The Latest Tweets from Team NRO . . .
Re: Will On Bush
I think Will (and certainly Derb) is too harsh about Bush and his conservatism. It is certainly true that recent Supreme Court decisions and the darkening picture of hemorraging federal spending should leave the conservative forces a bit glum. We do not “dominate” Washington the way Joe Conason and David Brock would have people believe. Republican control of Congress is a slender reed, not a mighty sword. And everything the Bush team does is guided by a keen sense of how it will be played through the prisms and funhouse mirrors of the national media.
On the question of geopolitical conservatism, Bush may not be an isolationist in the Old Right tradition, but there is very little of a visible or audible conservative opposition to Middle East military action. Bush does not expect to lose thousands of votes on the right by making war on potential terrorist havens and hideouts.
There is more potential defection from Bush in the area of fiscal conservatism, where the early promises of limiting discretionary spending to four percent growth sound as old as ragtime music by now. The media’s steady devotion to complete misrepresentation of any spending cuts or “government shutdowns” during the last presidency have taught the current team to be as strategically timid in the budget battles as they are strategically bold on the other side of the world. Their plan to favor tax cuts and concede to dramatic spending growth on potential Democratic traction areas (education, Medicare) do threaten to make them look like deficit-builders and could demoralize the econo-cons who hoped for more ambitious reforms.
As for constitutionalists and social conservatives, the only bones they’ve been thrown are a set of judicial nominations that have yet to yield a single obvious nomination disappointment. Confirmation is a bigger trouble. But the Bush presidency has been largely a rhetorical vacuum on abortion, and downright bound and gagged on gay politics. (Nod to liberal media hot buttons here once again).Will is right that a Supreme Court nomination would be a test he cannot finesse. His stated admiration for strict constructionists like Scalia and Thomas will require a nominee of their distinction and philosophy. Anything less begins the echo of Poppy, who lasted one term with the Inaugural idea that “we didn’t come here to bicker.” We’re here to bicker, and badger, and persuade. We need our leader to show confidence in the popularity of conservatism when it matters most.
…looks like it will be another time. But, suffice it to say, GOP staff is promising the next week, before recess, will be judge time.
Rumor has it floor debate on Pryor might start tonight. Bob Graham is rambling about intel right now though, so stay with must-see TV.
Clarification to Jonah’s Post
“Fearless leader” in this case is our man Rich Lowry. I left my inbox for a bit and came back to people asking why I cancelled. It’s the Lowry man who can’t make YA…you know the place, not me. Jonah and I are on schedule for tomorrow. (Though goodness knows anyone after Jonah is a letdown. Have you heard the man? Especially with the college crowd? I REALLY should go first!)
Campus Wars: Fight Every Battle, or No?
Two interesting e-mails that say very different things:
It may be important for you to say not to neglect your studies! The lefties act like classes come second. There is the danger of overstating the global significance of little fights that rarely make the papers, when you could be sharpening your saw for truly important battles if you make it to NRO and other outfits so vital on the national scene …
I saw your bleg on the corner, and a relatively obscure (at least in the
minds of many current college students) but very important victory came out
of Michigan in the early 1990’s. Michigan’s speech code was one of the most
restrictive in the country. Students could be punished for almost any
non-PC speech (of course, PC was in its infancy with DeSouza’s book just
hitting the racks). The one example I recall was that a student who laughed
at a joke about a fellow classmate who stuttered was a “harasser.”
Anyway, it really is a victory for conservative activism. Wesley Wynne, who
was then a graduate student at Michigan, sued the University, claiming that
the speech code violated his first amendment rights. Win was a Teaching
Assistant and wanted to cover some sociological studies that could be
construed to prove that women were inferior to men in some respects. (he
didn’t endorse them, but only wanted to discuss their merits).
Long story short, Wynne won and Michigan’s speech code was truck down. The
ruling started a domino effect, and Universities across the country
substantially reworked their speech codes.
The two emails, obviously aren’t diametrically opposed or anything, but lean in different directions, surely. And it’s Thursday night, and I’m trying to keep awake…
Speaking of…The Corner could sure use a spellchecker.
