The Corner

Frankness

If you missed Charlie Cooke’s article on Obamacare yesterday, be sure you don’t: It’s here. Very interesting. Its theme, I believe, is, “For months and years, the Left denied that Obamacare was a mere gateway to a single-payer system. Now they’re saying, ‘Of course it’s a gateway, whaddaya think we are, stupid?’”

One of the reasons I appreciated Barney Frank (really) is that he admitted, long ago, that something like Obamacare would pave the way to single payer, his dream. In fact, Frank was an exceptionally candid politician (true to his name). Talking about the stimulus — that 2009 fiasco — he would say, “We’re not supposed to call it the ‘stimulus.’ The message-meisters want us to call it something else.”

You know what that told me? It told me that Frank was not a robot — an ideological or political robot. He was a human being.

I have said something similar about John McCain: He is not a robot — he’s a flawed, crotchety, lovable, exasperating, very human human being. Much of the time, I want to wring his neck. (After the North Vietnamese, I would be no more than a housefly to him.) He can seem more interested in taunting or bedeviling conservatives than he is in advancing the ball against the Left.

But — he’s a real-live human being, with a heroic streak. He is an adornment to public life. Besides, I think he’s honest.

Take a politician like Bill Clinton (please): Every word out of his mouth, I think, is political. Every gesture, every sigh, every tic — everything has political calculation about it. (And look how far it’s gotten him! Two terms as president, and he would have had more, if not for the Twenty-second Amendment.)

Here’s to non-robots in public life.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More