State of the Union

Being the Police Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

My parents own two flower shops in my hometown, and as I was growing up I worked there after school and every summer. One day when I was 17, I had to deliver an arrangement to a nursing home just west of town.

I viscerally disliked nursing home deliveries, but upon entering, I was relieved to find that this home was far nicer than the others—it was clean and had individual apartments for each guest. I found the specified room and handed the bouquet to a pleasant elderly woman, who was overjoyed to receive it.

When I returned to the shop, my dad informed me that the nursing home had just called. Not only had I delivered the arrangement to the wrong room, I was at the wrong place altogether–the correct nursing home sat just down the road. I returned shamefaced and apologized profusely to both the woman and the staff (not to mention my parents) for the mix-up. I had screwed up, and it was only right that I take the blame.

Many police departments in this country do not seem to follow that standard of common decency, however. Take this case from Pontiac, South Carolina: Read More…

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Herman Cain’s Awkward Video

So far Herman Cain has been able to evade the poll-slump blues encountered by other candidates. Many predicted that like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry before him, Cain would quickly fall to Earth. So far, though, his popularity has held up.

Cain’s success comes despite being nearly eviscerated over his 9-9-9 tax plan by fellow candidates at the last GOP debate. And now Cain has unveiled a baffling campaign video:

Ever say goodbye to someone only to realize you’re both walking in the same direction, so you go along in silence for the next half-minute? After about five seconds of Herman’s smile, I get that same uncomfortable feeling.

Everything is awkward. The music. The 10-second smile. Most curious, though, is Cain’s chief of staff, Mark Block, inexplicably taking a drag from a cigarette on camera. The comments on YouTube are brutal: as one post put it, “You’re allowed to do another take!”

It succeeded in one regard though — people are certainly talking about it.

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We’re Hiring

Do you enjoy both the pizza box culture of web startups and the political intrigue of Washington? Are you a fan of the independent-minded conservatism presented on this site?  If this sounds like you or someone you know, please read or send along this announcement:

Do you want to join a Washington journalism team that’s advancing a smart, independent voice on the Right?

The American Conservative is looking for an online editor. The magazine is already expanding its website, which will re-launch this winter as the nation’s premier online hub of traditional conservatism. If you are the right editor for this job, here’s what you’ll be doing: Managing and growing The American Conservative’s web presence, overseeing online content (assigning, editing, and writing articles and blog posts), planning/producing the homepage on a daily basis (aggregation, multimedia creation, comments curation, and overseeing staff bloggers), developing and executing the web strategy (including social media, search, referral traffic, and e-newsletters), and monitoring analytics.

The ideal candidate will have some experience in online journalism and a passion for engaging with a dynamic community of serious readers, plus:

  • Eagerness to work tirelessly in a small but ambitious team (the position will report to magazine’s editor)
  • Superb writing and editing ability
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Love of considered, lengthy journalism as well as an appreciation of horse-race politics
  • Excellent news/opinion judgment
  • A background in intellectual conservatism and keen understanding of The American Conservative’s unique sensibility.

This position is based in our Arlington, Virginia office. To apply, please email your resume, cover letter, and writing sample to: [email protected].

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Daily Round-up: Defining Conservatism, Obama Bans Local Press

Glenn Greenwald from Tom Dispatch takes a look at the Occupy Wall Street pretests and asks, why now? Income inequality, he says, has always been present in America. The difference now? Inequality manifests not through free-market success, but rather through the corrupt marriage between private industry and government.

Pat Buchanan reflects on what it has meant, and what it now means, to be a conservative. If America has lost her way so utterly, what are we now trying to conserve?

Daniel Larison dissects the bellicose rhetoric of the Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith. He says Smith doesn’t seem to understand what collective action means, and wants to see an aggressive, unilateral U.S. action against Syria and Iran.

President Obama is busy making the rounds for donor support in the financially precarious land of California. After mingling with all the pretty people in Hollywood on Monday, he’ll be holding a $7,500 dollar fundraiser in San Francisco today. A liberal president mingling with Hollywood-types isn’t atypical, but it is worth nothing that he will not be allowing local reporters to cover the San Francisco event. Instead, only the White House traveling press pool will cover the event. Whatever the reason for the ban, he’s catching flak for it. Former Bush Press Secretary Nicole Wallace went as far as to call the ban “idiotic.”

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Better Late Than Never . . .

Aaron Goldstein asked a question that probably would have garnered the label “unpatriotic conservative” eight years ago:

I have given a great deal of thought to the War in Iraq since President Obama announced that all American troops would be withdrawn at the end of this year after he failed to obtain an extension to the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement signed by former President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. I found myself asking a question I thought I would never pose.

Should Saddam Hussein have stayed in power?

He’s on to something, although he should be asking, “should the United States have invaded Iraq?” Saddam Hussein was a monster, but for all of President Bush’s prattle about the “threat” from Iraq, he was in no position to attack the U.S. and his humiliating capture demonstrated that he had no death wish. Invading Iraq was a foreseeable disaster; but if memory serves, right-wing websites and publications allowed no dissent on the issue when it mattered.

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What Is It We Wish to Conserve?

A conservative’s task in society is “to preserve a particular people, living in a particular place during a particular time.”

Jack Hunter, in a review of this writer’s new book, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? thus summarizes Russell Kirk’s view of the duty of the conservative to his country.

