At this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, President Obama’s comic routine seemed to have some nasty implications about his political opponents. After reviewing the speech in depth, Byron York reads this between the lines:
Criticism directed at Obama about seemingly non-racial issues, from Ebola to the BP oil spill to climate change, is more severe for Obama than it would be for a white president because it is rooted in racial animus. That animus showed its face in more obvious ways in the birther and Obama-is-a-Muslim memes, but it's always there. Now, in his second term, Obama is finally free to air his resentments.
Obama does not come out and say this, but I think York’s interpretation here is fair. Since 2007, there have been attempts by the left to tie any disagreement with Obama to what York calls “racial animus.” It really seemed like a subtext running through Obama’s routine this weekend.
There is no doubt that the claims about Obama’s birth certificate and religion are ridiculous falsehoods that have emanated from the fringe. (As well as Hillary Clinton supporters.) In the heat of the 2008 primary campaign, Clinton herself even left the door ajar at one point on the question of Obama’s religion.
Even so, the general complaint is without merit. By any historical standard, Obama has not been treated worse than his predecessors. Consider:
-The Hamilton-Reynolds Affair. In the 1790s, Thomas Jefferson and/or James Monroe probably leaked information that tied Alexander Hamilton to a sex scandal after Hamilton had already left office. Hamilton’s wife Eliza was so offended by their behavior that she refused to see Monroe when he called on her in 1825, at the end of his presidency.
-The Election of 1800. Representatives of Thomas Jefferson accused John Adams of being a crypto-monarchist. And Adams’s associates accused Jefferson of being a radical atheist. And these two men had worked together to write the Declaration of Independence!
-Opposition to Andrew Jackson. The Whig party eventually took to comparing Jackson to a monarch. The Whig-controlled Senate actually censured him for removing bank deposits from the Second Bank of the United States.
-Abraham Lincoln. He was roundly and viciously criticized during his tenure, including by his own allies.
-The Bloody Shirt. The Republican party of the Gilded Age retained power in part by “waving the bloody shirt” -- tagging any and all Democrats as being a party to secession.
-“Frying the fat.” This was the infamous strategy of the GOP in the 1888 presidential election, after incumbent Grover Cleveland dared to suggest tariff reductions. The strategy was basically to scare the country into thinking that rationalizing the tax code would bring about economic doom.
President Obama, speaking today in Selma on the 50th anniversary of the historical Bloody Sunday march:
"Look at our history. We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea, pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, and entrepreneurs and hucksters. That’s our spirit. That’s who we are.
It is said that history is written by the victors. Maybe so, but in the United States over the last century, history has largely been written by the liberals. This inevitably leads to bias, which inevitably operates on even the most impartial of minds. While most historians try to be fair and judicious, the fact that the overwhelming majority of them are on the left generates an inexorable tilt to the American historical narrative.
Benjamin Netanyahu is not the first Israeli prime minister to find himself at odds with Washington. In fact, several prime ministers from the Labor Party, Netanyahu's traditional rival, have suffered the wrath of an angry American president.
Sir Martin’s passing was a sad day for who call ourselves Churchillians. His 8-volume biography of Sir Winston Churchill and the Companion volumes are the Everest of all biographies, and an indispensable source for anyone interested in the great man’s life and achievements. That this quiet, self-effacing man found the time and energy to add to that work some 60 other books concentrating on WW2, the Holocaust and histories of the Jewish people is a source of amazement to those of us privileged to know him
The passing of Sir Martin Gilbert at the age of 78 marked a sad milestone. He achieved popular acclaim as the official biographer of Winston Churchill, the man whose in-depth eight-volume biography served as the gold standard reference work about the greatest statesman of the twentieth century. He also was a prolific writer of Jewish history, an observer of world events, and an author of many atlases.
The United States entered the Great War with its eyes wide open. The mechanical slaughter in Europe had already left millions dead. In the trenches, men had to contend with lice, rats, sickness, mud, extreme temperatures, human waste, rotting corpses, and boredom as well as the threats of poison gas, explosive shells, and being buried alive. In 1914, Europe went to war with only the dimmest awareness of the horrors to come. Yet Congress voted overwhelmingly for a declaration of war in the absence of any direct threat to U.S.
The death of Fouad Ajami this weekend, at the age of 68, deprived this country and the world of a uniquely powerful voice – one that is at the same time both Arab and American – that could have helped guide us, as he has in the past, through the hazards and complications of his native Middle East.
T.S. Eliot thought that the first requisite for being a literary critic is to be very intelligent. The second, I should say, is to have a well-stocked mind, which means having knowledge of literatures and literary traditions other than that into which one was born; possessing several languages; and acquiring a more than nodding acquaintance with history, philosophy, and theology—to be, in brief, learned. To be both highly intelligent and learned is not all that common. Eliot claimed for himself—and this by implication, for he was a modest man—only the former.
Mr. Vladimir Putin intends that the current Olympic games be forever stamped with his glory. Sochi is being protected by a “Ring of Steel.” Thus has spoken Russia’s current Man of Steel, who sees himself as the rightful descendant of the original, although Mr.