Mark Steyn talks about bad things in a recently published (April 25, 2016) video: environmentalism, Islam, state-created art.
Well worth the 27+ minutes it takes to hear it through.
We like the last few minutes best, starting at about 24.40 when he talks about how lucky we are to be living in a warm period.
The times they are a-changing.
A new sort of politics is arising: populist, passionate, inconsistent, pragmatic, loud, muscular, energetic, boastful – and gloriously capitalist.
It’s case is put in exclamations rather than arguments. Policy statements abrupt as a tweet.
Donald Trump invented it, heralds it, personifies it.
The conservative National Review got a bunch of conservatives – some of them greatly and justly respected as thinkers of the Right – to explain that Trump doesn’t belong with them.
They’re right. He doesn’t.
But it is they who must catch up.
Mark Steyn puts it this way:
I’ve received a ton of emails today asking me what I make of the National Review hit. I used to contribute to NR, and I generally make it a rule not to comment on publications for which I once wrote. … Nevertheless, notwithstanding some contributors I admire, the whole feels like a rather obvious trolling exercise. …
I don’t think Trump supporters care that he’s not a fully paid-up member in good standing of “the conservative movement” – in part because, as they see it, the conservative movement barely moves anything.
If you want the gist of NR’s argument, here it is:
I think we can say that this is a Republican campaign that would have appalled Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan…
A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance…
My old boss, Ronald Reagan, once said…
Ronald Reagan was famous for…
When Reagan first ran for governor of California…
Reagan showed respect for…
Reagan kept the Eleventh Commandment…
Far cry from Ronald Reagan’s “I am paying for this microphone” line…
Trump is Dan Quayle, and everyone and his auntie are Lloyd Bentsen (see here): “I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan, I filled in Ronald Reagan’s subscription-renewal form for National Review. And you, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.”
You have to be over 50 to have voted for Reagan, and a supposed “movement” can’t dine out on one guy forever, can it? What else you got?
Well, there are two references to Bush, both of them following the words “Reagan and”. But no mention of Dole, one psephological citation of Romney, and one passing sneer at McCain as a “cynical charlatan” – and that’s it for the last three decades of presidential candidates approved by National Review, at least to the extent that they never ran entire issues trashing them.
Will the more or less official disdain of “the conservative movement” make any difference to Trump’s supporters? Matt Welch in Reason:
Many or even most of the people who make a living working in politics and political commentary—even those who think of themselves as outsiders, such as nonpartisan libertarians—inevitably begin to view their field as one dedicated primarily to ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth, and NOT to the emotional, ideologically unmoored cultural passions of a given (and perhaps fleeting) moment.
I’d put that contrast slightly differently. The movement conservatives at National Review make a pretty nice living out of “ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth”. The voters can’t afford that luxury: They live in a world where, in large part due to the incompetence of the national Republican Party post-Reagan, Democrat ideas are in the ascendant. And they feel that this is maybe the last chance to change that.
Go back to that line “When Reagan first ran for governor of California…” Gosh, those were the days, weren’t they? But Reagan couldn’t get elected Governor of California now, could he? Because the Golden State has been demographically transformed. …
The past is another country, and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans gave it away. Reagan’s California no longer exists. And, if America as a whole takes on the demographics of California, then “the conservative movement” will no longer exist. That’s why, for many voters, re-asserting America’s borders is the first, necessary condition for anything else – and it took Trump to put that on the table.
Dr. Brad Lyles writes at Canada Free Press:
It is discouraging to find the National Review, home to a profundity of prominent pundits, attacking the frontrunner, Donald Trump, on the very eve of the first primary contest. “Conservatives against Trump?” Really? …
Conservatives against Trump misses the point entirely. None of us regular guy and gal Conservatives out here in flyover-land … are encumbered by the ridiculous ages-old insistence upon purity in Conservative candidates.
Most people in the real world understand life is composed of incessant demands we make “trade-off” decisions. Traditionally, the only political class denying the reality of trade-offs has been the Left. It is certainly no longer helpful, if ever it was, for our Conservative literati to parse candidates’ strict allegiance to Conservative doctrine (and I write this as a life-long staunch Conservative).
How can National Review be so wrong? How can so many Conservative luminaries be so wrong?
