Author Archives: Scott Johnson

The deep meaning of Marie Harf

Featured image Deputy State Department spokesman Marie Harf gives the catastrophic foreign policy of the Obama administration a lighter than air, Valley Girl kind of feel. She is a walking self-parody. As such, she presents a novel use of expressive form. The attention Harf has earned this week with her explanation of the Obama administration’s approach to ISIS gives us an occasion to meditate on her deep meaning. National Review’s Kevin Williamson »

Rudy unbound

Featured image Rudy Giuliani had a few choice words for our Puss in Boots president in his address to the Iranian-American Community gathering in Phoenix, Arizona last week. Part 1 is below; part 2 is here. In the event you seek a voice speaking with clarity and depth of feeling to articulate the president’s errancy in matters vital to our national security, this is must viewing. Giuliani’s whole speech is quotable, but »

Ignatius’s ignorance

Featured image David Ignatius is the prominent Washington Post columnist who specializes in foreign affairs. I’ve written about him a lot, as in “Ignatius ignores” and “The case of David Ignatius.” His superficiality and animus can’t be concealed, but they are manifested in smooth prose and an authoritative voice. It’s a killer combination. Earlier this week in “A perfect storm brews in the Middle East,” Ignatius served as the medium for the »

Marie Harf: I’m “too nuanced” for you

Featured image Wolf Blitzer invited Marie Harf on CNN’s Situation Room this afternoon. Blitzer sought her out to expand on her remarks on the administration’s approach to dealing with the Islamic State terrorists. Harf thinks that we must attack old-fashioned “root causes” of the material kind. Harf is promoting Great Society liberalism as the answer to “violent extremism.” Great Society liberalism couldn’t even cut it in the United States with more limited »

Benjamin Netanyahu explains

Featured image The Prime Minister’s Office has posted the video of Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations yesterday (below). The text of Netanyahu’s remarks is posted here. Netanyahu’s remarks were devoted entirely to explaining his acceptance of Speaker Boehner’s invitation to address Congress on March 3. As always, Netanyahu’s remarks are of interest and in contrast with the vilification and abuse that Team Obama has sent his »

Marie Harf explains

Featured image Marie Harf trotted out the “root causes” school of thought last night to explain how ISIS will ultimately be defeated. “We cannot win this war by killing them,” according to Harf. “We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs…” And so »

Kim Ode’s favorite Communist [updated with Ode's response]

Featured image Yesterday’s Star Tribune featured Kim Ode’s profile of former Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Erwin Marquit. Marquit is dying and Ode is fawning. The source of Ode’s attraction to Marquit is Marquit’s run for governor in 1974 as a Communist. The romance of Communism hasn’t worn off for Ode or her editors at the Star Tribune. Ode’s profile is “Erwin Marquit, state’s best-known Communist, reflects on his life.” I’m sure Ode is »

Look back in anger

Featured image Have the mullahs of Iran given up their war against the United States for one minute since they came to power in the revolution of 1979? Is there any reason to think they might do so in deference to Barack Obama? Or is Obama signing us on to Iran’s war? Eli Lake takes a look at the state of play in a Bloomberg column that usefully “Iran’s peace letter from »

A conversation with Bill Bennett

Featured image In the latest of his Conversations, Bill Kristol draws out the eminent Bill Bennett on key moments in his distinguished career. Bill Bennett is a man who needs no introduction to Power Line readers. I will say only that this is great stuff. The interview is posted here, where it is broken into chapters. (It is also available in transcript or podcast form at the link.) My guess is you’ll »

Battle station alert on the left

Featured image William Levin is a graduate of Yale Law School, former clerk on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and former special assistant in the Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel. He writes to comment on developments related to the Supreme Court’s pending decision in King v. Burwell on the legality of Obamacare subsidies provided via exchanges established by the federal government. Bill assumes that the Supreme Court will get »

Not bipartisan, bisexual

Featured image All things being equal, I would prefer not to know the sexual preferences, orientations or practices of our political leaders. I wish they would not take pride in their sexuality. I wish they would remain discreet. By the lights of those who advertise their sexuality, they deserve no credit for it. I think they should be credited with responsibility for their practices, but if they choose discretion, I appreciate it. »

Fournier’s lie

Featured image When I heard former AP Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier state in passing on a recent Fox News Special Report panel that “Bush lied us into war in Iraq,” I just groaned. Fournier has moved on from the AP to become senior political correspondent and editorial director of National Journal. Fournier presents himself as the moderate voice of reason and common sense, and he is a distinguished journalist, but the »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll returns just in time for VALENTIN’s DAY. She writes: Well, fellas, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, so you still have a little time to get a box of candy, a dozen roses, or at least a card. Some ladies like the Victoria’s Secret stuff, but others think of it as more of a gift FOR you rather than FROM you. But if it jerks her bobber, go for it! »

An uncertain kazoo

Featured image The New York Times has posted the text of President Obama’s proposed resolution for the authorization of the use of force against the Islamic State here. The White House has posted the text of President Obama’s remarks on the proposed resolution here. NRO’s Mario Loyola observes that the proposed resolution contains three “poison pills.” He writes: First is the time limit of three years. This is another of Obama’s signature »

Remembering Mr. Lincoln

Featured image Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its “ancient faith” that all men are »

A genius for friendship

Featured image Abraham Lincoln stands not only as America’s greatest president but also as its greatest lawyer. At the time of his election to the presidency in 1860 he was the most prominent practicing lawyer in the state of Illinois. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom »

Thinkin’ about “Lincoln” again

Featured image We’ll be celebrating the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth tomorrow in the usual way, but I wanted to warm up with this look back at the 2012 film Lincoln. Until reading David Brooks’s obtuse column about the film, I was unsure that I knew enough to comment intelligently about it. Brooks persuaded me that I know at least as much as he does, however, and accordingly prompted me to offer the »