The Republican Task: No Obamacare, No Iran Nukes


The Republican Task:  No Obamacare, No Iran Nukes

Watching the Obama administration at work this week, a friend offered this judgment: Under Obama, Iran keeps its nuclear program and Americans lose their health insurance.

Historians and political scientists will have much to say, after its collapse, about contemporary liberalism’s propensity to be at once tough on American citizens and soft on Iranian mullahs. Today’s liberals are pleased to use the power of the state to nudge—not to say bully—their fellow Americans, while shunning the exercise of power abroad, preferring to accommodate—not to say appease—the nation’s enemies. It would seem to be a paradox.

Or perhaps not. Aren’t the bossy often insecure? Aren’t bullies often cowards? Those who throw their weight around when they aren’t resisted often shy away from confrontation with those who won’t yield. A fatal conceit at home can be the flip side of a fatal loss of nerve abroad.

This is a ...


Something Clinton This Way Comes

Will the GOP be ready?


AP / Steve Helber

The governorship of Virginia has been held by some of the most eminent men in American history: Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Randolph, Henry Lee, James Monroe. And now, Terry McAuliffe will sit in their chair. Depressing? Perhaps, but it is worth remembering that for about half a century, the political machine of Harry Byrd selected Virginia governors based upon their loyalty to “the Organization.” If Virginia has seen better leaders than the Democratic apparatchik who served as chief fundraiser during the scandal-plagued Bill Clinton years, it should come as some comfort to denizens of the Old Dominion that it has (probably) also seen worse.

What to make of the longer-term implications of the 2013 off-off-year elections, both in Virginia and in New Jersey, where Chris Christie cruised to an overwhelming victory? It is hard to judge what they mean for 2014 and beyond, although many pundits will try. These are but 2 states ...

Cuccinelli: The truce fails.

The Great Divide

Populists versus elitists in the Republican party.


The least interesting thing that happened in the odd-year election was Chris Christie’s reelection as governor of New Jersey. It was like a football game between Alabama and Vassar: A Republican governor with extraordinary political skills and an impressive record in his first term ...


Bye-Bye, Privacy

The other problem with HealthCare.gov.


Americans are methodically dealing with the Kübler-Ross stages of Obama-care grief, with our national healing process moving briskly through roughly one stage per week: (1) denial upon realizing that the website HealthCare.gov didn’t work; (2) anger at the realization that the ...


The Lawlessness of Obama­care

King Rex meets King Barack.


It may have been the worst moment for Jay Carney in what was a very bad press briefing. The president’s spokesman was fumbling his way through the administration’s justifications for the catastrophic Obamacare rollout when ABC’s Jonathan Karl pressed him about the fines the law ...

Defending Obama­care, November 4

The Crisis Arrives

Obama’s dubious legacy.


In March 2010, Barack Obama placed a giant bet on the docility and stupidity of the American people, when he decided in the face of three huge electoral warnings to force his health plan down the unwilling throats of the American people. And by November 2013, it was clear he had ...

AP/Mel Evans

The Christie Juggernaut

The New Jersey governor muscles his way to the front of the pack, for now.


Morris Plains, N.J.
On election eve, Chris Christie has come home to rally a few hundred supporters in Morris County, the place where he was first elected and now lives with his wife, Mary Pat, and their four children.

Andrew Marshall,

Hear No Evil

The administration’s move to silence a Pentagon strategist.


Andrew Marshall, the longtime director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, has had a number of titles conferred on him over the years. A 1999 profile in Washingtonian magazine dubbed him “the most influential policy maker you have never heard of.” Others of us who have known ...

A Japanese coast guard vessel, right, rams a ship flying the flag of China to pr

Commerce Trumps Security?

The pressure is on to sell to China’s military.


Next month’s meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in China will feature a familiar ritual. American negotiators will face intensified pressure for Washington to lift restrictions on the sale of military and dual-use technology to China. Over time, the ...


What Happened in Laramie

Everything you know about Matthew Shepard is wrong



Stephen Jimenez sounds remarkably chipper on the phone when he calls in from Portland, his thirteenth city on a seemingly endless book tour. He’s plugging The Book of Matt, and the reason he’s chipper is that he hasn’t been burned in effigy, yet, or heckled mercilessly, yet, or denounced, at least by anybody that really matters, as a traitor to the cause. Yet. 

The “cause” in this case would be gay rights, in all of its astounding exfoliations. Jimenez’s book threatens to uproot a foundational myth of the movement: that the murder of a University of Wyoming student named Matthew Shepard, in 1998, was a “hate crime.” 

The approved account, received for 15 years now as both a horror and an inspiration, tells us that Shepard was approached in a bar one night by two strangers, who drove him to the outskirts of Laramie and then beat him nearly to death with the butt of a .357 ...

