The Corner

Impromptus

Candidates, Spitballers, and More

Kamala Harris, then the attorney general of California, speaking in 2011 (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)

In Impromptus today, I lead with Kamala Harris, the California senator. And Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York senator. They are both running for president. And they have both been praised by leading Democratic figures as …

Well, in 2013, President Obama called Harris “the best-looking attorney general in the country.” And in 2010, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “We in the Senate refer to Senator Gillibrand as ‘the hottest member.’”

Don’t shoot the messenger (i.e., me). More seriously, Harris is one of those politicians who talk about “the people,” and of these politicians, and this kind of politics, I say, “Beware.” Once you’ve had a strong whiff of populism, you run to republicanism as to fresh air.

In my column, I also touch on Bill Buckley, Bill Clinton, Nathan Glazer, King Baudouin of Belgium, Jack Nicklaus (of Columbus, Ohio), Tom Brady, and the meaning of conservatism.

Responding to an item in a previous column — concerning James Harden, Rudolf Nureyev, and other greats — a wise lady from Alabama writes,

An old coach once told me that basketball played well was ballet with a ball. Of course, a Green Beret friend said that combat was ballet with bullets, so …

I also had an item about the name “Moses” — about which the wise Alabamian said,

I don’t know how he came to be so named, but my paternal grandfather was Moses. He died when my father was a mere tot, so we never came to know the story. My father was the youngest of nine children, and he was named Price, for an uncle. Curiously, my grandfather did not choose to name any of his four sons after himself. We are now on Price IV, an immensely charming and mischievous lad of 14. I am currently teaching him how to shoot spitballs with the rubber bands on his braces.

That is one of the most Alabama letters I have ever read.

I had an item on Blake Griffin, the Detroit Pistons star, who pleaded with a ref by showing him video on a tablet (a tablet computer). A wise Georgia man writes,

Showing the ref his tablet? That’s nothing. I once thought I would have to physically restrain my daughter to keep her from running onto the field to show the back judge her cellphone footage to prove Grandson #2 did not step out of bounds. And my wife was egging her on.

A final item, also concerning sports. I was writing about WFB, telling a few stories. And I wanted to say that he was interested in no sports except sailing. But I wanted to be sure that sailing was a sport. So I consulted an expert, my brother-in-law, a sailor. He said, “Absolutely. I have a simple rule: It’s a sport if you know you won when you cross the finish line. Sorry to all the ice dancers of the world.”

Brutal.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Making Sense of the Iran Chaos

One would prefer that correct decisions be made according to careful, deliberate plan. But a correct decision made impulsively, through a troubling process, is still nonetheless correct, and so it is with Donald Trump’s decision to refrain from military action against Iran. The proposed strike would represent a ... Read More
U.S.

In Defense of Coleman Hughes

Picture the scene: A young man walks into a congressional hearing to offer witness testimony. His grandfather was barbarically brutalized by people who are now long dead. The nation in which he resides built its wealth of his grandfather’s brutalization. The question: Should his fellow citizens pay the young ... Read More
Education

College Leaders Should Learn from Oberlin

Thanks to their social-justice warrior mindset, the leaders of Oberlin College have caused an Ohio jury to hit it with $44 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a case where the school couldn't resist the urge to side with its “woke” students against a local business. College leaders should learn ... Read More
Elections

Joe and the Segs

Joe Biden has stepped in it, good and deep. Biden, if he has any hope of ever being elected president, will be dependent on residual goodwill among African Americans from his time as Barack Obama’s loyal and deferential vice president — so deferential, in fact, that he stood aside for Herself in 2016 even ... Read More
Film & TV

Toy Story 4: A National Anthem

The Toy Story franchise is the closest thing we have to an undisputed national anthem, a popular belief that celebrates what we think we all stand for — cooperation, ingenuity, and simple values, such as perpetual hope. This fact of our infantile, desensitized culture became apparent back in 2010 when I took a ... Read More