Wednesday, November 30, 2011




by Mark Steyn
National Review
November 28, 2011

Whenever I write in these pages about the corrosive effect of Big Government upon the citizenry in Britain, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere and note that this republic is fairly well advanced upon the same grim trajectory, I get a fair few letters on the lines of: “You still don’t get it, Steyn. Americans aren’t Europeans. Or Canadians. We’re not gonna take it.”

I would like to believe it. It’s certainly the case that Americans have more attitude than anybody else — or, at any rate, attitudinal slogans. I saw a fellow in a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt the other day. He was at LaGuardia, and he was being trod all over, by the obergropinfuhrers of the TSA, who had decided to subject him to one of their enhanced pat-downs. There are few sights more dismal than that of a law-abiding citizen having his genitalia pawed by state commissars, but him having them pawed while wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt is certainly one of them.

Don’t get me wrong. I like “Don’t Tread on Me.” Also, “Don’t Mess with Texas” — although the fact that 70 percent of births in Dallas’s largest hospital are Hispanic suggests that someone has messed with Texas in recent decades, and fairly comprehensively.

In my own state, the Department of Whatever paid some fancypants advertising agency a couple of million bucks to devise a new tourism slogan. They came up with “You’re Going To Love It Here!,” mailed it in, and cashed the check. The state put it up on the big “Bienvenue au New Hampshire” sign on I-93 on the Massachusetts border, and ten minutes later outraged Granite Staters were demanding it be removed and replaced with “Live Free or Die.” So it was. Americans are still prepared to get in-your-face about their in-your-face slogans.

No other nation has license-plate mottos like “Live Free or Die.” No other nation has songs about how “I’m proud to be a Canadian” or “Australian” or “Slovenian” — or at least no songs written in the last 20 years in a contemporary pop vernacular. And yet, underneath the attitudinal swagger, Americans are — to a degree visiting Continentals often remark upon — an extremely compliant people.

For example, if you tootle along sleepy two-lane rural blacktops, the breaks in the solid yellow line are ever farther apart. One can drive for miles and miles without an opportunity to pass. Unlike the despised French surrender monkeys, Americans are not to be trusted to reach their own judgment on when it’s safe to pull out and leave Gran’ma eating dust. Odd. But these days what can Americans be trusted with? You may have noticed those new lime green pedestrian signs sprouting across the fruited plain, in many cases where no pedestrian has been glimpsed in years. Some new federal regulation requires them to be posted wherever pedestrians are to be found, or might potentially be found in the years ahead. I just drove through Barre, Vt., which used to be the granite capital of the state but, as is the way, now offers the usual sad Main Street of vacant storefronts and non-profit community-assistance joints and whatnot. For some reason, it has faded pedestrian crossings painted across the street every few yards. So, in full compliance with the Bureau of Compliance, those new signs have been stuck in front of each one, warning the motorist of looming pedestrians, springing from curb to pavement like Alpine chamois.


The oncoming army of lurid lime signs uglies up an already decrepit Main Street. They dominate the scene, lining up in one’s windshield with the mathematical precision of Busby Berkeley’s chorines in Gold Diggers of 1935. And they make America look ridiculous. They are, in fact, double signs: One lime green diamond with the silhouette of a pedestrian, and then below it a lime rectangle with a diagonal arrow, pointing to the ground on which the hypothetical pedestrian is likely to be hypothetically perambulating. The lower sign is an exquisitely condescending touch. A nation whose citizenry is as stupid as those markers suggest they are cannot survive. But, if we’re not that stupid, why aren’t we outraged?

What’s the cost of those double signs — 300 bucks per? That’s the best part of four grand we don’t need to have wasted on one little strip of one little street in one small town. It’s not hard to see why we’re the Brokest Nation in History: You can stand at almost any four-way across the land, look in any direction, and see that level of statist waste staring you in the face. Doesn’t that count as being trod on? They’re certainly treading on your kids. In fact, they’ve stomped whatever future they might have had into the asphalt.

A variant of my readers’ traditional protestation runs like this: “Americans aren’t Europeans, Steyn. We have the Second Amendment, and they don’t.” Very true. And Vermont has one of the highest rates of firearms ownership in the nation. And Howard Dean has a better record on gun rights than Rudy Giuliani. Or Chris Christie. But one would be reluctant to proffer the Green Mountain State as evidence of any correlation between gun rights and small government.

If I’ve sounded a wee bit overwrought in recent columns, it’s because America is seizing up before our eyes. And I’m a little bewildered by how many Americans can’t see it. I think about that chap at LaGuardia with “Don’t Tread on Me” on his chest, and government bureaucrats in his pants. And I wonder if America’s exceptional attitudinal swagger isn’t providing a discreet cover for the shriveling of liberty. Sometimes an in-your-face attitude blinds you to what’s going on under your nose.



Up from Leftism
A visit with the historian Eugene D. Genovese


THE NATIONAL REVIEW, November 14, 2011

‘The first time my name appeared in the New York Times, I was described as ‘an obscure associate professor,’” says Eugene D. Genovese. “I’ve always thought of myself that way.” He’s the only one who does. Genovese is an American historian, specializing in the Old South. In 2005, Benjamin Schwarz, an editor at The Atlantic, described him as “this country’s greatest living historian.” One could certainly make an argument. Genovese is definitely one of the smartest and most interesting people around. He made a spectacular journey from left to right: from Communism to anti-Communism, from faith in Marx to faith in God. He made this journey in tandem with his wife, another historian, the late Elizabeth Fox-Genovese.


But Communism wasn’t all fun and games, as Genovese would be the first to tell you. In 1994, he wrote this terrible truth: “At the age of fifteen, I became a Communist, and, although expelled from the party in 1950 at age twenty, I remained a supporter of the international movement and of the Soviet Union until there was nothing left to support.” In his living room, Genovese explains to me something about his younger self: He was under no illusion that Stalin wasn’t killing people left and right. It was simply that he had “absorbed the notion that this was a period we had to go through,” in order to form a more perfect union, so to speak. People have a tremendous capacity to rationalize, especially when infected by ideology.


In coming years, Genovese would win the highest honors in his profession. First came the Bancroft Prize, for his quickly canonical book Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. Then came the presidency of the Organization of American Historians. In rising to this position, Genovese made a little history himself, because he was the first Marxist president of the organization. But as the years wore on, he moved rightward, until the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire forced a major, decisive reexamination.

In 1994, he published a bombshell of an essay in Dissent magazine. (I quoted from it earlier.) The essay was called “The Question,” and the question derived from Watergate: “What did you know, and when did you know it?” What did you know about the atrocities of the Communists, and when did you know it? Genovese wrote that “in a noble effort to liberate the human race from violence and oppression we broke all records for mass slaughter, piling up tens of millions of corpses in less than three-quarters of a century. When the Asian figures are properly calculated, the aggregate to our credit may reach the seemingly incredible numbers widely claimed. Those who are big on multiculturalism might note that the great majority of our victims were nonwhite.”


It was a stroke of luck, or a stroke of grace, that Genovese and his wife, Betsey, moved to the right and moved toward religion — Catholicism, specifically — at the same time. Neither left the other behind. “We had different temperaments,” says Genovese, “but our brains were almost as one. We very rarely disagreed on things.” One disagreement, whether intellectual or temperamental, was on Wagner’s music: She hated it, he loves it.

In the field of politics, the two once thought that America could have a different kind of socialism, a socialism consonant with the American traditions of liberty and democracy. They came to the conclusion, however, that this was impossible. Oppression was baked into the socialist cake. Genovese is unwilling to call himself a free-marketeer, believing that the “logic” of the free market “leaves an awful lot of people in the gutter.” But he would support most free-market measures, because “the alternatives are dreadful.”


