End of the Age of Obama



The end of the Age of Obama. It began with high hopes on a winter’s night in Iowa in 2008 and ended in disappointment on a crisp fall day nearly seven years later. 

Sure, the president has another two years in office, but he is now the lamest of lame ducks. He is soon to face a House majority that is one of the most Republican since the 1920s, and a Senate, we hope, about to be taken over by a Republican majority. But more than this, he seems to have no friends, and few allies, on Capitol Hill.

One fact of politics that the president never fully grasped is that Congress, not the White House, is the center of our political system. Sure, the president lives in a fancy house, enjoys a full-time chef, and has “Hail to the Chief” played when he enters a room. But Congress is—as Stanford’s Morris Fiorina once put it—“the keystone of the Washington establishment.” The Framers gave pride ...

Our new partners?

Ditching Israel, Embracing Iran


Last week, the Obama White House finally clarified its Middle East policy. It’s détente with Iran and a cold war with Israel.

To the administration, Israel isn’t worth the trouble its prime minister causes. As one anonymous Obama official put it to ...

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner

Waiting for Bumgarner


Most of us at The Weekly Standard are baseball fans. Like all human institutions we are imperfect, so we have a few colleagues who superciliously disdain sports, and a few others who vulgarly prefer football or basketball. But we ignore the naysayers and carpers in our midst. We’re ...


Tunisia Stands Alone

A peaceful election in the birthplace of the ‘Arab Spring.’



Who knew being an election observer was such hard work? When the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit, U.S. government-funded organization devoted to democracy promotion, invited me to serve on its team watching Tunisia’s parliamentary elections on October 26, I imagined myself lolling by a Mediterranean beach, sipping a café au lait, with a short break in the middle of the day to ascertain, yup, Tunisians are going to the polls. The reality was several days of nonstop meetings with Tunisian politicos, nongovernmental organizations, and election officials, both in the capital, Tunis, and in Jendouba, a governorate in the northwest near the border with Algeria.

On Sunday, election day, I got up at 5:15 a.m. and, with the rest of my team (an IRI staff member, local translator, and driver), set off, bleary-eyed, to observe preparations before voting booths opened at 7 a.m. We spent the ...

‘The Palestine Teaching Trunk’

The Campus Is Conquered . . .

So Israelophobia spreads to America’s secondary schools.


At the conclusion of the latest installment of the endless Arab war against Israel, the leaders of Hamas simultaneously accused Israel of “genocide” against the residents of Gaza and took to the streets, dancing, ululating, and jubilating in celebration of their “victory” over the ...

Embroidered slots chairs at El Paso’s Speaking Rock Casino, run by the Tigua Ind

The Great Casino Loophole

Why Indian gaming is proliferating.


Two years after it was supposed to help revitalize Atlantic City, the $2.4 billion Revel casino—all 57 stories of it—is closed. It’s an expensive eyesore that sums up Atlantic City’s decline.

Vegas is still a big draw, but it’s an anomaly ...

Should we reconsider?

Better Than Regulation

A carbon tax won’t happen without some give from the left.


Despite growing support from some conservative policy wonks, the idea of taxing carbon dioxide emissions, even as an alternative to the sort of heavy-handed greenhouse regulations promulgated by the Obama administration, has failed to garner much enthusiasm on the right.


The End Game

Sherman breaks the deadlock


Gen. Sherman—standing behind cannon with arm resting  on its barrel—and his staf

On September 2, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln received a telegram from General William Tecumseh Sherman that read, “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.” This was more than a victory. It was deliverance.

All summer Atlanta—like Petersburg, Virginia—had been a city under siege, and as these two stalemates dragged on, the prospects for the president’s reelection grew bleaker. They were dismal enough that at one point he said he expected to “be beaten, and beaten badly.” The war had gone on so long, and the casualties had been so severe, that enough voters in what remained of the Union were inclined to elect former general George McClellan, a Democrat, and trust him to make the best deal he could. There would, then, be no conclusive victory reestablishing the Union and ridding it of slavery. The bleeding would be stopped. But the return on all the suffering would be meager.

Atlanta had been holding ...

Gary Locke

Virtues, Past & Present

The old ones are still the best ones


In November 1993 an unlikely book appeared at the top of the bestseller lists. William J. Bennett’s The Book of Virtues was a tome: 832 pages of moral instruction. People ate it up. Newsweek called it “just what this country needs,” and Time said it

Books & Arts

Whatever You Say

What is slang, and where does it come from?


