Magazine | May 6, 2019, Issue

The Week

(Roman Genn)

Bernie, soak thyself.

Representative Ilhan Omar’s latest turn on the national stage came in a March speech to a meeting of CAIR, in which she referred to 9/11 as “some people did something” and said Muslims in America were subjected to bigotry as a result. Omar was minimizing one of the greatest attacks on American soil. She provoked outrage, most heatedly in New York, where the New York Post ran a cover juxtaposing her words with an image of the burning Twin Towers. Harsh, but fair. Then President Trump piled on, with a video tweet making the same point. Omar’s allies meanwhile branded criticism of her as incitement, since she has been getting death threats. Death threats should be prosecuted zealously, but criticisms are not death threats; the madly wicked are responsible for their own violence. Pols across the board could speak more carefully, and it can start with the member from Minnesota.

Bernie Sanders reintroduced his Medicare for All bill, which keeps getting more expensive: Now it’s going to cover long-term care, too. As always, the pitch for socialized medicine is that in other countries it delivers better health outcomes at lower costs. It is a misleading comparison, since, among other things, it glosses over differences in lifestyle among countries. Besides, what Sanders is proposing is unprecedented: throwing scores of millions of people off private plans they mostly like (and another 20 million off Medicare Advantage) while slashing payment rates to medical providers. Americans should avoid this dangerous experiment for the sake of their health as well as their finances.

The revelation that Sanders made millions from his post-2016 book Our Revolution brought a spirited defense from the candidate himself. “I wrote a best-selling book,” Sanders said proudly. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.” Well, if Marx had put it that way . . .

Sarah Sanders declared that members of Congress may not be “smart enough” to examine President Trump’s tax returns. This is a silly defense of the president’s unreasonable refusal to release his tax returns for public examination. But there is a much better public defense: The law congressional Democrats are invoking is overbroad and dangerous. It essentially exempts the chairmen of key congressional committees from tax-privacy laws. It allows them to examine any taxpayer’s records merely on request. And while the law has rarely been used since its passage in 1924, its very public use against Trump sets a dangerous new precedent. Trump should release his taxes voluntarily. But he should challenge Congress’s power to demand his records at will — the better to protect all citizens from curious, snooping government eyes.

The first major poll in Maine since the 2018 midterms has good news for Republican senator Susan Collins, who leads her potential Democratic challenger by more than 20 percentage points. The Pan Atlantic Research of Portland poll found that the current senator received 51 percent support compared with 29 percent for Sara Gideon, who is currently the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. You’ll recall that Collins was briefly a top target of Democrats after she gave Brett Kavanaugh the decisive vote to join the Supreme Court. At that time, the Kavanaugh controversy was supposed to cost Republicans nationally. It ended up helping red-state Senate candidates. It doesn’t seem to be hurting them in at least one blue state either.

Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Ind., is rising in the polls in the presidential race. Much of his appeal is based on his combining qualities that are often opposed in our politics. He is a standard-issue liberal, but religious; gay, but from (a reliably Democratic city in) the heartland; a young veteran. It helps that he is well spoken and moderate in demeanor; it does not seem to hurt that South Bend is not noticeably better for his tenure. It looks like we are all going to have to learn to spell and say his name.

Every major analysis of the tax law that Republicans enacted in late 2017 has found that it cuts tax bills for most Americans. Polls have just as consistently found that most Americans don’t think they’re getting a tax cut — and that many more of them think they got a tax increase than actually did. (Fewer than 10 percent saw a tax increase.) Blame liberal spin, aided by the media; but also blame the public’s skepticism about government. Conservative sentiments don’t always aid conservative politicians.

After medical professionals warned that pain patients are having increasing difficulty getting effective treatment, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control both issued statements clarifying that they do not endorse “mandated or abrupt” reductions in opioid prescriptions for such patients. It’s an overdue move. Excess opioid prescriptions undoubtedly played a role in unleashing a social plague. But they are playing less and less of one — heroin and fentanyl account for a high and rising proportion of all overdoses — and policymakers have been slow to adjust. Senators Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) want to legislate new limits on prescriptions for acute pain. The adage about generals’ fighting the last war applies, it turns out, to the war on drugs.

