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Senator Lamar Alexander Releases Ad with Dubious Statement about His Record on Immigration



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The latest pitch from Senator Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) about his record on immigration may mislead some GOP voters headed to the ballot box today’s primary. In an ad published online earlier this week, Alexander said this about immigration: “Last year I voted to end amnesty. Last week I voted against President Obama’s immigration bill.” But last year Alexander voted yea on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, which National Review’s editors explained is, “an amnesty-first, enforcement-maybe program drawn up mainly to reflect the priorities of 11 million citizens of other countries rather than the concerns of more than 300 million citizens of the United States.” When Alexander said he voted against Obama’s immigration bill, he appears to be referring to a border-funding bill proposed by Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D., Md.) — drawn up in response to the White House’s request — that failed on a procedural vote.   

The ad starts out with Alexander introducing himself to voters and referring to himself in the third person saying, “Here’s Rule 312 from Lamar Alexander’s Little Plaid Book: In the last few days of a campaign, don’t believe anything new that you hear.” It remains unclear whether or not rule 312 applies to Alexander’s newest statement on immigration. 

Orthodox Jewish Rapper Calls Out Double Standards of BDS Movement



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A video by an Orthodox Jewish rapper that has recently gone viral sends a powerful message to all those calling for a boycott of Israel.

In the song, entitled “Boycott Israel,” 27-year-old Ari Lesser points out the double standards of the global BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) efforts against Israel, illustrating that there are dozens of nations other than Israel that violate human rights. 

“Boycott Israel if you think that’s just,” he says in the chorus, “but unless you have a double standard you must also boycott the rest of the nations with allegations of human-rights violations.”

Lesser does not argue that Israel shouldn’t be criticized, noting that “we’re not perfect.” But he suggests that viewers “take a look at the rest of the earth.” 

He raps about the obscene human-rights abuses of nations such as Yemen, Pakistan, and Colombia, noting that those who support a boycott of Israel should boycott these nations as well. 

“Don’t pick and choose to pick on the Jews,” he says. “Pick up the paper and read the news.”

Back when the video came out last fall, Lesser told the Times of Israel, “Really, you see if you’re not willing to boycott every major country — and minor country — in the world, then BDS is anti-Semitism, or anti-Israelism, or whatever.”

The BDS movement calls for cutting off Israel “until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.”
 

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Lowry: Border Agent’s Murder Exposes Lie that Border Is Secure



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Web Briefing: September 2, 2014

Chris Matthews: Executive Action on Immigration ‘Like the Emancipation Proclamation’



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​Chris Matthews excitedly compared President Obama’s potential executive action to grant legal status to millions of immigrants in the country illegally to Abraham Lincoln freeing millions of slaves during the Civil War.

“It’s extraordinary that the president would do that,” he said on Wednesday night. “This is like the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Matthews pointed to former the infamous comment by Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel (whom he initially referred to as the “late” Emanuel before correcting himself) that one should “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Via Breitbart.

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‘The Callow President’



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Here’s my Politico column today:

How many books and articles have been written by conservatives seeking to divine the philosophical beliefs and psychological motivations lurking beneath the president’s smooth exterior?

It’s certainly true that the president is much further left than he’d ever admit, but the deepest truth about Obama is that there is no depth. He’s smart without being wise. He’s glib without being eloquent. He’s a celebrity without being interesting. He’s callow.

It’s a trope on the right to say that Obama has quit, that he’s not interested in the job anymore. It isn’t true. If you are smug, overly self-impressed and unwilling to bend from your (erroneous) presumptions of how the world works, this is what presidential leadership looks like.


 

Administration Pushes for a Less Flexible Work Environment



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It’s a small, but important step toward a less flexible work environment. As The Hill reported yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is promulgating regulations to require federal contractors to provide data on employee compensation broken down by sex, race, job categories, and other categories. The purported purpose is to encourage transparency and root out wage discrimination, but its effect will be to make all companies more conscious of how their compensation data — even if entirely legal and justified based on employees’ merits and duties — will be viewed through a politically correct lens, and one with the power of the state behind it.