David Clark

Drivers Get Rolled

Bicyclists are making unreasonable claims to the road—and winning


Late last August, along the coast of New Hampshire, Kevin Walsh, police chief in the town of Rye, got a lecture on law enforcement from a bunch of grown-up bicyclists. Local law requires bikers to ride single-file when there is traffic. But this day, a pack of a dozen or so bikers ...

Books & Arts

How It All Began

A historian assigns the blame for World War I.


French troops en route to the front, August 1914

While the Second World War is considered the necessary war against Nazi evil, World War I is widely seen as a pointless tragedy, an impression first shaped by the British trench poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, then reinforced by Barbara Tuchman’s Guns of August (1962). That book, which was on John F. Kennedy’s mind during the Cuban Missile Crisis, held the Great Powers equally responsible, and blamed the outbreak of war on mobilization timetables spinning out of control. Many readers came away convinced that wars are mainly caused by accident, as no rational person would want them—a fallacy that still persists.  

Max Hastings does not buy any of this. What he sees as “the poets’ view” of the Great War has been accepted uncritically by historians for much too long, and though he admires Barbara Tuchman’s narrative power, in his view, her arguments do not hold up. ...

Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen

Strange Meeting

When shell shock caused a creative explosion.


During the Great War, an accidental respite from battle enabled two poets to establish a friendship, a literary journal, and some of the era’s finest poetry. 

In the late 19th century, the combination of electricity and water therapy became ...

Ray Milland, Howard Da Silva in ‘The Lost Weekend’ (1945)

Rage for Fame

Charles Jackson’s saddest story was his own.


The line that opens Charles Jackson’s The Lost Weekend (1944), a minor novel but a masterpiece of addiction literature, is bracing and unforgettable: “The barometer of his emotional nature was set for a spell of riot.” That the line is not Jackson’s own—his protagonist and ...

Washington’s Monument

Washington’s Monument

The roots of presidential war-making power are deep.


This account of George Washington’s wartime precedents regarding prisoner abuse, congressional power over war policy, military tribunals, and civilian rights represents one of the best and most colorful uses of history to help shape ...

Dinaw Mengestu

Moral Fiction

Three novelists and the challenge of engagement with the modern world.


I have this thing about schlock books, those that cater to our enduring fascination with public portrayals of manners and morals, especially failures in that regard. 

Even while writing my dissertation on ...

Kevin Kline

Veterans’ Week

Two backward-looking films to look forward to.


Thank God the baby boomers are long-lived, because without them, there’d be almost nothing worth seeing at the movies. Boomers may bankrupt the country with their retirements and suck their kids and grandkids dry with their Medicare Part D, but they remain a ...


The Business of Europe .  .  .

Victorino Matus, Sabbath shopper


darren gygi

The Good Book tells us “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work He had done in creation.” What biblical scholars cannot tell us, however, is precisely how God spent his Sunday. Did He go for a run? Read the paper while sipping on a venti macchiato at Starbucks?

But I am certain the Lord didn’t just sit around the house all day—unless, of course, the Lord happened to live in Europe, where commerce comes to a near standstill on Sundays. True, many cafés remain open, but retail stores? Closed. Supermarkets? Closed. Pharmacies? Closed.

I learned this during my college year in Vienna. One Sunday I needed to pick up a few groceries, only to discover the grocery stores were geschlossen—not a single location of the BILLA supermarket chain was open. I remember sarcastically asking an Austrian if hospitals and power plants were also closed. He ...


Thank You.



To Milk a Mockingbird

Flannery O’Connor once famously said of To Kill a Mockingbird that “it’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they are reading a child’s book.” Which is true enough. But it seems that its 87-year-old author, Harper Lee—recipient of the Pulitzer ...


The Last Days of Stop and Frisk

Here’s our travel advisory for New York City: It’s always a great time to go, given the restaurants and the museums and the other sites and attractions. But starting January 1, the city may not be as safe.

Yes, we said “safe,” meaning physically secure. So by ...


The Show Must Go On

There are few better examples of the fecklessness of the Obama presidency than the sight of the huckster-in-chief speaking at a conference to sell foreign companies on the advantages of investing in the United States, which is what he stooped to on October 31 at the SelectUSA ...


The Delay Award

Among the many parts of our big government is something called the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. Congress created the fund almost 20 years ago, placing it in the Treasury Department. As stated on its website, the fund’s purpose is to promote “economic ...


Sentences We Didn’t Finish

"Kosilek is now 64 years old, and she has spent the last 20 years of her life at MCI Norfolk, a medium-security men’s correctional institution in southern Massachusetts. She has attempted suicide twice. She has also tried to castrate herself  .  .  .-” (“Should this ...


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