It is easy. They can adopt the timeworn requirement that a Republican candidate, especially one who self-identifies as a Conservative, be a purist Conservative. In the current circumstance, however, the literati actually do possess the option of a purist Conservative, Ted Cruz. For the first time in history (well, aside from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan), Conservative purists can realistically expect to run a purist Conservative candidate.
And it is true Ted Cruz is a proven Constitutional Conservative, his dedication to the cause attested to by his education, training, practice, office, and nearly every single word he’s ever uttered.
But now (or at least since June 16, 2015), a quasi-Conservative has entered stage left, pirouetting far beyond every other diva on the stage and stealing the limelight every single damned day since.
How can this be? How has Trump been able to polarize the debate so deliciously — among Conservatives? Easy answer: The self-immolating wing of the Conservative Movement, including the bright lights at National Review, again, insist upon purity.
Is this prudent? In particular, does Ted Cruz’ Conservative purity predict he will/would be superior to Trump as President? Reflexively, we Conservatives would answer, “of course”.
Life doesn’t always work that way, however. We are constrained by trade-offs not of our own choosing. For example, Cruz will endeavor to reinstate Constitutional principles. But, striving against the hydra of the Administrative State and the Crony-Capitalist Establishment, Cruz will likely make no more headway than even Ronald Reagan when merely trying to close the infant Department of Education.
Furthermore, Cruz’s legal/Constitutional expertise just simply is no match for Trump’s likely success in his emblematic asymmetric approach to diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military endeavors. Moreover, Trump’s personal history of success in most every endeavor, cannot be underestimated as a boon to the Presidency.
There is one more spectacular element which makes Trump likely to be a natural-born comprehensively successful President — and for Constitutionalists as well. He has declared himself, and then doubled down, on his intention to destroy radical Islam — declaring the need for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country — how incendiary! And he declared to “build a wall”, and shut down illegal immigration. Whoa! And he not only survived the media conflagration following both pronouncements, he destroyed the media in the process.
These two issues, illegal immigration and radical Islam, are the two pivotal issues of our time, the “existential” issues that are truly existential. If we do not prevail in these two arenas, we will prevail in none.
But wait … the citizen can also win a guy who emphasized the necessity of a “huge” military (and huge support of Vets). But there’s more. … The citizen can also win draconian tax cuts, slashed regulations, with the jobs and prosperity inevitably to follow (Ex. Presidents Harding, JFK, and Reagan). …
In particular, Trump has accomplished what no politician, ever, has accomplished. He owns the media. He defeats the media and gets his message out no matter the forum and in every forum.
In fact, some would argue the media and its sibling Political Correctness Movement are the true“existential” threats facing this country. Both facilitate nearly all dangerous things we contend with. Trump’s conquest of these malign forces, as President, may be the most pivotal accomplishment of any President in history. Imagine four more years of this tour de force! Fabulous!
Trump can bring us successes on the political battlefield — and for Conservatives — unmatched even by Ronald Reagan. And it will be fun! National Review and its peerless contributors should be ashamed of their lackluster vision.
The “reply” to President Obama’s State of the Union address could have been a contradiction of his false claims and a denunciation of his idle boasts.
But South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, speaking for the Republican opposition, preferred to use the platform she had, from which she could reach multitudes of voters, to denounce her own party’s front runner, Donald Trump.
Mark Steyn, commenting on Hayley’s speech at some length and particularly noting her attack on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates, points out how foolish it was for the Republican Party …
… to use what’s meant to be a rebuttal to the President as a rebuttal to their own leading candidates and the two-thirds of their voters who support them. Truly this is the dumbest political party on the planet.
Yet, what the Democratic Party did on the occasion of Obama’s last State of the Union address was surely even more stupid. It acted in extreme contempt for the opinion of an even greater part of the electorate, a majority of the American people.
Stupid is bad. But there’s worse. What the Democrats did was evil.
Democrat reps Zoe Lofgren (CA) and Alcee Hastings (FL) hosted two representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) at the president’s State of the Union address.
Lofgren brought Sameena Usman from the San Francisco CAIR office, and Hastings brought Nezar Hamze from the Florida branch.
This is from Investor’s Business Daily:
Normally, suspected terrorists wouldn’t get within 100 feet of Capitol security. But Democrats asked police to stand down and let operatives from a Hamas front group to attend, of all things, the State of the Union.
