As we survey the toxic environment in which we are soon to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, many of us wonder: Why? Why is it this way?
James Rosen writes: As we survey the toxic environment in which we are soon to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, many of us wonder: Why? Why is it this way?
The partisan among us will cite one of the two major-party nominees and blame him, or her, for overtaxing the system with his, or her, singularly odious baggage.
Economists and political scientists, less interested in the specific than the general, will point, perhaps more accurately, to a confluence of developments over time – the corrosion of public trust after Vietnam and Watergate, Supreme Court rulings on election laws, the twin apocalypti of globalization and the digital revolution – as the decisive factors shaping our modern political culture, with its unbearably heavy traffic of nasty primary challenges, leadership upheavals, scandals, hacks, leaks, attacks, and – gridlock.
To these explanations, I propose adding another, imparted to me by an unlikely source: Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Making conversation at one point, I asked Kerry if he had ever met one of my literary heroes. ‘Mr. Secretary, did you know William F. Buckley?’ The answer – and its forcefulness – surprised me: ‘I loved Bill Buckley.'”
We were on his first foreign trip as America’s top diplomat, in February 2013, with the traveling press corps enjoying an off-the-record wine-and-cheese event with the secretary in Cairo (to disclose this story on-the-record, I later sought and received permission from the State Department). Making conversation at one point, I asked Kerry if he had ever met one of my literary heroes. “Mr. Secretary, did you know William F. Buckley?”
The answer – and its forcefulness – surprised me: “I loved Bill Buckley.” Who knew that for the founder of National Review, the godfather of the modern conservative movement, a legendary liberal from Massachusetts harbored “love”? Why was that? I asked. Kerry resorted to Socratic Method. “Do you know who his best friend was?”
Now for those well versed in the Buckley canon, in whose ranks Kerry seemed to count himself, this amounts to a trick question.
The Buckley family and some outside observers – including this one – would cite Evan (“Van”) Galbraith, Buckley’s Yale classmate, sailing crewmate, and longest-standing friend.
A graduate, also, of Harvard Law School, Galbraith would go on to serve as a Wall Street banker, chairman of the National Review board of trustees, President Reagan’s ambassador to France, and president of Moët & Chandon.
“Buckley’s maintenance of “trans-ideological friendships” in his life reflected what some have called a genius for friendship.”
The last eulogy ever published by WFB, a supremely talented eulogist, was for Van, his friend of sixty years. Indeed, when WFB marked his eighty-second, and final, birthday, Van was one of two friends on hand, having just completed his thirtieth radiation treatment for cancer, with only months left for both men to live.
In the public imagination, however, the distinction is usually reserved for John Kenneth Galbraith (no relation), the Keynesian Harvard economist who served as President Kennedy’s ambassador to India, and who coined some enduring terms in the American political lexicon (e.g., “the affluent society,” “conventional wisdom”).
“WFB and Galbraith had met on an elevator ride in New York’s Plaza Hotel, escorting their wives to Truman Capote’s famous masked ball, the ‘Party of the Century,’ in November 1966. Buckley confronted Galbraith, right there in the elevator, about why he had tried to discourage a Harvard colleague from writing for National Review. ‘I regret that’ said Galbraith.”
This Galbraith, a skiing buddy of Buckley’s during annual retreats with their wives to winter homes in Gstaad, Switzerland, conducted the more public friendship with the era’s leading conservative. With unmatched wit and erudition, and equal instinct for the rhetorical jugular, they debated on college campuses, on the set of NBC’s “Today Show,” and of course on Buckley’s own show “Firing Line,” where Galbraith made eleven lively appearances. Read the rest of this entry »
Interesting that National Review and Playboy were founded at about the same time. https://t.co/yXjGLE9z7J
— Kevin D. Williamson (@KevinNR) November 2, 2015
h/t , Twitter
(Get this broadside!)
I step away from my gluttonous news watching for one day, and look what happens? I caught the tail end of this beautiful carnage on twitter, mid-evening, after Trump’s balls hit the fan. Fortunately, this clip was posted (and is circulating widely, I’m sure) before the ice in Trump’s glass melted and his keyboard’s return key had made it’s final Wednesday-night Twitter-frenzied return. Breitbart‘s Ian Hanchett has the story…
Ian Hatchet reports: National Review Editor and Fox News Contributor Rich Lowry stated that GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina cut other GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “balls off with the precision of a surgeon” on Wednesday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel.
