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Ed Driscoll

Obama: The Provincial President

March 3rd, 2015 - 6:23 pm

“Why Obama hates Netanyahu, and vice versa” is explored in a remarkable essay by Haviv Rettig Gur of the Times of Israel:

At a recent gathering of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, the eminent former director general of the Foreign Ministry, Prof. Shlomo Avineri, called Obama’s foreign policy “provincial.” It was a strange choice of words to describe the policies of a president with such a cosmopolitan outlook and so much eagerness to engage the world.

But Avineri had a point.

Obama’s remarkable memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” includes a powerful account of how his experiences as a young, keenly observant social organizer in South Chicago instilled in him the sensibility that would come to define his presidency.

In the book, he describes his reaction upon hearing the children of a poor Chicago neighborhood divided into “good kids and bad kids – the distinction didn’t compute in my head.” If a particular child “ended up in a gang or in jail, would that prove his essence somehow, a wayward gene…or just the consequences of a malnourished world?”

“In every society, young men are going to have violent tendencies,” an educator in one majority-black Chicago high school told him in the late 1980s. “Either those tendencies are directed and disciplined in creative pursuits or those tendencies destroy the young men, or the society, or both.”

The book is full of such ruminations, and they echo throughout Obama’s rhetoric as president. In his last speech to the UN General Assembly, he asserted that “if young people live in places where the only option is between the dictates of a state or the lure of an extremist underground, no counterterrorism strategy can succeed.”

For Obama, terrorism is, at root, a product of social disintegration. War may be necessary to contain the spread of Islamic State, for example, but only social reform can really cure it.

Add to this social vision the experience of a consummate outsider – half-white and half-black, with a childhood and a family scattered around the world – and one begins to see the profile of a man with an automatic empathy for the marginalized and an almost instinctive sense that the most significant problems of the world are rooted not in ideology but in oppressive social and economic structures that reinforce marginalization. This sensibility is broader than any economic orthodoxy, and is rooted in the hard experience of South Chicago.

After taking the helm of the world’s preeminent superpower in January 2009, this social organizer set about constructing a foreign policy that translated this consciousness into geopolitical action.

“The imperative that he and his advisors felt was not only to introduce a post-Bush narrative but also a post-post-9/11 understanding of what needed to be done in the world,” James Traub noted in a recent Foreign Policy essay. “They believed that the great issues confronting the United States were not traditional state-to-state questions, but new ones that sought to advance global goods and required global cooperation — climate change, energy supply, weak and failing states, nuclear nonproliferation. It was precisely on such issues that one needed to enlist the support of citizens as well as leaders.”

The world was one large Chicago, its essential problems not categorically different from those of South Chicago’s blacks, and the solutions to those problems were rooted in the same essential human capacity for overcoming social divisions and inequities. This was Obama’s “provincialism” — his vision of the world that favored the disadvantaged and downtrodden, that saw the ideological and political clashes between governments as secondary to the more universal and ultimately social crises that troubled a tumultuous world.

Perhaps what worried Mr. Obama the most about Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking today were the inevitable comparisons of tone and style, and for good reason. As a result of watching Netanyahu, Jazz Shaw of Hot Air takes a second look at Bibi:

When the Prime Minister finished speaking today, I realized exactly how wrong I had been in assuming that this was going to be some cheap, catchpenny display. This was, as I said on Twitter in the moments following the address, one of the most powerful speeches which I have seen delivered in that chamber in the modern era. Netanyahu was the essence of many attributes so lacking in American politics today. He was gracious, not only to those who obviously support him, but to those who might disagree with him here on various policy points. (And, as I will cover below, even with those who were simply rude.) He projected wisdom and rational thought, so frequently lacking in the cheap seats of the theater of American politics. He was sincerely grateful for all that he and the nation he represents have received from the United States and for the consanguinity between our nations. He expressed confidence and hope in a lasting relationship which should be a hallmark of civilized relations in the modern world.

Above all, he was not there to be a politician as I had previously supposed. He was there to be a leader, but also a gracious ally, speaking as an equal on the world stage. He did not come with his hat in hand to ask America to save him. He reiterated that Israel could save itself, but that it would not have to stand alone as long as those with common values which embrace basic goodness stood together in sodality. It was, quite simply, one of the most moving speeches I have witnessed in many years.

I was wrong – in the worst way, since I have clearly allowed cynicism to poison the well – when I supposed that this speech was a pointless, partisan, political ploy. I think I’ve spent too long watching American politicians standing up on cable news and barking out the same tired talking points which their minions repeat ad nauseam for the mainstream media complex. I was highly impressed and felt a bit ashamed. I owe the Prime Minister an apology and I do so now.

I miss the days when America was led by a grownup who had faith in his country and its people. I hope we have that experience once again.

Related: “Dreams from Netanyahu’s Father,” from Seth Lipsky of the New York Sun and Time magazine.

Yesterday, Chris Matthews compared Netanyahu speaking to Congress to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, Matthews doubles down:

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews escalated his rage over Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress, Tuesday, hinting that the Israeli prime minister delivered what amounts to a coup. Appearing on his cable network for analysis, Matthews darkly warned, “This man from a foreign government walked into the United States legislative chamber and tried to take over U.S. foreign policy.”

Angered by the address, the cable anchor called the speech “shocking” and blamed both Netanyahu as well as Republicans: “They went into the U.S. Congress to take over U.S. foreign policy today from the President. It’s a remarkable day when the leaders of the opposition in Congress allowed this to happen.”

Of course, as Kathy Shaidle likes to say, for Democrats, “It’s different when we do it.” Return with us now to December 4, 2007, when Joe Biden, then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that he “would move to impeach” Bush if he circumvented the Democrat Congress and unilaterally disarmed Iran. As Matthews glowingly replied, “They don’t even remember when there were senators that understood the checks and balances of our government, of our Constitution. I am so impressed you said it.”