Two representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations were invited as guests of honor at the urging of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — and with the consent of the White House.
In a letter to lawmakers, Wasserman explained that inviting these and two dozen other Muslim guests to the president’s speech would show “the world that we will not be intimidated by fear into discrimination” against Muslims in the wake of last month’s massacre by Muslim terroristsin San Bernardino.
CAIR, which represented the family of the terrorists, gloated over its invitation in a press release.
The statement was posted one day after CAIR called for the release of 100 terrorist prisoners from Gitmo to protect them “from the abuses of indefinite detention”.
Such terrorist appeasement in the middle of a war on Islamic terrorists is beyond outrageous. It’s downright treasonous.
It’s tantamount to inviting the Nazi diplomatic corps to House chambers as guests of FDR’s State of the Union during the height of WWII.
Make no mistake: terror-tied CAIR is considered so dangerous that the FBI has formally banned it from agency outreach.
In a 2007-2008 terrorism trial against a Muslim charity, FBI agents testified that CAIR was a “Hamas front”, and U.S. prosecutors subsequently designated CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. It remains on that Justice Department list today, despite CAIR protests.
As a result of evidence that emerged from the case, the FBI headquarters issued a directive to all 56 of its field offices to cut off ties to CAIR until it can resolve questions regarding its own ties to the Hamas terrorist group.
In a letter to Congress — the same body that invited CAIR officials into House chambers — an associate FBI director warned: “Until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”
CAIR is a turnstile for terrorist suspects and convicts, including a senior communications officer from its Washington headquarters who is now serving time in federal prison. The officer, Ismail Royer, and more than a dozen other CAIR officials have been convicted or deported on terrorism-related charges.
According to recently declassified FBI documents, longtime CAIR national board member Nabil Sadoun was deported in 2010 because of his “connections to Hamas, Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, and Hamas front organizations”.
The case files also connect CAIR’s co-founders, Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad, directly to the Palestinian terrorist group’s U.S. wing, the Palestine Committee, and its parent — the radical Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement based in Egypt.
And one much favored by Obama, who has members of it as advisers in the White House. (See our post Man with a mission, February 9, 2011.)
What’s more, the NSA recently monitored CAIR’s executive director for terrorist communications.
Why in the world would Congress host this clear threat to homeland security? …
These are among the worst people possible to put in seats of national honor.
The war is on. The West, though fully aware that it is under attack, is hardly bothering to fight at all.
The BBC shows the nation a police video telling the populace what to do when the jihadis strike, while the British government continues to admit hordes of Muslims into the country.
Police have released a video telling people to “run, hide, tell” if they are caught up in a terrorist gun attack.
The four-minute video advises on how to evacuate a building, where to hide, and what information to tell police.
The video says people’s first reaction if they hear gunshots should be to run – as long as it will not put them in greater danger – and not to let others’ indecision “slow you down”.
The terror threat level in the UK is severe, meaning it is “highly likely”.
Security services have been on high alert since the attacks in Paris last month.
What should you do in an attack?
The public information film, released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, tells people to react quickly, first by running for an exit.
“Insist others come with you, but don’t let their indecision slow you down,” the video says.
“Consider your route as you leave. Will it place you in the line of fire? Is it safer to wait for the attacker to move away before you continue?”
If it is not possible to move to safety, then people are advised to hide.
They should consider their exits and escape routes when choosing a hiding place, avoiding dead ends and bottlenecks and staying away from the door.
Mobile phones should be switched to silent and vibrate turned off, the video says, adding: “The best hiding place with protection from gunfire will have a substantial physical barrier between you and the attacker.”
Those able to evacuate should get as far away from the danger area as possible and call the police.
The film says: “When the police arrive they will be armed. The police may be unable to distinguish you from the attacker. They may treat you firmly. Do everything they tell you to do. Don’t make any sudden movements or gestures that may be perceived as a threat.”
Police said the advice has already been issued to thousands of people during security training sessions but it is now being rolled out more widely.
Mark Rowley, the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, said: “Everyone’s aware of the terrorist challenges across the world and there have been some awful attacks. It’s our view that this advice should be rolled out to the public so in the tragic event that anyone gets caught up in a rolling firearms or weapons attack they are better informed and better advised to protect themselves.”
As so often, Mark Steyn writes good sense about the war between Islam and the West – a war the West is losing.