One issue he is perfectly firm on is abortion: He is against. So was Betsey, the creator of the leading women’s-studies department in the country, no less. (It was at Emory.) In 2009, Genovese published a beautiful little volume called Miss Betsey: A Memoir of Marriage. He writes, “She gagged on abortion for a simple reason: She knew, as everyone knows, that an abortion kills a baby.”


Turning to the president of the United States, I ask Genovese to classify him for me. What is Obama? A McGovernite, a social democrat, a socialist, a pinko, a red? Genovese says that Obama is redder than people suspect, even his conservative adversaries. Obama’s instinct, he says, is to take the most radical position he can get away with. What’s more, he is “probably the vainest president I can remember, and the least competent. What surprised me was the incompetence. The first time I laid eyes on this guy — I heard him make a speech — I said, ‘He’s a demagogue.’ One more. More skillful than most. I mean, he is clearly a good speechifier. I say ‘speechifier’ because, in a classical sense, an orator he’s not. You just have to read Demosthenes and Cicero to know what an orator is. He ain’t it. Churchill yes, him no. And furthermore he butchers the English language. Gets away with it. But he does.”

All his life, Genovese had been hoping for a black president and a woman president. So, “we got a black president — thanks a lot.” Still, Genovese allows, Obama’s election was an historic occasion, symbolizing the huge progress we have made as a country. I ask whether he is hopeful or depressed about the future for black Americans. He regrets that he is more depressed than hopeful. “Look,” he says (and he begins a great many sentences with “Look”): “They have a thoroughly corrupt leadership, and I don’t just mean the politicians, I mean the intelligentsia too.” He cites Cornel West, who, he says, had the choice to be a serious and useful scholar or a rabble-rousing clown, and went down the wrong path.


Here at his home in Atlanta, Genovese continues to work. He has just come out with a book started jointly with his wife and finished by him: Fatal Self-Deception: Slaveholding Paternalism in the Old South. He has no e-mail, fax machine, or cellphone. He has a home phone, whose number is unlisted. He follows baseball, he watches Fox News. He gets along fine, as near as I can tell.

And there is a heroic aspect about him. Writing about Genovese in 1995, William F. Buckley Jr. said, essentially, that the 20th century — the bloodiest on record — was a hard teacher. Genovese had learned his way through. “Is this learning to be compared with ‘learning’ that the earth is round, not flat? No, because the physical features of the earth are not deniable. But it is different in the social sciences. Everything is deniable, or ignorable.” The terrible costs of Communism and its cousins, including socialism, Genovese could not deny or ignore. He said goodbye to a Left that had loved him and lionized him. His truth-telling exposed him to their total wrath and condemnation. Genovese is not only brilliant, he is brave. A hell of a lot of fun, too.

Friday, November 25, 2011



Request of the Week
November 23, 2011

Dear Mark,
With the Second Coming of Newt, I'm reminded of your circa '99 political obituary where you sent him off in style. Your piece had me in stitches then, and thinking of it today still brings on a chuckle. If you're wondering which column to which I'm referring, search your library for "grim platter of meats", or something to this effect. I would love to read it again, ideally before the media declares a new front runner in the GOP race.
Glenn Kennedy
George Town, Cayman Islands

MARK SAYS: My pleasure. It was actually not 1999 but the November 14th 1998 of The Spectator - a few days after the Republicans (in the Year of Monica) lost five seats in the election, and Newt resigned as Speaker. And "grim platter" was actually "Teutonic plates". But otherwise you were pretty close. A lot has changed over 13 years, not least Joe Scarborough's protestations of fealty, and the appeal of Barney Frank's lisp, but Newtworld remains refreshingly unspoilt by progress, and the latter parts of this piece - the bit about the lily-livered ninny passing himself off as a right-wing bastard - still seem pertinent.

We're running our Request of the Week a day early this week, because of Thanksgiving tomorrow and just in case Newt self-detonates in the next 24 hours. But don't forget, we're here every Thursday dusting off the archives. If you've a favorite column - or even a favourite column - you'd like us to reprise, drop me a line here. Meanwhile, here's me on Newt from the Speccie 13 years ago:


'Gingrich - primary mission,' wrote the fledgling Newt in a reminder to himself in December 1992. 'Advocate of civilisation. Definer of civilisation. Teacher of the rules of civilisation.' So far, so good. But, at this point, a touch of self-doubt sets in: 'Leader (possibly) of the civilising forces.'
Sadly, it was not to be.

Today, Newt Gingrich is Loser (undoubtedly) of the '98 election. Stunned to find someone in Washington going down even faster than Monica, President Clinton generously saluted the Speaker as a 'worthy adversary'. Alas, the Democrats' House Leader Dick Gephardt, cruising past Newt's bullet- riddled body in the gutter, couldn't resist reversing back over it: 'I hope that whoever succeeds Newt Gingrich as Speaker will immediately begin the process of repairing the damage that was wrought on this institution over the last four years.'

Whoa, steady on! Before we confine the Great Definer and Supreme Advocate to the trash can of history, it's worth remembering what the House of Representatives was like in the long-past pre-Newtian era of four years ago. After 40 years of Democratic control, it was a stinking sewer of corruption - not just who-paid-whose-bill-at-the- Paris-Ritz piffle, but rampant, systemic corruption.

At the House bank, for example, Congressmen could write cheques for vast sums of cash, regardless of whether they had any funds to cover them. In Britain, where cheque-bouncing and extravagant overdrafts are routine, that might not seem a big deal. But, over here, if you bounce a cheque for 12 bucks to the general store, they pin it up over the register and the whole town knows. Do it again and you'll get 30 days in the county jail. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a story about a fellow whose entire life was ruined because in his youth he passed one bad cheque. Yet, under a system that prides itself on checks and balances, Congressmen could write all the cheques they want regardless of their balances. In the House post office, they could wander in with a $10,000 contributor's cheque, buy a 29¢ stamp and get $9,999.71 change. My postmistress won't let you do that.

But the most telling symptom of the moral decay under one-party rule was a simple one: the laws Congress passed on behalf of the people applied to all the people - except them. They were exempt from their own legislation. In 1994, the then Speaker Tom Foley, a Democratic Congressman from Washington State, was suing his own electors because they'd been impertinent enough to pass a ballot proposition mandating term limits for the Representatives. His crony, Dan Rostenkowski, had an even more fundamentalist view of the perks of office: they found furniture from the House in the basement of his home in Illinois.

Newt and the new Republican leadership ended those scams: legislators, like any other citizens, are now bound by the law of the land; Rostenkowski went to gaol and Foley to a richly deserved political oblivion; whatever else may be said about Newt's tenure as Speaker, you no longer have to nail down the furniture.

Instead, it was nailing down Newt that proved the problem. About a week before the 1994 Republican landslide, I was on a radio show where someone mentioned a poll showing that over 50 per cent of the American people had never hear of Newt Gingrich. 'I wish I could say the same,' muttered a Democrat pundit. In 1994, no one voted for Newt; some voted for the 'Contract With America', and a lot voted against the Democratic incumbents and the Washington establishment.
Newt deserves credit for his bold strategy that year and for his much derided 'Contract', of which most proposals (welfare reform, a balanced budget, etc.) were savaged by Democrats at the time, yet almost all of which have since been co-opted by the President. In his humbler, non-Definer of Civilisation moments, he saw himself as another Churchill, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria ... But I think, in these media-conscious times, the most appropriate comparison would be with the creators of a hit TV show - say, James Brooks and Allan Burns, who cooked up The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They invented a superb vehicle, but they didn't make the mistake of putting themselves in it: brilliant as they might be, no one would want to see The Brooks and Burns Show every night of the week; they want to see perky, sunny Mary. Newt's mistake was to muddle a congressional election with the Miss America pageant: he was convinced people loved him. Like that other pudgy, greying boomer in the Oval Office, he thought everything had to be about him: all Newt, all the time.

