Politics & Policy

Consequences, &c.

When conservatives cry against moves made by President Obama, some liberals retort, “Try winning some elections.” They have a point.

Lately, Obama has nominated Debo Adegbile to be the assistant attorney general for civil rights. Mona Charen devoted a column to the nominee, here. Adegbile appears to be a leftist out of Central Casting: a champion of racial quotas, a believer in “customary international law,” when American law proves inconvenient, etc.

He defended Mumia Abu Jamal, natch — Abu Jamal is the Left’s favorite cop-killer. (He killed a Philadelphia officer named Daniel Faulkner in 1981.)

In short, Adegbile is a conservative’s nightmare. And he will be hard, if not impossible, to block, because Harry Reid and his party control the Senate.

And who put them there? The people. And who put Obama, the nominator, in the Oval Office, twice? The good ol’ people.

I think the people I least respect in all of America are those who say, “There’s no real difference between the two major parties. They’re just Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They’re one establishment party. They’re the Republicrats.”

I believe that these people have been smoking too much of the hash that we at National Review are keen to legalize.

Do you recall what Secretary of State John Kerry said about Israel and the boycott movement the other week? Do you recall what he said about global warming, or climate change, or whatever the Left’s designation du jour is?

Who would Mitt Romney’s secretary of state have been? John Bolton, or someone like him?

Who would Romney’s attorney general be? And the assistant AG for civil rights? Who would John McCain’s AG and assistant AGs be?

The major parties, far from being Tweedledum and Tweedledee, are much too far apart for my taste. They are on different planets.

And elections have consequences — dire consequences. The elections of 2008 and 2012 have been seismic. The liberals’ retort is right: We must keep trying to win elections. Here, the people rule. And as soon as they can be convinced to have a different sort of government, we will.

‐At the Daily Caller, I saw a headline: “Major conservative group launches ‘full assault’ on vulnerable Democratic senator.” (The story is here, although I believe the headline has been changed.) I thought, “Wow — that’s really man bites dog.” The vulnerable Democrat in question is Mark Pryor of Arkansas. For the last many months, I’ve been reading about how “conservative” groups are spending millions to unseat Republican officeholders — sometimes good conservatives.

Spending to unseat a Democrat? Extraordinary.

‐In an article for the Telegraph, Dan Hodges said something that struck me as thunderously true — elementary, but thunderously true. He was talking about the BBC. But the same point applies to our media, and other media.

One of the BBC’s standard lines, says Hodges, is, “It’s our job to hold the government to account.” But it isn’t, as Hodges notes. It’s the voters’ job to hold the government to account. “It’s the BBC’s job to give them the facts — in an even-handed and unbiased way — to enable them to make an informed judgment when they do.”

A distinction without a difference? No, I think this is a distinction worth absorbing.

‐John Holdren was in the news the other day:

The night before President Barack Obama was set to address Californians stricken by a prolonged drought, White House science czar Dr. John Holdren told reporters that virtually all weather is being impacted by climate change and that droughts were getting “more frequent, they’re getting longer and they’re getting dryer.”

Holdren figures in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize. (My 2012 book Peace, They Say is a history of that prize.) He was once the head of the Pugwash group, that anti-nuclear organization so beloved of General Jaruzelski and other men of peace. In 1995, the Pugwashers shared the Nobel prize with Joseph Rotblat, a physicist long associated with them.

#page#Rotblat was a fellow-traveler, to be blunt. And the Pugwashers, alike in character. Holdren gave a Nobel lecture on their behalf.

My point, I guess, is that Holdren is the type of guy you would expect to be Obama’s “science czar.” Elections have consequences, I keep saying. Holdren is one of those consequences. Obama’s nuttiness about California droughts is another. Debo Adegbile is another. And on, and on . . .

‐Over the years, you’ve read headlines like this: “Italian cleaner accidentally throws modern art in the bin.” And the subhead: “Cleaning lady was ‘just doing her job’ when she dumped art.” Yup. For the story, go here.

And as my comrade Roger Kimball, the editor of The New Criterion, told me, “Sign her up as an art critic.”

‐There is an old question, evergreen: What is an American? I smiled when I read something in a press release from Deutsche Grammophon, the record label (as we used to call them). In a list of musicians, they referred to the “American classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz.”

He is always described as a Russian. He was born in 1903, fled the motherland in 1925, and lived here in the U.S. pretty much ever after. Was he an American? Yes, I think he was. (And a Russian, spiritually and musically.)

‐Speaking of music, have a review, published in CityArtshere. It is of a recital by Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano, and Emanuel Ax, piano.

‐Was in Houston the other day. One thing you see there is building — new building. Lots of activity, economic activity. Texas continues to flourish. There are jobs aplenty in Houston. Great, great economic vitality.

It occurs to me that our national economy has been shored up by two things — two things that President Obama and the Democratic party are vehemently opposed to: oil and gas drilling (think North Dakota), and Texas — the conservative policies of Texans.

Lucky us. All of us.

Some years ago, I heard an Egyptian lamenting the poverty and hopelessness of Egypt. Young Egyptians and other Arabs are fleeing to the Gulf, to find work. “And thank God there is a Gulf,” said the man. “Because we have no work, no opportunity, and no future for them.”

As I understand it, many, many people, especially the young, are going to Texas (and North Dakota and some other entrepreneurial pockets). Someone, somewhere, has to provide economic vitality. Not all of us can be community organizers, lawyers, Solyndra hustlers, IRS agents, and diversity officers.

‐Before going to Texas, I was in Michigan. Walking down a frozen country lane, I saw something startling, and beautiful: a Finnish flag. Must have had to do with the Winter Olympics. I snapped a photo, here.

A few days later, I was in Houston, walking through the lovely Tanglewood neighborhood. I saw something startling: a Norwegian flag. What the . . .? Turned out to be the Norwegian consulate — here.

‐On the plane home, the flight attendant was a comedian — I mean, the attendant doing the instructional spiel. (Not sure what to call it, formally.) Usually, I don’t like it when the gal or guy on the mike tries to be funny. The comedy usually falls flat. But this guy was genuinely funny.

As I recall, he said, “In the event of [whatever], your oxygen mask will come down. After you stop screaming . . .” Then he said, “Before putting a mask on your child, put yours on first. Then put the child’s mask on. If you have several children, start with the one you like best.”

I’m not sure I’ve transcribed this faithfully, but it was truly funny. Maybe against the rules — but delightful.

Have a good one, y’all.

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