Magazine | December 31, 2016, Issue


Prosecutor, Heal Thyself

An item in the Week in the December 5 issue begins: “If there’s anything more New Jersey than having a corrupt political figure create artificial traffic troubles to torment a political rival for no obvious end than sadistic enjoyment, we do not know what it is.” One thing that’s more New Jersey was the near-universal response in the state when it was first reported that Chris Christie’s “traffic survey” had slowed traffic at the George Washington Bridge’s Fort Lee exit to a crawl: “How can they tell?” The surrounding area is notorious for having New Jersey’s worst traffic, and that’s a distinction that we Garden State residents do not take lightly (in fact, Fort Lee’s traffic was recently rated worst in the U.S. by a trucking-industry group). Adding congestion to Fort Lee is like carrying coals to Newcastle, or toxic waste to Linden.

Or corruption to Trenton. Another thing we take seriously in New Jersey is our crooked politicians, and here, sad to say, Chris Christie barely even makes the list. Jailing New Jersey politicians has become a wearisome ritual, like grounding your 17-year-old for staying out past curfew, and many of them were put away by Christie himself, in his days as a U.S. Attorney. He presumably knows where the bodies are buried, and how to run a payoff scheme — which makes the Fort Lee affair even more puzzling, because Jon Corzine, Jim McGreevy, Bob Torricelli, and Bob Menendez all got something for their misdeeds, but Christie’s scheme paid off in neither love nor money. That’s the second thing everyone in New Jersey asked about Chris Christie and Bridgegate: “What was in it for him?” Or as Thomas More might have said: “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . but for Fort Lee?”

Charles Grayson

Elizabeth, N.J.

Ping-Pong Politics

David French’s “Trumpocalypse” (December 19) is about as measured an assessment of President-elect Trump as I have seen, and I hope that our friends on the left take note — for their own sake. A hysterical reaction to Barack Obama made many conservatives susceptible to an extreme candidate on their side, a hysterical reaction to Donald Trump threatens to do the same to the Left, and no good can come from a politics that oscillates between extremes.

Jerrod Payton

Greensboro, N.C.

The Well-Given Damn

Far be it from me to make such a claim, but I think William F. Buckley Jr. would have found a special pleasure in Daniel Foster’s “A Course on Cursing” (December 19). Sometimes, a bad word is just necessary, as WFB seemed to understand. After all, he didn’t write simply, “Cancel your own subscription.”

Kimball Loyd

Dallas, Tex.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Prosecutor, Heal Thyself An item in the Week in the December 5 issue begins: “If there’s anything more New Jersey than having a corrupt political figure create artificial traffic troubles to ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ We haven’t seen liberals this interested in Russians and fake news since Walter Duranty. ‐ Trump picked ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of state. As the ...
Politics & Policy


AUTUMN SONG after Chassignet Little flower, you live in constant danger: Likely to be crushed under foot or torn by wind, Sun-scorched or gobbled by a goat. These October days streaked with regrets and tears Are ...
Happy Warrior

Hillary Gone Wild

“Bigfoot. Chupacabra. The Loch Ness monster. All rarely seen. All shrouded in mystery. Tonight, we’re headed to the woods of Westchester County to search for the most elusive legend of ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More
White House

Trump vs. the ‘Policy Community’

When it comes to Russia, I am with what Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman calls the American “policy community.” Vindman, of course, is one of the House Democrats’ star impeachment witnesses. His haughtiness in proclaiming the policy community and his membership in it grates, throughout his 340-page ... Read More
Law & the Courts

DACA’s Day in Court

When President Obama unilaterally changed immigration policy after repeatedly and correctly insisting that he lacked the constitutional power to do it, he said that congressional inaction had forced his hand. In the case of his first major unilateral move — “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” which ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More

A Preposterous Review

A   Georgetown University professor named Charles King has reviewed my new book The Case for Nationalism for Foreign Affairs, and his review is a train wreck. It is worth dwelling on, not only because the review contains most of the lines of attack against my book, but because it is extraordinarily shoddy and ... Read More