A Man Against the Machines

On Wednesday night Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly and pundit/columnist Charles Krauthammer debated the ignorance and passivity of the American electorate.

O’Reilly argued that polling showing Vice President Joe Biden leading every Republican in a hypothetical presidential election despite the same poll respondents’ recognizing that the country is on the “wrong track” demonstrates that Americans are “simply dumb, don’t pay attention, and don’t care.” He ascribed this cognitive dissonance to people who “don’t have to live in the real world anymore” because their “machines” can “obliterate reality” as drugs and alcohol once did.

Krauthammer offered a substantially different view: In addition to political arguments (an important one being that Biden is currently a “sympathetic abstraction” whose popularity would certainly decline upon becoming a declared candidate), he responded to O’Reilly with a question: “What’s your evidence that we have a greater number of lemmings today than we had thirty, forty, fifty years ago?” O’Reilly had to admit that “the evidence is anecdotal,” hardly a strong position for such an aggressive claim on his part. As I often say — and I can’t claim to have come up with this myself — the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.”

Krauthammer continued to push back on O’Reilly’s Luddite claim that Americans are wildly uninformed, and more so than in the past due to smart phones, iPads, and computers: “I don’t think Americans are less aware of their surroundings than they were when they lived on a farm with no information from the outside a hundred years ago. They have infinitely more information; they are more literate, more involved, and I think the explanation obviously lies elsewhere.”

The right answer lies in between the two men’s arguments (though Krauthammer is, as always, closer to correct than O’Reilly is).

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:


Media and Muslims

Complaining about liberal media bias is like complaining about a puppy peeing on the rug: it’s just what they do, and if you don’t like it then don’t have them in your house.

We’ve all seen editorials masquerading as news and television anchors impersonating objective journalists when hosting Republican debates or Sunday talk shows. We, America’s non-leftists (whether or not Republicans), know the game and filter our processing of “news” and debate questions through that lens.

But the media’s recent obsession with what Republican presidential candidates think of Muslims (or whether President Obama is one), their badgering of said candidates with questions that are irrelevant to the governing of the country, their distraction away from legitimate issues and into the looking glass of political correctness so extreme that it is literally ridiculous (i.e. not just silly but, as one online dictionary puts it, “deserving or inviting derision or mockery”) demands a response beyond “that’s just what they do.”

It started at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last Thursday when Donald Trump received a question so ignorant that I believe the questioner was a Democratic Party plant: after calling President Obama’s a non-American Muslim, the man seemed to ask when the United States will “get rid of” its Muslim population (although one could have also interpreted him as asking when we will get rid of Islamist “training camps” that he implied exist in this country).

Trump scoffed at the question, brushed it off with a generic response, and moved on. Perfectly appropriate even if a better answer would have been a brief parry such as “I believe President Obama when he says he’s a Christian but his Iranian deal does make me wonder about his understanding of the goals of radical Islam.”

The media along with liberals like Hillary “I was appalled” Clinton and Lindsey Graham went into a frenzy of “he should have repudiated the question and the questioner,” arguing that aspiring to the highest leadership position on the planet means having a duty to set the record straight regarding any erroneous or dubious or even insulting assertions about opposition politicians or a particular faith. We know that Clinton’s “disappointment” was sincere because she “quickly put out a tweet” about it.

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:


About Last Night

Over at the American Spectator web site, I've posted my brief review of last night's debate with (roughly) two sentences on each candidate's performance. Please have a look!


Let's Get Radical

Liberal pundits are wetting themselves over the supposed “radicalization” of the Republican Party, their cries ever more plaintive with the rise of Donald Trump as the GOP front-runner. (See here, here, here, and here.) Other than Trump’s call to deport the American citizen children of illegal aliens — radical in its political, logistical, and legal insanity — and his characterization of high CEO pay as a “complete joke” and “disgraceful” — radical for its being a perennial Democratic talking point and one of the first campaign issues dishonestly put forward by Hillary Clinton — very little that Trump says, to the extent that he ever says anything of substance, is outside the parameters of long-running conservative discussion.

At the same time, a self-described socialist who isn’t even a Democrat and has never met an economically harmful idea that he didn’t love now leads presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders is truly radical, though even he, only slightly more than Trump’s relationship to the GOP, is not that far outside the usual conversation of an ever-more-leftist Democratic Party. But finding a “mainstream” media report noting the radicalization of the Democrats would be a suitable final challenge on a high-stakes scavenger hunt.

