Monthly Archives: May 2004

Spineless, but with extenuating circumstances

Loree Byrd of Polipundit adds an excellent insight to my post about the Republican defeat in the judicial confirmation wars. I had argued that, although the precedent the Democrats have set with respect to the blocking judicial appointments is not inherently bad for Republicans, it is doubtful that the Republicans will have the resolve to duplicate the Democrats’ efforts when it is their turn to obstruct Democratic nominees. Byrd pinpoints »

Taliban Sighted in South Dakota

South Dakota is holding a special election to fill Bill Janklow’s unexpired term; Democrat Stephanie Herseth and Republican Larry Diedrich are squaring off, with Herseth enjoying a slight lead. The election is a tuneup for November’s big contest between Tom Daschle, who is fighting for his political life, and former Congressman John Thune. A firestorm has now broken out over a Herseth rally attended by Daschle and Senator Tim Johnson, »

My Children, Of Course, Are Different

Madonna has canceled three scheduled performances in Israel because she received threats from Islamofascist terrorists against her children. That’s understandable. But Tim Blair notes that the singer’s views on terrorism have changed: Madonna in January: “I am writing to you because the future I wish for my children is at risk. Our greatest risk is not terrorism and it »

Good vs. Evil

I didn’t see President Bush’s speech tonight, so I can’t say how he delivered it, but the speech was good. The media have been spinning it non-stop, so if you didn’t see the speech, you should read it, not read about it. The full text is here. This was the President’s conclusion: In the last 32 months, history has placed great demands on our country and events have come quickly. »

No One Here But Us Liberals

The Pew Research survey of journalists has attracted a lot of attention since it appeared yesterday, with most pundits focusing on the fact that 34% of national journalists describe themselves as “liberals,” compared to only 7% who say they are “conservatives.” The truth, however, is worse than these numbers suggest. Fifty-four percent of journalists describe themselves as “moderates.” But “moderate” often means liberal, much as “progressive” often means socialist. Given »

“Be Best, the Sports”

I’m back from a two-week business trip to Japan. It was a great trip, with time for some fun along the way. At some point I’ll post whatever politically relevant observations I may have, but for the moment I want to comment on one of the visit’s highlights: last Saturday’s baseball game between the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants. In Japan, baseball teams are named after the companies that »

Eyeless in Gaza

FrontPage has an outstanding piece on the Israeli military operations in Rafah, in reality and as portrayed in the media: “Eyeless in Gaza.” »


For almost two years, we have been covering the deplorable efforts of Senate Democrats to prevent President Bush’s judicial nominees from receiving an up- or-down vote from the Senate. See here, here, and here, for example. When the Democrats had a majority, the Judiciary Committee refused to act on many Bush court of appeals nominees. When the Republicans obtained a majority, the Democrats resorted to the unprecedented tactic of filibustering »

Message adjustment

However much the country has changed since the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980, it is still apparently difficult for an avowed liberal to be elected president. Thus the necessity of camouflage and concealment by a liberal candidate like John Kerry running for national office. According to the Washington Post, Kerry is now “emphasizing centrist themes on the campaign trail while privately reassuring liberal constituencies he is committed »

On tyranny

Reading Leo Strauss’s book On Tyranny was a life-changing experience for me. Originally published in 1948, it is Strauss’s interpretation of Xenophon’s dialogue “Hiero, or the Tyrant.” The book was subsequently republished by Cornell University Press in the late 1960’s with a faithful translation of the dialogue, a long review/essay responding to Strauss by the French Hegelian/Marxist Alexander Kojeve, and with Strauss’s response to Kojeve and to Eric Voegelin’s review »

Godard on Moore

When Rocket Man and I were students at Dartmouth, we were both fans of the French “new wave” director Jean-Luc Godard. Godard’s films were enigmatic, by which I mean that I usually didn’t have a clue what he was up to, although I don’t recall ever admitting as much. Yet, quite apart from the satisfaction of feeling “avant garde,” I did think I saw artistic merit in much of Godard’s »

Many thanks

to Captain Ed at Captain’s Quarters for his kind words in connection with my wife’s naturalization. The Captain also included a characteristically thoughtful response to my grumpy remarks about being subjected to CNN’s coverage of Abu Ghraib while waiting for the ceremony to begin. He argues that “Abu Ghraib, while humiliating at the moment, demonstrates what America is all about” because it demonstrates the accountability of our military, the power »

Cut the crap, Part III

Michelle Malkin prescribes plainspoken English as the antidote to muddled multiculturalism. Malkin provdes just that remedy in her commentary on the outcry against Maryland Governor Ehrlich following his rejection of “multicultural crap.” »

On Paradise Drive

On Paradise Drive is the title of the new book by David Brooks. Brooks initially made his reputation as a conservative pundit and branched out into pop sociology in his first book, Bobos In Paradise. Since Brooks moved from the Weekly Standard to the New York Times, he seems to me to have neutered himself. Michael Kinsley reviews Brooks’s new book in tomorrow’s Sunday Times Book Review: “‘On Paradise Drive’: »

Dream ticket

The new issue of the Weekly Standard carries several interesting articles. Most entertaining is Noemie Emery’s article on the subject we have frequently considered here, “The Kerry-McCain fantasy.” (The article is unavaible to non-subscribers.) Emery lists five factors that make McCain a “headache” (rather than a fantasy) as Kerry’s possible vice president. The first factor discussed by Emery is “It’s all about him”: “The minute the announcement is made, Kerry »

Not like Ike

Earlier this week, my conservative cousin from New York made the following observations after watching diplomatic historian John Gaddis on C-SPAN’s “Booknotes” program: “While [Gaddis] was disappointed with Bush’s failure to generate greater foreign support for his efforts in Iraq, [he] thought that the overall strategy of preemptive strikes against terror networks was correct. Gaddis is an expert on the history of the Cold War and is the official biographer »

Citizen Yvonne

America became even more diverse today as a new batch of citizens was sworn-in in Baltimore (and presumably elsewhere). One of these new citizens is my wife. Her group of about 50 was, as one would expect, quite a melange. It contained a few Anglos, at least one Frenchwoman (my wife), a handful of Eastern Europeans (mostly Russian), many Latino[a]s, many Africans, and some Asians, a few from the near »