‘Lord’ Buckley (1906-1960), purveyor of hipster slang, on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’

Charlotte Brontë liked to let her hair down linguistically from time to time. In an unpublished piece of early fiction, she imagines a scene at a horse race in which the owner of the defeated favorite suspects that his horse was doped. Ned Laury introduces an underworld informer, Jerry Sneak—the man who interfered with the horse—but demands: “Who’ll provide the stumpy, the blunt, the cash as it were to pay for the liquor that cousin of mine will require before he peaches?”

This kind of “flash” slang was doubtless not what the Brontë family used at tea in Haworth parsonage; but it was disseminated through magazine articles that offered readers a vicarious taste of vulgar vocabulary. Modern viewers of Mafia movies who, in turn, pepper their conversation with references to people being “whacked” by “wiseguys” in the “waste management business” are engaged in the same verbal tourism.

Sigrid Rausing

Baltic Dawn

Some things change, and more things stay the same.


I first visited Estonia—or more specifically, its capital, Tallinn—in August 1993, two years after the small Baltic state regained its independence after nearly half-a-century of Soviet occupation. Tallinn was in the process of uneasy, edgy ...

Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico (2014)

The Hispanic Challenge

Is there a formula for Republican success with Latino voters?


Since Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012, immigration reform has been at the top of the national agenda. Of course, very little has come of it—apart from some legally dubious executive actions, as well as a lot of blather from pundits, left and right, ...

Following the elephants to victory in Burma

Agony and Ivory

Following the elephants to victory in Burma


The fighting in Burma would be the longest campaign of World War II, under conditions so bad that the Japanese called the place jigoku—hell. Soldiers hiked across hot, dry plains one day and slogged ...

View of the Parthenon from the Acropolis Museum

A Classical View

The Parthenon marbles at home in the world


When my husband and I visited London together for the first time many years ago, we spent hours studying the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum, concentrating on ...

Art is born in the experience of loss

Cold Fusion

Art is born in the experience of loss


In her debut collection, Chloe Honum takes the popular theme of springtime and rebirth, and turns it on its head. Or rather, she digs deeper. Rebirth is only possible—only has meaning and significance—because of the reality of death.


Another Country

Lee Smith unfolds family history.


Gus, center, with his four sons (Harold at right)

Last winter, my father gave me an American flag he had been keeping in his closet. It had been moved there several decades before from his mother’s closet, where it had rested for more than 30 years. It seems I was the first person to unfold the 48-star-spangled banner since it had covered the coffin of my great-grandfather Albert Luyster, who died of influenza in 1939. 

Luyster served in the U.S. Infantry, 9th Regiment, Company D, which was dispatched to China during the Boxer Rebellion and the China Relief Expedition. According to Wikipedia, the regiment earned the nickname the “Manchus.” My father told me his mother, Luyster’s daughter, remembered that her father, a tugboat engineer on the Hudson River in civilian life, also saw service in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. That would have put him on the opposite side from my late mother’s family, natives of the island. It occurs to me that couples entertaining the ...




Time Magazine

The AFT’s Apple Polishers

A recent Time magazine cover story has touched off quite a controversy. More than 70,000 people signed an online petition decrying the magazine’s affront. The offending article is headlined “Rotten Apples: It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher. Some tech ...

San Francisco

Cities for the Rich

The Scrapbook’s eyes fell recently on a piece in the Atlantic by Derek Thompson, which quantifies what The Scrapbook has sensed for some time. Drawing on the work of Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, the real estate website, and UCLA’s Matthew Kahn, it draws a clear ...

Bill Maher

Maher’s Attacks

Fifty years ago, almost to the day, a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, demanded that school administrators recognize their right to freedom of speech and allow political activity on campus. Students swarmed a police car holding a comrade, Joan Baez sang ...


Minimum Sense

It turns out Elizabeth Warren, favorite senator of the left, is not only a self-described Cherokee without evidence of Cherokee ancestry, but a self-described consumer -finance expert without evidence of any financial savvy. Joining two of her favorite themes, ...

Ben Bradlee

Sentences We Didn’t Finish

"An nvitation to [Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn’s] historic Georgetown home was one of the most coveted status symbols in the nation’s capital, an entry to an elite salon of the powerful, talented .  .  . ” (Washington Post, October 29).


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