Sep 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 03 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Republican voters are down on the sluggish GOP officials they elected, and the officeholders whine about the unreasonable people who voted for them. Republican backbenchers complain about their lame leaders, and GOP leaders grumble about their unruly followers. Right-wing pundits despair of unimaginative Republican pols, and the hard-headed pols are impatient with impractical commentators. Conservative activists loathe the GOP establishment, and the establishment is terrified and contemptuous of the base.
And there’s more . . . Republican donors, memories fresh in their minds of 2012—when they were assured by GOP bigwigs that the public polls were wrong and that their hopes of ambassadorial appointments in a Romney administration would not be dashed—now disbelieve the same public polls that were right in 2012 and that in fact, contrary to media spin, suggest a good and perhaps very good result for the GOP in 2014. So the donors hesitate to reach for their wallets, lest they be disappointed again. The consultants complain about the donors. And the donors (not unreasonably) distrust the consultants.
It’s just one big happy Republican family, moaning and groaning, sniping and whining, mumbling and grumbling.
November 4 is likely to lead to a GOP takeover of the Senate after eight long years of Democratic control, and to perhaps the largest GOP majority in the House in modern times. It’s an election that could—that should—set the stage for victory in 2016, as the Democrats’ triumph in 2006 set the stage for victory in 2008. So even though it’s contrary to interest for an opinion magazine to suggest a time out from groaning and sniping and grumbling—and even though we reserve the right to groan and snipe and grumble at our discretion—maybe it’s a good moment for everyone out there who thinks the country is endangered by Barack Obama, that it is being damaged by Harry Reid, and that it would be ruined by another Democratic presidential victory in 2016 to take a deep breath, let bygones be bygones, leave future concerns to the future, and work to win in November.
Fear of the Democrats should be a sufficient motive. But is there anything else to be said to inspire voters to vote, donors to donate, and activists to activate?
Yes. The Republican class of 2014 candidates are very impressive. A glance at their biographies would show an unusual number of high-quality men and women, many of whom have real achievements outside politics, few of whom are career politicians or children of politicians. From Tom Cotton in Arkansas to Joni Ernst in Iowa; from Ben Sasse in Nebraska to Dan Sullivan in Alaska; from Elise Stefanik in upstate New York to Lee Zeldin on Long Island; from Marilinda Garcia in western New Hampshire to Martha McSally in southeastern Arizona—a new generation of Republicans has stepped forward worthy of support.
And a glance at their birth dates would show that the Grand Old Party is this year the party of youth. For example: There are seven marquee Senate races in which the Republican candidate has a good chance to take a Democratic seat (on top of virtually certain pickups in West Virginia, Montana, and South Dakota). It is on these races that control of the Senate will hinge. In all of these contests—Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, and New Hampshire—the Republican challenger is younger than his or her Democratic opponent.
Looking at the GOP field in 2014, it’s perhaps an exaggeration to invoke John F. Kennedy’s words: “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans . . . tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”
But looking at these candidates, Republicans would be justified in thinking—as Democrats thought in 1958, two years before Kennedy’s inauguration—that theirs is the party of youth and energy, of new ideas and bold imagination. In the 1958 off-year elections, Democrats increased their majority in the House by 48 and won 13 Republican Senate seats, defeating 10 Republican incumbents. The GOP won’t achieve a victory of that magnitude in 2014. But they can aspire to big gains, especially when polls show disapproval of Obama high, Republicans leading in the generic congressional ballot, and a slew of Democratic incumbents below 50 percent.
Sep 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 02 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
In his September 10 speech to the nation, President Obama said, “This is American leadership at its best: We stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.”
Sep 8, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 48 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
"Rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy and it won’t be quick,” President Obama told the American Legion’s annual convention in Charlotte on Tuesday, August 26. He repeated the thought in his pre-Labor Day weekend press conference on August 28. A week before, the day after the murder of James Foley, Obama had remarked, “From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread.”
Hosted by Michael Graham.1:05 PM, Aug 22, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on the supposed "good failure" the Obama administration is touting in their failed effort to save the late James Foley, who was brutally killed by ISIS.
Sep 1, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 47 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On Tuesday, August 19, an American citizen, James Foley, was savagely killed. The group of jihadists known as ISIL had previously killed and brutalized tens of thousands of non-Americans. But they killed Foley because he was an American. They titled the grotesque video of this particular act of barbarism “A message to America.”
Hosted by Michael Graham.5:48 PM, Jul 28, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on President Obama's track record on the rule of law, Israel, Immigration, and more.
Aug 4, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 44 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On Tuesday, President Obama visited the Dutch embassy in Washington to pay his respects to the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, shot down over Ukraine by forces armed and backed by Vladimir Putin. Obama wrote in the embassy’s condolence book, “We will not rest until we are certain that justice is done.”
Then he rested.
Actually, that’s not fair. Obama didn’t rest. He flew off to the West Coast on a busy fundraising trip.
Jul 14, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 41 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook has previously lauded the work of the Foundation for Constitutional Government. To support the serious study of politics and political philosophy, it’s developed a series of websites devoted to important, contemporary thinkers (Walter Berns, Irving Kristol, Harvey Mansfield, James Q. Wilson, and more to come).
Jun 30, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 40 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Commenting on the results of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, NBC’s Chuck Todd remarked, “This poll is a disaster for the president.” Indeed, he continued, “essentially the public is saying, ‘Your presidency is over.’ ”
But it isn’t over. It won’t be over for two and a half years. And that’s a problem.
Jun 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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.
Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
“Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that. That’s what every mom and dad who sees a son or daughter sent over into [a] war theater should expect not just from their commander in chief but the United States of America. . . . The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule.
May 26, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 35 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Two emails recently showed up, one right after the other, in my inbox. The first was a mass mailing from Ron Paul (my inbox is a big tent!). Its subject line: “The IRS asked for a fight. How about a revolution?” The second was a review by Peter Berkowitz of the recently reissued book by Roger Scruton, The Meaning of Conservatism.
May 19, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 34 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
"Nigerian girls inspire international action,” reads the headline on the front page of the May 7 Washington Post. But nowhere in the story will you learn of any action actually being taken to rescue the 276 Nigerian girls abducted over three weeks ago by the Islamic terror group Boko Haram. You find reports of “an international uproar” and “a growing outcry,” of comments by President Barack Obama and phone calls by Secretary of State John Kerry, of warnings by U.N. officials, of a letter from all 20 female U.S.
May 12, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 33 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
It's mature to be calm. Republicans are nothing if not mature. It’s chic to be cool. Republicans yearn to be chic. It’s a sign of gravitas to be collected. Republicans have gravitas. And so Republicans, from candidates to consultants to commentators, cultivate a calm, cool, and collected affect. Keep calm and carry on, they say soberly and sagely to each other.
Mar 31, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 28 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On February 22, popular protests led to the fall of the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev. On February 27, in response to this setback, President Vladimir Putin sent forces into Crimea to seize it from Ukraine. On March 19, President Barack Obama delivered his response. He reassured Putin, “We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine.” Obama added, “What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we’ve got a strong international coalition that sends a clear message.”