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Solid as a Rock



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Britain’s Left has always found Gibraltar, an enthusiastically pro-British and patriotic sort of place, faintly embarrassing. Add to that the fact that ‘Gib’ continues to bedevil the UK’s relationship with Spain, a fellow member of the EU, and the scene was clearly set for a spot of betrayal. The first stage of this process was to be the introduction of ’shared sovereignty’. Naturally the Gibraltarians were not consulted, but the Rock’s inhabitants went and held a vote on the idea anyway. The result? 98.97% voted in favor of keeping things the way they are.

EU countries are always proclaiming the importance of local democracy. Now is a good time for the UK and Spain to show that they mean it.

Where Are My Smelling Salts?



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More Gop Wins



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They control more states’ legislatures than the Democrats, according to UPI, and may have more state legislators nationally.

Web Briefing: September 21, 2014

Is This You?



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OK, lest I start to sound like one of those NPR pledge week drones, this will be the last time I ask for volunteers to be interviewed for the forthcoming crunchy-con book. Thanks, everybody, for all the e-mail. I’ll be in touch once I start researching. On the fence about whether or not to participate? Here are a few excerpts from letters so far. If any of this resonates with you, write me at [email protected]: “It’s frustrating, at times; people whose lifestyles most resemble mine often drive me bonkers when politics come up, and those whose ideologies I share or respect have very different lives from mine. … I’ve been living the crunchy-con philosophy for years: a respect for tradition and institutions; believer in hard work, the free-market system and republican government; but tempered by the recognition that none of it means spit if you don’t enjoy the aesthetic bounties of civilization: positive spirituality, family, art, music, architecture, good food and conversation, polite company and reverence for nature. … My wife and I try to live counter to the suburban lifestyle that pervades our landscape. Here it’s fairly easy to hold conservative political views, but we see very few people actually living conservatively. People focus on the Big House, Big SUV, Big Boat, Big Toys. They commute for two hours a day, keep their kids in soccer, baseball, football, dance and music lessons concurrently, never eat together as a family, and wonder why their kids grow up spiritually bankrupt. … I really can’t think of anything more crunchy-con than [somebody like me], an infantry officer in love with the Grateful Dead.”

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Uh Oh



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Doesn’t look good for the good guys, I mean gals. Murkowski wants to appoint a Teamster turned Republican.

Rats and Democrats



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I was going to make that point about Dems and the war too, but Ramesh beat me to it (I guess I was distracted by my efforts for Senator Gavora). Instead I’ll follow-up on Ramesh’s point. It does really seem like the Democrats are in a mad dash to become a rump party. The argument seems to be that since their base wasn’t energized, the Democrats should now placate their base by becoming more stridently anti-war and pro-tax. But the whole reason so many of those races were as close as they were is that both parties were fighting over moderates and centrists. It’s entirely possible the Dems could have picked up more vote from the base if they’d campaigned from the Left more, but we don’t know how many moderate Democrats that would have cost them as a result. If Nancy Pelosi becomes the new face of the Democratic Party, sure the base may get energized, but the Democrats will lose even more white men and give Bush more than enough maneuvering room in the center. Bill Clinton may have become a darling of the left because he grew to symbolize sexual liberation and because of his enemies. But he won elections because he positioned himself as a “different kind of Democrat.” Judging from the election results it already seems like the White House is forever off-limits to non-Southern Democrats. If they choose to self-radicalize, they will definitely become the rump party.