Kirk, the traditionalist, though not so famous as some of his contemporaries at National Review, is now emerging as perhaps the greatest of that first generation of post-World War II conservatives — in the endurance of his thought.

Richard Nixon believed that. Forty years ago, he asked this writer to contact Dr. Kirk and invite him to the White House for an afternoon of talk. No other conservative would do, said the president.

Kirk’s rendering of the conservative responsibility invites a question. Has the right, despite its many victories, failed? For, in what we believe and how we behave, we are not the people we used to be.

Perhaps. But then, we didn’t start the fire. Read More…

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Daily Round-up: Chris Christie, Islamic Libya, Palestine’s Future

Is Chris Christie a faux-political rockstar? Paul Mulshine says we should be glad Christie isn’t in the presidential horse race. Though New Jersery Governor Chris Christie has managed to don the cape and cowl of a conservative crusader on the national stage, sending politicos and Republicans around the country into a swoon, his true political identity is one of a compromising moderate, Mulshine says. He traces Christie’s rise to political prominence, painting the portrait of a modern-day Rockefeller Republican who just happened to have the right clips on YouTube at the right time.

The Chairman of Libya’s interim government spoke in Benghazi on Sunday, declaring that the new Libyan government would embrace Islam.

“We are an Islamic country,” the chairman of the Transitional National Council, said as the sun descended. “We take the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion.”

What will that mean for US interests? Eric S. Margolis doesn’t see an easy road ahead:

Competing groups of western-backed technocrats and former regime members will now vie for power with militant Islamists and hard men from Benghazi. The British, French, and Italians, all former colonial masters of North Africa’s coast, will likely offer troops for “training.” Businessmen and carpetbaggers from Europe, the U.S. and Canada are already pouring into Libya, a new sandy version of Alaska’s Klondike gold rush.

Back in March, Pat Buchanan mused that the ambiguity around the Libyan uprising’s outcome spelled potential trouble for the U.S. in a post-Gaddafi Libya.

In the midst of the Arab Spring, the editorial from the newest issue of TAC tells why the future of the Palestine conflict matters.

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Mitt Romney’s National ID

Cato’s Jim Harper sees peril in Romney’s love of E-Verify, a supposedly anti-immigration database with plenty of potential for collateral damage to citizens’ liberties: “It’s technically possible to have a biometric card that solely indicates one’s qualification to work under federal law,” Harper says, “but as I wrote in my paper, ‘Franz Kafka’s Solution to Illegal Immigration,’ there is almost no chance that the government would limit itself this way. E-Verify requires a national identity system, and Mitt Romney wants that national identity system.”

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The Gaddafi I Knew

“What’s going on, what’s happening,” a wounded, dazed Muammar Gadaffi reportedly asked just before he was murdered in Sert, Libya.

The “Brother Leader” had once asked me something similar. A year after the US sought to assassinate him by dropping a 2,000-pound bomb on his bedroom in Tripoli’s Baba al-Azizya barracks, Gaddafi took me by the hand, guided me out of his trademark Bedouin tent and walked me around the ruins of his private quarters. He showed me the bed on which his two-year old adopted daughter had been killed by the US laser-guided bomb.

With a plaintive look, he asked me, “Why, Mr. Eric, why are the western powers trying to kill me?” I was stunned. Gaddafi appeared to be sincere. Could he—a leader Ronald Reagan called “the mad dog of the Middle East”— not understand why he had become a hate figure and target number one?

The answer, I told him, was punishment: first, for shaming his brother Arab leaders into raising the price of oil to a fair trade value. Second, his naïve, unquestioning support for all sorts of violent “anti-colonial” movements:  among them, the IRA, Basque ETA, killer Abu Nidal, Philippine Muslim rebels, Nelson Mandela’s ANC. Any group that called itself “anti-colonial” or “liberationist” and got to Tripoli came away with bags of dollars and Gaddafi’s support. Read More…

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What Comes Next

The US Army is leaving Iraq at the end of the year or maybe not depending on how the negotiations on thousands of trainers works out.  Why remain in Iraq at all?  According to the State Department it’s to maintain “situational awareness around the country, manage political crises in potential hotspots such as Kirkuk, and provide a platform for delivering economic, development and security assistance.” Today Hillary warned Iran not to take advantage of the situation or it would make us very angry.  Last week she told Pakistan to heel or we would use our troops to sort things out in the tribal areas.  Too late for any of that stuff Hillary.  If you haven’t noticed we are running out of money.

And then there are the Republican candidates, all of whom condemn the departure from Iraq (as if we had any choice – we are being asked to leave).  All except for Ron Paul, who is not considered a real Republican by the media and his peers.  A leading American Senator and psychopath, whose appetite has apparently been whetted by the price tag of “only $1.1 billion” required to kill Libya’s Gadhafi, is now looking ahead to future adventures.  As AP reports it, “U.S. Senator John McCain said Sunday that military action to protect civilians in Syria might be considered now that NATO’s air campaign in Libya is ending. ‘Now that military operations in Libya are ending, there will be renewed focus on what practical military operations might be considered to protect civilian lives in Syria,’ McCain said at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. ‘The Assad regime should not consider that it can get away with mass murder. Gadhafi made that mistake and it cost him everything,’ he added. ‘Iran’s rulers would be wise to heed similar counsel,’ McCain said.”

Syria first and then Iran, or maybe the other way around.  Persistent reports from Israel suggest that the Israeli cabinet has already approved an attack on Iran and is only delaying due to pressure from Washington.

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