Meanwhile, San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi lives out Gloria Swanson’s theatrics in Sunset Boulevard in order to mug for the nightly news cameras, declaring that she was “near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech.” As Allahpundit responds at Hot Air, “Whatever:”

Here’s how seriously you should take her alleged outrage over Netanyahu’s “Bibi knows best” attitude. Back in 2007, while George W. Bush was warning people that Bashar Assad might not be the cuddly would-be “reformer” that Democrats like Hillary Clinton were convinced he was, one prominent liberal flew all the way to Damascus to sit down with Assad and pose for photos. Bush wanted to isolate him; the Democrat in question, convinced that she and her party knew best, had other ideas. Guess who.

I also like the idea here that when U.S. intelligence tells you something, you can go ahead and take it to the bank. This is coming from someone who became Speaker by exploiting voter frustration with the Iraq war.

Allahpundit adds, “This was a performance for lefties by an abject hypocrite on the idea of Congress undercutting the commander-in-chief’s hegemony over foreign policy. Don’t forget it as the crocodile tears keep ‘nearly’ flowing:”

And as Ace writes, rounding up similarly stompy-footed reactions from a variety of Democrats with and without media bylines, “Confirmed: The Left Pretty Much Freaks Out When a Jew Tells Them They’re Wrong.”

Mother Jones freaked out so badly, they inadvertently declared Obama the second coming of Alan Alda, honorary woman:

Update: “Bibi’s Speech—The Real Fallout,” from Roger L. Simon: while Pelosi, Matthews, Mother Jones, Obama and other self-styled “Progressives” were huffing smelling salts and diving for fainting couches, Iran confirms that Netanyahu is correct: no negotiations with Mr. Obama will stop them from acquiring the bomb as quickly as they can.

“According to a report from Page Six, a fight broke out Friday during the filming of Stallone’s latest Rocky flick, Creed, which didn’t sit well with the legendary co-producer, who is also a star of the film,” Kipp Jones writes at Big Hollywood:

A source close to the film’s production near Philadelphia, PA said things became heated when the character “Pretty Ricky,” played by British boxer Tony Bellew, became upset at another actor, who is playing his corner coach.

While the cameras were rolling, things got violent. The source told Page Six that Bellew “immediately flipped out and began screaming.”  That’s when the now 68-year-old “Rocky Balboa” jumped into action and stopped the fight.

The cameras were immediately turned off, and all crew members and extras were ordered to leave the set, per Page Six.

A few necessary cast members were reportedly asked to return later that afternoon, but a second source told the publication that no punches were thrown, and that filming was only cut for lunch.

However, a source told TMZ that the brawl was very real, and that Bellew jumped out of the ring during filming to fight the unnamed man and landed several blows on him.

According to TMZ, the fight was only broken up after Stallone and a few others physically intervened.

Jones adds that “Creed, which is set for U.S. release on November 25, will follow the grandson of former Rocky Balboa adversary Apollo Creed, who is being mentored by Balboa.” Will Rocky also be mentoring Creed’s grandson on his education outside the ring? The possibilities for a montage scene there are awesome!

‘Chappaqua, We Have a Problem’

March 3rd, 2015 - 1:27 pm

Brilliant headline from PJM alumnus Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post:

It is unfathomable why Democrats feel as though they have no choice. Surely, there are fans of Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others who would recognize that the Democratic Party badly needs not merely a sparring partner in the primaries but an alternative to Clinton who is not perceived as personally corrupt or secretive and is not burdened by an increasingly problematic Obama foreign policy record. Surely, even a candidate who will have to work harder to raise money and create name identification but who is capable and not burdened by scandal would be preferable to a 67-year old woman of immense wealth, low ethical standards and nonexistent candor. Or perhaps the Democratic Party is so devoid of talent that it simply has no choice but to take Clinton with all her obvious and serious defects.

That’s a question that the Democrats chose to answer in 2008, when it picked tyro rookie senator Barack Obama over tyro (almost) rookie senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton in 2008. Might have had a lot more options open today if Obama had been Hillary’s veep for eight years. And if Hillary didn’t have that new president smell in 2007, her brand’s freshness date has long since expired, no matter what sort of new packaging her marketing department mocks up in Photoshop.

Meanwhile, to keep the Apollo 13 metaphors going — to paraphrase Kevin D. Williamson at NRO, with Hillary, failure is always an option:

Here’s my theory: She was preparing for failure.

Mrs. Clinton knows—she must know, at some level—that she has been grossly unprepared for every position she has held in public life other than that of first lady. She was a New York senator who knew the parts of the state more than 40 miles from a park-view room at the Plaza about as well as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. knows Muleshoe, Texas. She was a presidential candidate whose only recommendations were ovaries and a surname beloved—but not quite enough—by Democratic primary voters. And then she became a secretary of state appointed to the position mainly to appease the bruised feelings of Clintonites and to keep her from making mischief in case of a first-term Obama administration meltdown.

But she was a grossly incompetent secretary of state who knew that she was going to run for president again, and thus took positive steps in advance to put in place protocols that would help her to mask her inadequacy. It is difficult even for her admirers to make a credible argument that her time in that office was anything other than disastrous. She knows this.

The news media and the Democrats know this, too. Mrs. Clinton’s career in public office has been nothing more than a tribute to her husband, a fact that you would think would rankle the feminists who are so enthused about the former first lady’s presidential ambitions. Maybe it’s time to take off the presidential kneepads and admit what everybody knows: She isn’t very good at this sort of thing, and promoting her to her next level of incompetence is an invitation to disaster.

Though to be fair, Mr. Obama has set that bar so low that Hillary’s administration would be seen as an improvement by both parties.

