Politics & Policy



As I write, the whole world is waiting for news from Iraq. We are hearing that the president will address the nation at 10:15. Our hopes and prayers are with the U.S. and allied forces and the president. Some thoughts to fill the tense interval till then:

Back at the Old Stand

No, I wasn’t enjoying some prolonged St. Patrick’s Day bender. I was desperately finishing the long article on paleoconservatism for the issue of NR that went to press yesterday.

I suppose the first thing I want to say is “thank you.” I heard from nearly 100 readers in the first 12 hours that the piece was up. It wasn’t possible to respond to each of them individually, but I appreciated the kind words. And thanks too to my colleagues on The Corner, who gave the piece such a vigorous send-off yesterday.

Two of them raise points that call for quick reply.

1. John Derbyshire suggests that we owe the paleos a debt of gratitude for keeping the immigration-reform issue alive. I think it’s closer to the truth that they have nearly killed it. Think how amazing it is that not even the revelations that the INS sent posthumous visas to 9/11 killers could make immigration a political issue. That tells you something about how radioactive the paleos have rendered the issue. I think too that the paleos’ hostility to the war on terror has inhibited from effectively making a connection between the war and immigration. It’s odd, isn’t it, to say “I want to curb immigration so as to more successfully prosecute a war I oppose?”

2. Mark Krikorian questions my inclusion of Robert Novak among the paleoconservatives. I should have thought the evidence spoke for itself. If not, there’s a lot more of it. But maybe the real question is the significance of the evidence. Let’s recall that it was Winston Churchill himself who identified the great obstacles to victory in wartime as “defeatism, discouragement, and disillusionment.” Novak began spreading all three within minutes of the 9/11 attack.

More on Paleos

One subject I did not tackle in my piece was the obsessive hatred that so many of the paleos feel for Abraham Lincoln. I discovered late, though, that Lincoln was not unique: The LewRockwell.com site hates Winston Churchill nearly as passionately. As I read their fulminations, I realized how much the Rockwellites reminded me of the Nazi playwright in the movie, “The Producers”: “Hitler vas a better painter than Shursheel, Hitler vas a better dancer than Shursheel …”

Companion Volume

I have to draw attention too to the very fine piece by Byron York in the current NR over Grover Norquist, a Washington activist who has made himself some very disturbing new friends. There are one or two details to add to this story – but they can wait until the news from the warzone arrives.


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