Shortly after he became Speaker, his staff circulated a five-page document of interconnected projects under the heading 'Newtworld'. Newtworld proved to be one of those theme-parks nobody wants to visit - and who can blame them? At Newtworld, what you mostly get is lots of Newt, at great length. A couple of years ago, I happened to be on a discussion panel presided over by Mrs Thatcher. In the moments before the debate began, rather than waste her time yakking with me, she cast an eye over an upcoming Newt speech that one of his aides had asked for her thoughts on. She took up her pen and scored through one line, then another. 'Even the best speeches can lose a line or two' I mumbled, nervously glancing at my own address. She scored through the rest of the paragraph, then down to the foot of the page, and over on to the next. When she'd eventually finished, she called over the lady from Newt's political action committee, and handed her the replacement text for the deleted portions: one short sentence. Poor Newt. He was never that disciplined. He was fond of movements and 'Movement Planning Proposals', but he couldn't resist moving from movement to movement. He's responsible for more movements than a crate of Ease-O-Lax: from 'The Triangle of American Progress' to the 'Caring Humanitarian Reform Movement' to 'The America That Can Be' to the 'Citizens' Opportunities Movement' to 'Renewing American Civilisation'.

If you're wondering what 'The Triangle of American Progress' is, relax: pretty soon it had evolved into 'The Four Pillars of American Civilisation', which in turn expanded into the 'Five Pillars of the 21st Century'. The collected brainstorms of Newt sound like a cross between T.E. Lawrence and the numerologically obsessed Fruit of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who claims that once a month he's taken up into a spacecraft floating above earth to commune with the spirits of deceased African-Americans. Aside from his 'Five Pillars', Newt had the 'Four Great Truths', the 'Nine Zones of Creativity', the 'Fourteen Steps to RAC' (see Renewing American Civilisation above), the Four Can'ts, the Five Cs, the Four Tops, the Jackson Five, the McGuire Sisters, and on and on.

The Democrats demonised Newt as an extreme right-wing crazy. They were right - apart from the 'extreme' and 'right-wing', that is. Most of the above seem more like the burblings of a frustrated self-help guru than blueprints for conservative government. For example, Pillar No. 5 of the 'Five Pillars of American Civilisation' is: 'Total quality management'. Unfortunately for Newt, the person who most needed a self-help manual was him - How to Win Friends and Influence People for a start. After last week's election, Republicans have now embarked on the time-honoured ritual, well known to British Tories and Labour before them, of bickering over whether they did badly because they were too extreme or because they were too moderate. In Newt's case, the answer is both. He spent the last year pre-emptively surrendering on anything of legislative consequence, but then, feeling bad at having abandoned another two or three of his 'Fourteen Steps to RAC', he'd go on television and snarl at everybody in sight. In so doing, he betrayed Item No. 8 of his 1997 Movement Planning Proposal:
'We are FOR rather than AGAINST.
'We are Inclusive rather than Exclusive . . .

For Republicans it was the worst of all worlds: a lily-livered ninny whom everyone thinks is a ferocious right-wing bastard. In the 1996 presidential race, the Democrats ran commercials attacking not Dole but 'Dole-Gingrich'; in congressional campaigns, the bland, anonymous face of some unexceptional Senator or Representative would suddenly be electronically morphed into the satanic smirk of Newt. In the days before the Speaker decided to pull the Five Pillars down around his head and hurl himself down the Fourteen Steps, Texas Governor George W. Bush was telling friends that he was almost certainly going to run for president, but that, if he did, he wanted to win or lose on his own merits and not because the Democrats tagged the campaign 'Bush-Gingrich'. Newt had movement proposals for every subject but one: likability. It's clear from his 45-minute non- farewell address on Monday that he still hopes to run for the White House in 2000, but he has an insurmountable obstacle: the American people will never warm to him.

At the Congressional level, likability is becoming a major problem for the GOP. Late on election night, I switched on ABC to find, for the Republicans, Senator Orrin Hatch and House Majority Leader Dick Armey and, for the Democrats, Barney Frank. For most people, Congressman Frank's name conjures up, if anything at all, a hazy memory of a long-ago scandal about a gay prostitution ring being operated from his premises. In purely objective terms, he's a faintly creepy old queen with a lisp, but, next to Senator Hatch, a stiff-necked Mormon, and Armey, a dim bruiser with a sore head, he seemed by far the most relaxed and non-off-putting. The Republicans are still looking for their Mary Tyler Moore: Americans like their leaders on the sunny side.

Bob Livingston, the new Speaker, doesn't fit that bill. Except for occasional explosions, he's as boring as a ledger. But these days non-exciting is in, and Mr Livingston has promised 'to make the trains run on time'. In contrast to Mussolini-era deployments of the term, this is a mere figure of speech: it seems to be beyond either party to make Amtrak, the country's federally funded, ramshackle passenger rail network, run on time. But, that said, he'll be lower-key than his predecessor, which means that when Governor Bush or some other non-congressional Republican wins the presidential nomination, they'll be the party's undisputed leader and not merely Newt's sidekick.

Meanwhile, everything's back to normal: on Monday, Justice Department officials interviewed the President about alleged 'soft money' fundraising abuses, and the Supreme Court ruled against him on the questions of testimony from government counsel and Secret Service agents. Life goes on - except without Newt - lost in the Bermuda Triangle of American Progress. 'It has', declared former Christian Coalition head honcho Ralph Reed, 'shifted the Teutonic plates'. Maybe he meant Tectonic, maybe not. Maybe he saw Newt as some grim Teutonic platter of cold meats that the public was never going to find any more appetising: the wurst was yet to come.

Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough, formerly one of the 1994 Gingrich revolutionaries, nailed his colours to the new mast. 'I'm a George W. Bush Republican,' he says. 'I don't know what that means, but I'll know it when I see it.'

Steyn's Greatest Hits


If only pigs really could fly

By Wesley Pruden
The congressional super-duper, new-and-improved deficit committee, organized to enable Congress to do what it was sent to Washington to do, failed.
Or, in the spirit of the holiday season, “faileth.” Handel should write an appropriate oratorio. The talk-talk has gone on long enough. It’s the fault of the Republicans, of course. We have the word of dozens of pundits, correspondents and other bearers of “news.” If only the troglodytes would raise taxes, the planets would come together in perfect alignment, all the smooth places would have been made plain and everyone would live happily ever after.

If only. If only there was no profound (insert word “partisan” here) and angry disagreement over how to find a detour from the road to financial oblivion. If only the Democrats would agree to cut the size of government. If only the Republicans would agree that big government is the answer. If only pigs could fly.
Sen. Pat Toomey offered to support new revenues of $500 billion. Exactly who’s being obstructionist?


But they can’t, and neither can the partisan divide be bridged by a pontoon, however well meaning the pontoon men may be. Money is only part of what the debate is fundamentally about. Big government, designed to grow ever bigger with the turning of the seasons, is what the modern Democratic Party is all about. The Democrats are committed to building a bigger trough. The Republicans are committed to dismantling troughs. It’s all in the DNA.

President Obama is not to blame. He is a true believer in the European model of the welfare state. Everybody who was listening learned that three years ago. The fact that the European welfare states are crashing is irrelevant to him; true believers are never rattled by facts, not even facts that slap them in the face like a cream pie. The opportunity to impose a failing welfare state on America is what drew him to the presidency in the first place. The congressional elections last year, the Republican rout that Mr. Obama rightly called a “shellacking” of his party, made no impression, either. The results were all about cutting taxes and dismantling government, but not to Mr. Obama. Those elections were merely a few pebbles in the road to Utopia.

