The Corner

Hold the Campaign

There are two ways to score this: politically and as a matter of civics.

Politically, I think it is shrewd, even wise. It demonstrates McCain’s willingness to make politics and partisanship a secondary concern. Obviously, some of McCain’s detractors will see it as a gimmick. But politics is all about gimmickry in a sense. Symbolic gestures, tactical positioning, overtures to constituencies: that’s what politicians do to communicate what kind of politician they are. Yes, as the guy behind, McCain has a greater interest to reset the campaign to more favorable terms. But that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing to do. He’s communicating that he’s the candidate that actually breaks with politics-as-usual when it’s required. After all, there was something really idiotic about having the first debate be on foreign policy when virtually every American is rightly focused on the economy.

As a matter of civics, I am at a loss to understand what the argument against this could possibly be. I didn’t much like the cancellation of the first night of the GOP convention because of the hurricane. Democracy should go on, and all that. But postponing a debate so that the world’s oldest deliberative body can tackle the most pressing domestic crisis in modern memory seems both democratic and appropriate. The debate in Congress isn’t a photo-op. It’s what Congress is for.

Update/Correction: Several readers have politely inquired about my use of the “oldest deliberative body” line.

One friend asked, “What about the British Parliament?”

Others point to some other pretty darn old deliberative bodies.

My short answer: I don’t know why they call the Senate “the world’s oldest deliberative body.” I just assumed it was true unthinkingly. I regret the assumption. I await clarification about whether I should regret the error.

Update: Correction it is! The correct phrase is “world’s greatest deliberative body.” In fact while googling this, I discovered I’d already addressed this four years ago. So: it’s egg meet face for me!

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now. @jonahnro

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Wheels Begin to Come Off in the House

The Republican House has never been particularly functional, but Ryan has managed to hold it together admirably — until now. The Freedom Caucus took down the farm bill last week to pressure for a vote on a hawkish immigration bill, while a discharge petition is gaining ground with the support of Republican ... Read More
World

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Wins, America Loses

Derek Scissors of AEI has a sour take on the latest turn in U.S.–China trade talks: If there’s good news, it’s that the Trump administration has fallen silent on whether the U.S. will bend our law for China in the ZTE case, which got so much attention last week. That would be a big step backward. But even ... Read More
Culture

Jonathan Swift in a White Suit

In 1965 Tom Wolfe visited Princeton University for a panel discussion of "the style of the Sixties." The author of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published that year, was scheduled to appear alongside Günter Grass, Allen Ginsberg, and Paul Krassner. Grass spoke first. The German novelist's ... Read More
World

In Appreciation, and against (Too Much) Nostalgia

To put it a little self-pityingly: It seems that my gurus are going, and the world’s. Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, died on Thursday; Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East, died yesterday. We had them both for a long time. Pipes was born in 1923, Lewis way ... Read More
Culture

Comedians Are Catching On

The comedians are beginning to catch on. Over the weekend -- just one week after featuring a bevy of top-line Hollywood stars impersonating members of the Trump administration, as well as a cameo by a vengeful Stormy Daniels asking for President Trump’s resignation -- Saturday Night Live finally acknowledged ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More
Culture

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More