Many of the Republican candidates sound too anxious to repeat the mistakes of the past 14 years. Lindsey Graham is perhaps the most absurd exemplar: a man who favors massive military deployments around the planet, but open borders at home. And so he wound up, even as he was threatening to loose tens of thousands of soldiers upon their lands, apologizing to the Muslim world because Donald Trump is a big meanie. Perhaps Graham would be more amenable to sanity if we couched it in progressive terms: The “safe space” ought to be western civilization – which means that accelerating Muslim immigration into the west will only make our cities an ever bigger unsafe space for ISIS and others to exploit. The problem in San Bernardino is not just the “radicalized” Syed and Tashfeen, but the semi-radicalized revert neighbor and the hemi-semi-radicalized dad who told Syed to lighten up about the Jews because Israel wouldn’t be around in another two years and the wives procured through Green Card fraud and the locals cowed by political correctness into looking the other way as Muslims build pipe bombs in the garage. None of this is in the national interest of the American people. But Fieldmarshal Graham wants a blitzkrieg overseas and a home front that allows US citizens and their mail-order brides to choose what side of the war they want to be on.
By the way, what does “vetting” even mean? In a multiculti world, you can believe everything Caliph al-Baghdadi does – that infidels are unclean, that women are the property of men and should be forbidden to feel sunlight on their faces, that homosexuals should be tossed off the roofs of buildings, that apostasy should be punishable by death, that Sharia should be introduced in western nations, and that the Islamic crescent should one day fly from the White House and Buckingham Palace and the Élysée and St Peter’s. And Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have no problem with that, as long as you don’t actually build a pipe bomb or blow up an airliner.
So there is no actual way of “vetting” anybody until after you’ve left a big pile of body parts all over the floor. …
I like western civilization. I regard Common Law as superior to Sharia, so I would rather people who wish to live under Sharia remained in the many countries where it already operates, rather than adding Austria and Ireland and Denmark to the list.
A schizophrenic strategy of ineffectual war overseas and celebrating one’s tolerance of the avowedly intolerant at home will ensure we lose.
On Tuesday December 8, 2015, Mark Steyn appeared at a US Senate hearing on “climate change”, called by Senator Ted Cruz’s Sub-Committee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. (Read his article about it here.)
This was his opening statement:
His words recall Jillian’s Rule:
Any idea that needs a law to defend it from criticism is ipso facto a bad idea.
Mark Steyn interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News, the day after President Obama made his speech deploring the bigotry of American people for which they deserve to be shot and bombed by peaceful Islam:
As the indigenous European populations commit slow suicide, Muslims pour into their continent to replace them eventually.
Mark Steyn writes:
Europe has a growing shortage of Europeans.
Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy … The German government expects the population to shrink from 81m to 67m by 2060 as depressed pockets of the former East Germany go into “decline spirals” where shops, doctors’ practices, and public transport start to shut down, causing yet more people to leave in a vicious circle. A number of small towns in Saxony, Brandenburg and Pomerania have begun to contemplate plans for gradual “run-off” and ultimate closure, a once unthinkable prospect.
Why is this even news? Almost a decade ago, a guy called Mark Steyn wrote a book called America Alonein which he said everything the Telegraph piece said yesterday. Those East German towns?
Almost every issue facing the European Union – from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities – has at its heart the same root cause: a huge lack of babies. Every day you get ever more poignant glimpses of the Euro-future, such as it is. One can talk airily about being flushed down the toilet of history, but even that’s easier said than done. In eastern Germany, rural communities are dying, and one consequence is that village sewer systems are having a tough time adjusting to the lack of use. Populations have fallen so dramatically there are too few people flushing to keep the flow of waste moving. Traditionally, government infrastructure expenditure arises from increased demand. In this case, the sewer lines are having to be narrowed at great cost in order to cope with dramatically decreased demand.
