Our ‘Dead Broke’ Leaders



In the largest turnout in a congressional primary in the history of Virginia politics, the voters of the Commonwealth’s 7th Congressional District last Tuesday decisively chose not to renominate their seven-term representative, now serving as House majority leader, who had massively outspent his little-known challenger.

The reaction in our nation’s capital, 90 miles away? Pretend it didn’t happen. Or if you had to acknowledge it happened, pretend it was of no significance. Or if you had to acknowledge it was of some significance, pretend it was merely a product of unique and local circumstances. Above all: Don’t draw any meaningful conclusions from what happened. And truly above all: Don’t change your behavior in any important way.

So the night after Eric Cantor’s defeat, the House Republican whip, the amiable Kevin McCarthy—the apparent frontrunner to succeed Cantor as leader because intelligent conservatives don’t want to compete ...

Look, poverty!

Don’t Go There


That the North Korean regime has taken another American tourist hostage—this time it’s one Jeffrey Edward Fowle of Miamisburg, Ohio, who was seized in May after a Bible was reportedly discovered in his hotel room—is hardly surprising. North Korea is ferociously repressive, and, as ...


Their 9/11 Role

The Taliban Five are even worse than you’ve heard.


Mohammad Fazl

One of the five senior Taliban leaders transferred to Qatar in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl played a key role in al Qaeda’s plans leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mohammad Fazl, who served as the Taliban’s army chief of staff and deputy defense minister prior to his detention at Guantánamo, did not have a hand in planning the actual 9/11 hijackings. Along with a notorious al Qaeda leader, however, Fazl did help coordinate a military offensive against the enemies of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan the day before. And Osama bin Laden viewed that September 10 offensive as an essential part of al Qaeda’s 9/11 plot. 

The 9/11 Commission found that the hijackings in the United States on September 11, 2001, were the culmination of al Qaeda’s three-step plan. First, on September 9, 2001, al Qaeda assassinated Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud in a suicide bombing. Massoud’s death was a ...

Kevin McCarthy

Meet the New Boss

The Cantor succession.


Kevin McCarthy won the race to replace Eric Cantor as House majority leader in the blink of an eye. Less than 24 hours after Cantor’s defeat in a Republican primary in Virginia, McCarthy, the majority whip, had amassed enough pledges to be confident of winning the vote for a new Republican ...


Voters vs. Leaders

The Republican base despises the Republican apex.


House majority leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary loss to Dave Brat, an underfunded, virtually unknown challenger, has a simple explanation: Republican voters don’t much care for their own party’s politicians these days. That’s why they keep losing to amateurs and ...

Dave Brat and wife Laura on primary night, June 10

The Brat Pack

Eric Cantor’s disaffected constituents throw him out.


Nancy Russell, the chair of the Hanover County GOP, isn’t shy about saying she supported Rep. Eric Cantor in his Virginia primary race last week. She expected most of her fellow Republicans in the 7th District, which stretches from the northern suburbs of Richmond north and west ...

Todd Tiahrt

A Referendum on Earmarks

A curious challenge to a GOP incumbent.


Republican primary challenges are all the rage these days. The GOP is reeling from House majority leader Eric Cantor’s loss last week in Virginia to David Brat, a relatively unknown economics professor who campaigned on local issues and against the GOP leadership’s flirtation with ...


The Crony Capital

Capitalism, Washington, D.C., style.


This year’s turbulent primary season, which hit a crescendo this month with David Brat’s upset victory over House majority leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, is an opportunity for conservatives to reflect. Why have our political ...


Cameron Cornered

Are the Tories already doomed?


A time bomb does not have to be elegant; it just has to be lethal, primed, and in the right place when the moment comes. Britain’s next general election is set for May 7, 2015. That is likely the day when David Cameron will pay the full price for failing to have defused the revolt ...

Elise Stefanik

Insiders’ Outsider

Elise Stefanik’s bid for Congress.


"Our health care coverage was canceled as a result of Obamacare. Our premiums have increased 30 percent. We have higher deductibles and less choice.” It’s a story that could be told by millions of Americans and a story that surely will be told in hundreds of campaign ads this fall. ...

Chuck Hagel

More Unraveling

Hagel’s pathetic testimony on the Bergdahl swap.


As the Obama administration’s case for the Bowe Bergdahl-Taliban prisoner exchange further unraveled last week, the geo-political implications of the deal became clearer. They’re not pretty.

In the hours before Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ...


Maidan Voyage

Uprisings in the East, corruption in the West— Ukraine emerges from elections divided and weakened


Near Pravy Sektor headquarters, the Maidan

Replacing a corrupt oligarchy with a reformist democracy is such a good idea that Ukraine does it every couple of years. You might call it a balanced constitution: Democracy ensures change, oligarchy continuity. This May’s elections, which brought to power the billionaire chocolatier and television magnate Petro Poroshenko, were occasioned by a winter of urban protest in the capital of Kiev, to which the United States and much of the European Union lent moral support. After dozens were killed on Kiev’s main square, the Maidan, in February, Viktor Yanukovych, the corrupt but elected president, fled the country. Russian president Vladimir Putin, Yanukovych’s ally and sponsor, declared the historically Russian and strategically indispensable Crimean peninsula Russian territory again, after a hasty referendum. And a war was launched by Russian-sympathizing Ukrainians in three eastern provinces. 

