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Louisiana Postmortem



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A well-placed Louisiana Republican friend writes: “RE: Landrieu-Terrell. I guess the short answer is that All the President’s Horses and All the President’s Men … could only bring the candidate so far. While there are in Louisiana some motivated-ideological Republicans/conservatives like myself for whom it was enough that anyone was on the ballot against Landrieu, the truth is most Bayou Staters do put a high price on personality, and Terrell, by almost unanimous reputation even among state GOPers, has none, or worse. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard fellow GOPers ask me if I agreed with them ‘on a purely personal level’ that Terrell is ‘loathsome.’ If GOPers had been able to field even a moderately popular and personable opponent, Landrieu would have been toast. But there’s probably a bigger lesson for the parties: the Dem turnout machine still works, as evidenced even more by the surprising result in the 5th Congressional District [where a Democrat squeaked out a win despite a heavily conservative electorate]. So if following Nov 5th, the internal chin-stroking at the DNC is over whether the party needs totally to revamp its issues, views, message (i.e. — veer sharply leftward) or merely work more on tactics (communication and turnout), our little election will be an argument for the latter. But either interpretation might be wrong due to Louisiana’s uniqueness — both conservative AND populist, and because of the open primary, not oriented to party politics at all. So Landrieu’s own take may be half right, that the election sent a signal to Washington against ‘labels.’ Because the other half of the equation is Louisiana’s equally unique (awful) voting system (the Dec 7 run-off), which meant that the Dems’ total turnout machine could be focused exclusively on one state. One might say, well, so could the GOP’s. But there’s always been a stark difference, to put it mildly, between the respective efficacy of GOP GOTV phone calls and Dem vans and street money. Long story short: Dec 7th proved Dem machine can still get it done if there’s nothing thinning out their resources; Nov 5th showed, however, that they need more than mere ‘tactics’ when competitive races in so many places and generally high turnout overall means there’s only so much street money to go around.”

Another Nhs Success Story



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Reader Eric Fabrizio sends along this story about an elderly British woman who has had to sue her government’s National Health Service for permission to get a hip replacement done in France. The poor dear is in constant pain, yet has been waitlisted for at least a year for the operation in Britain. Keep this in mind whenever you’re tempted to think favorably about socialized medicine.

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Land of The “Moron” Lady



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Web Briefing: July 21, 2014

Gore’S Weasel-Blindness



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On ABC’s “This Week,” Gore was asked if he thought political motives are driving the White House’s Iraq policy. He said: “The reason I don’t want to accuse them of bending our entire national security policy to fit their political designs is, it’s such a serious charge. You don’t know what’s inside their hearts.”

During the same interview, however, Gore was asked about Bush’s economic policy. He volunteered: “Tax cuts aimed at the very wealthiest Americans, designed to take effect several years from now, that’s not an economic policy. That is greed and political payback.”

Funny how Gore can’t pierce the veils covering the hearts of the Bush Administration when it comes to their motives on national security. But he’s got keen X-ray vision when it comes to the innermost feelings of the administration on economic policy.

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Motives, Motives, Motives



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There was a very interesting essay in The New York Times Magazine yesterday about how liberal intellectuals are responding to a possible war with Iraq. One of the things which stands out is the constant emphasis on motives. A point I addressed in the latest G-File. Even for the smartest liberals, perhaps the biggest hurdle is accepting that conservatives might get what they want too.

Sobering Thought:



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A reader notes:


Here’s the really scary thought about what Lott said about Strom’s winning the
1948 election … say it happened. The 22nd amendment hadn’t been passed yet;
it was in 1951 — the president at the time was exempt — Harry Truman
could’ve run as many times as he wanted. You see where I’m going … Strom
could’ve been president from 48 until now! Now there’s one of those
alternate-reality novels in there.

Maybe you can do something with that thought…you like goofy stuff like that.

Help—Shoulder-Fired



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Ok, I’ve given up on sugar for now (no one anywhere seems to know about it). BUT if you know anything about the potential threat to the domestic airline industry from shoulder-fired missiles, talk to me, please…

Still Waiting....



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For the pro-Lott backlash. None as of yet. I can hear crickets chirp.
To be clear: I don’t think Lott’s a racist, pro-lynching segregationist. I think he says stupid things a lot. This time it was in defense of the ‘48 Dixiecrats. Next time he’ll say Caddyshack II was better than the original. It’s not that he can’t be defended. It’s that the only defense is, Trent Lott says stupid things. That was my point on CNN.

Trivia Point



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Clif White, one of the three who nominated Barry Goldwater–the other two were John Ashbrook and NR’s own William Rusher–began in life as a Dewey operative.

Frum’s Wrong....



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On one point. Or at least he’s not up to date. Frum writes, “The Lott story seems to have been left behind in the dust. And yet I cannot help thinking that this story is not over – that Republicans will hear Lott’s words quoted at them again and again in the months to come.” On Sunday, the incident received considerable attention on Meet the Press. Also, we discussed it at length on CNN’s “Final Round” (It’s near the bottom). And I don’t think I’m giving away state secrets when I say that, judging from Peter Beinart’s feelings on the subject, the issue is not a complete deadletter.

