize medical instruments. Finally one officer “parted the cabinet doors, and saw, arrayed in a series of specimen jars, shapes that looked instantly familiar but were so out of context that he couldn’t immediately process them. Poking out, tiny and perfect. Their tips rounded like pearls. Toes. Baby feet.” While this was going on, the killer was in the other room, seated at his piano playing Chopin.

Reading ...


Perpetual Adolescence Revisited

Alfred Duff Cooper, the British writer-politician-Lothario, once divided the stages of human life into three-decade increments: youth up to 30, middle age until 60, and old age thereafter. For Cooper, who died at the age of 63 on New Year’s Day 1954, this pattern made a certain ...

Kim Il-Sung

Neglecting Kim

In his big speech to the U.N. General Assembly last week, President Obama pointedly avoided one particular subject: himself. Just kidding! The famously self-regarding Obama alluded to himself almost 50 times in his remarks. (That’s 7 mys, and 42 Is for those ...



Ted Cruz’s tribute to Dr. Seuss, Darth Vader, and White Castle hamburgers wasn’t the only verbal display last week that exemplified the growing clash between Washington’s self-seeking old guard and its ambitious upstarts. Just a few hours ...

CC Limit


The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers