Jim Leach is the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. We have chronicled his speeches in a series of posts seeking to penetrate the essential Leach. Our series of posts on Leach can be accessed here.
Leach doesn’t think much of us, and he’s not reluctant to let us know. But he does think highly of himself. Even though he has a staff capable of writing or editing his speeches, he thinks he doesn’t need the help. But Leach badly needs a course in remedial writing. Short of such a course, he needs the writer’s equivalent of an intervention. Does Leach lack a friend who can stop him before he sets pen to paper again?
The lead editorial of the new issue of the New Criterion doesn’t answer that question, but it does follow up on our exposure of the July 2010 NEH-sponsored conference for college professors at the East-West Center in Hawaii. The title of the conference was “History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War.” Professor Penelope Blake found the conference to be the most disturbing experience of her academic career, a conference which she found to be driven by an overt political bias and a blatant anti-American agenda. We posted Professor Blake’s eloquent letter on the conference here.
The New Criterion aptly titles its editorial “The NEH vs. America.” The title certainly captures the spirit of Leach’s speeches. Referring to Leach’s shameless sycophancy of Obama, TNC writes: “Probably he was hoping his discovery of a new Cicero in our midst would procure him something more politically potent than chairmanship of the NEH. It was not to be. But this hasn’t stopped Chairman Jim from vigorously pursuing a left-leaning, politically correct program at the Endowment.” The editorial places the East-West Center conference on the Pacific War in the context of long-standing problems with the NEH and the NEA.
And now the good news. In a letter to Leach late last month, the president of the East-West Center advised Leach that the center was reviewing the conference in light of Professor Blake’s critique and that it was suspending “any further Pearl Harbor programs until they are fully reviewed.” Until further notice, we’ll take that as a modified limited climbdown.
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