The Telegraph quotes the German government’s own figures predicting a population decrease from 81 million now to 67 million by 2060. In America Alone, I suggested the population would fall to 38 million by the end of the century. Given that it is in the nature of demographic death spirals to accelerate once you’re below 1.3 children per couple, my number may be an underestimate. And when you consider that in most German urban areas the only demographic energy now is Muslim, those 38 million turn-of-the-century “Germans” will be posterity’s rebuke to the Nuremberg Laws. As I wrote in 2006:
Americans take for granted all the “it’s about the future of all our children” hooey that would ring so hollow in a European election. In the 2005 German campaign, voters were offered what would be regarded in the US as a statistically improbable choice: a childless man (Herr Schroeder) vs a childless woman (Frau Merkel). Statist Europe signed on to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s alleged African proverb – “It takes a village to raise a child” – only to discover they got it backwards: on the Continent, the lack of children will raze the village. And most of the villagers still refuse to recognize the contradictions: You can’t breed at the lethargic rate of most Europeans and then bitch and whine about letting the Turks into the European Union. Demographically, they’re the kids you couldn’t be bothered having.
Lest you think this an exaggeration, look at the graph accompanying the Telegraph piece [see it below], contrasting Germany and Japan’s demographic decline with France’s ostensibly healthier fertility rate. The reason for that is that France has the highest Muslim population in western Europe, so it has a bright future of crowded maternity wards full of babies called Mohammed. And all this was known a decade ago: – when, already, 30 per cent of German women and 40 per cent of university graduates were childless, just like Angela Merkel.
On those numbers you’re living in a present-tense culture: no matter how great you are, you’re a civilizational boy-band; a generation later, someone else will be there, and no one will be singing your songs. …
Okay, this passage [in the book] is a wee bit lurid:
[In] Europe by the end of this century … the grand buildings will still be standing but the people who built them will be gone. By the next century, German will be spoken only at Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels and Goering’s Monday night poker game in Hell.
But the point is: It’s not wrong. in 2006, Germany already had a shrinking and aging population, and potentially catastrophic welfare liabilities … and no politician who wished to remain electorally viable was willing to do anything about it. It’s not the total number of people that matters, it’s the age distribution: that decline from 81 to 67 million will wind up skewing the population very geezerish. But, again, this was all known a decade ago. I pointed out the percentage of the population under the age of 15 …
Spain and Germany have 14 per cent, the United Kingdom 18 per cent, the United States 21 per cent – and Saudi Arabia has 39 per cent, Pakistan 40 per cent and Yemen 47 per cent.
When you’ve that many surplus young people, they’re going to go somewhere else. Some of the African numbers are even higher, which is why there’s that endless flotilla of boats across the Mediterranean. Because when a teeming shanty town is next door to a not-terribly-gated community of under-occupied mansions, it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise.
The Obama-Jarrett gang in the White House have not been able to stop the US Army from charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and misbehaving before the enemy.
Bergdahl could be sentenced to life in prison.
Mark Steyn writes:
Bowe Bergdahl is to be charged with desertion. This is not exactly a surprising development. As I said when he was released, Bergdahl is “a deserter at best and at worst enemy collaborator”. I incline to the latter view myself, but, be that as it may, there are innumerable instances throughout human history of soldiers who abandon their comrades and attempt to aid the enemy.
What makes this case unique is the behavior of Bergdahl’s commander-in-chief. …
Barack Obama decided to honor this man in the Rose Garden, and to embrace his parents. In front of the President and the world, Bergdahl’s father sent greetings to his son in Arabic and Pashto, and began with the words, “In the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful …” …
When others objected, the White House dispatched the National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, to tell the American people that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction”. She surely knew, as did the President, that that was a lie.
Given the background checks an ordinary law-abiding citizen requires these days merely to be permitted to be in the presence of the President, the White House must also have known that the man Obama embraced in the Rose Garden that day – Bergdahl’s father – was a Taliban sympathizer. …
The fact is Bowe Bergdahl walked out and he left America behind … and he did it, by the way, on the advice of his father. He wrote to his father saying, ‘I hate America, it’s a horror, I want to renounce my citizenship.’ And his father emails back, ‘Follow your conscience …’
I don’t think this point has been emphasized enough. … What’s the father’s excuse? He gets communications from his son indicating he’s about to crack. He knows that out there, beyond their vulnerable encampment, is a primitive tribal society where pretty much everyone would either ransom his boy or cut to the chase and saw his head off to make a blockbuster jihadist snuff video for the bazaars of Jalalabad. Surely any responsible parent would say, “Look, I know it can’t be easy for you out there. But there are people who wish to do you harm beyond the fence. Stick with it, talk to your platoon leader … You’re serving honorably in a worthy cause …” You don’t encourage him to take a one-way ticket into the badlands of Afghanistan.