One would think after reports of the yawning wage gap at the White House and in prominent Democratic congressional offices, the Left would be aware that statistical wage gaps aren’t necessarily evidence of discrimination. The EEOC does ask companies to provide the number of hours worked and other relevant factors in addition to demographic data, which can be useful in explaining wage differences (for example, even women considered full-time workers spend less time each day in the office than full-time men, which contributes to differences in pay). But many of these factors that impact pay are hard to capture for a government report: differences in educational backgrounds and areas of expertise, specific job responsibilities, including the level of travel, willingness to engage in overtime work, to name but a few (see more about the main causes of the wage gap here).

Under these new rules, companies that have business with the federal government (or hope to) will have reason to make their compensation practices more standardized. Yes, this may mean that they try to boost women’s and other protected groups’ wages to try to reduce statistical gaps that might give bureaucrats an opening for investigation. But it also encourages companies to move toward more rigid pay structures which provide less flexibility for workers and managers.  Why offer a valued female employee a reduced work-schedule or less rigorous job duties (such as less travel or flexible hours) in return for lower take-home pay, even if that’s what she prefers, if that opens the company to accusations of discriminating against women? After all, such a tradeoff is tough to explain in a report for the Department of Labor, so better to require all workers to work the same hours for the same pay.

Less flexibility and more red tape for American employers — which will be the outcome of these new rules — aren’t good news for employees, regardless of one’s gender or other demographic characteristics.  

Thursday links



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The Science of Star Wars: droids, holograms, Tattoine, the Death Star, lightsabers and more.

Instructional video from 1997: How to Have Cybersex on the Internet (OK for work).

11 Ways Kids Used to Soup-Up Their Bikes.

If You Own Land, How Far Above and Below Do You Own?

Videos: Things You Can’t Do When You’re Not a (1) Toddler, (2) Cat or (3) Dog.

33 Onion Stories That People Fell For.

ICYMIMonday’s links are here, and include reverse dog shaming, an interactive map of the wealthiest person in each state, a gallery of women who don’t understand eyebrows, and things to know about reviving the recently dead.

Why Aren’t We Discussing Doing More for Central America?



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My latest column, on the debate surrounding the Central American children, was inspired by a recent trip to Guatemala. I ask why we aren’t even discussing whether to do more to address the root causes of the problem.

GUATEMALA CITY — Exhaust fumes from the old, poorly maintained cars traveling beside us infuse our cab. We pass shanty towns — settlements of poorly constructed, one-room houses; often nothing more than crumbling, lopsided walls with tin roofs. There are guns everywhere: Soldiers on the sidewalks, civilians guarding storefronts, young men in the backs of old pickup trucks. Everything is behind walls, protected, isolated.

We are driving through this town on our way to the tourist hub of Antigua. Our hosts know this particular cab company and assure us that we’ll arrive safely at our destination — not a given in Guatemala.

After decades of civil war, Guatemala is still in bad shape. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala reports “the widespread killing of women and children.” Only 2 percent of homicides in Guatemala ever go to trial. A 2013 essay in Esquire calls Guatemala City “one of the most dangerous places on earth,” and describes the “savage means” used by narco-traffickers to maintain control of their territory. The solid majority of the cocaine in the United States is smuggled through Guatemala. The CIA World Factbook reports that 54 percent of Guatemalans are below the national poverty line, with 13 percent in extreme poverty. Close to half of Guatemalan children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished, “one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.”

You can read the column here.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.

Four Senators Challenge Obama’s Bad Idea on Native Hawaiians



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I noted a couple of months ago a bad (indeed, unconstitutional) idea being floated by the Obama administration, namely the creation of a government-to-government relationship between the United States and native Hawaiians. Now four U.S. senators — Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), and Mike Lee (R., Utah) — have written an excellent letter to the administration criticizing the proposal, which you can read here.

Why Aren’t We Debating Doing More for Central America?



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My latest column, on the debate surrounding the Central American children, was inspired by a recent trip to Guatemala. I ask why we aren’t even discussing whether to do more to address the root causes of the problem.

GUATEMALA CITY — Exhaust fumes from the old, poorly maintained cars traveling beside us infuse our cab. We pass shanty towns — settlements of poorly constructed, one-room houses; often nothing more than crumbling, lopsided walls with tin roofs. There are guns everywhere: Soldiers on the sidewalks, civilians guarding storefronts, young men in the backs of old pickup trucks. Everything is behind walls, protected, isolated.