The Wrong Time



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From Matthew Cooper’s piece up yesterday on Time’s site: “Still, Republicans would be wrong to misread the lessons of Tuesday night. In 1994, Newt Gingrich overestimated his mandate and the turmoil of the last night’s governors’ races should give the GOP caution. There’s still a great deal of anger out there — vented chiefly on the nation’s incumbent governors, many of whom lost amid voter discontent about coming state budget crunches. The psychiatrists call that kind of anger free-floating rage, and it could end up blowing back against the GOP in 2004. If trends hold up, the party out of power took every open gubernatorial seat.” In truth, anger was not vented at incumbent governors, almost all of whom won. In the biggest states in the country–California, Texas, New York, Florida–incumbents won. Only 1 Republican incumbent lost on Tuesday (in Wisconsin), and he had never been elected governor in the first place (having gotten the job when Tommy Thompson moved to D.C.) Maybe there was an anti-incumbent party mood in a lot of states where the actual incumbent wasn’t running. But why does this have to be written off as “free-floating rage” rather than a desire for change? Is this the “angry white male” theory of the 1994 election rearing its ugly head? (A friend of mine quipped that he was just happy that the day after the election, the New York Times’s headline wasn’t: “Bush Warmongering Brings Angry White Males to Polls.”)

Johnny The Happy Cancer Elf



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Leave it to the inimitable James Lileks to dig out insane stuff like this from America’s pop culture attic. (Keep following the links he provides for even more tobacco-inspired hijinx!)

Nice Recriminations Column



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By Peter Beinart.

Wait a Second



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I keep hearing Democrats saying that their party ought to have taken Bush on over the war rather than supported him. You mean the Democrats weren’t for war with Iraq? On the issue of whether to send our young men and women into harm’s way, they didn’t really think it was a good idea? They thought it would make America less secure? But they voted for it anyway? Or maybe the Democrats really did think the pro-war vote was right on the merits, but are now concluding that it was bad politics. So Iraq is a serious threat to Americans that war is necessary to prevent, but Democrats should have tried to stop it in order to pick up a few votes? Or do they just not have any particular position on war-and-peace? The post-election commentary by Democrats seems to me to make for a more savage indictment of them than anything they did pre-election.

Signorile



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I haven’t had the time or interest in responding to Signorile’s screed. But a bunch of you have. Thanks to everyone who wrote him letters in my defense. Here’s an interesting one:

It was clear to myself and many others (those not looking to be offended) that Mr. Goldberg’s comment on Mohammed being a threefer was meant tongue-in-cheek. Were you also taken aback by Jonah’s observation that 55% of serial killers are white males, and that “clearly we have some catching up to do” because we’re underrepresented? I don’t think you’re that dumb. Stop obfuscating.

Which leads to the real gist of the Coulter/Sullivan &c. rants, which is the insistence by the mainstream press that only a disenfranchised cracker could be capable of such crimes, and their subsequent refusal to: a) admit that they were wrong, and b) acknowledge that the suspects in custody are an America-hating Muslim and an illegal alien with an unusually high cash flow for homeless-shelter dwellers. Connect the dots? It’s practically A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

Shameful, selfish efforts by the elitist left to turn this tragedy into a gun-rights issue are, thankfully, failing. There are a hundred million guns in this country, and the dreaded “Dodge City” scenario only occurs where the law-abiding citizen is prohibited from owning one. Yale economics professor John Lott has documented how private gun ownership lowers crime, so stop blaming guns and access to them for the sins of their owners.

The pundits you criticize only ask that the press and government stay focused on the real issue, which is saving American lives and property.

Scenes in The Future....



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“Senator Gavora, we’ve had several requests for Mr. Goldberg to cancel his ‘Office Iditarod 2002.’ Some people feel it is inappropriate to have such, um, sporting events in the US Capitol. We’ve even had some objections from animal rights groups who’ve complained that tying a dog to an office chair and calling it an “Urban Sled” constitutes cruelty to animals. Also, since we are on the subject, is Mr. Goldberg sure it’s necessary that he yell “Unleash the Hounds!” and “Kill Cosmo! Kill!” Every time Senator Corzine leaves his office?”

The Gavora Groundswell



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There’s a buzz out there. People want to know what they can do. Well, if
you’d like to contact Senator Murkowski, here’s his website’s contact page.
One important caveat: Senator Murkowski is a good man and good Senator, so respectful suggestions will probably work better than threats to toilet paper his front lawn.