A survivor of the bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar, which killed 80.

The War on Christians

From Africa, to Asia, to the Middle East, they’re the world’s most persecuted religious group


For at least three reasons, the contemporary persecution of Christians demands attention: It is occurring on a massive scale, it is underreported, and in many parts of the world it is rapidly growing.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds ...

ISIS fighters pose with the trademark Islamist flag  after seizing an Iraqi Army

Obama’s Iraq

Mosul has fallen, and al Qaeda is on the march towards Baghdad


Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has long been hard for the central government to control because of its combustible mix of Arabs and Kurds. The first time I visited Mosul was in August 2003 when a tenuous calm was maintained by the 101st Airborne Division. Its commander, a ...

Books & Arts

Civil Rights and Wrongs

The stalemate was ended, but the debate goes on


After signing the Civil Rights Act, Lyndon Johnson hands a pen to Martin Luther

In the long, tortured history of race in America, there are few bright spots shinier than the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Democratic and Republican reformers from across the country overcame the resistance, mainly of Southern segregationists, to pass legislation that broke the back of Jim Crow. In time for the landmark law’s 50th anniversary, Todd Purdum offers a capable, sometimes exciting, account of the twists and turns of the bill as it was crafted and re-crafted, navigating the tangled politics of two administrations and both houses of Congress. In 1963-64, passage of the law appeared as complicated as it seems inevitable to us in hindsight.

For activists and lawmakers determined to shatter the enduring injustices of racial discrimination in the South, the first challenge was getting whites

Bacchus depicted by Peter Paul Rubens (ca. 1640)

Flesh Is Weak

The science and philosophy of putting on/taking off weight


Reports have surfaced of a professor with a mania for self-examination. His line of inquiry, however, is not of the Socratic philosophical sort. An expert in computer science, he is collecting data on his bodily functions. To improve his diet (and ...

Francisco Franco (center) and colleagues (1938)

Spanish Upheaval

Republicans, nationalists, and the crucible of modern Spain


The virtues of Stanley Payne, the outstanding living historian of the Spanish Civil War, are on gratifying display in this comprehensive volume. He writes with appropriate sweep:

Louis Kahn’s National Assembly building, Dhaka

Designs for Power

Three Western visions on the Indian subcontinent


In the final scene of My Architect, Nathaniel Kahn’s 2003 documentary about discovering his father Louis I. Kahn (1901-74) through his architecture, ...

Tom Cruise

Edge of Oblivion

For Tom Cruise, from top gun to second fiddle?


Movie stars go cold. It’s part of the way popular culture works. For a long time, people just love watching them. People can’t get enough of them. And then, after they go to the well once too often with a formula that has gone flat, or after their ...


The Snake in the Garden

Philip Terzian, epical exterminator


david gothard

Arriving home the other afternoon by car, I noticed an elongated object straddling the lawn and driveway in front of our house. “Is that a snake?” I asked my alluring wife, whose fondness for such creatures is approximately the same as my own. But before she could answer, or even focus on the spectacle, I could see that it was: an eastern ratsnake, in fact, a few feet in length, recently emerged from hibernation and probably in search of a mate.

Snakes, while hardly ubiquitous, are not uncommon where I live in Northern Virginia; and since a little more than a third of my property is woodland, bisected by a meandering stream, I have encountered my share of serpents over the years. We spread mulch around our boxwood bushes, which they seem to savor, and there are plenty of rodents, especially mice, in the vicinity to keep them nourished. 

I should point out, at this juncture, that I am not ...


War Is a Force That Makes Us Plagiarize

Chris Hedges, Plagiarism, The New Republic

Chris Hedges is a former New York Times foreign correspondent whose popular antiwar polemic, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), enabled him to quit the newspaper business and become a full-time prophet, left-wing division. As Hedges has grown more austere in appearance—working-class duds, haunted gaze, steel-rimmed spectacles—his rhetoric has grown steadily apocalyptic, his prose overwrought. A selection of recent Hedges titles—American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2007), Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009), Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012)—will give an idea of what The Scrapbook is talking about.

And, of course, it will come as no surprise to learn that Hedges has been amply rewarded for his efforts: His dystopian view of his homeland, and overripe tone, have earned him awards from Amnesty International, ...

dead broke
George Will

Shut Up, They Explained

Two weeks ago, George Will wrote a column about how progressives have exaggerated the prevalence of rape on college campuses. The column was not well received by some or even, as a great many of the histrionic responses would indicate, well understood. Last week a press release ...


The Bush League

The Scrapbook heartily recommends a new documentary on George H. W. Bush, 41 on 41, that airs this month on CNN, just in time for the 90th birthday of our 41st president. Among the talking heads brought out to kibitz and reminisce—41 of them, as you might have guessed—the ...


Must Reading

Our friend and contributor Joseph Epstein once called himself a “serious dilettante,” which he defined as “someone who feels he needs to know nearly everything, but not all that much of any one thing in particular and certainly nothing in the kind of depth that will weigh him ...


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