‘Preparing for China’s Collapse’

March 3rd, 2015 - 12:58 pm

P.J. O’Rourke was interviewed by Peter Robinson of Ricochet and the Hoover Institute last month, and near the end of their wide-ranging conversation, Robinson asked O’Rourke about those of us in California who’ve given up on trying to reform the sclerotic dinosaur that is Sacramento. O’Rourke began his reply with this great anecdote referencing an even bigger and more dangerous ancient socialist government:

I remember going around China with a friend of mine who owned some steel foundries and a pelletized iron ore plant. He’s an American, but he lives in Hong Kong. Anyway, we’re wandering around mainland China, and I remember saying that I hadn’t heard any political discussions. Is it because people are afraid to talk about politics? He said, “no, they’re not afraid to [talk about politics]. You get ‘em started, and they’ll go on. But you’ve got understand the fundamental Chinese attitude toward government is ‘shhhhhhh….don’t wake it up when it’s sleeping.’” And I think our Millennials have a little bit of that same attitude. Fortunately, what they would wake up would not be as terrifying as [China’s cultural revolution.]

But what happens when China’s government does wake from its slumber? Steve Green writes today that the results won’t be pretty:

If a collapse should come, there is something we need to think about very seriously whether or not Washington ever heeds Mattis’s advice: The huge economic disruptions. China does in manufacturing today what America used to do, which is to move fast and scale up even faster. China moves workers and material in amounts and at speeds which are a legal and regulatory impossibility in 21st Century America. Between worker regs and the EPA, it simply isn’t possible for the US to replace China’s manufacturing ability — and there’s no other country besides us big enough and skilled enough to even try.

China’s collapse would cut a whole leg off of the global economy, with no anesthetic and no way to stop the bleeding. The loss of physical capital and manufacturing know-how would make a second Great Depression all but certain.

We need to have a plan in place to lift an awful lot of regulations, immediately, so that American business can go back to doing the kinds of things it used to do — and could do again if Big Fat Washington weren’t sitting on its chest.

In the early days of WWII, FDR asked for the impossible — that American industry build 50,000 warplanes in the first year, and 50,000 more every year after that. Nothing like it had ever been tried. But American business saw the profit potential, and FDR (for once) mostly got Washington out of the way. Sure enough, he got his airplanes.

We could do this, and avoid a global depression. The only thing stopping us is us.

I’m tempted to say “insert the Pogo quote here,” but given its origins during the rise of the American environmentalist left in the early 1970s, it was designed to stop us as well.

Related Exit Quote, via William F. Buckley: “Every ten years I quote the same adage from the late Austrian analyst Willi Schlamm, and I hope that ten years from now someone will remember to quote it in my memory. It goes, ‘The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.’”

Shot:

—As collated by Twitchy, in a post titled “‘Like poo-flinging monkeys’: Journos high-five over ‘hilarious’ Benghazi report; Four Americans still dead,” November 21st, 2014.

Chaser:

Two weeks ago, we learned that the Clinton Foundation accepted contributions from foreign countries. Assurances from the Obama administration and Clinton aides that no donations were made during her tenure as secretary of State were proven false.

I called the actions sleazy and stupid. Sleazy because any fair-minded person would suspect the foreign countries of trying to buy Clinton’s influence. Stupid because the affair plays into a decades-old knock on the Clintons: They’ll cut any corner for campaign cash. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton and his top aides used the White House as a tool to court and reward big donors.

Now The New York Times is reporting that Clinton used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of State, an apparent violation of federal requirements that her records be retained.

Exposed by a House committee investigating the Benghazi Consulate attack, Clinton brazenly dug in her heels. Advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal email and decided which ones to release: Just 55,000 emails were given to the State Department.

Those are our emails, not hers. What is she hiding?

“Maybe Hillary Clinton Should Retire Her White House Dreams: Maybe she doesn’t want to run in 2016, top Democrats wonder. Maybe she shouldn’t,” former AP journalist Ron Fournier, National Journal, today.

Related: “Michelle Malkin compiles history of administration’s ‘unorthodox’ email methods,” today at Twitchy.

Update: At the risk of serving Vodkapundit-worthy levels of shots and chasers, have another round:

 

Susan Rice speaks to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference today, and you won’t believe what happens next! (Sorry.) As Twitchy notes, “The highlight of her speech was undoubtedly the standing ovation she received for acknowledging the desire for a complete halt to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. The look on her face while waiting for the cheers to die down so she could add ‘but’ and finish her sentence: priceless:”

John Podhoretz responded, “So without a deal, Rice is saying, Iran will build a bomb. Also, with a deal, Iran will build a bomb. This is really astounding.” And Twitchy also quotes Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel, who tweeted, “Before Susan Rice got up to speak at AIPAC, the video screens played friendly reminders not to boo anybody.

Last night, Roger L. Simon asked, “Will Obama’s Iran Deal Be the Worst Deal Ever Made?” That is, if it even comes to pass:

 I don’t enjoy making predictions because I’m usually wrong, but this is what I suspect will transpire as of Sunday night, March 1.  A deal ultimately will not be made.  Khamenei never wanted one in the first place, only to mark time for more nuclear research.  To make a deal would, for him, undermine too many years of hating America, undercutting the rationale for his hideous regime.  BUT… Israel (specifically pushy Netanyahu), not Iran,  will be blamed for the failure by the U.S. administration and its MSM minions, led by the New York Times.  Iran will collude with this, dropping the proper hints — if it weren’t for those Israelis we would have had an agreement, but you know they can’t be trusted.  The Republican presidential candidates will be swept up in this. They better be ready, but I fear they are not.  They don’t impress me as a particularly sophisticated bunch on the international front, I’m sorry to say, and the Iranians know how to play disinformation-hardball almost as well as the Russians.  I hope I’m wrong in all this. I hope Netanyahu knocks that same hardball out of the proverbial park and with it some sense into the American public.  But I worry.

And for ever-increasing good reason.

Related: We know that, to paraphrase Sean Davis, Elizabeth Warren is off the reservation when it comes to Netanyahu’s speech tomorrow. So where does Hillary stand?

hillary_blackberry_3-2-15-2

In this Oct. 18, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton works from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo / Kevin Lamarque, Pool, File)

“Ever wonder why multiple investigations of the Benghazi attack failed to turn up much from Hillary Clinton’s e-mails?” Ed Morrissey asks at Hot Air:

So did the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the facility and the failures that led to it. To their surprise, the Secretary of State had conducted all of her e-mail on a private account rather than an official State Department account — and her aides had carefully culled only the e-mails they wanted investigators to see. The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt dropped that bombshell earlier this evening:

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act. …

The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered as a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack.

