Every National Review person is used to it, but it can still rankle: the invocation of William F. Buckley Jr. by people who wish to scold the Right in some way.
I was reading the Corner here on NRO last week, and someone said that Arianna Huffington and Joe Scarborough were talking on television — saying that, if Bill were here, he would support the nomination of Chuck Hagel.
This is the kind of thing that makes us tear our hair out, but, as I said, we’re used to it, sort of. It certainly happens a lot, and always will, till the end of time, presumably.
I have a feeling that Bill would oppose the Hagel nomination, because of the nominee’s stance on Iran and his stance on defense spending — what the U.S. military should be. But I don’t know for sure. And I wouldn’t claim to speak for him. (NR is against the Hagel nomination, by the way.)
As we all know, conservatives never get such good press as when they’re planted. I recall an interview I once had with Beverly Sills. She cited Birgit Nilsson — who said, “I never had such good reviews as when I retired.” Before, the critics said, “This shrill Swede, not as good as Flagstad.” After, they said, “Oh, Birgit, where have you gone?”
Very, very human.
I keep reading that we Republicans have to change our view of immigration — that we’re too harsh, that we’re getting killed on the issue. First, I think that politicians and parties should say what they believe, regardless of the popularity of those views. Second, I believe that the general Republican stance on immigration is perfectly reasonable.
Let me summarize my understanding of that general view: Secure the border. Stop illegal immigration, to the extent possible. No amnesty — it’s never the last one, and we should not reward lawbreaking. Work out a generous, sensible policy of legal immigration: a policy that allows for many types of immigrant, from a variety of places.
Obviously, I have been too curt and glib, but I think I have the crux of the matter — the crux of Republican thinking on the subject.
For many years, I’ve read that those Americans who are most opposed to illegal immigration and to amnesty are immigrants — legal immigrants. If this is so, why should Republicans be punished at the polls? The illegals can’t vote (as far as I know).
Anyway, I reject the view that the Republicans’ stance on immigration is harsh and unreasonable. If that stance is unpopular — well, then, we’ll have to do a better job of arguing. And if that doesn’t do the trick — well, in a democracy, the people get to choose, for better or worse.
To be continued . . .
Remember what Rahm Emanuel said about the financial crisis and the Left’s longstanding dreams and plans? “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
That is essentially what they’re doing with gun control, after Newtown.
For many years — since the early 1980s, at least — I’ve noted that Arab parents teach their children hatred in the cradle. Right out of the womb. This is probably especially true of the Palestinians. A million times, I’ve written that hatred is their “mother’s milk,” making accommodations extremely hard. The poison never drains out. The dying of one generation doesn’t matter. The poison has been passed on.
It’s one thing if I say it, scribbling in my skivvies in New York. But what about the president of Egypt, the most important Arab state? As we read in this report, he has asked his people to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred.”
There ya go.
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that British politicians have an easier time poking fun at themselves than American politicians. I’ve told this story a million times, but I remember Tony Blair at Davos. He was scheduled to give a speech on global warming. And, boy, was it cold — lots of snow too. He began his speech by saying, “Why is it that, whenever I give a speech on global warming, it’s the coldest day of the year?”
I’ve paraphrased, but closely. And I thought at the time, “Al Gore would never, ever say that.”
Anyway, I was reading Boris Johnson in the Telegraph the other day. Being mayor of London has not stopped him from scribbling — a lot. (He was a famous writer and editor before he became mayor.)
Talking about “transport,” he was saying that trains are now running faster, and with fewer delays, “than they were four years ago (to pick a period entirely at random).”
Johnson, of course, was elected four years ago (and just reelected). How many American politicians would say that? “. . . four years ago (to pick a period entirely at random).” Not many, I wager.
I raised an eyebrow at a phrase in this Associated Press report: “the authoritarian government in Laos.” Laos, of course, is a Communist state — “the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.” Communists like to call the states they control democratic republics.
I looked up “authoritarian” in the dictionary: “favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom.”
Well, in that sense, then, all Communist states are authoritarian.
To be continued . . .
In a column last week, I wrote about government welfare to the needy (and others): It was once called “relief.” A reader — my mother, specifically — wrote to say, “Welfare in Maine was called ‘Mother’s Aid’ when I was there.” The phrase was uttered “with hushed tones, and with sadness for those who needed the aid — which seemed to me like almost everybody.”
Another dose of family news: The other day, I made the mistake of suggesting to my nephew, ten years old, that he say “lie low,” when speaking in the present tense, not “lay low.” He rebuked me: “No, it’s ‘lay low.’” What does Unc know about language?
The country at large is not helping him. I spotted the following in an AP report last week: “Walker has decided to lay low in Wisconsin.”
Well, maybe it’s an idiom . . . (In fact, I think it is. I hereby give my blessing, not that anyone has asked for it.)
Some more language? Senator Rob Portman was in our offices last week, sharing his plans for deficit reduction — sensible, pragmatic plans. “They’ll never fly,” I thought. “They’re too much like right.”
I had a friend from Waycross, Ga., the son of a sharecropper. Often, I’d hear him say, “That’s too much like right.” Let me think of a sample sentence. Okay: “We’re a twosome, they’re a foursome. There’s no one ahead of them. They could let us play through and never know the difference, but no: That’d be too much like right.”
In my column last Monday, I had some harsh things to say about Chief Justice John Roberts. Those things had some snark in them too. A reader wrote that he thought these comments were “beneath” me. I concede the point. I think that Roberts stumbled badly last summer, but I hope he has a long, illustrious tenure, and I expect he will too. We all stumble now and then, sometimes with serious consequences.
What I ask of Roberts, and all the justices, is this: that they be wedded to the Constitution, not giving a fig about politics or popularity. There’s a reason we give ’em life tenure. Otherwise, we’d have them run for office and reelection, the way we do so many others . . .
To hear the latest podcast between Mona Charen and me, go here.
I grew up in golf, once worked in golf — and have heard just about every golf joke under the sun. But once in a blue moon, I hear one new to me. A reader sent me the below, amid a string of others. This joke may not make much sense to non-golfers. But to golfers, it should be damn funny.
Anyway, here we go:
Police are called to an apartment and find a woman standing over a lifeless man. She is holding a bloody 5-iron. The detective says, “Ma’am, is that your husband?” “Yes, it is.” “Did you hit him with that golf club?” “Yes,” she says. “How many times?” says the detective.
The woman pauses, then says, “I don’t know — put me down for five.”
To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.