We are driving through this town on our way to the tourist hub of Antigua. Our hosts know this particular cab company and assure us that we’ll arrive safely at our destination — not a given in Guatemala.

After decades of civil war, Guatemala is still in bad shape. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala reports “the widespread killing of women and children.” Only 2 percent of homicides in Guatemala ever go to trial. A 2013 essay in Esquire calls Guatemala City “one of the most dangerous places on earth,” and describes the “savage means” used by narco-traffickers to maintain control of their territory. The solid majority of the cocaine in the United States is smuggled through Guatemala. The CIA World Factbook reports that 54 percent of Guatemalans are below the national poverty line, with 13 percent in extreme poverty. Close to half of Guatemalan children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished, “one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.”

You can read the column here.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.

Inside Christian Elimination in Iraq



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An attempt at a snapshot of the lives of Christians left in Iraq from an e-mail received from a trusted Catholic Near East Welfare Association source: 

Date: August 6, 2014

Subject: Report from Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq

This report was sent to us by Ms. Christina Patto, VP Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq. Here what she wrote:

Here is our report and some of our testimony concerning the events happening now in North of Iraq.

It is a tragic situation, nobody can imagine how terrible it is, as much as I write to you and send you reports it will not be enough to describe the suffering of people.

For Zummar and Sinjar: they are under Da’esh control, thousands of Yazidis died in the last two days, they are facing a real genocide. Till yesterday (45) children died of thirst. Some families throw their children from the top of Sinjar mountain in order not to see them die from hunger or thirst, or not to be taken by the terrorists. (1500) men were killed in front of their wives and families, (50) old men died also from thirst and illness. More than (70) girl and women (including Christians) were taken, raped and being captured and sold. More than (100) families are captured in Tel afar airport.

There is about (50) Christian families in Sinjar. The terrorists were able to control the Syriac church there and cover the Cross with their black banner. Till now we do not know anything about those Christian families.

For Nineveh Plain:

As a reason to the continuous bombing on Telkeif, Deacon (Lujain Hikmat Nano) died, most of the families left their houses and would leave one member of the family in the house, but this tragic led to an exodus from Telkeif. the same thing happened in Shekhan and the surrounded villages (shekhan center, Karanjo, Dashqotan and Ein biqri).

Ba’ashiqa: an exodus from there because there was boming and battles near Ba’ashiqa as the terrorists are trying to control that area too. Ba’ashiqa Monastory is being evacuated from the inhabitants and from IDPs.

Ein Sifni: an exodus of the Yazidi families which forced the christian families to flee too.

Mosul Falls are now under the control of the terrorist, these fall are about (10-15 Km) from Ein sifni.

Batnaye and Tellisquf: also an exodus because of the threats and bad circumstances they are going through.

Duhok:

Our Dorm, the empty houses in the villages, the halls of the churches, school and mosques are full of IDPs and in very bad conditions. I cannot give you the exact number of those families. Also it is very hard to describe their needs in food baskets only, on one can imagine this tragedy, one may cry to see those people in this situation.

Concerning Zakho and Center Duhok: Till now they are under the KRG control.

pls excuse my chaotic writing and expression, we are all in a bad situation.

So, according to my above report, you can decide what kind of aid you can offer.

regards,

Christina

Geraghty: No Action on Border Because Crisis ‘Entirely Theoretical’ to Many Members of Congress



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Mothers for Due Process



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In January 2010, University of North Dakota student Caleb Warner was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student. Using a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, a UND tribunal found Warner guilty of sexual misconduct and swiftly expelled him. Yet the police, presented with the same evidence, never arrested or charged Mr. Warner. After a three-month investigation, they charged Warner’s accuser with filing a false report and issued a warrant for her arrest.

Despite these developments, UND repeatedly refused to rescind Warner’s expulsion. Joined by the civil-liberties group FIRE, Caleb Warner’s mother, Sherry Warner-Seefeld, launched a tenacious campaign against the university. After a year and a half, UND finally reexamined her son’s case, determined that its finding of guilt was “not substantiated,” and lifted all sanctions against Mr. Warner. Though his name has been cleared and he is free to return to campus, Warner has chosen not to continue his studies at UND.