The president, with a con man’s confidence in the sound of his own voice, is, in the observation of the Wall Street Journal, “making it clear that he is running for re-election on a platform of consolidating the expansion of government of his first two years and raising taxes to finance it.” He makes everything clear to anyone listening, threatening to veto any cuts in government spending unless he gets $1 trillion in new taxes. This put a deal on the table that he knew the Republicans had to refuse.

The game continued, with Republicans offering “revenue increases”—in the spirit of the game, we don’t call taxes by their rightful name—far short of what Mr. Obama insisted he must have. When Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania offered to support new revenues of $500 billion, the Democrats said no. It was a trillion dollars or nothing doing. So who’s being obstructionist?

Everyone knows that unless someone does something, everything will be swallowed by one of those black holes from outer space. Health-care costs, which already consume 3.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, will take almost twice that by the year 2020. Democrats are determined not to reform any of that. Who will still be in Washington then? The distance to 2020 might as well be measured in light years. Next year is the short run, where Washington measures all. In the long run, as Winston Churchill famously said, there is no long run.

Mr. Obama, who understands that you can’t survive very long if you betray the people who put you at the public trough, knows very well that the Republicans, many of them beholden to Tea Party voters who sent them to Washington, couldn’t take his deal even if they wanted to, so soon after winning office on an iron-clad, cross-their-hearts-and-hope-to-die promise of no new taxes. And die they would.

You don’t have to have such a long memory to recall what happened to George Bush the Elder. He lit up the skies above the Republican National Convention in New Orleans with his famous invitation to “Read my lips: no new taxes.” A nice majority of Americans did read his lips, and soon he was no longer the president. Lip-reading is even more popular now.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011




By Wesley Pruden,  editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Now it’s Newt’s week to be the new and improved temporary seasonally impermanent flavor for the Republican primary campaign. He’s entitled to his week in the front row. Republicans are big on taking turns, which is why they occasionally nominate sad-sacks like Gerald Ford, Bob Dole and John McCain.

It’s difficult to imagine Newt Gingrich actually carrying the Republican banner to war with Barack Obama. The two of them would expend enough unnatural gas to resolve the energy crisis. Newt’s rise in the polls, impressive in context but nothing like the arc of a meteor, suggests only that nobody is happy with the menu at the Republican soup kitchen.

Or anybody’s else’s. Two prominent Democratic has-beens suggested Thursday that Barack Obama abandon his attempt to win a second term and turn everything over to the nanny, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Newt starts talking and neither he nor anybody else knows where his tongue will take us.

“He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party,” write Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas Schoen in the Wall Street Journal, “but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party.”

This is not original silliness. A bunch of Democrats couldn’t decide by acclamation to go to the bathroom. Mr. Caddell was the chief pollster and seer for Jimmy Carter, after all, and he’s been riding this horse now for more than a year. It’s a version of the narrative we always get at this point in the presidential election cycle. We’re close to the end of the cafeteria line, and they’re out of roast beef and nobody’s happy about what’s left, the chicken and dumplings (mostly dough and not much chicken), or even worse, two kinds of fish (with lots of fish). So everybody dreams of sirloin steak.
There’s no institutional memory in the mainstream media; every tornado, every earthquake, every flood, drought and swarm of locusts is new, catastrophic and without precedent in the history of man. The pundits and political correspondents run out of everything but gas about this time, so it’s time to peddle the story that this time there’s no Snow White, only the dwarfs.

The story is writ large in this Republican campaign, where a succession of men have ridden in on white horses—Rick Perry, Herman Cain and now Newt Gingrich—to save us from the bland and boring villain Mitt Romney. Each of them looked good until someone looked closely, and then it was time to find someone, anyone, else. Newt, the perfesser with an inexhaustible vocabulary who drowns his message in a tidal wave of blah blah, will have, if precedent holds, at most three weeks at the top.

The flavor will be gone by Christmas. Newt carries enough baggage to require about three weeks to sort through the baggage again—his failed marriages, his messy divorces, his sweetheart lobbying contracts, his misalliances with Hillary Clinton on health care and Nancy Pelosi on global warming.
Newt’s problem is his mouth. He starts talking and neither he nor anybody else knows where his tongue will take us, whether it’s to a rich little nugget of Civil War history or a poetic riff on women’s beach volleyball as metaphor for American exceptionalism. Newt, like Hubert Humphrey, is a jabberwonky. This may explain how he got into his serial marriages. But could he be trusted with national-security secrets? Might he start talking at a summit and give them away without thinking? He could be our first president without a security clearance.

Newt’s gift for harsh bloviation appeals to the ruffian who lurks deep in the American soul. When he calls the chairman of the Federal Reserve “corrupt,” scorns Barack Obama as the “food stamp president” and says if we start putting people in jail we should “start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd,” thousands cheer. No president talks that way but that’s the way most of us think.
But here’s what will happen. The Republicans will nominate a candidate (the betting here is that it will be Mitt Romney, boring and bland nothwithstanding). The Democrats and Mr. Obama will proceed with their best shot, a campaign of unrelenting class warfare. Both sides will get behind their man, as they always do. Next November 9 we’ll wake up stuffed with all that sirloin, and with a newly elected president.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Sunday, November 20, 2011



For three years now I have been a reader of Leo Donofrio's blog,
Natural Born Citizen.  My admiration for Leo Donofrio is very great indeed!  He is a lawyer based in New Jersey.  He has been fighting the battle to prove that Barack Hussein Obama is not and never has been eligible to be president of the United States of America.  His efforts have been nothing short of heroic.  I strongly recommend that if you love the United States of America and are concerned about the rule of law as the basis for protecting all of our rights under the Constitution of the United States you should become a regular reader of Leo Donofrio's blog, as I am.  Here is the link to his blog:

-  Leo Rugiens

Saturday, November 19, 2011



This is pretty explanatory.

Remember the out cry stemming from S&P's down grade of the
US credit worthiness? 

Well lets have a closer look!

This really makes it easy to see What is happening.

Current status ........

• U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000

• Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000

• New debt: $1,650,000,000,000

• National debt: $14,271,000,000,000

• Recent budget cut: $38,500,000,000

Now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a Household Budget:

• Annual family income: $21,700

• Money the family spent: $38,200

• New debt on the credit card: $16,500

• Current outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710

• Total budget cuts: $385

When it is broken down like this, it makes it easier to see how much trouble we are in !!!!!

Now read on and cry because you have a good reason too.

Check these statistics!

This list represents the percentage of each past president's cabinet who had worked in the private business sector prior to their appointment to the cabinet. You know what the private business sector is -- a real life business, not a government job. 

Here are the

T. Roosevelt...........38%
Wilson ...................52%
Hoover ...................42%
F. Roosevelt............50%
GH Bush...................51%
Clinton ....................39%
G.W. Bush................55%

And the winner is:

Obama............... 8%

This helps to explain the incompetence of this administration: only 8% of them have ever worked in private business!

That's right! Only eight percent---the least, by far, of the last 19 presidents! And these people are trying to tell our big corporations how to run their business? They know what's best for GM, Chrysler, Wall Street, and you and me?

How can the president of a major nation and society, the one with the most successful economic system in world history, stand and talk about business when he's never worked for one? Or about jobs when he has never really had one? And when it's the same for 92% of his senior staff and closest advisers? They've spent most of their time in academia, government, and/or non-profit jobs such as "community
organizers." They should have been in an employment line.

