The Corner

So What Happened to President Obama?

First, never before in his life had he ever faced a first-rate Republican debating opponent. His races for the Illinois state senate and the U.S. House were one-party affairs. In his 2004 Senate race, the GOP candidate was Alan Keyes, who was brilliant but erratic and eccentric. In 2008, he ran against John McCain, a great American war hero, but not a great debater. The face-off with Romney was the first time that he had ever shared a stage with a Republican who spoke so crisply and knew his brief so well. 

Second, he’s the incumbent. Like any president, he’s surrounded by people whose attitude toward him ranges from respectful deference to reverential awe.  Everyone stands when he enters the room, and most people watch their tongues when they talk to him. Under those conditions, it is something of a shock for him to confront someone who talks back on equal terms. 

Four years ago, President Bush’s face betrayed his annoyance when he had to listen to John Kerry. When Romney was speaking, we saw the same look on President Obama.  

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More