Re: K-Lo



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Kathryn, dear, the book will be dedicated to you! And the granola bar is a nice start, but if you’re serious, you’ll do like I do and have steel-cut oatmeal spiked with protein powder for breakfast.

Rod...



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…I know you won’t forget to interview me for your book. I even had a granola bar for breakfast. (Does Quaker Oats count?)

Ramadan For Degenerates



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This story makes me sick. It’s about one way the people of Cairo are celebrating Ramadan. Nothing like sitting around with the family at night, watching a miniseries based on The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and eating sweet holiday treats festively named after mass murderers, terrorists, dictators and weapons of mass destruction. Wonderful people, these Egyptians, such exemplars of Islam’s tolerance and peacefulness.

Not Much Time!



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Senator Frank Murkowski has been elected governor of the great state of the Alaska. He has the opportunity to appoint his own replacement to the Senate. As I’ve indicated before there is really only one great choice for this appointment. I am referring, of course, to Mrs. Jonah Goldberg AKA Jessica Gavora. This would mean great things for her, for me, for National Review and for Cosmo the Wonderdog who would be able to go to work with Jessica from now on and, conceivably, mark Ted kennedy’s territory — if ya know what I’m saying. She’s from Alaska, qualified, sharp, conservative and all that stuff. She even worked for Murkowski. She could put her book on Title IX into action and I could walk around half-dressed in the Senate cafeteria slapping Hillary Clinton on the back and messing-up Trent Lott’s hair (with trowel, I suppose). But, most important, it would generate scads of new material for NRO. Let the Gavora Groundswell Begin! Let the Flying Monkey Fly! Away!

Just Like The Rest



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The big story right now is the election, but I can’t let this week’s U. S. News cover story on the SAT go by without comment. The story, by Julian Barnes, is heavily biased in favor of the changes to the test, relying in great part on interviews with U.C. president Richard Atkinson himself. There is a brief mention of those who feel that the current test will overlook “diamonds in the rough,” but no mention at all of the many problems with the new test that I’ve raised in several pieces for NRO (eg. the way that grade inflation vitiates research relied on by advocates of the changes; the special vulnerability of achievement tests to pressure for dumbing down; the current problems with the British pre-college achievement test as a warning sign). U. S. News used to be fairer than other mainstream organs. No more. Put this story together with last year’s one-sided cover story on boys and it’s obvious that U. S. News is no different from the rest.

Diversity Problems



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Yes Jonah, I agree that diversity representation for conservatives is a bad idea, for all the reasons you state. And I don’t doubt that some conservatives are beginning to believe their own rhetoric. The Amherst conservatives seem to have split between those who keep saying that their point is that the whole diversity idea is wrong, and the ones who want a stronger and more persuasive case made for diversity representation. But having granted the stupidity of the whole idea of diversity representation for conservatives, or anyone else, I do think that there are benefits to this becoming an issue. It highlights the contradictions of the diversity idea, and throws a light on the lack of representation for conservative views at colleges at a time when the country itself is actually leaning a bit Republican. The whole issue is a huge embarrassment for the other side. On balance, it’s hard to say whether this amounts to a good trend or a bad one. But it may well be a trend. We report, you decide.

Campus Ideologues



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Back when I was in college (‘85-’89), it seemed to me that both the ideological campus right and the ideological campus left were far more interested in asserting and indulging their own identities than in actually changing minds. One of their favorite things to do was bash the college paper for bias. When I ran the editorial pages there, I’d ask these guys to submit op-eds. More often than not, they never got around to it. Changing minds requires hard labor, patience and — how to put this? — social skills. Self-righteousness and tribalism will always be easier than the humble work of persuasion, and thinking creatively about democratic politics. But it ends in futility and frustration. I wouldn’t have understood that when I was 18 either.

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