"One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you
will be governed by your inferiors." Plato

Thursday, November 17, 2011



The Wall Street Journal Online - Political Diary
  Online Journal E-Mail Center   

November 17, 2011
In today's Political Diary


Washington has been buzzing for the past 48 hours over revelations that some of Capitol Hill's best-known lawmakers have been making fortunes speculating in the stocks of companies affected by official actions, typically while in possession of market-moving inside information. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Senatorial wife Teresa Kerry and others made bundles trading in health companies' stocks shortly before Congressional or executive-branch action affecting the companies' fortunes. After closed-door 2008 meetings in which Fed chairman Ben Bernanke briefed Congress on the gravity of the financial collapse, some lawmakers dumped their own stockholdings or even placed bets that the market would fall . . .
So the question is: is all this legal? While there's some difference of opinion on the issue among law professors, the proper answer to that question is most likely going to be, "Yes, it's legal." As UCLA's Stephen Bainbridge points out, existing insider trading law, developed by way of a long series of contested cases under the Securities and Exchange Commission's Rule 10b-5, assigns liability to persons who are not corporate insiders if they are violating a recognized duty of loyalty to those for whom they work. As applied to the investment whizzes of the Hill, this implies that trading on inside information might be a violation if done by Congressional staffers (since they owe a duty of loyalty to higher-ups) but not when done by members of Congress themselves.
It is tempting to approach the new revelations the way an ambitious prosecutor might, trying to stitch together a test-case indictment from, say, the penumbra of the mail and wire fraud statutes bulked up with a bit of newly hypothesized fiduciary duty here and a little "honest services" there. But that's not how criminal law is supposed to work: for the sake of all of our liberties, prohibited behavior needs to be clearly marked out as prohibited in advance, not afterward once we realize it doesn't pass a smell test. But we are still free to deplore the hypocrisy of a Congress that has long been content to criminalize for the private sector -- often with stiff jail sentences -- behavior not much different from what lawmakers are happy to engage in themselves. -- Walter Olson blogging at on Nov. 15.
Fannie, Freddie and Newt
Those wondering how Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign is gaining steam despite the candidate's heavy baggage ought to check out the rhetorical gymnastics he's displayed in responding to recent reports that he earned $1.5 million as a consultant to Freddie Mac.
The Gingrich campaign claimed yesterday that "Speaker Gingrich did no lobbying of any kind, nor did his firm," but that may very well depend upon the former House speaker's definition of lobbying. Mr. Gingrich says he was hired as a "consultant" to Freddie Mac in 1999 to give "strategic advice." During last week's debate, Mr. Gingrich described his role as an "historian" who told the government-sponsored enterprise that "we are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that's what the government wants us to do . . . This is a bubble. This is insane."
Former Freddie Mac executives tell a less-flattering story of Mr. Gingrich's work muting Republican opposition to the housing giant. They describe his role as sidling up to House Republicans who were weighing regulations to downsize Freddie Mac and its big sister, Fannie Mae.
Mr. Gingrich has dismissed these reports as sludge from an "elite media" and tried to turn lemons into lemonade. He said that his consulting work "reminds people that I know a great deal about Washington. We just tried four years of amateur ignorance and it didn't work very well. So, having someone who actually knows Washington might be a really good thing."
But Mr. Gingrich's insider knowledge may not sit well with the tea party crowd, who blame Washington insiders for the country's housing meltdown and economic fix. Neither will his inconsistency on what role the government should play in the housing market. As speaker, Mr. Gingrich supported the GSE's and called Fannie Mae an "excellent example of a former government institution fulfilling its mandate while functioning in the market economy." Later, during the 2008 presidential campaign, he made hay out of Barack Obama receiving donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.
And you thought Mitt Romney lacked convictions.
-- Allysia Finley



If you wonder why European governments are on the brink of bankruptcy, you need look
no further than what is happening here in the United States.

When a significant number of a nation's population is feeding off of the government's cash cow and not working, not producing to benefit the nation's economy, the cow's udder will soon run dry - bankruptcy!

-  Leo Rugiens 

The New Welfare Swindle

SSI has replaced AFDC as the New Welfare.

Ever since I moved to the inner city one thing has puzzled me more than any other, and that is how my low-income neighbors get by. Assuming they aren't doing anything illegal, how do they afford their homes, their meals, their gadgets, their cars?

Few seem to work, even part time, for they are home in the morning when I leave for work, home if I stop by for lunch, and home when I return in the evening. They can't work the graveyard shift, for they keep me up half the night with their raucous music. I am left to conclude that they seldom, if ever work. Therefore, their funds must come from elsewhere. And none of them strike me as a trust fund baby.

The best I can figure is they make do with a patchwork of welfare programs. Besides, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which expires after five years, there is housing assistance, WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and Medicaid. There are food stamps, which also can be sold in parking lots for cash, and various lesser programs, such as heating assistance.

Beyond government subsidies, there is no shortage of help available from church and nonprofit groups. My mother volunteers at a pregnancy crisis center where the poor are given free diapers, clothing, and baby formula. Every day she has to turn away scammers who try to exceed their monthly allotment. Our parish sponsors a food pantry and local religious organizations provide free furniture. Meantime, nearly all of my neighbors have cable, big screen plasma TVs, and cell phones (I have none of these). From the smells that waft over our fence, many somehow afford illegal drugs.
But even with government subsidies, housing isn't completely covered. By my reckoning my neighbors must still come up with a few hundred dollars a month for rent and miscellaneous expenses.

THEN A SOCIAL WORKER friend clued me in. Many of the poor also collect federal disability benefits in the form of Supplemental Security Insurance, or "crazy money" as it is known on the streets, since one must "act crazy" to receive it. Oftentimes several people in the same household -- adults and children -- collect checks. This surprised me, since I had never for a moment guessed that my neighbors were disabled.

SSI was enacted in 1974 to supplement the Social Security benefits of disabled low-income seniors, and, as an afterthought, to help pay for the care of severely disabled children from poor families. As with any federal program, SSI has ballooned to Hindenbergian proportions, and now covers virtually any low-income person with any long-term ailment. Not surprisingly, easy-to-fake learning, behavioral, and mental disorders are the most common complaints, especially among children, making up 55 percent of all cases.

Poor adults, who in pre-welfare reform days were offered incentives to be idle and proliferant, are again incentivized to be idle and proliferant. And what an incentive it's been. Last year the Social Security Administration paid almost $50 billion in SSI benefits. More than $9 billion was paid to 1.2 million disabled children.

What's more, recipients are not required to get treatment for their or their children's maladies -- although this may be a good thing, since it is doubtless harmful for kids to take powerful psychotropic drugs for counterfeit or exaggerated symptoms.

My friend visits one such family in which four members collect SSI checks, one adult and three children. One child suffers from asthma, which would probably clear up if the mother -- who is unemployed -- bothered to clean her house. However, she has a monetary incentive not to clean or to seek treatment for her child, for if the asthma cleared up, and this was found out (an unlikely event since SSA workers routinely fail to conduct follow up visits), that could mean one less check. Also, like the now defunct Aid to Families with Dependent Children, SSI encourages dependency and is cyclical in nature. More than half who go on SSI as a child, requalify as adults. And the cycle continues.

Economically speaking, it makes perfect sense for the poor to rely on SSI. Compared to the old welfare, SSI is a plump cash cow. Here in Missouri, one of the least generous states, TANF recipients receive a measly $136 per person per month, while each SSI recipient takes home about $674. A family of four could amass $32,352 annually, not counting other benefits. Besides, since most of my neighbors dropped out of high school, there is not much they could do to earn a living other than work in fast food for minimum wage. And why put yourself through that when you can watch television all day and collect more in aid? Why bother trying to raise yourself up?

In 1988, there were 4.46 million SSI recipients. Today, there are 8 million. It is impossible to know how many of these are fakers gaming the system, but SSI recipients know no color or geographic boundary. Federal data shows that roughly half are white, half black. Nor does the phenomenon apply to all of the poor. My social worker friend visits several severely mentally handicapped persons who work menial jobs rather than accept government largess. They take pride in going to work every day and in setting a good example for their children. My neighbors would think them crazy.

