Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina occupies a strange place on the spectrum of American politics. An 18-year House veteran from the conservative coast, Jones is a pro-life former Democrat, raised Baptist but a Catholic convert. The 70-year-old Republican’s biggest claim to fame may have come in 2003 when France decided not to participate in the American-led coalition invading Iraq. In a moment of patriotic pique, Jones, following the lead of a diner in his district, directed the House cafeterias to rename French fries as “freedom fries.”
Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults.
With an immigration bill finally on the table, Republicans would do well to stop and ponder how they have arrived at this juncture. Since the November election they have been preoccupied with how to approach Hispanics on this critical issue.
There was one moment in President Obama’s world-weary press conference last Tuesday when he seemed genuinely interested and engaged. At the very end, when Obama had already begun to depart the podium, a reporter shouted a question about the previously obscure but now famously gay NBA center, Jason Collins.
The massacre of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, last December rightly sparked a national conversation about policies that might be enacted to prevent such atrocities in the future. But where is the national conversation in response to the massacre of innocents carried out in Philadelphia by Kermit Gosnell?
And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.
How many times in the last century have these concluding lines of C. P. Cavafy’s famous 1898 poem, “Waiting for the Barbarians,” been quoted? How many modern intellectuals have pondered the subversive implications of that sophisticated question?
Things are looking up for Republicans. President Obama’s agenda is collapsing before our eyes. Obama is pointing to the 2014 midterm elections to capture the House and revive his presidency. “My job is not simply to occupy the Oval Office,” he said at a San Francisco fundraiser. “My job is to make sure we move the country forward, and I think we can best do that if Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House once again.” Obama said Pelosi is “thought ful” and “visionary” and “never lets ideology cloud her judgment.”