And just to underline that: the justification for Bergdahl Snr’s wacky behavior – the Taliban beard, the invocations of Allah, the Arabic and Pushtu, the pledge that the death of every Afghan child will be avenged – the justification for all this is that, well, he’s also been under a lot of strain. He hasn’t seen his kid for half-a-decade. That could unhinge anyone. Give the guy a break …
But the point is he was pulling this strange stuff before his son was kidnapped.
Which makes that Rose Garden ceremony even more bizarre in its weird optics – the President of the United States embracing a Taliban sympathizer at the White House. There was no need to hold such an intimate photo-op. Yet Obama chose to do it. Why?
That’s still the most important question of l’affaire Bergdahl. Obama didn’t just trade five high-value Taliban leaders-cum-war criminals for one American deserter, but he chose to honor that deserter as an American hero. And, in so honoring him, dishonored all the comrades he deserted.
As for those five Taliban A-listers, as of June 1st they’ll be out of their nominal emirate-probation in Qatar and free to roam the world killing infidels once more. …
That’s the point to remember about this debacle: There is no deal. None. Washington gave away five war criminals who are already pledging to get back to killing – and the superpower got nothing in return. The deserter and his kooky dad are merely the cover for the fact that the United States entered into an end-of-war prisoner exchange without ending the war. …
Here’s the history of America’s longest war in two anti-American losers, John Walker Lindh and Bowe Bergdahl, confused young men with a gaping hole at the heart of where their sense of identity should be, stumbling through the Hindu Kush trying to “find themselves”.
In the fall of 2001, the first confused anti-American loser trying to find himself, John Walker Lindh was on the enemy’s side – and was tried, convicted and jailed for 20 years.
By the spring of 2014, the last confused anti-American loser of the Afghan war, Bowe Bergdahl, was on our side – and was honored by the President with a family photo-op in the Rose Garden and declared by the laughably misnamed “National Security Advisor” to have “served the United States with honor and distinction”.
To reprise my current line on “the leader of the free world”:
If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?
We cannot find any precedent in history for the leader of a nation betraying his country to its enemy.
We like this column by Mark Steyn so much, and find it so funny, that we’re quoting it in full.
Our only comments are these:
We fervently hope not to have any Democrat succeed Obama to the presidency.
As America is at war, a president is needed who knows what’s going on in the outer world and can be a first-rate commander-in-chief. And such a person is more likely to be a man. (If the Republican Party had a Margaret Thatcher to offer for election it would be different, but it doesn’t. Such people are very rare.)
“Ignore the noise – Clinton will win in 2016,” we are assured by a columnist in Hillary’s journalistic namesake The Hill. “The email flap will be gone soon enough.”
That’s probably the way to bet. Rightie pundits are going on about government-issue Blackberries, insecure servers, federal record-keeping, the law, national security, peripheral stuff like that. Leftie pundits are saying: yawn, nobody cares, it’s never gonna catch fire, give it up. Everyone implicitly agrees that Hillary did something she shouldn’t and that her justification for doing so is ridiculous. The only disagreement is whether it makes any difference. The Hill‘s Fernando Espuelas says no:
Clinton has a built-in advantage — her gender… Some percentage of Americans, likely a large one, would like to cast a historic vote. When polling points to Americans wanting “change”, what bigger change than a woman as president?
A change to a competent citizen-executive whose administration spends within its means, ceases obstructing economic growth and middle-class prosperity, and restores American influence in the world?
Oh, well. One takes his point: Most other citizens of developed and not-so-developed societies cast those “historic votes” long ago – Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, India, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Israel, Turkey, Portugal, Germany, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Transnistria …
At the time of those “historic votes” on a good half of that list, “gender” was not “a built-in advantage” but a built-in disadvantage that skilled and nimble female candidates had to be exceptional to overcome.
If I follow Mr Espuelas correctly, he’s saying that America is getting round to its “historic vote” so late that “gender” is now such an advantage that any old female candidate can be dragged across the finish line, no matter how shopworn, wooden, charmless, tin-eared and corrupt.