Andrew Sullivan



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Today, in a full-length piece, I point out some serious errors and misrepresentations in Andrew Sullivan’s account of my position on the Federal Marriage Amendment. Days ago, a sharp blogger named Justin Katz noticed Sullivan’s false representation of my views. This is a serious problem, and just as I did in my piece today, I again call on Sullivan to correct this error. Up to now, Sullivan and I have been able to debate this difficult issue of gay marriage with fairness and mutual respect. But this mistake is unacceptable and must be corrected. (By the way, the link to Justin Katz’s blog is having occasional trouble because of a change of server. You can also find Katz’s post by running a Google search on the terms “Kurtz,” “Sullivan,” and “equal protection.” Put quotes around “equal protection.” That will call up an entry headed “Timshel Arts.” Click on “Cached,” and you’ll be there.)

Web Talk



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Earlier this month I wrote a story called, “Students Fight Back,” about NoIndoctrination.org, a website on which students can post complaints about political bias and pressure from their professors. This week, The Chronicle of Higher Education is holding a “Colloquy” about the controversy over the site. Chronicle colloquies are open to the public, and NRO readers should feel free to participate.

Said & Makiya



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Martin Kramer has a fascinating post up about a feud between Edward Said and Kanan Makiya. Makiya is the man who wrote Republic of Fear, the book that first exposed the depth of Saddam’s crimes to the world. This post is a long one, but for those interested in Edward Said and the position of Palestinian intellectuals, Kramer’s final thoughts on this feud are deeply revealing.

Tolerance Tome



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Khaled Abou El Fadl is a genuinely liberal Muslim intellectual who has courageously endured harassment and death threats from Islamists. I greatly respect Abou El Fadl as a man and as a thinker. It’s important to encourage Muslim liberals like About El Fadl. At the same time, it’s hard to take Abou El Fadl’s revisionist picture of Islam’s tolerance at face value. Beacon Press has just published, The Place of Tolerance in Islam. The book features an essay by Abou El Fadl, followed by critiques from writers as politically diverse as Marxist Tariq Ali, John Esposito, and myself. Abou El Fadl then replies. This book was discussed last Saturday in Peter Steinfels religion column in The New York Times.

Help—Sugar



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If you know something about the merits of this sugar controversy that may have tipped the LA Senate race, I’d love to hear from you—but please no emails after 12:30 p.m.

Trent Lott’S Blunder



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His remarks – saying that we’d be better off if Strom Thurmond had won the 1948 election as a Dixiecrat — at Thurmond’s 100th birthday party were incandescently idiotic according to any criteria (See, David Frum’s excellent piece for the details). On the facts, Lott’s comments were dumb. Morally, they were indefensible. Politically, they served to confirm the suspicions of millions of blacks and liberal whites about what is in the hearts of conservatives and Republicans while earning him nothing but a smile from a 100 year-old man. And, on that note, surely Lott could have said something which would have been just as flattering to Thurmond without the Republican Senate Majority Leader saying that things would have been a lot better if we never passed anti-lynching laws. I would be more tempted to defend Lott – who I doubt actually believes what he said – if Lott didn’t have habit of saying things that make me cringe.

Look: It may be a function of the political circles I travel in, but I simply don’t know anybody who really loves Trent Lott. Some people may think he’s harmless or an able technician or better than some alternatives, but I’ve never heard anyone give an impassioned defense of Lott as a thinker or political strategist. He was useless during impeachment, he loves pork (not the tastey kind), and — obviously — he’s ineffective in communicating a coherent and principled message. So tell me, What is he good for?

It’s a Wonderful Life



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I’ve seen it a million times by now and I still get choked up. Since it will be on like fifty more times between now and Christmas. A couple things to look for.
* The the cab driver and the cop are named Bert and Ernie (look for the scene when George Bailey visits his house in the alternate reality). I always wondered if there were some connection to Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street.

*There’s a scene when you can see a newspaper headline “Smith Wins Nomination!” That’s a deliberate reference to Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

*I always loved this line from the (anti-matter universe) bartender:

Hey look, mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast and we don’t need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere. Is that clear or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?

* If you look closely you can also see Spock with a goatee in the background. (Just kidding)

* And last, you know how at the end George’s little girl, Zuzu Bailey, says, “Look, Daddy! Teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”? Well, keep in mind that if that happened today the ACLU would hunt down that teacher and sue her.

S-S-S-S-Sooo K-K-K-Cold



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Furnace in my house went kablooey late F-F-F-Friday night. No h-h-heat. Cold here. Dog major heat source. Ah the joys of home ownership.

Nyrb of Our Own



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The Claremont Review of Books continues to be a vital publication of the intellectual right–it’s becoming our very own New York Review of Books. The new issue is just out, and well worth reading. My favorite piece (so far) is an essay by Steve Hayward on Reagan and Cold War historiography.
Enjoy the CRB now for free–soon it will be available at bookstands and newstores (hurray!), but its website won’t print each current issue in its entirety (boo!). Congrats to Charles Kesler and Ben Boychuck for another fine edition of a young and lively magazine.

White House Economic Replacements



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