State of the Union

The Impossible Is Possible

When Ron Paul announced his 2012 campaign for president, I joked that his odds had improved from nil to slim since 2008. The odds are still stacked heavily against him, but there seems to be a path that could lead him to the Republican nomination and possible victory.

Despite many of the big media outlets’ unwillingness to even mention Paul’s second place finish at the Ames Straw Poll this weekend, it likely signals that he will perform well in the caucuses in January. New York Times number cruncher Nate Silver argues that Ames is the best predictor we have at this stage of the race for performance in the Iowa caucuses. Even when Silver includes several other predictors in his analysis, all signs currently point to Paul and Michele Bachmann leading the pack by a substantial margin.

But Ron Paul doesn’t need to win Iowa like Michele Bachmann does. If Paul finishes with a strong second in Iowa behind Bachmann, he will build momentum going into New Hampshire while simultaneously denying it to Mitt Romney. Romney limps into New Hampshire after losing to an evangelical candidate, allowing a legislator who has openly feuded with his party’s leadership on several key issues to win the primary–we’ve seen that movie before. At the moment, the prediction market InTrade puts Paul’s chances of winning the New Hampshire primary at 20%, which is not great, but it’s within the realm of possibility. Read More…

Posted in , . 12 comments

Mitt’s Dilemma

Last week’s Republican debate at Ames, Iowa, and the straw poll Saturday did more than sort out the Republican field for 2012.

They have given the nation a good close look at a Republican Party that no longer resembles the Bush-McCain model.

Consider. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, who garnered nearly 60 percent of the votes cast, were both among the two dozen House members who voted against the final bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling. Neither blanched at shutting down the U.S. government.

At the debate, every Republican onstage raised his or her hand when asked whether he or she would reject a budget deal in which $10 in spending cuts were offered for every dollar in higher taxes.

This is a party whose feet are set in concrete. The United States government will be downsized and tax rates will rise only over its cold dead body. This is Reaganism on steroids.

Bachmann’s victory was stunning. Read More…

Posted in , . 41 comments

On the London Hooligans: Plus ca change…

The New York Times carried a report on the UK riots, “London Riots Put Spotlight on Troubled, Unemployed Youths in Britain,” which included an interview with one of the “rioters,” Louis James, 19, who lives in a government-subsidized apartment in northern London and received $125 jobless benefits every two weeks.

Poor Louis “never had a proper job” and learned to read only three years ago. “His mother can barely support herself and his stepbrothers and sisters.” And his father, who was a heroin addict, is dead.

“No one has ever given me a chance; I am just angry at how the whole system works,” “Mr. James” told the Times, whose reporters seemed to be ISO the “root causes” of what is basically nothing more than a form of old-fashioned hooliganism made easier thanks to iPhone and Facebook, the twitter hooligans. Louis spends most days watching television because, he explains, that “is the way they want it.” They give him enough money so that “I can eat and watch TV all day.” So it was they who made him steal (or “taking” as The New York Times put it) a $195 sweater.

Read More…

Posted in . 4 comments

Intern at TAC

We are now accepting applications for a fall (September to December) internship at The American Conservative. Interns acquire significant experience in all aspects of producing a magazine and website: researching and writing blog posts, contributing headline and story ideas, and producing at least one print article by the end of the internship. TAC is a small shop, with everyone pitching in on the less exciting administrative tasks; we’ll ask you to do the same. The intern will work from our offices in sunny Arlington, Virginia — only a few metro stops from all the excitement of the imperial city.

While our preference is for a full-time commitment starting in September, we are open to a part-time arrangement for the right candidate.

If you are interested, please send a resume and writing sample to [email protected]

Posted in . Post a comment

Welfare State Mobs

An unprecedented police presence of 16,000 officers in London last Wednesday night, with many more stationed throughout England, has manged to quell the most extensive and vicious rioting in the UK in living memory. The violence may have hatched itself from a protest on the previous Saturday over the police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in Tottenham, but rage against the Old Bill (as the London Metropolitan Police Force are known, despite the inexplicable reference to “the feds” in recent graffiti scrawls) was swiftly drowned in an orgy of opportunistic vandalism, looting and arson – spreading across London and to other cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool – with no political motive beyond the disregard for private property and the integrity of neighborhood communities.

Predictably, the Twittersphere and media comment pages have been groaning – often literally – with unsolicited socio-economic diagnoses and moral assessments. In the face of such mindless and nihilistic unrest, commentators and bloggers have been eager to tease out of the “meaning” of the recent violence. Read More…

Posted in , , . 8 comments

George W. Bush Redux

For me there are a number of good reasons to favor the candidacy of Ron Paul, but the area where he is most distinct from the other Republicans is foreign policy, where he supports desperately needed non-interventionism.  The following, which appeared on the Foreign Policy website speaks for itself regarding where Rick Perry would take us if he is elected.  Feith and Luti were associated with the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon which used fabricated intelligence from Iraqi National Council head Ahmed Chalabi, cherry-picked other information, and stovepiped the whole lot without any caveats up to the White House to support an invasion of Iraq.  Perry would be a return to George W. Bush foreign policy, quite likely staffed by the same crew that brought us the Global War on Terror.