The fallout from the Supreme Court’s Janus decision guaranteeing public-union employees their First Amendment rights — eradicating compelled speech, which in turn eradicated compelled “agency fees” — is hurting the bottom line of Big Labor. The NEA, AFSCME, and SEIU all report a decline in fees as nonmembers have embraced their opt-out right. This reporting doesn’t include figures from the late-June decision, but the NEA’s latest annual report, which includes only two post-Janus months, shows a decline of 75,000 dues payers. Bloomberg reports that the rolls of SEIU and AFSCME declined by a combined 210,000. In areas where pro-liberty groups — such as the Freedom Foundation, which operates on the West Coast — are aggressively informing workers of their Janus rights, the declines have been sharp: The Oakland-based AFSCME Council 57 has lost over 12 percent from its rolls. The bosses, disregarding the Laffer Curve, have reacted by raising dues. All the more reason to opt out.

Conservatives scored a big win in a little-watched Wisconsin supreme-court election the first week of April. The state’s justices are elected to ten-year terms, and in last year’s spring election the conservative lost by twelve percentage points to the liberal one. This year, conservatives again appeared doomed when business groups abandoned their candidate Brian Hagedorn, former governor Scott Walker’s counsel, after the local press and the Left labeled him an anti-gay bigot. The smear was based in part on Hagedorn’s role in founding a private Christian school that upholds the traditional Christian teachings that marriage is a union between one man and one woman and sex outside of marriage is wrong. But the attack backfired, and conservative activists propelled Hagedorn to a 50.25–to–49.75 percent upset victory. The win likely protects conservative gains made under Scott Walker’s tenure from liberal judicial activists for at least several more years and serves as a warning nationwide about the perils of smearing a candidate as a bigot for believing his faith’s two-millennia-old teaching about marriage.

Two different airports have blocked Chick-fil-A from the premises. First, the city council of San Antonio banned the chain because, in the words of councilman Roberto Treviño, “everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport.” Then, two weeks later, a New York Democratic assemblyman, Sean Ryan, announced that the Buffalo airport food vendor was prohibiting Chick-fil-A from operating in its food court. Ryan was explicit about the reason, declaring in a statement that “the views of Chick-fil-A do not represent our state or the Western New York community.” This is a dramatic action — one that is both plainly unconstitutional (the government may not bar access to benefits based on the private religious or political views of the owner) and extremist. Chick-fil-A is being punished for its foundation’s donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two Christian organizations that do great good for America’s youth and for the poor. The signal has been sent: Not even mainstream Christian organizations are safe from the far Left’s wrath.

A measles outbreak among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn caused Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare a public-health emergency. When new cases appear, public-health officials will check the vaccination records of those who could be infected and levy fines where appropriate. Nothing in ultra-Orthodoxy forbids vaccination; an editorial in a Hasidic newspaper branded resistance to it “Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less and Reckless.” But a minority in that community, as among New Age types in the Pacific Northwest, has fallen prey to a superstitious dread of the procedure. Airhead celebrities, including former centerfold Jenny McCarthy, have helped spread the nonsense in the broader culture. In 1806, Thomas Jefferson sent Edward Jenner, discoverer of the smallpox vaccine, a heartfelt tribute: “Mankind can never forget that you have lived.” Jefferson was too sanguine.

“Water and fire shall rot / The marred foundations we forgot, / Of sanctuary and choir. / This is the death of water and fire.” So T. S. Eliot wrote during the Blitz. The fire that consumed the roof and spire of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was, it appears, the work of accident, not of the Luftwaffe, but the destruction was vast. Stones and timbers that witnessed reformation, revolution, occupation, every species of horror, heroism, and everyday life, fell in four hours. In the wake of this incineration, every man is a Parisian, and a Frenchman. But buildings can be rebuilt, treasures lost can be reimagined, if the spirit is willing. “The end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.”

