Labor Republicanism


Mike Lee: champion of the working class?

Mike Lee, the senator from Utah, gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation last week that demands attention. The takeaway: Candidates need policy ideas that address the concerns of ordinary voters—and they have to campaign, and win, on those ideas. Lee noted that conservative scholars have a number of imaginative proposals that try to address the breakdown of the family, the rising cost of health insurance and higher education, the lengthening suburban commute, and out-of-control entitlement spending. Read an issue of National Affairs (or The Weekly Standard!) if you doubt him. But Republican officeholders haven’t picked up the torch. The GOP elite is stuck in the policy thinking of the Reagan Revolution. “Instead of emulating that generation,” Lee said, “too many Republicans today mimic them—still advocating policies from a bygone age.”

What made the speech compelling was that Lee didn’t limit himself to a critique. He ...

John Kerry, man of talk

A Dangerous Game


There’s a Washington think-tank variation on the board game Risk, and here’s how it goes: I give you a short statement about Obama policy in the Middle East, and you have to say who it’s from. 

For example:

“The Persians are taking over Iraq ...


A Debacle for Liberalism


The president’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, is in serious trouble. As a result, so is modern liberalism. The problems with Obamacare are increasingly obvious, beginning with the administration unilaterally delaying the employer mandate. But that ...


Churchill Returns to the Capitol

Congress’s tribute to the wartime leader.


David Malan

Congress has rebuked President Obama. It may have come in a subtle or backhanded way and thus was ignored by the media. It may not have been intentional. But it was a rebuke nonetheless.

The issue was a bust of Winston Churchill, the great British prime minister and ally of America. When Obama became president in 2009, a bust of Churchill was removed from the Oval Office and dispatched to the British embassy. This was regarded as a slap at Britain, signaling that Obama doesn’t regard the U.S.-U.K. relationship as special. Or he detests Churchill’s colonialist attitude as a defender of the British Empire.

The rebuke came last week in a  ceremony in the Capitol at which a bronze bust of Churchill—not the one Obama spurned—was dedicated. It now resides in a section of the Capitol known as the Freedom Foyer, near what’s called “the British steps.”

Benghazi, September 11, 2012: the U.S. compound in flames

Questions They Won’t Answer

Benghazi isn’t going away.


When South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham threatened last week to place a hold in the Senate on all Obama administration nominations until the president and his advisers cooperate fully with investigations into the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, White House press ...


No, You Can’t Keep It

Nice plan you had there. Shame you had to lose it.


For five years, Barack Obama repeatedly, emphatically, and unequivocally promised that under his health care scheme, “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” That promise has now been proven to be blatantly untrue. Multiple reports during the last 10 days of October made it ...


When to Spy on Our Friends

The NSA in Europe.


It is often remarked that espionage is the second-oldest profession. Written records from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Iran suggest that spying and civilization sprang up together. In antiquity, spies could be the hidden bureaucrats of tyranny or good governance (a ruler needed to know ...

Unify with China? Hear my three ‘No’s!

How Many Chinas Are There?

A question that continues to roil Taiwan.


When is an international flight not just an international flight? That’s what the Taiwanese are wondering, as President Ma Ying-jeou finds himself in hot water for characterizing flights between Taiwan (officially, the Republic of China, ...


Presidential Fantasies

Bring the ‘clerkship’ back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


At  the start of last month’s government shutdown, a mostly overlooked message emanated from the Twitter account of Michelle Obama, informing her followers: “Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited.” The ...


The Media Kowtow

Why is the coverage of China’s government so obsequious?


Gary Locke

For about a decade now, Jeff Bezos has been swallowing an ever larger percentage of my household’s income. In addition to our buying everything from dish soap to movies online, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com will no doubt be pleased to learn that my wife and I recently started receiving the Washington Post—the first newspaper subscription we’ve ordered in six years. When Bezos bought the Post this past summer, there was the usual handwringing over whether he harbored some surreptitious agenda, but I was optimistic. The flailing newspaper industry presents unique challenges, and if there’s one thing Bezos knows how to do, it’s deliver a good product at the right price.

Besides, the Washington Post desperately needs to make some changes. On the morning of September 25, en route to dropping my kids off at school, I grabbed the Post off the front steps. I pulled it out of the bag only to find it ...

Books & Arts

College Daze

Reforms are nice, but will they happen?


Springtime at the University of Washington, 2007

Everyone’s angry at American colleges. Parents groan about tuition, students pile up debt and can’t find work, employers gripe that graduates lack job skills, conservatives decry liberal bias, Ph.D.s without a regular post become bitter transient adjuncts, and politicians suspect that tax dollars pay for useless majors and cushy schedules for professors. 

