Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This And That

Catch that headline in the Times a few days ago? No?


Miscellaneous commentary --

WSJ Editors --

The Obama Administration was so preoccupied with a grand political solution in Baghdad that for weeks it refused to arm the Kurds for fear of offending Mr. Maliki, even as it was urging Mr. Maliki to resign. How's that for consistent logic?

Victor Davis Hanson --

Did a law contribute to Obama’s concept of social justice, and did it further the progressive political cause? If the answer was no to either, the statute was largely unenforced. No president since World War II has done more to harm the U.S. Constitution — by ordering the executive branch not to enforce particular laws, by creating by fiat laws never enacted by Congress, by monitoring the communications of journalists and average Americans, by making appointments contrary to law — to the apparent yawns of the people.

It may turn out that Democracy was a noble idea doomed to failure because of an inherent human need to be ruled. A few more elections empowering a small group of elitist despots and there may be no turning back on the road to serfdom. Andrew Klavan comments on the ideology responsible for the turn towards tyranny.

Progressivism stinks so badly of past prejudices and hatreds because progressivism is inherently a regressive philosophy. Everywhere and always, the left supports one thing: rule by force. Taking an individual’s property by force, overriding an individual’s conscience by force, silencing individual dissent by force. It’s the oldest form of government there is, and the left wants to bring it back. No wonder they sound so old fashioned. For them, tomorrow is yesterday.

Jeff Jacoby, commenting on the sharp leftward turn Democrats have taken just over the past two decades --

The law (The Religious Freedom Restoration Act) that Hillary Clinton and the others find so disturbing now was, of course, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Congress had passed the measure with overwhelming bipartisan support; Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch were the lead Senate sponsors. "Let us never believe that the freedom of religion imposes on any of us some responsibility to run from our convictions," Clinton said at the signing ceremony. "Let us instead respect one another's faiths, fight to the death to preserve the rights of every American to practice [their] convictions." Most Democrats then, like most Republicans, shared that view.
Bill Clinton's religious freedom law isn't the only one that liberal Democrats today look upon with disdain.
It was Clinton who signed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 1993 and the Defense of Marriage Act three years later. He and Vice President Al Gore fought hard for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Clinton enacted the Helms-Burton Act, which extended and codified US economic sanctions against Cuba. And he signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, making it the policy of the United States "to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power." Two months later, Clinton ordered a major bombing campaign against Iraqi targets, saying Saddam "must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world" with weapons of mass destruction. 
The last Democratic president signed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, and followed it up with four years of federal budget surpluses the first in three decades. He signed tax relief that reduced the top capital-gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent. But his most important domestic legislative achievement was unquestionably welfare reform. In his first State of the Union address, Clinton had promised to "end welfare as we know it," and through a blend of work requirements and benefit limits, the welfare-reform law he endorsed in August 1996 did so. The nation's welfare caseload plummeted by 54 percent over the next decade, and as millions of mothers went to work, child poverty rates plunged too.

Kyle Smith, NY Post --

One of these words is not like the others (or maybe they're all pretty much the same — you make the call): Loon, nutjob, crank, wingnut, whackjob, cuckoo, crackpot, dingbat, wacko, conservative.
Can't spot the outlier? You might be a liberal. Because even among the Very Serious and Highly Respected voices on the left, "conservative" and "crazy" are synonyms.
A recent example: A highly acclaimed book that examines the conservative movement in the 1970s, Rick Perlstein's "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan." The book is the kind of thing that liberals praise as an evenhanded portrait of the Right. You know, kinda like how "Super Size Me" was totally fair about McDonald's.
What about the liberal writers who make no pretense whatsoever of understanding their ideological opposites? Here's a partial list of the hundreds of conservatives who have been labeled "wingnut" by alone: Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, columnist Jonah Goldberg, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (and his predecessor Eric Cantor), the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Chris Christie.
If these people and institutions are cuckoo, then conservatism itself is crazy. And that is exactly what liberals think. (Sometimes this tendency takes eccentric form, as when liberals argue that it's "crazy" not to panic about climate change.)
Liberals hope to tag completely mainstream conservative thought as outside the boundaries of polite discourse, but the electorate keeps refusing to comply by, for instance, electing a Congress designed to serve as a stalwart check on progressivism for 16 of the last 20 years. This is baffling to liberals.
Mark Steyn --
...getting your pension fund to divest from Israel, the 21st century equivalent of getting your country club to nix the Jews.

Kevin Williamson --

The Israeli Jews, practically alone among the world’s living things, are expected to make allowances for the well-being of those who are trying to exterminate them.

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