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Clinton provided the committee with about 300 emails — amounting to roughly 900 pages — about the Benghazi attacks that Mrs. Clinton’s aides had found among her personal emails.

Why, it’s not like Hillary is some sort of paranoid secretive character out of 1984, is she?

As Moe Line asked, shortly before news of Hillary’s private emails broke, “Hillary Clinton STARTED OFF as the villain. How does she plan to become the hero?”

But… that’s the problem, isn’t it? In 2007 the Democratic electorate was told, point-blank, You do not have to ‘settle’ for Hillary Clinton. You can have something that’s better. Different. Not more of the same.  And the Democratic electorate arguably responded* to that. And their reward? …Hillary Clinton has come back in 2016.  Only now she’s almost a decade older, and probably considerably more bitter about life.  Not to mention, really inevitable this time.

Thus the paradox. Hillary Clinton was used to establish, fix, and personalize everything that the Obama campaign wanted primary voters to think was wrong with the current system. Then they brought her into the administration, which means that she’s inextricably linked to it.  So Hillary Clinton can’t run on being opposed to Obama’s policies, because she helped implement them**.  But if she runs on being on-board with the Obama agenda, she’s left with two problems, the second*** one being that a large part of the Obama agenda was that he supposedly represented a break of the politics of the past, which were in no small part exemplified by… Hillary Clinton.

Of course, even before this latest Clinton scandal erupted* there was a simple solution for Democrats who pay lip service to transparency:

*You saw what I did there, right?

Update: And upon sighting a big juicy scandal to sink their shark-like teeth into, the Establishment Left MSM swings into action — to attack a conservative!

 

As Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet after being singled out by the Over-the-Hillary Gang for ritual shaming, “The D.C. press corps is so unsettled by offering even the mildest concern about Democrats that they must quickly return to their comfort zone mocking proles. There is little interest in questioning the rich and powerful, it’s all about defending their tribe. The Clintons certainly don’t view Gray, Confessore, et al., as fellow elites, but this only makes these reporters more desperate to flaunt the tribal markers.”

MSNBC-parody-10-4-10

Geez, exaggerate much, Chris?

KATHLEEN PARKER: As far as all this concern with protocol, when did we start caring so much? But secondly, and I understand why the White House is upset about it, because it does come at a time when they’re trying to do something very serious, which is negotiate with Iran, but the Speaker has asked before for Netanyahu to come and invited him before, in 2011. He did go to the White House because he was worried about messing up then negotiations with Iran, and the White House did not respond for a month, according to the Speaker’s office. And when they did, they basically said it’s, it’s your call.

So he might have felt that it was not necessary to consult with the White House this time, but I do know that he did give him a heads up. The White House was notified before this went public, now, albeit only an hour before, but, there was some time to shuffle the papers at least.

CONNIE SCHULTZ, syndicated columnist: That’s not notice, Kathleen, you know that’s not notice.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think that’s the Japanese model.

PARKER: I’m just reporting. I’m doing the genius thing and just reporting.

Dude. It’s a speech to Congress, not a surprise attack on American battleships. MacArthur gave his “old soldiers never die” speech there as comeuppance after he was fired by Harry Truman. But that’s quite a comparison for Matthews to reflexively make. He’s employed by the network that hears racial dog whistles in the words “golf” and “Chicago,” and he used his own show immediately after the Giffords shooting in January of 2011 as a platform calling the end of violent gun and war-related metaphors in the media, comparing them to racial epithets.

Naturally of course, there will be no repercussions to Matthews after his slur; as my friend John Nolte likes to say, “Democrats sure got it good.”

Unexpectedly.

“Two years ago this week, my stepson came home wearing an Arabic black thawb. He walked into the sitting-room, smiled defiantly at me and at his father, and asked us how he looked. We were a little shocked, but being English of course we said he looked very nice,” an author writing under the pseudonym of “Claire Stevens” in the UK Spectator notes:

Over the next few months we saw the boy we knew become buried beneath a spiritual totalitarianism. The word Islam means submission. It allows you to love nothing else; to be a good Muslim, you must surrender yourself completely. Under the informal tutelage of his new friends, our boy eagerly took on the attitudes of his Muslim ‘brothers’ in place of his former personality. Why, he protested, didn’t I cook every night? Why didn’t I ‘look after’ him and his dad like a good (Muslim) woman would? I was lazy, I was ‘irresponsible’, he would say, a smug little smile on his face. I felt angry and sad.

To keep the peace, I tried to take it as a joke, informing him that I had a career that involved more than just having babies. Gradually though, I found myself worn down by his attitude.

It wasn’t just women who found themselves at the sharp end of our boy’s new found sagacity. A news story about Afghanistan prompted him to join in our discussion of politics, something which in the past had been of no interest to him. He informed us that the problems in the region were the fault of ‘The Jews’; everything bad in the world could be laid at the door of ‘The Jews’. The Holocaust never happened, he insisted, but in the same breath he would say that ‘the Nazis should have finished them off’. ‘The Jews’ had caused the world financial crisis and, of course, ‘The Jews’ were the reason why he couldn’t find work. It was not because he had neither qualifications nor work experience, although that was probably their fault too.

See also upbringing of John Walker Lindh among the arch-leftists of Marin County. As my fellow PJM columnist Claudia Rosett wrote in December of 2001 in the Wall Street Journal:

John–a k a “Sulayman,” a k a “Abdul Hamid”–is from Marin County, Calif., a place where it is, like, totally uncool to make value judgments.