Maybe. But, even so, Hillary Clinton is still a severe test of that thesis. Charles Krauthammer detects “Early-Onset Clinton Fatigue”. Whether that is yet afflicting the electorate, it certainly seems to have gripped the candidate. At that press conference, Hillary seemed to be going through the motions. Flush with Saudi cash and a well-oiled shakedown Rolodex, Clinton Worldwide Inc has no reason not to run for president, but apparently no compelling reason to run. When the candidate runs into trouble, grizzled drooling attack dogs from the Nineties – Lanny Davis, James Carville – are loosed from their chains and limp dutifully from the Old Pooch Home to bare their remaining fang for their mistress.
Is there anyone new, young, talented willing to defend Hillary? I mean, other than Huma [Abedin], the only woman in America whose marriage rivals the exhibitionist creepiness of the Clintons in their heyday.
Let’s take The Hill‘s chap at his word: “Gender” will trump whatever stiff the Republican primary season throws up. In that case, why not run a woman who isn’t quite so bloody awful at running? Someone younger, someone whose principal selling point isn’t her husband’s surname, someone with actual accomplishments and a political philosophy? She doesn’t have to be that much younger, or accomplished. Elizabeth Warren is two years younger than Hillary, and her principal accomplishments are TARP and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, neither of which is my cup of tea. But that’s two more accomplishments than Secretary Clinton can claim. And okay, she’s not the most riveting public speaker, but she’s Tom Jones at Vegas next to a speak-your-weight machine in a pantsuit. And yes, Senator Fauxcahontas Crockagewea Warren’s got her own scandal – in that she got hired as Harvard Law School’s “first woman of color” on the basis of a dubious claim to be one thirty-second Cherokee and having contributed Cole Porter and the Duchess of Windsor’s favorite crab dish from an upscale Manhattan restaurant to a cookbook of authentic tribal recipes.
Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, isn’t that kind of a charmingly amateur, sweetly naive racket? It’s a small-town home-cooked mom’n’pop racket compared to the 24/7 industrial-scale multinational Saudi-kissing pedophile-jetting rackets of Clinton Global Mega-Racket Inc,
As I said, Senator Warren is a mere two years younger than Secretary Clinton, which means, if she’s ever going to run for president, it has to be now. Why not go for it? Wouldn’t Democrats like to elect a real first female head of government like Thatcher or Merkel or Golda Meir or all those Scandinavians? Why should all those Americans itching to cast that “historic vote” have to have it tainted and thrown away on dynastic succession? How “historic” can your vote really be when, insofar as Hillary’s “running” at all, she’s running as if she’s already won and she’s just running out the clock till the coronation? Are Democrat women so cowed and subservient they’re just going to have the House of Saud’s candidate shoved down their throats and meekly be driven to the polls in theirs burqas by Lanny Davis?
Well, yes. Probably. Okay, definitely.
But we can always dream. And my bet is that, after Tuesday, a lot of Democrats are dreaming. A Hillary presidency is an “historic first”: not the first female president, but the second Clinton president, and the second-rate Clinton president.
(Picture from PowerLine)
With his usual perception and wit, Mark Steyn writes:
The Islamic State [IS] released a 22-minute video showing Flight Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Royal Jordanian Air Force being doused in petrol and burned to death. It is an horrific way to die, and Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh showed uncommon bravery, standing stiff and dignified as the flames consumed him. And then he toppled, and the ISIS cameras rolled on, until what was left was charred and shapeless and unrecognizable as human. …
Even by the standards of his usual rote cookie-cutter shoulder-to-shoulder shtick that follows every ISIS beheading of western captives, the President could barely conceal his boredom at having to discuss the immolation of Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh:
Aaand it, I think, will redouble [pause] the vigilance aaand determination on the part of our global coalition to, uh, make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. Ummmm. [Adopting a whimsical look] It also just indicates the degree to which whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt. [Suppressing a smirk, pivoting to a much more important subject.] We’re here to talk about how to make people healthier and make their lives better.
The lack of passion – the bloodlessness – of Obama’s reaction to atrocity is always striking. He can’t even be bothered pretending that he means it. …
Given the general halfheartedness of Obama’s “coalition”, King Abdullah [of Jordan] could have been forgiven for also deciding to head for the exit.
