The unsinkable Representative Charles B. Rangel appeared on C-SPAN over the weekend. Why unsinkable? Well, in 2010 the House of Representatives censured the New York Democrat by a vote of 333 to 79 (when the body was still majority-Democratic) for violating 11 ethics rules and “bringing discredit to the House.” The New York Times called it a “staggering fall” for the senior Democrat. But fall/shmall, he’s since been reelected and will retire at his leisure.
While chatting with Brian Lamb, Rangel dropped a few falsehoods as casually as cigar ash. This isn’t to pick on Rangel; he’s just illustrative. His assertion — that the Republican and Democratic parties “changed sides” in the 1960s on civil rights, with white racists leaving the Democratic party to join the Republicans — has become conventional wisdom. It’s utterly false and should be rebutted at every opportunity.
It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye, as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and J. William Fulbright. Read the rest of this entry »
Enthusiasm for Clinton’s candidacy is based on identity politics, not substance
For National Review Online, Mona Charen writes: Have you seen the “Ready for Hillary” bumper stickers? I’ve seen one already, and wondered about the implied insult to the current occupant of the White House. You’re “Ready for Hillary” when the greatest statesman of our age isn’t even halfway through his second term?
Are you ready because Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state was such a rousing success? As of this writing, Islamist forces are marching south from newly conquered Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq. Wasn’t Clinton the chief architect of our foreign policy when we failed to negotiate a status-of-forces agreement with Iraq in 2011?
“She managed to parlay her status as wronged spouse into a Senate seat, and to leverage her status as failed presidential candidate into the job of secretary of state.”
Reviewing that history in September of 2012, the New York Times quoted an administration spokesman: “As we reviewed the 10,000 option, we came to the conclusion that achieving the goal of a security partnership was not dependent on the size of our footprint in-country, and that stability in Iraq did not depend on the presence of U.S. forces.”
That worked out well.
“She now plans to milk her status as unsuccessful secretary of state into the presidency.”
To grasp the magnitude of this realignment, imagine if the New York Times declined to renew veteran left-wing crackpot Paul Krugman‘s contract, and replaced him with Instapudit‘s Glenn Reynolds. Or if HBO fired Bill Maher, and offered a prime-time talk show to Greg Gutfeld. Yes, it’s like that.
Could this be a sign of intelligent life in media? What if Maureen Dowd was booted out of her nest at the NYT, replaced by Mona Charen? Imagine if ABC’s Good Morning America dumped its on-air talent and hired Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, and Michelle Malkin. Or if editorial control of The Huffington Post was turned over to me, Nick Gillespie, and Jonah Goldberg…
Okay that part is wishful thinking. But you get the idea. It’s a big deal.
John Nolte reports: Very interesting day at The Washington Post. Left-wing Ezra Klein is out and the much-respected conservative legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, is in. Already the Jeff Bezos era is becoming an interesting one. Numerous reports claim that Bezos wasn’t interested in a multi-million dollar proposal Klein pitched, but he was apparently interested in giving Volokh full editorial control:
We will also retain full editorial control over what we write. And this full editorial control will be made easy by the facts that we have (1) day jobs, (2) continued ownership of our trademark and the volokh.com domain, and (3) plenty of happy experience blogging on our own, should the need arise to return to that…
After all, they approached us because of who we are and what we write. They know our ideologies. They know our blogging style. They know that we sometimes put up quirky non-law posts. They tell us they’re fine with all of that.
Both moves are a huge boost for the Post for a few reasons.
As much as Ezra Klein was worshipped by others in the elite media, he badly damaged the Post’s credibility as an objective news outlet. It was unconscionable of the Post to frame Klein’s hysterical leftism and Obama water-carrying as objective analysis and reporting. Klein is a wild-eyed Statist, and a wildly dishonest one to boot.
His solutions for a stagnant economy were tried and found wanting long ago
All of this was clear when he became the Democratic party’s pinup in 2008 (just by way of example, I wrote then that while Obama was “shiny bright and new” his ideas were “suffering from senility”). What’s dumbfounding now is Obama’s detachment from his own presidency. He continues to campaign (well, speak, but it always sounds like a stump speech) as if someone else were sitting in the Oval Office, as if someone else’s policies were responsible for the state of things, as if someone else should shoulder the blame.
The obsession with all aspects of JFK’s murder is toxic to our cultural health
Mona Charen writes: The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s murder is being marked, not primarily by retrospectives on his life and accomplishments, and not by reflections on the myth versus the reality of his presidency, but instead by one of the features of our media age that are poisonous to our cultural health — a macabre focus on the details of his murder.
National Geographic aired a film with the title “Killing Kennedy” (based on a book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard). Trailers featured images of the first couple in the open limousine and close-ups of the actor who played Lee Harvey Oswald raising a rifle to his face and closing one eye. The movie Parkland likewise features a reenactment of the fatal day Kennedy was shot, complete with descriptions of the president’s “shattered head” when he reached the hospital.
CBS’s contribution will put CBS figures front and center. JFK: One PM Central Standard Time will reportedly focus on “the story of two men forever linked in history — Kennedy and CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, who delivered the tragic news to millions of TV viewers.” Bob Schieffer will also get his opportunity to bask in the reflected gore with As It Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years, during which Schieffer will reflect on the “fear and tension” in Dallas.
Mona Charen writes: Consistent with the Obama Administration’s first term bullying of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry has been issuing veiled threats in the past few days, including this invitation to Palestinian violence. This is not moral equivalence, this is adopting the Arafat-style of “negotiation,” namely, do as I say or I will launch terror again.
Further, Kerry has been repeating the false Palestinian contention that Israel’s settlements are “illegitimate.” Here is an open letter to Kerry from a former Israeli diplomat:
Dear Secretary Kerry,
After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that “Israel’s settlements are illegitimate”, I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact.
Pursuant to the “Oslo Accords”, and specifically the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), the “issue of settlements” is one of subjects to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. President Bill Clinton on behalf of the US, is signatory as witness to that agreement, together with the leaders of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway.
Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate.
Republicans risk too much in the shutdown battle, because it’s being fought mainly in the media.
Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
. . . Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”
Mona Charen writes: Almost exactly 159 years ago, a British light-cavalry brigade rode directly into Russian guns at the battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. Tennyson was available to immortalize the valor of the soldiers who rode bravely to their deaths (“theirs was not to reason why”). How stirring, for the survivors.
The light brigade was actually meant to harry a retreating Russian artillery battery. But “someone had blundered” and the order was given that the six hundred ride directly into a valley surrounded by Russian guns.
Good generals are responsible for choosing their battles wisely. In politics, as in war, the goal should be victory, not glorious (or “principled”) defeat.
The Republicans’ blunder is to risk so much in a short-term public-relations battle fought mainly through a medium that Democrats control — the press. With a few exceptions, the American press is the Democrats’ artillery in any battle with Republicans.
You may say, in that case, why should Republicans ever take on the Democrats? Won’t the press always create a hopelessly uneven playing field? Read the rest of this entry »