Caleb Warner is just one casualty in the federal government’s assault on campus due process. Last month, his mother announced the launching of a new nonprofit called Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE). Warner-Seefeld’s co-founders, Allison Strange and Judith Grossman, also have sons who experienced the nightmare of false accusations and subsequent railroading by university courts. (For information on their ordeals, see here and here.) FACE will work to “promote and insure fairness; and seek justice for all those caught up in the timely and provocative issue of sexual misconduct on college campuses.”

Below is an e-mail exchange in which Sherry Warner-Seefeld explains the objectives of FACE and gives her perspective on the current policy debate surrounding campus sexual assault. I originally contacted Ms. Warner-Seefeld for a comment while writing an analysis for NRO of the Senate’s new bipartisan sexual-assault bill, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. However, her comments are so incisive that they deserve to be published in full.

Why did you co-found FACE? What is your main objective?

I co-founded Families Advocating for Campus Equality because I wanted there to be an organization that provided a support network for families going through the horrific experience our family endured. It was such a lonely road to travel, and I want others to have more support than we did. In addition, I believe that Americans place a high value on constitutional rights, and I have faith that if they knew about what is happening on campuses, they would demand that fair and equitable procedures in accord with the Constitution be implemented.

Do you believe that lawmakers are interested in listening to your perspective?

I do believe lawmakers are interested in listening to my perspective. What I believe most of them struggle with is how to find balance on this issue.

It seems that if a person dares to suggest that there is another aspect to the sexual-assault story, one that goes beyond rape hysteria, that person is viciously attacked and accused of being an apologist for rape. I know this from personal experience. That is such a fallacy. As an American I can be firmly on the side of taking steps to stop sexual assault while at the same time seeking solutions that do not imperil the future of an innocent person.

Keep reading this post . . .

Carefully Taught



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I believe I first saw Armando Valladares’s name in National Review. He was the Cuban poet who had been imprisoned for more than 20 years in Castro’s gulag. He had written a memoir called “Against All Hope.” Some people were referring to him as “the Cuban Solzhenitsyn.”

Reagan named Valladares his ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. That was so like Reagan. (It was like George W. Bush, too. I admire that kind of president.)

I remember for sure when I first saw Valladares himself: It was at Harvard in the mid-1980s, and the school would not let him speak alone: They had him paired with a professor, Jorge I. Dominguez, whose role, it seemed, was to contradict Valladares and give a Castro-friendlier view.

He was on good behavior that night, however — Armando wrote this to me in an e-mail yesterday. On that occasion, at least, there was not an abundance of excuses for the Castro dictatorship.

The other day, I saw that Professor Dominguez had told CNN that “the number of political prisoners is effectively zero” — in Cuba, he meant. My friend Mauricio Claver-Carone wrote a post in response. At the end of it, he supplied a list of nearly 100 political prisoners.

Over and over, I have heard Cubans say some version of the following: “If people in free countries don’t care about us and want to ignore us, fine. But they should at least have the decency not to lie about us and the dictatorship that persecutes us.”

A college professor has great power. A Harvard professor has a hundred times more power than the average professor. I remember the Q&A at that Valladares event, long ago. Dominguez may have been on good behavior. But the students, some of them, were something else. They lectured Armando on the glories of Cuban health care and literacy and the like. The effect was stomach-turning.

Where had they picked up that nonsense? Reading Granma? No, they had learned it from their teachers (and probably from the media at large). “You’ve got to be carefully taught,” wrote Oscar Hammerstein. And when you are taught to believe lies, you are, in a sense, a victim. But there are greater victims, plenty of whom languish in the Castros’ jails.

Down East



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I would like to share a letter from Maine, about Maine. But this will require a little set-up. In an earlier part of my “Maine Journal,” which concludes today, I wrote a few paragraphs about the Somalians in Portland:

The thought occurs to me, “They must be very grateful to be here.” Somalia is one of the worst places on earth, along with North Korea, Syria, and a few others. Can you imagine being lucky enough to leave that hellhole and land in the lovely latte town of Portland, Maine? I mean, that’s the jackpot.

I have no doubt that many Somalians are grateful to be here. But they have brought with them some of the maladies of the Old World.

These include gang warfare and brutality toward women. The Somalians are stressing the police, the welfare system, and everything else.