It Was The Corner, Jonah
Young America’s whatever got too many protest calls, is what it is. A conference without Jonah is no conference. But, darn, now I can’t steal your jokes. I was goign to work in something about a spellchecker at an M&M factory. so, thanks a ton Cosmo, or whomever is behind this.
Young Americans For Foundations of Freedom or Whatever
Turns out I will be speaking to them after all. Our fearless leader had to cancel at the last minute and so I’m filling-in. Not sure of the time. Have no idea what I’ll say. Still, I wonder if Cosmo is responsible somehow for this turn of events.
What to Tell College Kids
One reader pulls up this WFB quote in response to my bleg:
WFB has some great stuff in his address to the American Society of Newspaper
Editors on April 19, 1968:
“The sea is the creature which, at the margin, can drown the sailor. But
however tempestuous, however arbitrary, however sullen the sea can be-
however much like an editor [or America-hating professor]- the sea maintains
its basic integrity; and if the sailor observes the rules, if he maintains
his guard, if he propitiates the elements, he is permitted to survive and
the experience is sublime.”
Derb’s Erdos Number
I was cc’d on this letter to Derb who may be too humble to post it himself:
Jonah is indeed correct about the meaning of “Bacon number.” I think the Bacon number has to have been derived from the concept of “Erdos number” (http://www.oakland.edu/~grossman/erdoshp.html), which is decades old and quantifies one’s collaboration with Prof. Paul Erdos. However exciting your movie career is (and it is, very), some of us are more interested in your Erdos Number.
I would suspect that any person with an Erdos number and a Bacon number each under five might border on the ultimate in coolness.
Re: Jonah’s Opera Career
I am sorry you didn’t “get” opera, Jonah, having been given such a wonderful
opportunity so young. Don’t sweat it, though–the NRO readership includes a
huge corps of opera-haters. Every time I mention opera I get 120 e-mails
asking me angrily if I am some kind of pansy. Me! I should add (braving
that storm of e-mails) that you were in what has been called (where? in the
operatic glossary at the end of Fire from the Sun , that’s where) “one of the
happiest of all operas,” and a very pure example of the _bel canto_ style.
L’elisir d’amore was written, words and music both, in two weeks from a
standing start. They didn’t have e-mail to cope with in the 1830s.
Donizetti was a genius, and a great master of his art. (And P.S.: Except
for the first word, and proper names, the words in an Italian title don’t
get an initial capital letter.)
From Behind Enemy Lines
From a reader:
As a recent recipient of a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, things like this idiotic Berkeley study make me absolutely cringe (one would hope that habituation would take effect eventually). I can tell you, having only recently been released from this academic environment, that there are no other quarters in which liberalism is so predominant, and conservatism is indeed viewed as synonymous with “mean-spirited, homophobic, misogynist, hate-mongering troglodyte.”
What is especially galling about this is that one could easily argue that through the very fabric of liberalism is woven faulty thinking (“cognitive distortion” to use the jargon), including, but not limited to, what is referred to as “emotional reasoning.” This error is marked by a propensity to make decisions based upon one’s emotions, rather than logic and reason (“I feel this way, therefore it must be true.”) See well-meaning but cripplingly ineffective social programs whose propogation would appear to be justified only by the warm “feelings” it fosters in the hearts of its sponsors.
A second example: “Operant conditioning.” This unambiguous concept refers to the mechanism by which desired behaviors are reinforced, while those deemed undesirable are either ignored or punished. I’m not calling for the application of electric shock to anyone’s genitals, but how about a reduction in the payment (“reinforcing”) of individuals displaying shiftless, slothful behavior (unless that’s what we want to see more of…or it makes us feel good about ourselves) or, for that matter, of despotic (Saudi Arabia) or idiotic (most of Europe) regimes who don’t exactly have our best interests at heart.
I could go on about “cognitive dissonance” theory and the refusal of some to admit that Clinton ever did anything wrong, or “projection” (a less mainstream term these days) and Terry McAuliffe’s recent statement that “this may be the first time in recent history that a president knowingly misled the American people during the State of the Union address,” but I’m getting dizzy.
Please know that not all psychologists are pointy-headed liberal academics. I always look forward to your column…keep up the good work.