From Marin, the young Mr. Walker’s parents spot him on the TV news and hustle to share with the world the alternative reality that shaped this self-described jihadi in the first place. Their son John is a spiritual, questing guy, we are told, a pacifist at heart, young and maybe susceptible to brainwashing. John’s mother, Marilyn Walker, tells the press that her son is just a “sweet, shy kid,” “totally not streetwise,” a peaceful, scholarly type who wanted to help poor people. His father, Frank Lindh, announces that John “is a really good boy” even if he does deserve “a little kick in the butt for not telling me what he was up to.”

A Marin musician, Neil Lavin, tells the Associated Press that Mr. Walker was in Afghanistan on a spiritual quest, quite possibly a rewarding one: “I imagine he lost himself there. Or found himself.” A family friend, Bill Jones, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that fighting for bin Laden was just “a youthful indiscretion.”

Even outside Marin, a lot of folks just don’t seem to get it. In one account after another, there is the same perplexed tone: How could it happen that John Walker Lindh, the second of three children reared by broad-minded parents in the emotionally supportive 1990s, in a 3,000-sqare-foot home in one of the wealthiest enclaves on the California coast, ended up questing away with an assault weapon on the enemy side in Afghanistan? Newsweek quotes Mr. Lindh, his father, as saying, “I can’t connect the dots between where John was and where John is.” The magazine concludes: “Neither, it seems, can the rest of the world.”

Unexpectedly.

40 years ago in “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” writing in New York magazine, Tom Wolfe explored the “unexpected” result in America in the 1970s, after the “New Left” began running the culture starting in the mid-1960s, in much the same way that England’s left had dominated its culture since the post-war era:

Ever since the late 1950s both the Catholic Church and the leading Protestant denominations had been aware that young people, particularly in the cities, were drifting away from the faith. At every church conference and convocation and finance-committee meeting the cry went up: We must reach the urban young people. It became an obsession, this business of “the urban young people.” The key—one and all decided—was to “modernize” and “update” Christianity. So the Catholics gave the nuns outfits that made them look like World War II Wacs. The Protestants set up “beatnik coffee-houses” in church basements for poetry reading and bongo playing. They had the preacher put on a turtleneck sweater and sing “Joe Hill” and “Frankie and Johnny” during the hootenanny at the Sunday vespers. Both the priests and the preachers carried placards in civil rights marches, gay rights marches, women’s rights marches, prisoners’ rights marches, bondage lovers’ rights marches, or any other marches, so long as they might appear hip to the urban young people.

* * * * * * * * * *

Today it is precisely the most rational, intellectual, secularized, modernized, updated, relevant religions—all the brave, forward-looking Ethical Culture, Unitarian, and Swedenborgian movements of only yesterday—that are finished, gasping, breathing their last. What the Urban Young People want from religion is a little Hallelujah! . . . and talking in tongues! . . . Praise God! Precisely that! In the most prestigious divinity schools today, Catholic. Presbyterian, and Episcopal, the avant-garde movement, the leading edge, is “charismatic Christianity” . . . featuring talking in tongues, ululation, visions, holy rolling, and other nonrational, even antirational, practices. Some of the most respectable old-line Protestant congregations, in the most placid suburban settings, have begun to split into the Charismatics and the Easter Christians (“All they care about is being seen in church on Easter”). The Easter Christians still usually control the main Sunday-morning service—but the Charismatics take over on Sunday evening and do the holy roll.

This curious development has breathed new life into the existing Fundamentalists, theosophists, and older salvation seekers of all sorts.

It shouldn’t be very surprising that after England’s left had hollowed out its religious roots that many teenagers, adrift and searching for answers would want to have a “great awakening” with the most charismatic religion they could find.

Pay no attention to the horrible aftertaste, though.

‘How Spock Became a Sex Symbol’

March 2nd, 2015 - 4:14 pm

Virginia Postrel, writing in Bloomberg View, notes that “When ‘Star Trek’ debuted in 1966, showing a beautiful black woman and a dashing Asian man as bridge officers was an idealistic political statement. Turning someone who looked like Leonard Nimoy into a sex symbol, however, was entirely unintentional:”

Before he played Spock, Nimoy, who died today at 83, played a surprising number of parts as Indians and Mexicans in the Old West. With his long, thin face, prominent nose and deep smile lines, he looked like The Other.

That’s why he fit the part of Spock. “All I wanted at first was pointed ears and a faintly satanic appearance,” said series creator Gene Roddenberry in “The Making of Star Trek,” published in 1968.

Spock’s “alien features” — as Roddenberry called them in the book — weren’t limited to prostheses. Nimoy was handsome, but not in a way that Hollywood in 1966 recognized. He didn’t look like a leading man. He looked like what he was: the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. And if you looked like that, you were a character actor, not a star.

But Nimoy became a star. He was a Method actor and in creating Spock, he gave what could have been a gimmicky, two-dimensional character hidden depths. Those hidden depths in turn gave him sex appeal. Within the show’s plots, Captain Kirk was the lady killer. But Spock was the one who made female viewers swoon.

15 years ago in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, his look at the big screen “New Hollywood” of the pre-Star Wars early to mid-1970s, Peter Biskind wrote:

The young directors employed a new group of actors—Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Harvey Keitel, and Elliott Gould—who banished the vanilla features of the Tabs and the Troys, and instead brought to the screen a gritty new realism and ethnicity. And the women—Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Jill Clayburgh, Ellen Burstyn, Dyan Cannon, Diane Keaton—were a far cry from the pert, snub-nosed Doris Days of the ’50s. Most of these new faces were schooled in the Method by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, or trained by the other celebrated New York teachers: Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, or Uta Hagen. In fact, a lot of the energy that animated the New Hollywood came from New York; the ’70s was the decade when New York swallowed Hollywood, when Hollywood was Gothamized.

As Postrel concludes her article, “If actors like Jeff Goldblum and Adrien Brody aren’t stuck playing villains, it’s partly because Nimoy proved that looks like theirs could be not satanic but sexy.” As with so many aspects of the original Star Trek, it was nice of Nimoy and Roddenberry to once again go where no man had gone before.

