On the surface it seems clear why Donald Trump’s campaign is effective. His fame, bluster, wit, and intuitive sense for one-liners can be easily converted into media currency and are symbiotic with the mechanisms and values of the digital era. But none of this would avail were it not for a disillusionment with the political class so deep and visceral that his supporters consent to the opposite of what is normally expected from right-leaning candidates: respect for traditional values; proven party loyalty; morals, manners, and maturity.
Nor would his appeal have been the same if Trump had garnered his fame from, say, the comedy circuit or the silver screen or the baseball diamond. It is his business credentials thatRead more
In 1990’s classic The Matrix, the lead character realizes that the world he thought he knew was false, and that the truth about his society was being hidden by a hostile power. Many conservatives have a similarly Matrix-like moment in their intellectual development, that moment when they realize that much of what they had been taught to believe by progressive eliteRead more
To begin to convey a sense of what an extraordinary and compelling figure Harry V. Jaffa was, I offer a confession: The only class notes I have kept from college or graduate school are contained in the dog-eared, green notebook from my courses with Jaffa, and I keep it in my top desk drawer. In idle moments, I read over those notes, reminding myself of key points, puzzling over ideas and observations I still don’t fully understand, but above all marveling at the mind of one of the great teachers of our time.Read more
Populism, that ever-lurking and always problematic phenomenon in American politics, is especially galling to liberals when it breaks from the right, as it has done during the last few years in the form of the Tea Party. Conservative populism disorients and frightens liberals (almost as much as the Republican establishment does), such that liberals find it necessary to make out conservative populism to be “extremist” and to magnify its potential threat to democracy.Read more
Hot and Bothered: When Liberals Want Conservatives to Talk About Climate Change Instead of the Middle Class
"Everything reminds Milton of the money supply," Robert Solow once said of his fellow Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman at a symposium. "Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper."Read more
Canberra has joined Tokyo and other U.S. allies in Asia by electing a conservative government vowing less tax on business, robust defense, support for the United States, and guarded cooperation with China. A big victory in Australia’s national election on September 7 for Tony Abbott’s Liberal-Nationals ends six years of political tumult under Labor.Read more
Former senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole had some harsh words for his political party recently. In a Fox News Sunday interview, Chris Wallace asked, “You describe the GOP of your generation as Eisenhower Republicans, moderate Republicans. Could people like Bob Dole, even Ronald Reagan—could you make it in today’s Republican party?” Dole replied, “I doubt it. Reagan wouldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, ’cause he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.”Read more
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with William Kristol on the rise of Margaret Thatcher and the lessons for today's GOP.Read more
Four of the most lamentably omitted words in American politics are the following: "in this present crisis." Conventional references to Ronald Reagan's first inaugural address note his declaration that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Reagan actually said, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Omitting those first four words does a significant damage to the legacy of Reagan---and also poses problems for the future of conservatism and the GOP after 2012.Read more
Viewers of the 2012 debates have witnessed an extraordinary turnaround. John Stuart Mill famously spoke of “a party of order and stability, and a party of progress or reform.” Once upon a time, Barack Obama and Joe Biden could claim the mantle of change and progress. But the televised exchanges between Mitt Romney and Obama and Paul Ryan and Biden have revealed that this is no longer the case.Read more
Naturally, there has been plenty of talk this week about who won the debate. As I mentioned in my own recap, I thought that though Obama won more “points,” Romney did a better job advancing his argument for election.Read more
When Republican strategists like Karl Rove cite 1980 as a model for this year’s election, they usually have in mind two main elements: Ronald Reagan’s question in the late October presidential debate about whether voters felt better off than four years earlier, when they elected Jimmy Carter, and Reagan’s ability in that debate to reassure swing voters about his ability to serve successfully if elected, converting a very close race into a ten-point blowout by “closing the deal.”Read more
One day after the Democratic convention ended here, and a week after the Republican convention wrapped up in Tampa, and American politics is basically all tied up. Here’s the top line on Real Clear Politics 60 days before November 6: The RCP average for the presidential race shows a dead heat (Obama +0.7 percentage points), the Senate is 46-46 with 8 tossups, and the generic congressional ballot is tied.
We have Occupy Wall Street to thank for the already grating tendency among pundits to sort the American people by percentages. The possibilities for such categorization are endless. There are, of course, the 1 percent of Americans who make more than $516,000 a year and the 99 percent who do not. But there are also the 21 percent of Americans who identify as liberal and theRead more
In an interesting portion of last night’s Republican presidential debate, moderator Brian Williams asked, “Governor Romney…what have you done to further the cause of conservatism as a Republican leader?”Read more
The first master’s thesis defense committee on which I served, more years ago than I care to count, evaluated an effort titled “Liberal Deviations of Robert A. Taft, 1945-1953.” As a young assistant professor still intoxicated by a heady academic liberal consensus, I was prone to dismiss the author’s assertion that Senator Taft was something more than an iron-hearted reactionary.Read more
One of my favorite Bill Rusher stories is from the 1984 presidential campaign, when he and Jeane Kirkpatrick faced off against Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank on the question of Reagan vs. Mondale. Poor Senator Dodd had to contend with this impossible query from Bill Rusher: “On the invasion of Grenada, do you agree with Mr. Mondale that it was justified, or with Ms. Ferraro that it wasn’t?”Read more
Frank Cannon, in the Los Angeles Times, on conservatism:
Of all the mischaracterizations of social conservatives, none is more stubborn and pernicious than the notion (promulgated by liberals and eagerly snatched up by credulous media voices) that groups and politicians that espouse a "values" philosophy seek to impose a draconian moral code on a dissenting populace. This notion not only demonstrates a lack of understanding of conservatism and its self-imposed limits, but it also betrays a refusal to face the fact that nanny-state preoccupations are the province of the American left.Read more
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