Expecting or encouraging media recognition of the fact that each political party has been moving for years toward more consistent support of its philosophy — explaining the demise of “moderates” in both parties — is a pointless exercise. Today’s reporters and editors only perceive a “radicalization” of the right because their personal views are so deeply “Progressive” that they don’t see calls for “free” college, punitive taxation of the successful, or even attacks on police as radical.

So as long as the GOP is going to be called radical, why don’t they actually give the people some radical ideas to consider? Why don’t they endeavor to move the conversation aggressively toward economic liberty, limited government, and other principles which prior heroic radicals such as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington would recognize as the very purpose of our nation’s existence?

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:


Insult, Jail, and Redemption

Donald Trump is a brave truth-teller…right?

When he says to Rolling Stone about Carly Fiorina, Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” don’t you think he’s probably talking about her face? Don’t you think he’s just calling her ugly?

Instead, he claims he was talking about Fiorina’s “persona.” Seriously, Donald? You expect us to believe such an obvious lie? Even Hillary couldn’t get away with such a whopper. So grow a pair and fess up.

Trump then went on to slam Fiorina’s professional career and called Ben Carson an “OK doctor.” A one-man wrecking crew, The Donald.

Every other word out of this man’s mouth is “tremendous” or “fantastic” or “phenomenal” when talking about his sister or his (temporary) friends or the Mexicans he doesn’t think are rapists. And when talking about people he doesn’t like much, including President Obama or his Republican foes, he says that they’re “failures,” “terrible” and “stupid” people whom he’ll beat “so easily.” His level of dialogue and range of vocabulary is one step above Valley Girl.

When it comes to seriousness of policy, I’d call Trump a mile wide and an inch deep but that’s an insult to people who are a mile wide. Trump is more like a yard wide and a molecule deep. He is perhaps the least substantive candidate for president this year, and that’s saying a lot in a field that includes Martin O’Malley.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

Two weeks ago, the executive committee of the Colorado Republican Party voted to eliminate the presidential preference poll, which has been held in each of the two prior presidential cycles — and with Colorado caucus participants choosing someone other than the eventual winner both times.

Heading into a nominating season that offers a greater-than-average possibility for a contested nomination at next July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the national party's rules requiring the "binding" of delegates in a straw poll is a compelling reason — though not the only reason — to support the decision to scrap the poll.


Please read the entirety of my op-ed for the Denver Post here:

Like most things Donald Trump says, his immigration proposal — only slightly more detailed than most of his superficial bombast — contains a few grains of rationality and a large helping of the sort of xenophobia and economic ignorance that appeals to a slice of the Republican base but which most Americans — including many Republicans — find distasteful and self-destructive.

Let’s start with the good stuff: Mr. Trump notes that a true nation must have its borders and its laws enforced. He points out the reprehensible record of federal law enforcement agencies releasing tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens back into American society, a small number of whom commit heinous crimes such as the murder of Kate Steinle. He recognizes that a large percentage of our illegal aliens are people who came here legally but overstayed their visas and that the lack of a credible visa tracking system is unacceptable.

And while Mr. Trump’s rhetoric may be a little strong, he is right to remind Americans that the Mexican government encourages its citizens to enter the United States illegally and that we must eliminate sanctuary cities, which encourage the illegal aliens to come and to stay. (I mean eliminate the sanctuaries, not the cities.)

While the recognition of these problems is welcome — even for those of us who do not follow Mr. Trump further down his anti-immigration path — the rest of Trump’s “plan” is a bitter stew served up by a man pandering to Angry White People with ideas both fanciful and harmful.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:


The Biden Bull Market

The chattering class is all atwitter about the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden entering the Democratic presidential primary race. Whether or not it happens, the fact that (as Douglas Adams would have put it) “the slightest thought has begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing Joe’s mind” is great news for Republicans and a nightmare for the less-inevitable-by-the-day Hillary Clinton.