‘Let’s Destroy Liberal Academia’

March 2nd, 2015 - 2:08 pm

As I’ve long argued, while attacking media bias is both vital and fun, the real ground zero of the left is academia. Before he passed away three years ago, Andrew Breitbart talked about adding “Big Education” to the roster of Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Peace at Breitbart.com, and I’m sorry to see that element of vision never came to pass. But at Townhall, Kurt Schlichter writes that if conservatives and libertarians really want to return to controlling the overculture, academia is where they should target their efforts:

Understand that the purpose of modern American “education” is not to educate students. It is primarily to provide cushy, subsidized sinecures for liberal administrators and faculty while, secondarily, providing a forum to indoctrinate soft young minds in the liberal fetishes du jour. Actually educating students is hard, and a meaningful education is anathema to liberalism. In the liberals’ ideal world, the universities would simply fester with leftist nonsense and not even bother with trying to teach their charges anything at all. And today, it’s pretty close to being the liberals’ ideal world.

You liberal readers are foaming at the mouth right about now, furious not because I’m wrong but because I’m undeniably, absolutely, incontrovertibly right. So your next move – see, I’ve done this before, my Marxist Ceramics-majoring friend – is now to attack me personally since you never learned from your goateed TA how to argue like an adult. Your first gambit will be to impugn my own academic career. Try again – I have the academic credentials you prize so highly and with so little reason. Been there, done that, built a company, married an ex-model, and no, I don’t want to see your resume.

So save the posturing for the other gender-indeterminate members of your interpretive dance collective – most of us conservatives have endured your schools, gotten our diplomas, and now reject the scam that is modern academia. I’d suggest you call us academic apostates, but you wouldn’t know what that means without Googling it. Now fetch me my latte and I’ll drop a nice, shiny quarter in your tip jar.

As I discuss in my book Conservative Insurgency, and as others like Glenn Reynolds have observed, with modern academia we normal Americans are paying to support a suppurating abscess in our culture that, left untreated, will kill its host. We need to lance this boil and drain the leftist pus.

Modern academia is a refuge and sanctuary for the left within our culture where the inhabitants can devote their full efforts to destroying the very society that subsidizes them without having to worry about actually producing anything of value. It’s an intellectual and moral cesspool. Just look at some of the nightmares that have slithered out of our universities and into mainstream society in just the last few decades – political correctness, hook-up culture, Barack Obama.

And if Schlichter’s words don’t fire you up, perhaps this image will:

Bring It From Your Loins!

March 2nd, 2015 - 1:33 pm

The sweaty corporatist profundities of Ed Shultz, swinging sex machine, summed up in a single minute by the Washington Free Beacon.

Meanwhile, NewsBusters spots Mellisa Harris-Perry tackling the burning issue of the day: the hidden racial thoughtcrimes of the man who once played Doogie Howser, MD.

bill_clinton_portrait_3-2-15-1

Former President Bill Clinton, gestures after the portraits of his wife Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and him were revealed, Monday, April 24, 2006, at the Smithsonian Castle Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Wow. As Steve Green tweets, “Clinton Troll Level: Jedi F***king Knight:”

Philadelphia area painter Nelson Shanks cunningly included a shadow over the fireplace cast from a blue dress on a mannequin.

Shanks said painting Clinton was his hardest assignment because “he is probably the most famous liar of all time.” So he added the nod to the Lewinsky scandal because it had cast a shadow over Clinton’s presidency.

If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.

At Big Hollywood, John Nolte adds that for once, “Dem President Gets Taste of Subversive Art:”

Usually the artistic community singles out Christians and conservatives for subversive attacks. This week it was Democrat Bill Clinton who got a taste of an artist’s sting when the artist responsible for the former-president’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery revealed he slipped in a reminder of Clinton’s sordid affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“The portrait also appears to show Clinton extending his hips towards the dress,” Nolte adds.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, one way or another, there will be a do-over, right? If not sometime between now and 2017, assuming Hillary gets in, either the painting will be quietly airbrushed Stalin-style, or it will be replaced by a portrait created by another painter. And given the track records of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, I hope that Shanks has his tax records well in order.

Rolling Stone is not happy, but then, they stopped speaking truth to power sometime during the Johnson administration.

Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past

March 2nd, 2015 - 10:37 am


Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Good Morning America anchors and reporters effusively lauded Al Gore on Friday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. Diane Sawyer opened the program by breathlessly declaring, “Former Vice President Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping awaken the world to global warming. Now is it time to run for president again?” In her introduction to a piece on the subject, Sawyer gushed that the ex-VP is receiving the award for “for educating the world.”

“ABC Gushes Over Al Gore Nobel Win; He’s ‘Educating the World,’” the Media Research Center, October 15, 2007.

Good Morning America news reader Amy Robach on Friday mocked Republican James Inhofe as “bizarre” for a global warming speech he gave on the Senate floor. Robach described, “And a bizarre scene in Washington. One senator used the recent snow to bolster his argument about climate change.”

Inhofe held up a snowball to note the unusually cold February that the east cost has suffered through. Tossing the snowball, he joked, “Here, Mr. President. Catch this.” ABC has a history with condescending coverage on this issue. On April 23, 2012, reporter Bill Blakemore derided climate change skeptics as “denialists” and called for more alarmist advocacy.

“ABC Hits Senator Inhofe’s Climate Speech as ‘Bizarre,’” NewsBusters, February 27, 2015.

(Headline via the London Independent in 2000. The New York Times was running similar headlines as recently as last year; anti-vaccine crank Bobby Kennedy Jr. was specifically warning of no more snow in DC in 2008.)

Update: “Continue to Remind the Alarmists that It’s Cold Out. They Deserve It,” Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon writes, in-between digging his car out from seven degree weather. We’re doing our part!

