People who have never run for office are always telling seasoned politicians how to run for office. In that tradition, let me say this: I think Republicans should make a very big issue of unemployment.
Last December, I noted King Juan Carlos’s Christmas message: “We cannot accept as normal the anguish of the millions of Spaniards who do not have work.”
Yes — no liberal democratic nation ought to accept that as normal. In our country, we have widespread and chronic unemployment. This is something that people are uneasy talking about — I mean, the unemployed are uneasy. It’s not unlike alcoholism or sexual abuse: It’s sometimes hushed up. The pain. The humiliation. The strain on marriages and families. The spiritual damage.
Unemployment is a curse.
And those who are employed, I suspect, don’t think very much about those who aren’t. It’s a little like a disease that someone else has.
I believe that a bigger deal would be made of unemployment if the president were a Republican. A bigger deal would be made of it by the media, the universities, and Hollywood — the media-academia-entertainment complex, as I call it.
Anyway, I think Republicans should hit this very hard. In 1980, I believe, the Republicans had a very good “generic” television ad — an ad for all of their congressional candidates, or their candidates in general. As I recall, the ad had a guy on the shop floor — an abandoned shop floor? — saying, “If the Democrats are so good for working people, how come so many people aren’t working?” A good question.
Republicans should pound away on unemployment, and propound the measures that would alleviate it.
On Friday, I was walking through New York, and noticed a lot of construction — a festival of construction. And I was so glad of it. Years ago, I thought of construction aesthetically: the noise, the dust, the inconvenience. These days, I tend to think of construction economically: the vitality, the employment, the growth. Construction is a sign of life. Its sights, and sites, are welcome. And its noises are music to my ears.
I have another campaign theme for the Republicans: You know how the Democrats are always saying that we hate government? Many people hold the Republicans to be the party of anti-government and the Democrats to be the party of government. Well, the Democrats stink at government. The most recent example is the Veterans Administration.
We Republicans don’t hate government. We just want it to be reasonable in size and scope, and we want it to run well: the VA, the IRS, and all the rest of it.
And Democrats have made an absolute hash of government. (Hashtag?)
A question for Democrats (and their fellows in the media): Why don’t you want to find out about Benghazi? I mean, why should this be a partisan issue, or a Left-Right issue? There are four dead Americans. There are unanswered questions. We have separation of powers in our government, and Congress has an oversight role.
If the president were a Republican, I would still have questions about Benghazi, and want them answered. Why do Democrats want to know less rather than more? Dude, it was like two years ago, but, dude, the stonewalling continues. Like, dude.
I believe that Congress’s oversight role is all the more important when the press is disinclined to investigate or embarrass the administration. (Think of the presidential debate in 2012 when the issue of Benghazi came up and the moderator weighed in on the side of the president.)
According to this article, a Chinese blogger got in trouble after he “met with Secretary of State John Kerry and urged the U.S. to challenge China’s Internet restrictions.” The blogger was fired from his company.
Fired? Not jailed, tortured, or killed? If that is so, the Chinese government is going soft, thank heaven.
Michael Bloomberg is not going soft. He remains one of the flintiest, most independent-minded, most interesting people in American public life. As every conservative knows, he is a “nanny”: a monitor of “sugary drinks” and the like. He is also a “gun-grabber.” But he is a lot more than those things, as he showed in his commencement address at Harvard (not to mention his twelve years as New York mayor, and, before that, his business career).
For the whole speech, go here. But savor this excerpt:
There is an idea floating around college campuses — including here at Harvard — that scholars should be funded only if their work conforms to a particular view of justice. There’s a word for that idea: censorship. And it is just a modern-day form of McCarthyism.
Think about the irony: In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species. And perhaps nowhere is that more true than here in the Ivy League.
In the 2012 presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data, 96 percent of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama.
Ninety-six percent. There was more disagreement among the old Soviet Politburo than there is among Ivy League donors.
That statistic should give us pause — and I say that as someone who endorsed President Obama for reelection — because let me tell you, neither party has a monopoly on truth or God on its side.
When 96 percent of Ivy League donors prefer one candidate to another, you have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a great university should offer.
Diversity of gender, ethnicity, and orientation is important. But a university cannot be great if its faculty is politically homogenous.
Nice goin’, Mike. Really good. Right time, right place, right audience, etc.
Did you see this article in the Daily Caller? A teacher in my neck of the woods — Monroe, Michigan — was suspended. This was a much respected teacher who was a couple of weeks away from retirement. They suspended him because he showed his students long-ago white actors in blackface. He was giving a lesson in racism and Jim Crow.
I’m sorry, but this country can be flat crazy — especially when it comes to race. Also, our country can be — didn’t someone who lives in the White House say this? — downright mean.
Okay, I’m going to say something racial. The other day, I spotted the following headline: “Rice helping Obama juggle foreign policy crises.” I thought, “Has Condi crossed party lines to try to right our ship? And Obama has invited this?” Then I remembered Susan, the national-security adviser. This all took about three-quarters of a second.
Extraterrestrials would think that America had a special caste of attractive black women named Rice who existed to advise presidents on foreign policy.
Come and get me, coppers.
A reader in Venezuela pointed out this little article — which talks of how chavista leaders like to wear swank watches. I thought of an earlier chavista, or Sandinista, Daniel Ortega — who would visit New York for the U.N. and go shopping. He had a weakness for designer glasses. This badly embarrassed his supporters or apologists in our Congress and media. More than his oppression in Nicaragua, this embarrassed them. In fact, it affected our national debate on Nicaragua. Funny how those little symbolic things matter so much.
The Gipper called Ortega a “dictator in designer glasses.” (See this 1985 article, for example.)
Well, this ticked me the hell off — an obit in the New York Times. It’s of Terry Robinson, “Chiropractor and Fitness Trainer to the Stars.” I have no problem with him. But the Times said, “Movie box-office receipts were declining steeply as television caught on. Cold War hysteria had spawned accusations of Communist influence in the film industry. The studio system was in its last days.”
Cold War “hysteria”? Mere accusations of Communist influence? Yeah, riiiight. (Are they still teaching that stuff? No doubt.)
A reader informed me that the University of Colorado gives a Dean Reed Peace Prize. Figures. Who was Dean Reed? A singer and actor who went to live in the Soviet bloc, and sang the praises of Erich Honecker and all the rest of those tyrants and killers. Peace, they say. That is, in fact, the title of my history of the Nobel Peace Prize: Peace, They Say.
I hate to end with a plug — and an expression of outrage — but I gotta go. Good week, y’all. See you.