From a reader. Will someone please tell me if this is for real? Not that
anything surprises me any more in this particular zone. “From TheHill.com:
The 2003 hurricane season is here, and that means a whole new list of names
such as Larry, Sam and Wanda ready to make tropical-storm history. Although
Spanish and French names are included in this year’s lineup, among them Juan
and Claudette, which struck Texas last week, popular African American names,
like Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn, are nowhere to be found. Some black
lawmakers don’t seem to mind, but Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) does.
“All racial groups should be represented,” said Lee. Hurricane names have
been too lily white for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). She says all
ethnic groups should be represented. The World Meteorological Organization
began naming tropical storms after women in 1953. That made sense to
scientists at the time who thought women and storms were both unpredictable.
After feminist groups protested, men’s names were added in 1979. The
National Weather Service says hurricane names are derived from languages
spoken in areas that border the Atlantic Ocean, where such storms occur.
Yet that doesn’t explain why Gaston, Ernesto and Cindy were chosen and
Antwon, Destiny and Latonya were passed over. Lee said she hoped in the
future the weather establishment ‘would try to be inclusive of African
American names.’ That could take a while. The current roster of hurricane
names isn’t due to be updated until 2007.” Pshaw. We snooker fans are
still waiting for a storm to be named after the immortal Hurricane Higgins.
I think The Corner is well-rounded enough for youngster to make their lives. Ok, I’ll stop the shamless flacking now.
Tyler Cowen On Paul Krugman
A “libertarian economist” at the Volokh Conspiracy weighs in on the NYT columnist.
Conservatives Vs. Rpi
Here’s the conservative case against Connerly’s Racial Privacy Initiative, written by Tom Wood, co-author of the California Civil Rights Initiative (Prop. 209), which Connerly championed seven years ago.
Another thoughtful reader response on the recall:
I understand all of the reasons you and others at NRO have put forth against the political soundness of this process, but the fact remains that it is squarely spelled out in the CA constitution and has never been needed until now. I think the fact that there have been 31 recall attempts, but only one success at reaching the ballot, does provide ample evidence that the electorate hasn’t been silly or capricious in the past regarding this option. Whether that will always be the case, should Gov. Low-Beam be recalled in October, no one can say with certainty, but I believe that we’re in this boat now due to a rare confluence of circumstances. The simple fact is that the state is in a real financial crisis [too much spending, obviously] and some of the electorate has finally realized that our governor is incapable of captaining the ship-of-state. Bill Simon said it best the other week, in describing Davis as “frozen at the helm while the Titanic is heading for the iceberg.”
Bottom-line, we’ve got a real train-wreck on our hands and drastic action must be taken [and it's all legal]. I don’t think this will happen very often [once a century? fifty years?]. We in California can’t wait until 2006 to fix this, strong medicine is needed now because the patient could be dead by then.
[sorry for any metaphor excess]“
I’ve heard stories from numerous campuses about how college conservatives are trying to get the same treatment as any other identity politics group. They apply for money from “diversity” and “multicultural” programs and insist that they be represented along with the usual members of the Coalition of the Oppressed. I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand it seems to feed the self-ghettoization conservatives are sometimes so good at. On the other hand, it is good old-fashioned guerilla campus fighting and you’ve got to respect it. So, without endorsing this idea or condemning it, I just put it out there for your consideration: The Berkeley study I ridicule in today’s column which purports to identify semi-hardwired psychological tendencies for conservatives could be a gold mine for conservative activists. If some of us are just “born conservative” as it were and can’t help it, why shouldn’t conservatives be afforded the same room and consideration as gays or blacks or anyone else. I leave it to you guys to do with that what you will.
Re: Recall Blues
A thoughtful California conservative: “I must admit I feel the force of the
arguments against the recall: we (well, they) elected the guy fair and
square, and he should be left to finish out his term; we shouldn’t be like
the Democrats, wanting a “do over” because we didn’t like it that Davis won;
a successful recall sets a bad precedent, etc., etc. However, when push
comes to shove, I’ll be in there voting the guy out, just because Davis is
such an arrogant, incompetent putz. … [And also because] a successful
recall would absolutely kill any presidential ambitions Davis might have.
He would officially be Seriously Damaged Goods in the Democratic Party. …
And, in the end, that’s just too good an opportunity to pass up, for me at
least.”–Richard Zuelch, BAMUMNIYLIDGAS (by all means use my name if you
like, I don’t care a bit).