The Corner

‘If I Didn’t Pay Attention to Politics . . .’

In a column a couple of weeks ago, I had occasion to quote Chuck Grassley, the senator from Iowa (Republican). I’ve always remembered something he said long ago. During the debate on contra aid, someone pointed out to him that a majority of Americans opposed such aid. He said (and I paraphrase), “If all I knew about Nicaragua came from the mainstream media, I’d oppose contra aid too.”

Don’t forget, this was in the Dark Ages, when there was no Internet or — gasp — Fox News.

I thought of Grassley when I received an e-mail from Ohio yesterday morning:


I think Issue 2 is going to fail in Ohio primarily because of the effective fear campaign its opponents are running. The hammer keeps hitting the anvil with essentially the same sounds: If the measure passes, there won’t be enough police to protect your family. There won’t be enough firefighters to protect your homes. There won’t be enough teachers to teach your children. There won’t be enough medical personnel to staff hospitals.

In a nutshell, if Issue 2 passes, Ohio will become a lawless state filled with burning houses and uneducated children dying from medical neglect. There have been ads in support of Issue 2, but they’ve been as unimpressive as they have infrequent.

If I didn’t pay attention to politics, I’d vote no too.

An old, old story. Folks like us — I mean NRO types — must get better at politics. Consider school choice and other sensible education reform. Whenever these reforms are put to the voters, they, and we, get crushed. Unions and the rest of the Blob (to use Bill Bennett’s term) outspend us by about a zillion to one, and then there’s the sweet honesty of their rhetoric.

Politics is important, y’all. Not that I could be elected dogcatcher (certainly in my neighborhood). (In my neighborhood, the dogs tend to be small and yappy, and they’re on leashes, not needing to be caught. What you have to watch out for is stepping on them. Not so much what they produce, but them.)

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More

White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More


Someone tweeted this cartoon today, which apparently is intended to depict me. A few thoughts: I love the caricature. It’s really good. I may steal the second panel and use it for advertising. I hear this line of criticism fairly often from people who are not very bright or well-informed; in truth, I ... Read More