About the Author

Christopher Orlet writes from St. Louis and is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator Online.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011



I have been predicting since 2008 that Barack Hussein Obama was, like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, going to lead all of the rats out of their hiding places and the swarm would take over the country.  No true disciple of Saul Alinsky, no true community organizer, could possibly resist the temptation to, in the words of Rahm Emmanuel, "let no crises go unexploited."  Obama's praise of the denizens of Occupy Wall Street had the desired effect.  Rodents appeared in all the major cities of the United States and Canada and began what can only be described as the Obama Anarchy Revolution of 2011.

-  Leo Rugiens


After loitering for nearly two months, New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally took action overnight, clearing out so-called protesters who had turned Zuccotti Park, a privately owned, publicly accessible plaza in a residential neighborhood of downtown Manhattan, into a squalid Obamaville. "Health and safety conditions became intolerable," the New York Times quotes the mayor as saying--though why it took him two months to figure that out is left unexplained.

[botwt1115] Getty Images
Mayor Bloomberg finally does his job.

Early this morning, former ACLU staffer Lucy Billings, now a New York Supreme Court justice (the Empire State's odd designation for a trial judge), issued a temporary restraining order against the cleanup. According to the Times's account, Billings's order had the opposite effect: Bloomberg said police had begun allowing Obamavillians to return to the park, sans tents and tarps, but they closed the park altogether after receiving word of the injunction.

The Obamavillians, who style themselves "the 99%," plan to retaliate by making the lives of ordinary New Yorkers more difficult. A 2:30 a.m. email from Justin Ruben of urged recipients to "call 3-1-1 and demand that Mayor Bloomberg respect the protesters' First Amendment rights." The mayor does not answer calls to 311, a nonemergency city information line. The MoveOnsters are urging their supporters to harass people who are just doing their jobs answering the phones for the city.

Leaders of the so-called Occupy Wall Street movement are "vowing to wreak havoc on Thursday by shutting down Wall Street and the subways," the New York Post reports:
According to their Web site, the day will include "Mass, Non-violent Direct Action" to "Shut Down Wall Street" at 7 a.m., "Occupy the Subways" in all five boroughs at 3 p.m. and "Take the Square," referring to Foley Square, at 5 p.m.

Foley Square is best known as the site of the U.S. and New York County courthouses. The plan to target the subways shows the true colors of this so-called movement. It is not merely about class warfare but about sowing chaos and intimidating ordinary people.

The Wall Street Journal reports that there were intimations of violence from some of the Obamavillians:
As police dealt with holdouts, hundreds of others scattered into the streets of Lower Manhattan, setting off marches and skirmishes with police that extended as far north as Union Square. Helicopters hovered low and shone spotlights on marchers who filled normally quiet streets with chanting.
Some appeared to provoke confrontation, while others went out of their way to avoid it. As one group marched through SoHo and NoHo, some knocked over trash cans and dumped them on the street. Others came behind them, righted the cans and put trash back in them.
One part of the group chanted "We are peaceful." Others responded with chants of "We're not peaceful."

What do you call a political movement that's half peaceful and half violent? A violent political movement.

Other cities have seen even worse violence. "One police officer was slashed by a razor and another had his uniform torn and cheek cut in a clash with 'Occupy San Francisco' protesters Saturday afternoon," NewsCore reports. A University of California press release announces that the Board of Regents was forced to cancel a meeting, scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, because of reports "that rogue elements intent on violence and confrontation with UC public safety officers were planning to attach themselves to peaceful demonstrations expected to occur at the meeting."

The Portland (Ore.) Police Bureau cites "reports that nails have been hammered into wood for weapons." ABC News reports another Obamaville rape, this one in Philadelphia. In Denver, reports, thugs invaded a hotel where conservative bloggers were holding a conference. The Orlando Sentinel reports that two Obamavillians there had a knife fight over a drum circle.

Up in Canada, Obamavillians are threatening cyber war, the Toronto Star reports:
Mayor Rob Ford still wants the Occupy Toronto protesters out of St. James Park despite an ultimatum issued via YouTube video by a group claiming to be hacker-activists Anonymous.
"You have said that by next week the occupiers shall be removed. And we say by next week if you do not change your mind, you shall be removed from the Internet," proclaims the video's computer-generated voice, typical of messages from the loosely organized collective of hackers.

Even Donna Schaper, a hard-left clergyman whose sympathies are with the Obamavillians, is forced to acknowledge--though her awkward passive construction is telling--that "some sexual violence was happening" at Zuccotti Park.

At Penn State too, we hear.

Occupy Limbo!
"Occupy Wall Street Camp in Legal Limbo"--headline,, Nov. 15

You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
Our friend Harry Siegel has done some excellent reporting on New York's Obamaville, but he's been way too impressed by the whole phenomenon. Writing for the Daily Beast, Siegel implausibly asserts that "the movement has emerged as a political force to be reckoned with," then, for emphasis, adds that it is "increasingly potent."

Siegel asked "Occupy Wall Street organizers" if they were "concerned" about re-electing President Obama "or at least [with] not electing [Mitt] Romney." In response, they "shrugged":
"Either way," said Jeff Smith of the occupation's media-team working group. "Obama has been able to pass legislation that John McCain never could have. Could McCain have extended the Bush tax cuts? I don't think he could have. And I think escalating the Afghanistan War would have been much more difficult for McCain. I don't want us to go farther right, but it's the same reason why I feel like CNN and MSNBC are more insidious than Fox news because they give the appearance of a choice or balance--it's when the Democratic Party sold out to the corporate forces that we lost our country, not when the Republicans did it."
In retrospect, 2000 may have represented something even bigger than Ralph Nader's ego.
"I don't think it would be catastrophic [to elect Romney] because the whole point of this movement is that there's no choice so on some level it doesn't really matter all that much who the next president is," Smith continued. "It's totally up to Obama how much this movement hammers him. If he wants to get on the right side of the issues we're talking about, I would say this would be a huge benefit for him." . . .
The movement seems determined to think in more ambitious terms than election cycles, which may just make them a potent force in the coming one as the cascade of economic bad news continues.

Siegel mistakes nihilism for ambition. As he acknowledges, the Obamavillians' approach has consisted in "tabling any specific demands and ignoring all present political realities to ask for the moon." Guess what the answer to that will be?

It's true that, inasmuch as the Obamavillians were Obama supporters in 2008 and are withholding support for him now, they will diminish his re-election prospects. But the Obamaville fad is merely an expression, not the cause, of that disillusion with the Obama fad. As the New York Times reports today from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas:
Across this state--and in others where young voters were the fuel of the Obama organization, voting for him two to one over John McCain--the enthusiastic engine of the 2008 campaign has run up against the reality of a deadened job market for college students.
Interviews here and across the country suggest that most of [the president's] college supporters of 2008 are still inclined to vote for him. But the Obama ground army of 2008 is hardly ready to jump back into the trenches, potentially depriving Mr. Obama of what had been an important force in his victory.

Politico reports that even minors, once entranced by the president's "big smile, big ears and bouncy personality," have lost interest in the president. Here's one anecdote:
Back in 2008, 7-year-old Aron Mondschein from Ellington, Conn., wrote a letter to Obama as part of his class's Flat Stanley project. When he got a response--complete with a picture of Flat Stanley in Obama's Senate office--he got really excited about the election.
"I think that it was the excitement that he was running for president, that he is African-American . . . that was a really big deal for my son; he felt that was important," said Aron's mom, Amy Mondschein. Aron, like most of his peers, has since tuned out.
"If Obama were to set a new law that every boy 10 years old could have Legos, you know, for free, you'd be hearing about it. But right now, he's kind of into his own things," his mother said.