Yet he understood the necessity of action. Obama, by contrast … does nothing. His war against ISIS was supposed to be one in which the US would not put “boots on the ground”, but instead leave that to our allies. The allies have the boots, but they could use some weapons, too. Obama has failed to supply the Kurds or anybody else with what they need to defeat our enemies. It’s becoming what they call a pattern of behavior. …
Obama cannot react to atrocities committed by jihadis because he is emotionally (we cannot say intellectually, because unlike his Democratic fans we do not think he has much of an intellect), on their side; which means that, whether he realizes it or not, he is on the side of evil.
Mark Steyn clearly sees that IS is evil. He goes on to consider why it is that tens of thousands of volunteers go eagerly to join its army and help it carry out its atrocities.
You’ll recall Hannah Arendt’s tired and misleading coinage “the banality of evil”, derived from her observation of Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem.
We explain when and why she said it, and why it is misleading, in our post The cultivation of evil, the sickness of Europe, July 20, 2010.
Mark Steyn quotes an earlier article of his:
Hitler felt obliged to be somewhat coy about just how final the final solution was. As Eichmann testified at his trial, when typing up the minutes of the Wannsee conference, “How shall I put it? Certain over-plain talk and jargon expressions had to be rendered into office language by me.” Even the Nazis were reluctant to spell it out.
The Germans didn’t have social media, but they had newsreels, and Hitler knew enough not to make genocide available to Pathé or “The March of Time”. He had considerations both domestic and foreign. Pre-Wannsee, in Poland and elsewhere, German troops had been ordered to shoot Jewish prisoners in cold blood, and their commanders reported back to Berlin that too many soldiers had found it sickening and demoralizing. So the purpose of “the final solution” was to make mass murder painless, at least for the perpetrators – more bureaucratic, removed, bloodless.
As for foreign considerations, Germany expected to be treated as a civilized power by its enemies, and that would not have been possible had they been boasting about genocide.
Seventy years on, the Islamic State has slipped free of even these minimal constraints. They advertize their barbarism to the world, because what’s the downside? Let’s say the guys who burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh are one day captured by Americans. They can look forward to a decade or two of a soft, pampering sojourn in the US justice system, represented by an A-list dream-team that’ll string things along until the administration figures it’ll cut its losses and ship them to Qatar in exchange for some worthless deserter.
As for the upside, “the banality of evil” may have its appeal for lower-middle-class Teuton bureaucrats, but the glamor of evil is a far more potent and universal brand. The Islamic State has come up with the ultimate social-media campaign: evil goes viral! At some level German conscripts needed to believe they were honorable soldiers in an honorable cause, no different from the British or Americans. But ISIS volunteers are signing up explicitly for the war crimes. The Islamic State burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh alive not only to kill him but to inspire the thousands of ISIS fanbois around the globe. …
For many of its beneficiaries, modern western life is bland, undemanding and vaguely unsatisfying. Some seek a greater cause, and turn to climate change or LGBTQWERTY rights. But others want something with a little more red meat to it. Jihad is primal in a way that the stodgy multiculti relativist mush peddled by Obama isn’t. And what the Islamic State is offering is Jihad 2.0, cranking up the blood-lust and rape and sex slavery and head-chopping and depravity in ways that make Osama-era al-Qaeda look like a bunch of pantywaists.
Success breeds success. The success of evil breeds darker evil. And the glamorization of evil breeds ever more of those “recent Muslim converts” and “lone wolves” and “self-radicalized extremists” in the news. That’s a Big Idea – a bigger idea, indeed, than Communism or Nazism.
Islam, as we know, means “submission”. But Xtreme-Sports Hyper-Islam, blood-soaked and baying, is also wonderfully liberating, offering the chance for dull-witted, repressed young men to slip free of even the most basic societal restraints. And, when the charms of the open road in Headchoppistan wear thin, your British and Canadian and Australian and European welfare checks will still be waiting for you on the doormat back home. …
As the world burns, Obama, uh, redoubles his, uh, vigilance, uh uh uh… Whatever.
Mark Steyn reminds us that “civilization is a fragile and unnatural state of affairs”. Its would-be destroyers now, in the early twenty-first century, are: the environmentalists; the world-government advocates and all the rest of the collectivists, whatever they call themselves – progressives or socialists or communists; and, above all, most dangerous, already destroying as much as they can of the heritage of civilization, and winning battle after battle, encountering no effective opposition – Islam.
Obama won’t name it, not even by using the polite form of its name that most politicians and commentators use, “Islamism”.
But be assured that against something or other, he is redoubling his vigilance.