Scandals pop up every week, such as the Michigan State English professor who opened his fall class with a rant against Republicans, calling them “dying white people” who “raped” our country. Heated testimonies of binge drinking, sexual assault, and cheating circulate, and bizarre shenanigans surface, such as the Oberlin incident in which racist messages and a Ku Klux Klan sighting paralyzed the campus and drew national media coverage—though the original acts turned out to be a hoax, and the hooded Klansman was just someone in a blanket.  

Campus ...

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, 2013

The Vulgar Games

Pondering the Honey Boo Booization of America.


The tragedy of Paula Deen, I believe, is not her heart-rending choice of pink liquid cosmetics on the occasion of her famously damp sua culpa (my term for blaming current shortcomings on one’s social origins). Nor is it her provocative defense against accusations of ...

House of Hope

House of Hope

The quest to save the vulnerable of Florence.


It’s become nearly dogmatic in academic history that the writer ought to focus as much as he can on the disenfranchised, the “marginalized,” to avoid “privileging” the viewpoints of the upper classes, of men, and of white people. And so anxious are the historians not to perpetuate ...

Kelly Williams Brown


Wisdom for would-be Special Snowflakes.


Let’s face it, we millennials need all the help we can get. We’ve spent our 20s either engaged in Apatow-ian bromances or trying to figure out if we’re Mirandas or Samanthas. We invented Facebook and insist on using it at all hours of the day, for no earthly reason whatsoever. ...

joel carillet / getty images

Sacred Topography

Jerusalem and the cityscape of faith(s).


In “The Eternal City,” the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai observes that his native city has rebuffed most of those who would project onto her their own ambitions, imperial or religious or otherwise. Neither Jerusalem’s conquerors nor its ...

Toscanini in action, 1944

A Complete Maestro

The Indian summer of the Great Conductor on 85 discs.


The convergence of two events has shaped my life as a music listener over the past few months. The first was a significant birthday, after which I decided to reacquaint myself with the classical records—many of them long-playing vinyl—that I’ve lived with over the ...

The Counselor

Breaking Badly

An instant classic—for all the wrong reasons.


Cormac McCarthy’s script for The Counselor offers a new twist on the immortal George Orwell crack that some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual would believe them. Only a truly gifted writer could have written something quite as awful as this ...


While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Michael Warren, lapsed guitarist


david clark

The other day, I picked up my guitar and didn’t know what to play. This is happening more and more, and I guess it’s because I pick up the guitar less and less. When I was 15, I could strum my way through the entire Beatles catalogue, half the songs on classic rock radio, and any number of self-penned blues jams before I ever had to stop and think about what to play next. 

Even in college, when playing time was precious, I always had a song in my head—usually some loud, obnoxious punk-blues rocker—ready to go when I had the chance to plug in and turn up the distortion on my Fender amplifier. From there, I’d rip through a suite of loud crunchy rock songs. Some days I’d practice an intricate solo, trying to get it to sound exactly the way it did on the recording. Others, I would unplug and fingerpick some country ballads. I wasn’t great, or even very good. I played every day, though, and on certain songs and techniques, I did ...


How Sebelius Hangs On


As surely as the Obamacare rollout has been a disaster, the calls are now ringing throughout Washington, especially in conservative ranks, for Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to resign. It won’t happen. And if The Scrapbook has its way, it shouldn’t happen, either. 

Of course, in a more rational world, Sebelius would, at the very least, have offered her resignation to President Obama. The Affordable Care Act is the hallmark legislation of the Obama presidency, and it was Sebelius’s job to make sure that its introduction went smoothly, with maximum political advantage to her boss. Instead, Obamacare’s debut has been catastrophic—and worse, has revealed not just widespread incompetence but a systematic pattern of lying to the public as well. Logic demands that somebody’s head should roll.

The problem, however, is that the United States does not have a parliamentary system of government, and ...


Don’t Know Much About History

The Scrapbook was understandably intrigued when Cass Sunstein, a former Obama White House official and former Harvard law professor, published a Bloomberg.com column headlined “How the Alger Hiss Case Explains the Tea Party.” If you know anything about the famous perjury trial of ...


Dr. Kim, We Presume

It's no secret that the value of an honorary degree—not to mention the value of an actual degree—has declined in recent years. Recently minted “Doctors” include Ben Affleck (Brown University), Jon Bon Jovi (Monmouth University), and Morgan Freeman (Boston University). Tufts ...

Edward Clarke, 1939-2013

Believers in limited government and privatization lost one of their unsung heroes with the death of distinguished economist Ed Clarke on October 10. Clarke conceived of an idea he called revealed demand, a notion that helped make the case for having the market allocate goods and ...

Fred Barnes

Must-see TV!

The Scrapbook is not a watcher of the NBC drama The Blacklist, but we note with amusement that the episode set to air on November 4 is titled “Frederick Barnes,” and the promotional materials describe “Barnes” as “quite literally the most dangerous man in the world.” We’re ...



The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers