Magazine | April 11, 2016, Issue


Bush Appreciated

Thanks to Jay Nordlinger for his “43 and His Theme: A Visit with George W. Bush” (March 14). It’s a shame that Bush didn’t do more, rhetorically, to defend himself against political assault during his presidency. Nordlinger’s interview affirms W.’s intelligence, his serious approach to life-and-death issues, and his human decency. Shame on my lefty (and otherwise intelligent) friends for their simplistic and simple-minded attacks.

Roger Baumgarten

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Cheap Oil Foiled

While Mr. Hassett’s discussion was measured and succinct (“Don’t Stop Worrying about Oil,” February 29), I do believe he may have missed the mark. Even though the production of oil in this country has not changed appreciably as a percentage of total world output, the use of oil here has declined, and the rate of production and the existence of proven reserves now make us able to supply all of our needs should the price of crude rise to the level at which it would be profitable to frack and mine tar sands. Even if OPEC were to cease to produce oil, we could supply our own needs, with only a short period of time required to restart our domestic industry, which would already be retooling as the price of crude rose. With Canada as a partner (unless our president has queered that deal as well), we could be exporting to the rest of the world over and above our domestic needs. As the flow and the supply worldwide fell, the price would rise again, returning to the level at which extracting oil in this country would again be profitable. Consumers would be forced to return to the days of $2.50 gasoline (I live in an oil state and our price is always low), a lot of people would complain, and the needs of the oil users in this country would be uninterrupted, while, once again, the rest of the world descended into chaos.

Jonathan C. Jobe

Via e-mail

Kevin A. Hassett responds: Mr. Jobe raises a clever point that, sadly, collapses on inspection. Even if the U.S. is self-sufficient in oil production, this does not insulate us from the impact of fluctuations in world prices. If the world price is higher than the U.S. price, domestic producers will sell to foreigners instead of to us. Perhaps we could keep the domestic price higher by introducing trade barriers, but the economic case against such barriers would, like our borders in Mr. Jobe’s example, be open and shut.

It is true that my piece did not envision a world without trade. Perhaps, if Donald Trump is serious about starting a trade war, that is a bigger omission than anyone could have foreseen.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Bush Appreciated Thanks to Jay Nordlinger for his “43 and His Theme: A Visit with George W. Bush” (March 14). It’s a shame that Bush didn’t do more, rhetorically, to defend ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Bernie Sanders’s campaign is fading, leaving his supporters red, white, and blue. ‐ It is neither a surprise nor an accident that the latest major Islamist terrorist attack to befall ...
The Long View

Final Bulletin

FINAL BULLETIN The 2016 National Review Post-Election Cruise, Official Program Thanks for signing up for the 2016 National Review Post-Election Cruise aboard Holland America’s luxurious cruise ship MS Nieuw Amsterdam. We will be ...
Politics & Policy


WOMAN AT A MOTEL WINDOW Frost from her breath on glass, Thin arteries made dark By a slow finger’s pass, Are the hand’s speech, and mark As something to be said Her waiting emptiness. She writes; behind ...

Most Popular

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

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

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