Some Somalians very much want to integrate, and become Americans. To melt, so to speak. And other Somalians make it very hard for them to do so. They consider integration a kind of betrayal. Which is tragic, and despicable. May they lose, decisively, over time.

And in today’s installment, I write something about a scene in Lewiston:

Outside a community center, Somalian boys are playing a rowdy game of basketball. They look pretty much like other American kids, enjoying an American game. Will they become Mainers? Downeasters? Are they already?

A lot depends on the answer to that question. The nature of those boys’ lives is at stake. So is the nature of the society they inhabit.

Okay, enough prelude. Now to the main event, the letter:

Jay,

I had the same thought as you, about the luck of landing in Portland. Recently, while at the state lacrosse championship there, my father and I were almost knocked off the sidewalk by a Somali kid on a skateboard. I said to my father, “Do you think he realizes how lucky he is? He is cruising down a paved sidewalk with free time and without a concern about whether he and his family will survive the day.”

Another Somali experience. I coached in Lewiston and had two Somalis on the team. One a great athlete, the other not very coordinated. The athlete was more interested in hanging out on the corner with a cohort of Somali males uninterested in much else. The other came to every practice — his mother made sure he was there. His sister would watch too. The only time he missed a practice was when his parents were taking his older sister to look at colleges. That mother knew how lucky they were and was going to squeeze as much opportunity out of that luck as she could.

Let’s have a little addendum. Maine, as you know, has a strongly social-democratic culture, much as the current Reaganite governor is trying to dent it. Our reader says, “A play many Mainers make on ‘Vacationland’ is switching out the V for a T and the c for an x to make it ‘Taxationland.’”

The Hillary Machine



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This week’s Between the Covers podcast is with Daniel Halper, author of Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine. We discuss how a Hillary administration would differ from the Clinton administration of the 1990s, what Republicans must do to defeat her in 2016, and the odds that she’ll be elected anyway.

Goldberg: ‘Whiff of Fascism’ to Obama Questioning Companies’ ‘Economic Patriotism’



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On Michelle Nunn, Points of Light, and Islamic Relief



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Perhaps the most eye-popping detail in Michelle Nunn’s campaign plan, which I wrote about last week, was the concern expressed about grants made by the Points of Light Foundation, for which she served as CEO until she announced her Senate candidacy, to “inmates” and “terrorists.” 

I initially reported that Points of Light had given over $33,000 in grant money to Islamic Relief USA, a group whose parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, has ties to Hamas. I inadvertently transposed a digit and misread a $200 contribution as a $20,000 contribution, and I’ve corrected the piece to reflect that between 2007 and 2011, Points of Light gave over $13,500 to Islamic Relief USA. What I said was a grant documented in a 2008 IRS Form 990 was actually documented in a 2007 Form 990. 

I apologize for the errors. 

Krauthammer’s Take: Obama Already on Vacation, ‘Grabbing the Golf Clubs’ Despite Global Crises



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There’s no passion, there’s no interest, there’s nothing behind” President Obama’s response to questions about the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts, Charles Krauthammer said on Wednesday’s Special Report. He questioned why the president elected to even hold the press conference in the first place if he didn’t intend to make a firm stance on any issue. 

“I’m not sure he advanced any issue at all, other than to show adversaries, bad guys in the world that you don’t have to worry about this guy,” Krauthammer said of the president’s lackluster support for Ukraine and tepid condemnation of Hamas.

“He’s going on vacation, he’s grabbing the golf clubs, and he’ll be gone for a month, and we’ll see you when you come back,” he continued. “If Russia has taken over Ukraine, he’ll deal with it when that happens.”

Rick Perlstein: Probable Plagiarist, Definite Jerk



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As National Review’s Quin Hillyer noted yesterday, aging wunderkind Rick Perlstein is in hot water over 45 instances of apparent plagiarism from Craig Shirley’s 2005 Reagan’s Revolution in his new book The Invisible Bridge. Shirley is a contributor to NR whose book takes a favorable view of Ronald Reagan’s abortive 1976 primary challenge; Perlstein is a leftist who specializes in explaining the self-deluded psychodrama of conservatives — and the unique danger it poses — for liberal readers. You can guess which book has been praised in the Times of New York for being “both enjoyable as kaleidoscopic popular history of the old Mark Sullivan-Frederick Lewis Allen school and telling about our own historical moment.”