Perry…has…held an increasing number of meetings with foreign policy experts of all stripes. These meetings, which have sometimes gone on for hours, have helped Perry brush up on a range of issues, from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to proliferation, from Middle East policy to international trade, according to those familiar with the meetings. The experts that he has reached out to include former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, former NSC strategy guru William Luti, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy, former Pentagon official Charles “Cully” Stimson, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe Daniel Fata, former Pentagon China official Dan Blumenthal, the Heritage Foundation’s Asia expert Peter Brookes, and former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalizad. Politico reported that Donald Rumsfeld helped Perry set up the initial meeting with Feith, Luti, McCarthy, and Fata (Stimson was invited but couldn’t attend), but there have been several more since then and the Perry team is continuing to fly in experts to meet with the governor in Texas.  Foreign policy hands with knowledge of the prospective candidate’s identity, which is still taking shape, told The Cable that Perry is planning to stake out political territory as a defense-minded but internationally engaged candidate, contrasting himself with the realism of Jon Huntsman, the ever-changing stance of Mitt Romney, or the Tea Party budget cutting focus of Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul.  “He will distinguish himself from other Republicans as a hawk internationalist, embracing American exceptionalism and the unique role we must play in confronting the many threats we face,” one foreign policy advisor with knowledge of Perry’s thinking told The Cable. “He has no sympathy for the neo-isolationist impulses emanating from some quarters of the Republican Party.”

 

Posted in . 33 comments

To His Coy Murdoch

Bill Kristol been taking liberties with Andrew Marvell yet again.

From time to time, I too must cross Harvard Yard, where last night a fleeting figure too bright to be his lady thrust into my hands this odious marvel:

Has Rupert world enough, and time,
To suffer young Bill’s latest rhyme?
Though he has authored, reprobate,
Conservatism’s parlous state.
While some teahouses on The Hill
Still deign to serve The Standard’s swill.
Others down by Watergate
Await Murdoch’s dictated slate.
Any other they’ll refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.

But at his back, inspiring fear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurries near
As Newsweek in the dust doth lie
We hear The Weekly Standard cry
Subscribers no more can be found,
The economy’s run hard aground,
The markets plunge, jobs disappear,
As Kristol leads us from the rear.
Iran lacks nukes, yet still his Standard scores
Our nation’s policy by its count of wars.
Fought in middle eastern dust,
While Yankee credit turns to rust.
The Fed’s a fine and private place,
But none I think our bonds embrace. Read More…

Posted in , . One comment

The Fire This Time

“You’ve damaged your own race,” said Mayor Michael Nutter to the black youths of Philadelphia whose flash mobs have been beating and robbing shoppers in the fashionable district of downtown.

“Take those God-darn hoodies down,” the mayor went on in his blistering lecture. “Pull your pants up and buy a belt, ’cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”

And the mayor had some advice for teenagers looking for work.

“You walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back and your shoes untied and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you?”

“They don’t hire you ’cause you look like you’re crazy.”

Nutter is African-American and the first leader to speak out about the racial character of the flash mobs attacking people in one American city after another. And where are our other leaders? Read More…

Posted in , . 54 comments

Three Martyrs

Please join with me in commemorating a group of three British Muslim martyrs. Seriously.

Haroon Jahan, Abdul Nasir, and Shazad Ali died Tuesday night in Birmingham’s impoverished Winson Green area. After two days of rioting, looting, and casual arson, mainly by black gangs, the local community despaired of seeking help from a police force that was not making the slightest effort to intervene to defend them. As the small businessmen and shopkeepers of the area, the local South Asian community had most to lose. Organizing from the local mosque, they dispatched groups of young volunteers to patrol the area. A speeding car hit a group of these community defenders, killing three. (The driver is charged with murder). The victims were classic hard-working immigrants, one a mechanic, another ran a car wash. In the words of one observer, “They lost their lives for other people, doing the job of the police. They weren’t standing outside a mosque, a temple, a synagogue or a church – they were standing outside shops where everybody goes. They were protecting the community as a whole.”

If you have been following media coverage of the British riots, you have seen a great many explanations of the violence, including such classic theories as urban deprivation, youth unemployment, and anger at police racism, and all have some substance. What has been fascinating this time round is to see how even the most mainstream liberal outlets – even the New York Times – have focused on the vicious hooliganism and criminality driving the mobs, how they are driven not by an inchoate rage against injustice but by strictly rational desires for high-class consumer goods. Some even remark on the growth of “feral” gangs of white people, black and white. Read More…

Posted in . 18 comments

Zionism and Social Democracy

A surprise event to complement the “Arab” Spring is the nationwide turnout, starting last weekend, of at least 250,000 Israelis — over 200,000 in downtown Tel Aviv — protesting the rising cost of living in Israel and demanding government intervention to reduce food and housing prices. Set alongside the clamor for civil liberties and free and fair elections issuing from their Arab neighbors, Israeli demands may appear prosaic: a food subsidy is hardly akin to toppling a dictator. But commentators both loudly supportive of and vehemently opposed to Israel have been swift to interpret the “meaning” of these protests. Their answers invariably make a grab for the soul of Israeli nationhood.

The British left-wing blog Harry’s Place — much of whose output is concerned with defending Israel and rebutting “antisemitism” on the left — has interpreted the protests as an expression of “Zionism in the best and most traditional sense, as envisioned by the father of modern Zionism Theodor Herzl.” To underline the claimed affinity between Zionism and social democratic policy, the blogger goes on to quote Israeli political scientist Shlomo Avineri:

Herzl was not a socialist but he understood well that a revolutionary enterprise like Zionism could not succeed if it was to be solely based on the capitalist market model.

In his book “Altneuland,” he therefore describes the Land of Israel of the future as a social welfare society, a third way that would position itself between capitalism and socialism. Read More…

Posted in , . 4 comments
← Older posts Newer posts →