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Happy Anniversary, Mr. Out of Touch


Ken Shepherd reports that live coverage of the papal anniversary on CNN around noon featured Paula Zahn noting: “There was a new poll out today by ABC and the Washington Post which suggests that 2/3rds of American Catholics do not feel that the Pope’s views at all reflect their life. And that is a problem for the Church, isn’t it?”

The P.R. “problem” for the church begins with media pollsters who interview “Catholics” who haven’t seen the inside of a church for decades. Of course, the Pope wouldn’t seem relevant to them. If he was, they might attend Mass. A more interesting question might be: how are people who don’t “vote” with their feet every week relevant to the governance of the Church?

The Durban Conference



Question Answered


Earlier today I said that we would be able to tell which candidate in the Louisiana governor’s race thinks he’s behind when we see the first negative ad. It’s up–and the ad is for the Democrats. The first half of the radio ad reads as follows: “We have to choose a new governor for Louisiana and it is very important that we look past the tv commercials, and into the lives and characters of the candidates. The closer you examine the records, the better Kathleen Babineaux Blanco looks. She understands real people because she is one of us. She had a full life before she ever ran for public office–teaching school, raising six children, and starting her own small business. She understands struggle and that the problems that the governor must deal with all have human faces. She knows that people aren’t statistics or numbers, and you don’t crunch people, you help them.” This is an attempt to convert Bobby Jindal’s strengths into weaknesses: Okay, so he knows more facts than me and has accomplished an awful lot for someone so young. But that just means he’s not like us and doesn’t understand our problems. (I’m mediocre–just like you.) He may have saved the health department from bankruptcy, but he did so by not caring for people.

The ad continues: “Now Kathleen is in the fight of her political life against the hand-picked candidate of the right-wing Republicans, backed by Mike Foster, the Republican White House, and their millions of dollars. They are confident they will win, because they hope that we won’t vote. So let’s show that they are wrong, and get organized to win. Kathleen Blanco needs our help, because her fight is our fight too. Paid for by Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.” Did I mention that these ads are mainly on black radio?

Republicans may be tempted to attack the “real people” line as an attack on Jindal’s ethnicity. The Jindal campaign itself won’t take the bait, but its allies might. The last thing Bobby Jindal needs is to make the campaign a referendum on race.

The election is November 15.

Web Briefing: October 31, 2014

More Merciless Readers


Rich, dude, they’re goinna buy LEGACY is the Yanks lose!

If the Red Sox beat the Yankees later today, I promise to buy Legacy on Amazon not later than noon tomorrow. It will comfort me to know that I have softened the blow for a Yankees fan. But I lie…(on the latter point only).

Go Sox!


Frum On Gay Marriage


As I understand it, David Frum’s argument against gay marriage is not that it is bad in itself but that, since religious conservatives will never allow full-fledged gay marriage, the campaign for it will end up creating a bunch of new marriage-lite institutions that will weaken marriage. If I were Jonathan Rauch (or someone else who supports gay marriage and opposes marriage lite), I would respond: “What you’re saying, David, is that we can’t get gay marriage because of the obstinacy of religious conservatives, and therefore should settle for nothing. Why isn’t the answer instead that religious conservatives should stop being obstinate? Why are their views taken as given, and ours as variables? Why shouldn’t we press ahead for what we want (which is what justice requires)? If religious conservatives’ resistance results in marriage lite, that’s their fault, not ours.” I don’t think, therefore, that Frum’s argument is likely actually to change the minds of gay-marriage advocates.

Possible Site For Nro’s London Office?


The price is steep and my wife would divorce me if I spent my own money on it. But maybe we can take up a colection?

Toe-Tapping Nonsense


If you set it to music, it must be true!

I’m only slightly kidding. I bet young kids are more inclined to believe propaganda if it’s in music video format than if it’s written out.

Talk Radio -- Bleg


I’m doing a piece for the Times of London about talk-radio, Rush, etc. Has anybody seen anything particularly interesting — and fact filled — on the topic? I’ve written about this a few times from the political angle, so I don’t really need rhetoric from the right (it’s a tool for taking back the culture from the liberal media!) or from the left (meat-eating misogynists confirming the prejudices of the bourgeoisie!) but straight-forward info and analysis. I’m gonna make some phone calls, but if there are any radio execs out there, feeel free to drop me a line. Thanks.

Armed For Battle


You won’t find my used copy of Legacy for sale online.
It is a terrific read and indispensable for anyone caught in irritating
arguments about Bill Cllinton’s track record. With this one volume, you
can devastate claims about Clinton’s surpluses, “his” booming economy,
the Middle East roadmap to peace shredded by his successor, and his
multiple multilateral successes. Now that I’m armed with Legacy, I
won’t be surprised if Al Hunt and Mark Shields call in sick to CNN.

