Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reading Assignment

Rob Long of National Review reporting Newsweek's latest interview with the Obama's. A taste,

NEWSWEEK. So, does it still feel strange to be flying around on Air Force One, running a nation and a large auto company?
PRESIDENT OBAMA. Strange? No, not really.
NEWSWEEK. This was your destiny?
PRESIDENT OBAMA. Look, everyone is put on earth for a reason. I’m here to transform a nation and build a better mid-size sedan. Michelle is here to support me and help raise our children. You’re here to interview me. The American people are here to vote for me. We all play our part. This isn’t a “me” situation.
NEWSWEEK. So you always knew you’d be on the cover of Newsweek?
PRESIDENT OBAMA. Well, not seventeen times!
MICHELLE OBAMA. Nineteen, actually.
NEWSWEEK. Well, twenty, after this one!
MICHELLE OBAMA. Hahahahahahahahahaha!
NEWSWEEK. Hahahahahhahahahahahahaha!
PRESIDENT OBAMA. Twenty? So the other thirty-two are of . . . what? Trends and things? Are you sure that’s wise? I mean, for consistency’s sake . . .
NEWSWEEK. Hahahahahahahahahaha!
MICHELLE OBAMA. Hahahahahahahahaha!
PRESIDENT OBAMA. Wasn’t really kidding.

Also in the current issue of NR, Jonah Golberg responds to critics of his book "Liberal Fascism". Goldberg's rigorously researched book has been hugely successful both in terms of sales and in the extensive left wing vexation it elicits.

I would broadly define “left-wing” as statist, collectivist, egalitarian (within a defined group, be it based on class, race, or nationality), enamored of the Romantic spiritualization of the political, and hostile to tradition, religious orthodoxy, natural rights, and Lockean individualism. I would define “right-wing,” particularly within the Anglo-American tradition, as pro-market, favoring limited government, respectful of religion and tradition, and protective of the individual and his rights. By any remotely similar definition, fascism belongs on the left — and, to date, not a single critic of the book has even come close to rebutting this basic point.

The NY Post excerpted Charles Krauthammer's remarks upon receiving the 2009 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism. He talks about the impact of Fox News on journalism and his own political pedigree.

...Fox News is...resented. It altered the intellectual and ideological landscape of America. It gave not only voice but also legitimacy to a worldview that had been utterly excluded from the mainstream media.
I'm proud to be part of this televised apostasy. And particularly proud to be part of the single best news program on American television, the six-o'clock news -- first with Brit Hume, now with Bret Baier. How good is "Special Report"? So good that even if I weren't on it, my mother would watch it -- and she spent 50 years as a Democrat.
Now, there is something in my past I think I should clear up right now: I was once a speechwriter for Walter Mondale. How do I explain that? Easy. Being born one generation too late, working for Mondale was the closest I could get to being a Trotskyite -- which, as you all know, is the royal road to neoconservatism.

Yesterday's WSJ presented an op-ed by a doctor, a native Canadian, David Gratzer, who gives us a look into our socialized medicine future by examining Canada's present system. Not a pretty picture. As we prepare to be thrown headfirst into this abyss, it's instructive to note that Canada, England and even Sweden, having experienced nationalized health care, are all taking steps away from it.

Shelby Steele in Monday's WSJ on the racial implications of the Sotomayor nomination. Steele used his bargainer - challenger paradigm to explain the rationale behind President Obama's choice.
As he explains bargaining,
...the minority makes a bargain with white society: I will not "guilt" you with America's centuries of racism if you will not hold my minority status against me. Whites love this bargain because it allows them to feel above America's racist past and, therefore, immune to charges of racism. By embracing the bargainer they embrace the impression of a world beyond racial division, a world in which whites are innocent and minorities carry no anger. This is the impression that animates bargainers like Mr. Obama or Oprah Winfrey with an irresistible charisma. Even if post-racialism is an obvious illusion -- a bargainer's trick as it were -- whites are flattered by believing in it.
and challenging,
Challengers see the moral authority that comes from their group's historic grievance as an entitlement to immediate parity with whites -- whether or not their group has actually earned this parity through development. If their group is not yet competitive with whites, the moral authority that comes from their grievance should be allowed to compensate for what they lack in development. This creates a terrible corruption in which the group's historic grievance is allowed to count as individual merit. And so a perverse incentive is created: Weakness and victimization are rewarded over development. Better to be a troublemaker than to pursue excellence.

In this dichotomy, Sonia Sotomayor is, like Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, a challenger. Despite being a bargainer while campaigning, the real world of Supreme Court nominating forces Obama into challenger mode, so as not to anger his minority base.

Jay Nordlinger also looks at Sotomayor's blatant racialism, here.

Last week on the Bloomberg web site, Amity Shlaes, author of the revisionist Depression history, "The Forgotten Man", offered a look at the resurgent popularity of Ayn Rand. Shlaes notes that "Atlas Shrugged" is selling more copies than ever and she correlates its sales rate with high earners' share of the tax burden. If this correlation holds, "Atlas Shrugged" will be setting sales records for years to come. As well as spotlighting her wisdom in economic matters, Shales makes some funny observations about Rand's writing style.

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