We wouldn't put it past Obama to try a Lego stimulus, though we assume congressional Republicans would block it. But really, when you get down to it, what's the difference between Jeff Smith and Aron Mondschein, other than that Aron is a lot more mature for his age?

Monday, November 14, 2011



The news has been expected for months but is of surpassing importance nonetheless. The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will take up the constitutionality of ObamaCare. The justices actually issued three writs of certiorari in ObamaCare cases, taking up four questions. Blogger Lyle Deniston has the rundown:

The Court will hold two hours of argument on the constitutionality of the requirement that virtually every American obtain health insurance by 2014, 90 minutes on whether some or all of the overall law must fail if the mandate is struck down, one hour on whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars some or all of the challenges to the insurance mandate, and one hour on the constitutionality of the expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled.

The first of those four questions is the central one. In enacting ObamaCare, Congress claimed that the power to force individuals to purchase medical insurance from private companies is a legitimate exercise of its authority "to regulate Commerce . . . among the several States." The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Florida v. Department of Health and Human Service, held that Congress had exceeded its authority. Other appellate courts have disagreed, making a Supreme Court review all but inevitable.


If the court holds that the coercive insurance provision is unconstitutional--an outcome that is by no means assured--then the severability question will determine the fate of the rest of the law. As we explained Feb. 1, the trial judge in the Florida case held that it was not severable, which is to say that it is so essential to ObamaCare's legal scheme that if it falls, the entire law has to.

The 11th Circuit struck down that aspect of his ruling, and no other appellate court has held the provision to be inseverable. Yet both parties to the case now take the position that the provision is not severable. The state plaintiffs, like most Americans, would like to be done with the whole monstrosity that is ObamaCare, whereas the administration presumably thinks inseverability would raise the stakes and make the court shy about striking down the law. The justices are entirely free, however, to hold that both sides are wrong and the 11th Circuit was right.

Whatever the court does, it will be one of its most important rulings in many decades. In the 1930s, the justices effectively rewrote the Constitution, reinterpreting the Commerce Clause as an almost unlimited license for Congress to expand the regulatory state. Not until the 1990s and 2000s did the court set any limit at all to that power, in a pair of very narrow cases in which the laws in question lacked any plausible connection to "commerce."

Because the question they raise is novel, the ObamaCare cases will not turn back the tide of New Deal jurisprudence. But if the court strikes down the forced insurance provision, it will finally, after more than 70 years, stop its advance. On the other hand, if the court upholds ObamaCare, it will mark yet another expansion of federal power.

Although the justices will not acknowledge it in their opinions, today's court operates in a very different political environment than did their New Deal-ear predecessors. Back then, the country was in crisis and an expanded federal government seemed to be the solution. New Deal programs were popular and enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress (not that they needed it, so dominant were the Democrats in those days).

Today America is also in crisis, but this time an enormous, sclerotic government is a cause rather than a solution. ObamaCare was enacted with only Democratic votes, it had and continues to have little popular support, and voters have repeatedly expressed opposition to it, by electing Republicans to Congress and passing state initiatives against it.

How will the case turn out? We boldly predict that the result will be somewhere between a 5-4 ruling striking down the insurance mandate and an 8-1 ruling upholding it. All four Democrat-appointed justices are almost certain to vote to uphold, and Justice Clarence Thomas--who in dissents and concurrences over the years has argued for reconsidering much of the New Deal's constitutional legacy--is an almost certain vote against.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy have a mixed record on Commerce Clause cases, and Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito have not yet heard such a case since joining the high court. So their votes are in at least some doubt.

The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein praises the lawyers who will argue the case against ObamaCare:
Former solicitor general Paul Clement and Michael Carvin of Jones Day (who also has lots of experience before the Supreme Court) did a masterful job arguing the case before the 11th circuit. Georgetown Law Professor and constitutional law whiz Randy Barnett is also an advisor to the NFIB on the suit. . . . Opponents of the law should be heartened that they'll at least have their A-team handling the case.

Barnett outlined the legal case against ObamaCare in our July 2010 Weekend Interview with him. At that time, the liberal left was just coming to realize that there is a serious constitutional case against ObamaCare; the conventional wisdom had been that it was frivolous.

Denniston notes that the 5½ hours the court has allotted to oral arguments "appeared to be a modern record; the most recent lengthy hearing came in a major constitutional dispute over campaign finance law in 2003, but that was only for 4 hours." (That case, McConnell v. Federal Elections Commission , yielded no fewer than eight separate opinions.)

"The length of time specified for the health care review was an indication both of the complexity of the issues involved, and the importance they hold for the constitutional division of power between national and state governments," Denniston observes. At the very least, the justices have made fools of all who thought the constitutionality of ObamaCare was a slam-dunk.

Saturday, November 12, 2011



David Axelrod's Pattern of Sexual Misbehavior

By Ann Coulter
TOWNHALL, Nov. 9, 2011

Herman Cain has spent his life living and working all over the country -- Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, D.C. -- but never in Chicago.
So it's curious that all the sexual harassment allegations against Cain emanate from Chicago: home of the Daley machine and Obama consigliere David Axelrod.

Suspicions had already fallen on Sheila O'Grady, who is close with David Axelrod and went straight from being former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley's chief of staff to president of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), as being the person who dug up Herman Cain's personnel records from the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

The Daley-controlled IRA works hand-in-glove with the NRA. And strangely enough, Cain's short, three-year tenure at the NRA is evidently the only period in his decades-long career during which he's alleged to have been a sexual predator.

After O'Grady's name surfaced in connection with the miraculous appearance of Cain's personnel files from the NRA, she issued a Clintonesque denial of any involvement in producing them -- by vigorously denying that she knew Cain when he was at the NRA. (Duh.)
And now, after a week of conservative eye-rolling over unspecified, anonymous accusations against Cain, we've suddenly got very specific sexual assault allegations from an all-new accuser out of ... Chicago.

Herman Cain has never lived in Chicago. But you know who has? David Axelrod! And guess who lived in Axelrod's very building? Right again: Cain's latest accuser, Sharon Bialek.
Bialek's accusations were certainly specific. But they also demonstrated why anonymous accusations are worthless.

Within 24 hours of Bialek's press conference, friends and acquaintances of hers stepped forward to say that she's a "gold-digger," that she was constantly in financial trouble -- having filed for personal bankruptcy twice -- and, of course, that she had lived in Axelrod's apartment building at 505 North Lake Shore Drive, where, she admits, she knew the man The New York Times calls Obama's "hired muscle."

Throw in some federal tax evasion, and she's Obama's next Cabinet pick.
The reason all this is relevant is that both Axelrod and Daley have a history of smearing political opponents by digging up claims of sexual misconduct against them.
John Brooks, Chicago's former fire commissioner, filed a lawsuit against Daley six months ago claiming Daley threatened to smear him with sexual harassment accusations if Brooks didn't resign. He resigned -- and the sexual harassment allegations were later found to be completely false.

Meanwhile, as extensively detailed in my book "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America," the only reason Obama became a U.S. senator -- allowing him to run for president -- is that David Axelrod pulled sealed divorce records out of a hat, first, against Obama's Democratic primary opponent, and then against Obama's Republican opponent.

One month before the 2004 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, Obama was way down in the polls, about to lose to Blair Hull, a multimillionaire securities trader.

But then The Chicago Tribune -- where Axelrod used to work -- began publishing claims that Hull's second ex-wife, Brenda Sexton, had sought an order of protection against him during their 1998 divorce proceedings.