Debating Dna


Officer Dunphy and Christine Rosen are on their last leg of their debate on DNA & the 9th Circuit. Read here.



and I chat about Bill Clinton and Rich’s new book LEGACY here.



U.N. resolution re Iraq has been adopted by the Sec Council, unanimously.

Culture of Death in Florida


A lawyer friend notes: “A husband has no say over a wife’s decision to abort their unborn child, yet he has complete dominion over the life of his incapacitated wife.In the first case a woman has untrammeled control over her body.I n the latter case the husband has untrammeled control over her body. In both cases the result is death.”

Fighting Fire With Fire


Expect to hear a lot more complaints about Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin. I’m almost exhausted by the “controversy” and it hasn’t even begun yet.



The third House district of Kansas is currently held by Democrat Dennis Moore. He’s one of the top targets for the Republicans in the next election. He’s been a top target before, to be sure, but his opponents say he’s been moving left lately, which will make him more vulnerable this time around. The top Republican contenders are moderate Adam Taff, who ran a decent campaign last time around but lost to Moore, and conservative Kris Kobach. (Here’s what I said about the primary race in 2002.)

Taff has more money on hand, but he’s also been in the race longer. Kobach’s fundraising at a higher pace. And while both men have impressive resumes in different respects, Taff has to overcome the rematch curse: Most people who mount a second challenge to a congressman after losing the first lose again. Kobach’s also got some endorsement from sitting congressmen outside the state–House members Tom Tancredo, Lamar Smith, and John Hostettler, and Senator Jeff Sessions. If he does the right things, Kobach should be able to solidify the conservative base early. If he beats Moore, he will be one of the smartest Republican congressmen. I hope he does. Maybe I’ll even get my parents to vote for him.

So, Jonah


how did you do with your morning Digital pitching at wireless Starbucks? Think how cool anyone would look reading NRODT on their laptop. Or at lunchbreak…



There are dueling polls out. The Democratic poll puts Kathleen Blanco up 6 points in the race for governor; the Republican one puts Bobby Jindal up 7. Jindal’s campaign doesn’t quite believe either poll. Its own poll was taken in the immediate aftermath of Jindal’s strong performance in the primary election, and the race has probably tightened since then. Probably the best indication we’ll have as to who really thinks they’re ahead is who goes negative first. That will be particularly true if Blanco does, given her complaints during the primary campaign about negative campaigning.

Pants Required Too


Title Vi Update


Here’s an update on the battle to reform academic Middle East studies (and other programs of area studies as well). But first I want to thank Corner readers for all they’ve done in the past to support reform of Title VI of the Higher Education Act. No doubt about it–The Corner gets results. The bill just placed before the House (having cleared subcommittee and full committee hurdles) is Congress’s first-ever attempt to address the problem of bias in the academy. Without your help, we could never have gotten this far. But now the higher education lobby is gearing up to gut this bill. Earlier this week, I defended HR 3077. Now you can read Martin Kramer’s take on the bill. Notice the links to, and excerpts from, the higher education lobby’s attacks on HR 3077. They clearly mean to remove the call for intellectual diversity in Title VI. Their hope is to make Title VI a permanent multimillion dollar entitlement, with no oversight whatsoever. It speaks volumes about the current state of the academy that a call for viewpoint diversity is taken as a threat. The good news is that we’ve got a bill that can make a real difference. The bad news is that the higher education lobby is very powerful, and is determined to gut this bill behind the scenes. Don’t let them do it. Kramer gives you good places to write at the end of his blog. You can also write your own congressman and/or senators using the link at the end of my piece. And check out this great letter from Robert Satloff, former head of Washington’s premier Middle East think tank. It’ll give you ideas for a letter of your own.

Leon Kass’s Latest


I’m looking forward to reading the new report from the Kass council on bioethics. Perhaps it will be more persuasive than Kass’s Washington Post op-ed today, which I guess was meant to promote the report. Actually, I’m not even sure what the op-ed was supposed to persuade me of: that biotechnology has dangers as well as promise? It took him rather a lot of words to get there. The interesting questions about whether and how to draw the line between therapy and enhancement–and who should do the line-drawing–Kass ignores. The implicit criticism of Prozac, as a drug that “gives us happy feelings without the real loves, attachments and achievements that are essential for true human flourishing” is by now familiar in the writing of a certain kind of conservative. Most of the people I know who have taken Prozac say that it does not, in fact, give them happy feelings; it merely allows them to be happy (or even to be sad, rather than depressed). But as I say, maybe the report will be better.


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