“…look, Trump obviously attacks everyone, but she’s become a much bigger target. And I think part of what’s going on here, is that last debate…”
Lowry was asked if, as Trump had claimed, people said it was “sexist” to say Fiorina’s business career was a “disaster.”
He answered, “No, no one disputes that. And, look, Trump obviously attacks everyone, but she’s become a much bigger target. And I think part of what’s going on here, is that last debate. Let’s be honest. Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it, he knows it. He’s insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls. No one was able to best him ever, except for this tough lady on that stage, and it must kill him. He must be simmering about it to this night.”
“…let’s be honest. Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it, he knows it. He’s insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls. No one was able to best him ever, except for this tough lady on that stage, and it must kill him. He must be simmering about it to this night.”
— Rich Lowry
Host Megyn Kelly reacted by saying, “What did you just say?” And “You can’t say that.” Although, she laughed when her guest, Chris Salcedo, joked that Lowry needs to come out of his shell.
“What did you just say?” …You can’t say that.”
— Megyn Kelly
Lowry added that “all Trump does, more or less, is attack the other [Republican] candidates, and it’s been interpreted as strength and toughness. I think it’s becoming more and more clear that he’s just really thin-skinned, is part of this. And if I were Carly, the advice I would give her, laugh it off, shrug it off, take it very lightly, and stick to your business getting your message out there.”
“I think it’s becoming more and more clear that he’s just really thin-skinned, is part of this. And if I were Carly, the advice I would give her, laugh it off, shrug it off, take it very lightly, and stick to your business getting your message out there.”
— Rich Lowry
He concluded that the dispute between Trump and Fiorina shows that Fiorina is a real contender,continuing, “She is gaining on him, and she’s gaining on him in that outsider lane that we’ve talked about, and she’s gotten under his skin, clearly. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] REWIND: ”Is England Still Influencing America?’ Christopher HItchens on Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr., 1990Posted: December 4, 2014
Subject: ‘Is England Still Influencing America’
Firing Line 1990
Eighty years later, there’s no denying the Soviet atrocity.
“We went to a field. We had nothing to eat. Everything was taken from us. So my mother decided we would go to the field, find some half-frozen potatoes, some kind of vegetables, to make a soup. At that time the Soviet Union was teaching people to report on each other, to spy on each other. Somebody saw that we came with some vegetables, half-frozen, and they arrested my mother. That was the last time I saw her.”
Alec Torres writes: So Eugenia Dallas, originally Eugenia Sakevych, began her story to me. Born in Ukraine around 1925 (she does not know her exact age), Eugenia lived through the Holodomor — genocide by famine — as a young girl. Shortly before her mother was taken, her father was sent to Siberia, deemed a criminal because he owned a few acres of land.
In 1932–33, Ukraine was brought to its knees. After years of mass arrests and deportations had failed to bring the Ukrainians into line, Stalin decided to crush this proud nation with a new weapon: food. Ukraine, once the breadbasket of Europe, was stripped of its grain. With its borders sealed and its citizens imprisoned, an estimated 4 to 14 million people starved to death as food rotted in silos or was sold abroad. Stalin wanted purity, and Ukraine’s nationalism threatened his perverse utopia.
We don’t need this quasi-Canadian, crypto-Communist holiday
There isn’t much good to say about Labor Day, except maybe that it could be worse — it could be on May 1, which would make it a full-on Communist holiday instead of a merely crypto-Communist one. For that we can thank Grover Cleveland, the last pretty-good Democrat (seriously: gold standard, anti-tariff, vetoed twice as many bills as all of his predecessors combined — Rand Paul is a fan), who pushed for the creation of a labor festival in September as cultural competition to the international workers’ celebration in May, sort of the reverse of the strategy of the early Church fathers’ choosing the dates of heathen festivals for the new Christian holidays.
So, from the two out of three working-age Americans who are gainfully employed, a round of applause for President Cleveland.
But crypto-Communist holidays are not so great, either.