Would every non-anti-Semitic donor to UCLA please watch this video?” Moe Lane asks, and I’m happy to help it generate a little bit of additional distribution. As Moe writes, “It’d probably be a good thing if said donors knew what their money is paying for:”

As Powerline noted, according to the above video the only reason being given to oppose the young woman in question was that she was a Jew. If that isn’t clear from the video, here’s an admittedly partisan recounting of events from a friend of Ms. Beyda. All in all, everyone generally agrees that this incident reflects badly on UCLA, and well it should.

But that’s not why donors should reassess their charitable impulses. The reason why donors should reassess their charitable impulses is because nobody got fired for teaching these kids to be prejudiced against Jews.  What, did you think that they learned it on their own? Nope! They’ve been soaking up nonsense about divided loyalties* from their professors (and, possibly even more terrifyingly, from campus administrators); one can hardly be surprised that said nonsense is going to be, ah, expressed in stressful moments.

As William F. Buckley wrote in Up From Liberalism, “In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”

Meanwhile at LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM-friendly Wesleyan University, “With so many oppressed groups,” Glenn Reynolds quips, “who’s left to do the oppressing?”

Related: I suspect Stacy McCain has much more on the root causes of the madness at Wesleyan and other related topics in his new eBook, Sex Trouble, Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature.

Another day, another hit piece on Walker, this time from Philip Rucker of the Washington Post. (Link safe; goes to Hot Air; I’m not rewarding attack articles with extra traffic):

Walker responded by ticking through his recent itinerary of face time with foreign policy luminaries: a breakfast with Henry Kissinger, a huddle with George P. Shultz and tutorials at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.

But then Walker suggested that didn’t much matter.

“I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhD’s,” he said. “It’s about leadership.”

Walker contended that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was then-President Ronald Reagan’s move to bust a 1981 strike of air traffic controllers, firing some 11,000 of them.

“It sent a message not only across America, it sent a message around the world,” Walker said. America’s allies and foes alike became convinced that Reagan was serious enough to take action and that “we weren’t to be messed with,” he said.

According to Politico, Rucker was the guy who whined, “What about your gaaaaaaaffffffes!!!!!!” to Mitt Romney in 2012; but what about Rucker’s gaffes, specifically, his lack of knowledge of history? Specifically, history that happened likely before the young Democrat operative with a byline was even born. Rucker’s article is headlined “Scott Walker calls Reagan’s bust of air traffic controller strike ‘most significant foreign policy decision,’” but that’s not a bad summation of how those events played out.

Return with us now to the early 1980s. In his 2009 book The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, Steve Hayward of Power Line wrote:

Smashing the air traffic controllers union has loomed large in populist lore ever since as a “signal” to private sector management that it was now okay to squeeze unions, but this is too simple. (If Reagan had really wanted to send an anti-union message, he would have proposed privatizing air traffic control.) Generally polls showed that public esteem for organized labor was at an all-time low by the time of PATCO’s ill-considered gambit. Labor was getting the message. A Wall Street Journal headline a month later told the story: “Economic Gloom Cuts Labor Union Demands for Big 1982 Contracts.” Fed chairman Paul Volcker later said that Reagan’s firing of the PATCO strikers was the single most important anti-inflationary step Reagan took.

There was one unanticipated audience that paid close attention to Reagan’s manhandling of the strike: the Soviet Politburo. Since taking office the administration had been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate in some concrete ways its toughness toward the Soviet Union. As is often the case, the most effective opportunity came in an unexpected way and from an unlooked-for place. The White House realized it had gotten Moscow’s attention when the Soviet news agency TASS decried Reagan’s “brutal repression” of the air traffic controllers.

For the American news media, Reagan’s handling of the strike became the opening for a new line of criticism. During the budget fight, the dominant line of criticism was that while Reagan’s policies might be cruel and uncaring, he himself was a kindly man. Having wondered whether Reagan was too “nice,” Haynes Johnson now wrote: “A glimmer of a harsher Reagan emerges…. For the first time as president, he has displayed another, less attractive side. Firmness is fine in a president; indeed, it is desirable. But something else came through last week—a harsh, unyielding, almost vengeful and mean-spirited air of crushing opponents. It makes you wonder how he will respond if faced with a direct, and dangerous, foreign challenge, one requiring the most delicate and skillful combination of strength and diplomacy.”

Gee, ask Secretary Gorbachev how that worked out.

In her 2003 book about Reagan,  Peggy Noonan quoted the Gipper’s Secretary of State George Schultz, who called it:

“One of the most fortuitous foreign relations moves he ever made”. It was in no way a popular move with the American public but it showed European heads of state and diplomatic personnel that he was tough and meant what he said.

Yesterday, Noonan added at the Wall Street Journal:

What Reagan did not speak about was an aspect of the story that had big foreign-policy implications.

Air traffic controllers in effect controlled the skies, and American AWACS planes were patrolling those skies every day. Drew Lewis: “The issue was not only that it was an illegal strike. . . . It was also that a strike had real national-security implications—the AWACS couldn’t have gone up.” It is likely that even though the public and the press didn’t fully know of this aspect of the strike’s effects, the heads of the union did. That’s why they thought Reagan would back down. “This hasn’t come up,” said Lewis, “but the Soviets and others in the world understood the implications of the strike.”

Foreign governments, from friends and allies to adversaries and competitors, saw that the new president could make tough decisions, pay the price, and win the battle. The Soviets watched like everybody else. They observed how the new president handled a national-security challenge. They saw that his rhetorical toughness would be echoed in tough actions. They hadn’t known that until this point. They knew it now.

However, I’m not at all surprised that the newspaper whose then-subsidiary magazine declared “We Are Socialists Now” upon Mr. Obama’s inauguration in 2009 would not be all that familiar with the history of the final years of the Cold War.

And speaking of Reagan:

Exit quote:


The pile continues to grow.

Update: “Arrogant Media Elites Mock Middle America,”  Salena Zito writes today at Real Clear Politics:

As consumers of news, most Americans want an honest look at the potential presidential candidates and where they stand on serious issues.

Reporters mock those news-consumers when they mock candidates who aren’t like the reporters themselves — but who are very much like normal Americans.