From then until Election Day, Hull was embroiled in fighting the allegation that he was a "wife beater." He and his ex-wife eventually agreed to release their sealed divorce records. His first ex-wife, daughters and nanny defended him at a press conference, swearing he was never violent. During a Democratic debate, Hull was forced to explain that his wife kicked him and he had merely kicked her back.
Hull's substantial lead just a month before the primary collapsed with the nonstop media attention to his divorce records. Obama sailed to the front of the pack and won the primary. Hull finished third with 10 percent of the vote.
Luckily for Axelrod, Obama's opponent in the general election had also been divorced.
The Republican nominee was Jack Ryan, a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard law and business schools, who had left his lucrative partnership at Goldman Sachs to teach at an inner-city school on the South Side of Chicago.
But in a child custody dispute some years earlier, Ryan's ex-wife, Hollywood sex kitten Jeri Lynn Ryan, had alleged that, while the couple was married, Jack had taken her to swingers clubs in Paris and New York.
Jack Ryan adamantly denied the allegations. In the interest of protecting their son, he also requested that the records be put permanently under seal.
Axelrod's courthouse moles obtained the "sealed" records and, in no time, they were in the hands of every political operative in Chicago. Knowing perfectly well what was in the records, Chicago Tribune attorneys flew to California and requested that the court officially "unseal" them -- over the objections of both Jack and Jeri Ryan.
Your honor, who knows what could be in these records!
A California judge ordered them unsealed, which allowed newspapers to publish the salacious allegations, and four days later, Ryan dropped out of the race under pressure from idiot Republicans (who should be tracked down and shot).
With a last-minute replacement of Alan Keyes as Obama's Republican opponent, Obama was able to set an all-time record in an Illinois Senate election, winning with a 43 percent margin.
And that's how Obama became a senator four years after losing a congressional race to Bobby Rush. (In a disastrous turn of events, Rush was not divorced.)
Axelrod destroyed the only two men who stood between Obama and the Senate with illicitly obtained, lurid allegations from their pasts.
In 2007, long after Obama was safely ensconced in the U.S. Senate, The New York Times reported: "The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece (on Hull's sealed divorce records) later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had 'worked aggressively behind the scenes' to push the story."
Some had suggested, the Times article continued, that Axelrod had "an even more significant role -- that he leaked the initial story."
This time, Obama's little helpers have not only thrown a bomb into the Republican primary, but are hoping to destroy the man who deprives the Democrats of their only argument in 2012: If you oppose Obama, you must be a racist.

Friday, November 11, 2011



Published on on November 10, 2011

I learned something important from my polling in the Lewinsky scandal.  While the political world and the media were focused on the narrow question of who was right, Clinton or Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr, most voters opted for a third choice:  "We don't care.  We don't want to hear more about this.  This is no way to run a government or choose a president."  Some resented the public discussion of oral sex, noting that their children were watching.  They didn't want to hear it.
So it is with the accusations against Herman Cain.  We are mired in the worst economic condition in eighty years and will not tolerate more talk about who invited whom up to their room and for what.  We don't care.  We don't want to know.  We want you to go away and let us choose a president based on the serious and grave issues we are trying to consider.  We think the media is a distraction and we want it to stop its drumbeat coverage.  Pro-Cain or anti-Cain is irrelevant.  We want the issue to go away!
This third dimension of public reaction was evident when the CNBC reporters in last night's debate tried to ask Cain about the accusations.  The crowd would have none of it. When the reporters tried to couch the questions as relating to managerial ability or the character required of a CEO, they still hooted down the question.  In that moment, I realized that Cain would survive for the same reason Clinton made it - we have more important things to worry about.
The media does not admit of this third dimension.  Its mavens and executives give themselves the job of deciding what is news.  They present the news.  We render our verdict on it.  That's how its supposed to work.  But when the news media goes crazy covering something we don't care about, we make our voices heard.  And that's what the audience did last night.
In the meantime, Cain was his usual charismatic, brilliant debater articulating his 9-9-9 proposal better than he ever has and demonstrating its centrality to solving our economic problems.  The contrast between the statesmanship and breadth of his remedy and the tawdriness of the charges and counter-charges was evident.
In case the media didn't get the message, it is this:  WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR, READ, OR SEE MORE ABOUT THIS STUPID STORY -- GO AWAY!



No toaster for Herman Cain

By Wesley Pruden on November 11, 2011
The great media toaster isn’t broken, exactly, but it doesn’t work like it once did. By all accounts, Herman Cain should be toast now, served hot, a bit scorched around the edges and left unbuttered. But try as they might, his tormentors have not yet had him for breakfast.

The tormentors, journalists, lawyers and an assortment of ladies who appear to have been around the block a few times, have so far failed to destroy him and thus his candidacy. They still have to come up with lower-mileage ladies to make the accusations stick with the Republican base.

Mr. Cain’s remarkable—and unexpected—resilience has upset Democrats trying to find hope for change in their 2012 prospects in a reading of Tuesday’s off-year elections and referendums. The easily persuaded are even finding a little. Politico, the Capitol Hill tabloid that sometimes channels a Democratic party organ, concludes that “the Democrats are not dead yet.” But nothing has changed for President Obama. “For many Democratic candidates who will be sharing the ticket with Barack Obama in 2012,” quoth Politico, “the president is not going to be an asset. And in some states, it’s clear he is going to be a dead weight.”


These Democrats take comfort in two referendums, one in Ohio and another in Mississippi. In Ohio, a state with large and well-financed unions, voters repealed a reform law intended to curb unions’ abuse of workers, and in Mississippi voters overwhelmingly rejected the so-called “Personhood Amendment,” which would have effectively prohibited all abortions anywhere in the state. The amendment was supported, at least tacitly, by nearly every elected official in the state, Democrat and Republican, black and white.

However, Gov. John Kasich, who opposed repeal of the union-reform law in Ohio, remains popular with Republicans, and in Mississippi, Phil Bryant, the Republican, was elected governor in a landslide. Results were similarly mixed on election day across the nation.

The most telling phenomenon this year is the rise and improbable survival of Herman Cain, and what it says about the cheerful goodwill of an oft-maligned American public often accused by liberals of racism, bigotry, indifference, nativism and maybe even mopery. He has done almost everything wrong, as conventional politics is played. He offered conflicting details of his recollections of the allegations against him, and continued to rise in the public-opinion polls in the face of relentless mainstream-media coverage,  which has taken everything said against him as gospel and treated his defense as improbable and even a little wicked. He blamed his Republican rivals for leaking misleading accounts of things that happened more than a decade ago. He blamed hacks of the press, who deserve it, but such criticism always sounds like whining. “I am not a creep,” even when true, sounds too much like “I am not a crook.” The checkered history and motives of the anonymous accusers were left unexamined by indifferent editors and lazy reporters posing as gallants and gentlemen.

Still, he has so far escaped the toaster, even when his Republican rivals began to think it was safe to start piling on. Mitt Romney, discreet at first, hinted that it was time for Mr. Cain to come clean. Newt Gingrich, ever the professor unable to stifle a runaway mouth, lectured his “good friend” that he has to “have an answer [to all the questions] and it better be accurate because if it’s not accurate it won’t stand.” You might think that the professor, with the history of emotional abuse of several wives, would have avoided the subject of the sins of others.

The real story here is that racial politics is dead, if the left will allow it. You might think that the prospect, unlikely as it still may be, of a black challenger, nominated by a white conservative party, against a black incumbent president, would be an occasion for cheers, or at least applause. Here’s evidence that the bad old days are swiftly fading into the past. But Mr. Cain is the wrong kind of black man. Some Democrats sneer that the Republicans only found a black man who “knows his place,” employing an insult from an earlier time and place.

The emergence of Mr. Cain as a credible conservative candidate undercuts the liberal canard that the Republican Party is a hopelessly racist party. That was the sub-text of the Democratic campaign four years ago and reprising that for 2012 was nearly all the hope Barack Obama had. Herman Cain’s escape from the toaster, even if temporary, changed that.


Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
Categories for this column: Race | Politics