Like any company with bullish rumblings, Joe’s political stock is on the rise: The rumors began in earnest last week with a remarkable story by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in which she relates a tale of Beau Biden, Joe’s eldest son, dying of brain cancer, “losing his nouns,” and urging his father to run, “arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

A brief tangent: Dowd’s article is remarkable not just for her sourcing of a story which few people outside the family would know but also for its merciless assault on Hillary Clinton: The article begins by describing the similarities between the former Secretary of State and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. It’s some fine work by Dowd (I don’t think I’ve ever said that before!) and deserves to be quoted at length even though, as a long-time hater of the Pats, I think the comparison is unfair to Brady, who has repeatedly proven himself to be the best in the business (quite unlike Hillary) and against whom all evidence is circumstantial (also quite unlike Hillary):

A pattern of cutting corners, a patina of entitlement and inevitability, has led to this.

Destroying digital messages and thwarting official investigations while acting all innocent about wiping out sensitive material.

Avoiding reporters after giving disingenuous explanations at uncomfortable news conferences. Claiming egregious transgressions are a private matter and faux controversy while sending out high-power lawyers and spin doctors to deflect and minimize.

Two controlling superstars with mutable hair and militant fans, married to two magnetic superstars who can make a gazillion an hour for flashing their faces and who have been known to stir up trouble.

A pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win.

Given the Times’ other harmful-to-Hillary reporting, including their story regarding the Clinton Foundation and the Russian purchase of American uranium assets and the repeatedly corrected article about a “criminal referral” into her handling of classified information on her private e-mail server, Mrs. Clinton is probably wondering why such an important liberal media outlet just isn’t that into her.

Back in the political marketplace, Biden’s stock, long ignored like the political equivalent of J.C. Penney, is showing bullish signs, the first real uptick in years.

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:


You Call That Progress?

Barack Obama is the most “Progressive” of recent, and perhaps of all, American presidents. Indeed he is the only recent Democratic president rightly characterized as “Progressive” rather than just liberal.

But with massive increases in government debt and food stamp use, declines in labor force participation, the impending insolvency of the Social Security Disability Fund, relentless unemployment among African-Americans and deteriorating race relations, and by far the worst economic “recovery” in modern American history, one has to ask (in the sarcastic style of my Jewish grandma), “This is progress?!?”

It’s not just that things aren’t going well. It’s that they’re going particularly badly for those whom Progressives claim to care about most (the poor, minorities, the “working class”) while the rich get richer (in itself not a bad thing) and large companies succeed while small companies struggle and new business formation stagnates — a terrible situation in an economy that relies on small and new companies for job growth.

Conservatives have long fretted over Democrats controlling the political lexicon, causing words to mean — Humpty Dumpty style — what liberals say they mean, but we have consistently failed in changing the literal terms of the debate.

Following on Barack Obama’s dismal performance, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and campaign offer the best opportunity in memory for Americans to reconsider the true meaning of the most fundamental word in the left’s rhetorical arsenal: Progressive.

Mrs. Clinton has yet to propose a truly new idea. Each of her few policy positions are regurgitations of populist pabulum that offer nothing innovative, nothing for Americans to get excited about, no hope to improve the lives of people anywhere on the income spectrum, and no future for our nation. In short, she is a perfect Progressive.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:


The Third Obama Term

Pundits of the left and the right have spilled much digital ink on Donald Trump in recent weeks, increasing in recent days with his unconscionable comments about John McCain. (McCain is not my favorite politician but a fighter pilot who refuses early release from the Hanoi Hilton because other members of our military had been there longer than he had is by any measure a war hero.)

Democrats enjoy what they wrongly perceive to be a massive Republican circular firing squad and a public being pushed to believe that Trump is representative of the broader GOP.

Conservatives who oppose Trump point out that he has contributed at least $200,000 to the Democratic Party and to the campaigns of Democrats including Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Max Baucus, Dick Durbin, Chris Dodd, and, yes, Hillary Clinton (both her senatorial and presidential campaigns).

Trump’s political contributions have tilted rightward in recent years (including substantial contributions to the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney). And many uber-wealthy businessmen spread the cash around senior politicians — especially of their own state — in order to maintain hoped-for influence with them. But how does this make Trump a credible Republican candidate in a country desperate for good government and sick of crony capitalism?

I understand the appeal of a “non-politician” politician who doesn’t couch his words in political correctness. Still, between providing so much aid and comfort to his newly found political enemies and having supported single-payer (socialist) health care, abortion, a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and, perhaps worst of all, the Supreme Court’s horrendous Kelo decision (allowing government to steal private property and give it to other private property owners), it is remarkable that more Republicans don’t recognize the man as unprincipled and, at best, a Donny-come-lately to the political right.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

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I Am John Galt
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