Jun 3, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 36 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Harry Truman famously kept a sign on his desk in the Oval Office, “The Buck Stops Here.” Sixty years later, President Obama hangs a sign on the door to the Oval Office, “Do Not Disturb.” In 1978, about halfway between the two liberal presidents, Harvey Mansfield, as we’ve noted before, diagnosed the decline: “From having been the aggressive doctrine of vigorous, spirited men, liberalism has become hardly more than a trembling in the presence of illiberalism. . . . Who today is called a liberal for strength and confidence in defense of liberty?”
Not Barack Obama. He’s the Do Not Disturb president, presiding over a Do Not Disturb liberalism. So:
Do not disturb the commander in chief when Americans are under attack in Benghazi on the anniversary of September 11. Or when the Iranian regime moves forward to get nuclear weapons, or when civil war in Syria threatens to destabilize the Middle East. Or when detainees released from Gitmo find their way back to the battlefield to rejoin their old comrades in terror.
Do not disturb the chief executive, charged with taking care that the laws are faithfully executed, when there are reports and letters from members of Congress concerning the targeting of political opponents by his IRS, or when his Justice Department violates its own guidelines when going after the press, or when the implementation of his major legislative initiative is proving to be a train wreck.
It should be noted that today’s liberals are disturbed about some things. They’re disturbed about sexual harassment, politically incorrect speech, any resistance to the right to kill unborn babies, and Islamophobia, to pick a few items more or less at random. On these occasions, the Do Not Disturb sign is removed, and the front desk is bombarded with whining and insistent calls: Service, Now!
But in our republic we don’t have to answer the phone and hop to it when liberal elites call. They may occupy the fanciest suites, but we’re not relegated to serving as their concierge desk. And the president isn’t a wealthy patron whose wishes have to be heeded. He’s an elected official who can be checked by other elected officials in Congress. Here the people rule. The buck stops with the American people.
The country will pay a price for having, for a few more years, a liberal president who doesn’t choose to be disturbed by what should disturb him. But the real price would be if he (and his minions) convinced us not to be disturbed by the mounting threats to our well-being abroad and to liberty at home. He won’t succeed.
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear . . .
Jun 3, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 36 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
"We provided horrible customer service,” outgoing acting commissioner of the IRS Steven Miller told the House Ways and Means Committee on May 17, referring to evidence that his agency had targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny in determining tax-exempt status. The passing remark, which so neatly captured the attitude of condescension and entitlement Miller brought to the hearing, was part of an apology. As grovels go, it wasn’t the best.
Jun 3, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 36 • By ANDREW FERGUSON
The workings of Washington sometimes attain a kind of purity in their illogic. This happens most often after a particularly jarring event, when the frenzy to do something, anything, becomes irresistible to the beehiving journalists, legislators, lobbyists, and regulators who constitute the capital’s political class. Usually the legislative overreaction is blessedly fleeting and inconsequential.
May 27, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 35 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Everyone in Washington, except those in the crosshairs, likes a good scandal, and THE WEEKLY STANDARD is no exception. What’s more, in the case of the Obama administration, comeuppance is well deserved and overdue. So while it may be a dubious pleasure to enjoy watching the high brought low and the proud en route to their fall, we’re willing to indulge in it.
May 6, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 32 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Are you alarmed by the counterterrorism failures increasingly evident as we learn more about the Boston terror attack? Don’t be. Former CIA director Michael Hayden has helpfully explained, “This tragedy is the new normal.”
12:43 PM, Nov 25, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Thankfully, most Americans were probably too busy with the holiday to read the preposterous editorial yesterday in the New York Times. The Grey Lady examined the Solyndra scandal and concluded Republicans are really off base for having the temerity to complain about throwing taxpayer dollars down a rathole in the name of enriching big Democratic donors:
11:50 AM, Jun 27, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
I don't know what it is about gun issues that makes people lose their minds, but this editorial from the Washington Post is pretty incredible. The post acknowledges that the ATF flooding Mexico with 2,500 weapons which were used in a variety of crimes -- including the murder of a U.S. border agent -- was pretty questionable, but the real culprits are the NRA who has dared to criticize the agency or something:
Apr 11, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 29 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Conservatives are on the verge of victory—if only they can take yes for an answer. The situation on Capitol Hill is fluid, but it appears House Republicans will soon be presented with a choice: accept dramatic cuts in spending for the rest of fiscal year 2011 that, while less than the amount passed by the House in February, are about the same as Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan originally proposed—or risk a government shutdown by holding out for the maximum amount of reductions, as well as other items on the conservative wish list.
Apr 11, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 29 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Spring isn’t what it used to be. Here, for example, is Robert Browning in 1841:
The year’s at the spring,
Feb 21, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 22 • By GARY SCHMITT and THOMAS DONNELLY
Now begins the great business for which the voters recalled the Republican party to power in Washington: reestablishing the habits of limited government. Starting with the debate on the 2011 continuing resolution—last year’s Democratic majorities having failed to fund the government for the full year—and the building of the 2012 budget, conservatives will commit to the Sisyphean task of putting America’s fiscal house in order.
Feb 7, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 20 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
After watching the State of the Union address, we’ve finally figured out which position President Obama could play for the Steelers on Super Bowl Sunday. He’d make a great punter.