It is unforgivably arrogant for anyone in the media to think that the rest of the country thinks like they do.

“A reporter’s job is to report the news, not to drive it or to create it. A reporter’s audience is not just an echo chamber, not just D.C. friends, rivals, partisans and followers on social media. (Remember: Only 8 percent of Americans get their news through Twitter.),” Zito writes.

Don’t think of the DC media as reporters, as Glenn Reynolds recently noted:

The press sees itself first and foremost as political allies of Democrat-dominated institutions, which most emphatically includes universities, a major source of funding, foot-soldiers, and ideological suport for Democrats. When outsiders want information that might hurt Democrat-dominated institutions — see, e.g., ClimateGate — they are always portrayed by the press as partisans, malcontents, and evil. That is because the press today functions largely as a collection of Democratic operatives with bylines.

And the successful pushback against government unions by Walker — like Reagan before him — explains much of the subtext driving Rucker’s ahistoric ruckus.

Israel National News claims:

The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

Following Obama’s threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack.

This lede sounds a bit like telephone tag, but this is what Giuliani was getting at last month and why the press erupted so angrily against him. If  this report is true, who at this late stage in Mr. Obama’s administration who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention to his actions would be at all surprised by it?

In any case, “I wish Obama was half as mad at ISIS as he is at Netanyahu,” Jon Gabriel of Ricochet tweets.  Or as Mark Steyn asked last month when the media ginned up the Rudy kerfuffle, if Obama was “working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?”

Update: Roger L. Simon explains “Why Obama Order to Shoot Down Israeli Jets [is] Most Likely Untrue:”

More likely, the report, which emerged from Kuwait, is disinformation timed to discredit Prime Minister Netanyahu and make him seem a warmonger in advance of his address to Congress Tuesday.

Read the whole thing.

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong,” Clarke wrote over half a century ago. Back in 1995, in an article by 1990s pop culture technology maven Clifford Stoll a few years after the World Wide Web began making the Internet accessible to all, Newsweek predicted:

Consider today’s online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.

Sure, Stoll completely missed the Kindle, but note the elitist snark at Citizen’s Band radio, which in many ways anticipated the democratized media that was just around the corner — in the early 1980s, CompuServe launched its online chat format, which they dubbed “CB Chat” to make the format instantly recognizable. (Which sold me — I was one of its first users, logging in on TRS-80 Model I and Hayes modem.)

Curiously, the seemingly pie-in-the-sky ATT commercials narrated by Tom Selleck, which first aired a few years prior to the above article, actually got far more right about the technology that was to come. Only the Picturephone, long an obsession of Bell/AT&T hasn’t happened yet:

There are some aspects of the Internet that Stoll would get right — its Jacobin-like mob mentality (two words: Justine Sacco) and its negative impact on retail business. (I love Amazon, MP3s and the Kindle; I miss ubiquitous local book and record stores.) But then, much of the problem with the article stems from its title: “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana.” Did anybody think it would be? It was obvious it would be radically transformative, as futurists such as Clarke and Alvin Toffler had predicted decades prior to the Web’s launch), but nirvana? Not likely when human emotions are involved, which like any communications medium, the Internet simply transfers elsewhere.

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Is Leftism Exhausted?

February 28th, 2015 - 11:45 am

“All This Has Happened Before …and will happen again,” Sonny Bunch writes at the Washington Free Beacon, noting how the left has always loved itself a good circular firing squad:

What the angry left of today has in common with the angry left of yesteryear is a lot of rage and little cohesion. There’s not an actual program being pursued, no series of demands. There’s just vitriol and angst wrapped up in vaguely leftist sloganeering. They eat their own because it’s easier. This is basic human psychology: When you attack an outsider, he’s just as likely to give you the finger and tell you to get bent as he is to listen to your grievances. But when you attack one of your own—when you scream at someone who has professed a desire to be your ally, when you harp on and on how they have failed to hew to your orthodoxies—it is easier to cow them into submission and convince them to beg forgiveness for their heresies. Left-on-left spats in social media are common because these are fights the radicals can win. And it’s always more psychically pleasing to win a fight than lose one.

More on this later, perhaps. I’ve got to run: I’m late for my RINO hunt. There are some cocktail parties in Georgetown that need cleaning out.

Heh. At NRO, Jonah Goldberg adds that “the cultural Left has disengaged from mainstream political arguments, preferring instead the comforts of identity-politics argy-bargy. You judge political movements not by their manifestos but by where they put their passion. And on the left these days, the only things that arouse passion are arguments about race and gender,” which for the left also involves devouring your own, yet another sign that leftism is exhausted, as Jonah writes. Fortunately, as George Lucas would say, there is a New Hope on the horizon:

For instance, the feminist agitprop drama The Vagina Monologues is now under fire from the left because it is not inclusive of men who believe they are women. Patricia Arquette was criticized from the right for her Oscar-acceptance rant about women’s wage equality, but the criticism paled in comparison to the bile from the left, which flayed her for leaving out the plight of the transgendered and other members of the Coalition of the Oppressed.

Such critiques may seem like a cutting-edge fight for the future among the protagonists, but looked at from the political center, it suggests political exhaustion. At least old-fashioned Marxists talked about the economy. Of course liberalism isn’t dead; it’s just resting. But it certainly could use an exciting, charismatic savior to breathe new life and fresh thinking into its ranks.

Thank goodness Hillary Clinton is waiting in the wings.

Which will be fascinating to watch: vote for me to relive the glory days of the 1990s, even though I’m running on policies that are an extension of Obama’s, and totally repudiate all of my husband’s, except for Hillarycare, which is what led to him losing Congress in 1994, which helped usher in the glory days of the 1990s.

Not to mention the possibility of lots of really cheap Scott Walker versus Hillary’s walker jokes. Perhaps a looming fear of that sort of reverse Alinsky-style ridicule is one part of the subtext of the media’s coordinate hits on him over the past few weeks?