Generally speaking, The Weekly Standard is from the Edith Piaf school of second thoughts. We don’t have many. And when we do, we keep quiet about them. As the great chanteuse put it: Non, je ne regrette rien.
But on rare occasions we admit we may—just may—have a few regrets. Here’s one: We’re now inclined to think we overstated matters when we began an editorial six weeks ago by asking rhetorically, “How big a problem is it that the two leading Republican candidates for president aren’t actually qualified to be president?”Read more
As gaffes go, it was an especially amusing one for a woman who has thus far been caught with 671 instances of classified information appearing in her personal email. “Earlier today I announced that as president I will take steps to ‘ban the box,’ so former presidents won’t have to declare their criminal history at the very start of the hiring process,” Hillary Clinton told an NAACP chapter on October 30.
Overcoming deep personal ambivalence and a battery of attacks from conservative complainers outside Congress, Paul Ryan became the 54th speaker of the House on October 29, 2015. To call this improbable understates the case. Not primarily because Ryan is young (he’s 45) or because Ryan is first a policy maven (his colleagues used to worry that he was too wonky to be an effective communicator) or because Ryan is an inveterate optimist in an age of pessimism (though his sanguinity is irrepressible).Read more
Last week, the Obama White House moved to ensure Hezbollah’s ability to point 100,000 missiles at Israel. That’s not how they would describe it, of course. But it was the Obama administration—as U.S. officials are quietly letting on—and not Russia that invited Iran to participate in talks in Vienna to resolve the Syrian civil war. By doing so, the White House legitimized the Islamic Republic as a “stakeholder” whose interests in Syria must be respected.Read more
On October 27, the House of Representatives moved to impeach the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen. It may seem odd that Koskinen is being punished since he wasn’t commissioner when the IRS scandal broke two years ago. But make no mistake, Koskinen is a worthy candidate for impeachment.Read more
Last week, Senate and House Democrats threw a party to celebrate the adoption day of Obama’s Iran deal. Ninety days after the White House signed the deal in Vienna, Obama directed the United States government to lift sanctions on Iran, the Democrats listened to a string ensemble in Washington, and all present pretended it was a joyous occasion.Read more
One of the most memorable moments from the first Democratic presidential debate was an unexpected one. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic-socialist senator from Vermont who is leading the polls in New Hampshire, took a question about the email scandal that has badly complicated Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Rather than use it as a truncheon to hurt his primary opponent, Sanders took the occasion to defend her.Read more
Anderson Cooper’s final question in the Democratic presidential debate on October 13 led to an interesting and revealing moment. He asked:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” You’ve all made a few people upset over your political careers. Which enemy are you most proud of?Read more
Sunday, October 18, isn’t just a day of baseball playoffs and pro football games. It’s “Adoption Day,” when all parties to the Iran nuclear deal must begin preparing to implement its terms. And while the Obama administration takes another opportunity to pat itself on the back for its achievement, Iran has offered the international community a clear signal of what it thinks about its obligations under the deal, as well as its strategic intentions.Read more
Some 45 municipalities and communities make up Westchester County, the prosperous, heavily Democratic jurisdiction just north of New York City whose most famous residents are Bill and Hillary Clinton. Like many localities across the country, Westchester has long been a recipient of federal housing grants. But for more than six years now the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Westchester County have been at loggerheads over whether the county may receive such grants.Read more
There are times when economics is secondary to other policy considerations—not irrelevant, but secondary. Last week, when 12 nations on the Pacific Rim finally agreed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership after years of negotiations, was one such time. This gives President Obama a much-needed victory—if he can persuade enough of his Democratic colleagues to join a majority of Republicans in approving the deal when Congress gets to have its say in up or down votes early next year.Read more
Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s been two months since the first Republican presidential debate. How do things now stand for the party upon whose success next year rest all of our hopes for constitutional government at home and a manageable world abroad?Read more
Last week an Obama administration official bragged that the White House’s Syria policy is working out just as planned. Special envoy for Syria Michael Ratney said that the “Russians wouldn’t have to help [Bashar al-]Assad if we didn’t weaken him.”Read more
There is a sense among the Republican establishment that Donald Trump’s candidacy is, to quote Bob Odenkirk, a traveshamockery. That is, Trump is contaminating conservatism and diminishing the chances a Republican will win in 2016.