In a post at his own site, Hillyer provides some pretty compelling evidence of plagiarism, along with a critique of Perlstein’s weird new citation method and many instances of what can most charitably be called sloppiness. When you turn “dancing elephants were placed in the windows” — a phrase that for normal people would call to mind pictures or other inanimate window displays of the GOP mascot — with “dancers in elephant costume in their windows,” you’re on a journey to the center of the mind, not a quest for historical accuracy.

There’s already a movement to explain away Perlstein’s antics, but I would point out to my friend Dave Weigel that the argument he’s using (Perlstein wasn’t really plagiarizing with his many non-attributed lifts because he did cite Shirley in other instances) is the same defense Doris Kearns Goodwin tried when she was busted plagiarizing multiple passages in her own book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. Goowin went on to ever-greater book sales and a Steven Spielberg movie adaptation, so I don’t expect this controversy will be a career stopper for a writer skilled in flattering the sensibilities of Democrats.

There’s also little chance that Perlstein will take this suggestion from Hillyer: “Perlstein could at least partially make amends, and show himself to be more of a man of honor than he now appears, if he would just step forward and offer an apology and a mea culpa.” Based on my one and only experience with Perlstein, I can say that ain’t gonna happen, because Rick Perlstein is a self-infatuated lunatic.

Back when he was still coasting on his book about Barry Goldwater, I commissioned him to participate in a debate at the Los Angeles Times on, as I recall, the future of the Democrats. His interlocutor was another liberal, and as is usually the case with these sorts of debates, the real loser was the audience. But what sticks in my memory was Perlstein’s dissatisfaction with one of the questions.

These things were done with a week’s notice, but I was unaware that Perlstein had taken offense at one of the setup questions — the entire purpose of which was to get the debaters talking — until he sent in his response, a prolix attack on the L.A. Times for having “no one to the left of center on its opinion staff.” (As if!) Shortly after posting his response word-for-word, I saw that Perlstein had been going around bragging about how the revanchists at the L.A.T. would never have the cojones to publish his devastating putdowns. I sent him a note affirming that neither I (the unnamed author of the offending question) nor anybody else at the paper had at any point considered censoring his response — and also that he might have noted his objections ahead of time. (I certainly didn’t have any problem with giving the debaters a substitute topic.)

That began a long and wearying exchange in which Perlstein roundly congratulated himself for having used The Man’s own means of production to expose The Man’s fascist schemes. I no longer have access to my L.A.T. email, and in any event describing an argument you’ve had with somebody inevitably descends into the dynamic described in the Dubliners story “Two Gallants”: “what he had said to such a person and what such a person had said to him and what he had said to settle the matter.” So I will just say it was one of those exchanges where you can feel yourself getting dumber the longer the conversation goes on.

I have had no contact with Rick Perlstein since that time, and I’m sure we’re both happier for that. (For what it’s worth, fellow leftists seem to find him insufferable as well.) I also never mentioned this matter publicly until now. But it’s interesting to see his weasely lack of professional ethics catching up with him in a way that is a lot more public than an argument with an editor. On the principle that you don’t need to eat a whole egg to know it’s rotten, I’m predicting the plagiarism issue will be the beginning of a cavalcade of questions about Perlstein’s previously unassailable genius. The New York Times calls him a writer whose methods are “sound enough to persuade conservative readers that a writer with liberal sympathies could write a revealing and balanced history of his ideological opposites,” and he’s been riding that reputation for many years now.

“Perlstein is an obsessive researcher who often relies (and fully credits) the writers who did the investigative spade work before him,” Frank Rich gushes. “He doesn’t break news. It’s his insights that are the news, and have been since his first book.”

Beware of a historian who gets praised for not doing history.

And by the way, if you want a kaleidoscopically magical mystery tour of how seventies malaise paved the way for the Reagan Revolution, check out Decade of Nightmares by Philip Jenkins — a writer who really isn’t convinced of his own superiority to his “ideological opposites.” It’s only 352 pages, unlike Perlstein’s 784, and it’s all Jenkins’s own work.

Tags: Liberalism , Plagiarism , Ronald Reagan

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