But Trump neither espouses conservative positions nor calls himself a conservative. So it is difficult to see how his nationalist approach could taint conservative ideology or color the public’s view of conservative principles.Read more
It was the middle of the night in Washington, D.C.—the early morning of September 30, 2015, in Iraq—when a three-star Russian general walked into the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, announced that Russian jets would soon begin airstrikes in Syria, and demanded that the United States stop flying combat missions in the country.Read more
Say what you want about the merits of her campaign, Hillary Clinton knows exactly who she has to pander to in order to raise the exorbitant sums needed to run for president. Unions have spent over $400 million in each of the last two presidential election cycles, almost exclusively on Democratic campaigns. Naturally, Hillary Clinton’s latest major policy proposal is little more than an attempt to line the pockets of unions.Read more
With the new fiscal year for the federal government rapidly approaching, the irresponsible and dangerous game of chicken being played with national defense continues. For most of the year, the White House and Democrats have made it clear that they will block passage of defense authorization and appropriations bills that contain some $38 billion in new defense resources unless the Republican majority in Congress agrees to boost domestic discretionary spending by an equal amount.Read more
It's been two weeks since a majority of Congress sought to register its disapproval of the Iran deal but fell short of the votes necessary to break a filibuster or override a presidential veto, and most politicians and commentators have moved on.
It’s understandable to want a mental break after a long and hard-fought struggle. But the world hasn’t taken a break. The consequences of the deal are already reverberating.Read more
Earlier this summer, we learned the Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that the intelligence on ISIS was manipulated. Analysts at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, formally complained to the IG that analysis contradicting the Obama administration’s narrative on ISIS was routinely challenged, rewritten, or disregarded. The administration was eager to sell the story that the campaign against ISIS was going well; much of the intelligence made clear it wasn’t. That intelligence was buried, and the happy talk continued.Read more
How big a problem is it that the two leading Republican candidates for president aren’t actually qualified to be president?
“Oh, come on,” you’re inclined to respond. “It’s not that much of a problem. After all, Donald Trump and Ben Carson aren’t really the leading GOP presidential candidates, are they?”Read more
Even now with the Russians on the verge of combat operations in Syria, the White House still says it believes that they’re there to fight ISIS. John Kerry says that his Russian counterpart told him that the Russians are “only interested in fighting” the Islamic State. Other administration officials hold out hope for a grand U.S.-Russia coalition against ISIS. But that’s nonsense: Vladimir Putin landed troops in order to protect his investment in Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.Read more
You could tell that the plan European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced on September 9 for distributing 160,000 refugees around the European Union was slapdash. You could tell by the number of times Juncker felt he had to browbeat his listeners about their Nazi past. “We Europeans should know and should never forget why giving refuge . . . is so important,” he said. Of course giving refuge is important. So is democratic accountability. Right now Europe’s politicians owe their citizens an explanation, not a scolding.Read more
In his powerful dissent from Obergefell v. Hodges, the case in which the Supreme Court redefined marriage to include same-sex marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of their faith” and that if they “exercise their religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right,” then “hard questions” may arise.Read more
The American people believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. When pollsters ask whether the country is on the right or the wrong track, wrong track prevails by better than two to one. And the American people are right. We are going the wrong way: The economy isn’t strong, the government doesn’t work, social trends aren’t great, and the world’s going to hell in a handbasket.Read more
Last week the White House puffed its feathers when Barbara Mikulski became the 34th Democratic senator to come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran. Mikulski’s support ensures enough votes in Obama’s pocket to sustain a presidential veto on a resolution of disapproval, but it’s still not clear why the administration is celebrating. A majority of senators and congressmen oppose Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative. So does most of the American public, by a two-to-one ratio according to a new poll released last week.Read more
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