Last year Sir Roger Scruton, Britain’s most eminent public intellectual, who risked his life protecting academic freedom behind the Iron Curtain, was nearly sacked as an unpaid government adviser on architecture after left-wing journalists (the usual offense-archeologists) fueled a social-media frenzy against him. In April, the show trial was revived and Scruton was sacked. His supposedly bigoted comments, deemed “unacceptable” by the Tory party, were made during an interview with the deputy editor of the New Statesman, George Eaton. Eaton quoted Scruton selectively, isolating phrases such as “Soros empire,” “tribes of Muslims,” and “robots” (in reference to the Chinese; though, in fact, Scruton was referring to the authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party). Gratified, Eaton then posted a picture of himself on Instagram, swigging champagne, and added the smug caption, “The feeling you get when you get right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked as a government adviser.” After much criticism, Eaton apologized for his social-media conduct and removed the picture. He has not yet released the full transcript of the interview. As Niall Ferguson wrote in the Times of London, “the reputation destroyed last week was not Sir Roger Scruton’s but the New Statesman’s.”

The Times of London reports that five clinicians have resigned from the British National Health Service’s only gender clinic for children, citing unethical treatment. Over the past three years, at least 18 staff have reportedly quit the clinic for reasons of conscientious objection. The five former staff at the Gender Identity Development Service clinic had been responsible for determining which children were transgender and which should be prescribed hormone therapy. Clinicians complained that lobbyists — such as the transgender-child charity Mermaids UK — had been putting pressure on doctors to provide drugs and surgeries. The director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford called the treatment “an unregulated live experiment on children.” Such practices are not, alas, unknown in the U.S. National Review has reported that the Office for Human Research Protections is starting a review of a five-year study on transgender children’s being given hormones and puberty blockers. A FOIA request has revealed that the age minimum of participants for cross-sex hormones was lowered from 13 to eight. Across the developed world, the transgender revolution is putting pressure on medical ethics.

Julian Assange took a seven-year vacation in the Airbnb of Ecuador’s London embassy. A new government in Quito, tired of his presence, lifted his immunity, whereupon the Brits arrested him. The United States will now demand extradition. Assange and WikiLeaks have been bad actors from Day One — and specifically, when they were broadcasting life-imperiling military information during the Afghan War, and when they were feeding DNC documents to the media in 2016. In both instances they acted at the behest of their frequent bankroller, the Kremlin, which sought to hobble presumed future president Hillary Clinton or to sow division generally. The Justice Department has indicted Assange for computer fraud, wisely sidestepping his status as a “journalist” but inviting a fight over the statute of limitations. Shame on him, and on those many Republicans, from Trump on down, who applauded him when he seemed to be doing their work.

When Benjamin Netanyahu called for a general election months ahead of its due date, many observers were sure that “Bibi” had taken a risk too far and would cease to be prime minister. Under Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff, the Left had reinvented itself as the Blue and White party, reassuringly centrist and from time to time ahead in the polls. It played into their hands when Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit let it be known that Netanyahu was likely to be indicted on three charges of doing illegal, or at least unethical, favors for friends. For his part, Netanyahu campaigned on a promise to incorporate into Israel the controversial Jewish settlements on the West Bank. His general policy on terrorists, Iranians, and the hostile Western media is to give as good as he gets, and then just a little more. Hence voters were happy to give him an unprecedented fifth term in office.

At long last, the United States designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. It has been a terrorist organization since its founding, and it has been active in Iraq. Iran is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers since the start of the War on Terror, and the IRGC has often been at the tip of Iran’s spear. As a practical matter, the designation makes it easier to prosecute individuals or corporations who do business with Iran. As a symbolic matter, it declares U.S. resolve to deal with the Iranian threat. Combined with the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal, the terrorist designation of the IRGC sends a clear and necessary message to Tehran.

Since 2002, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has risen from being the mayor of Istanbul to being prime minister of Turkey and then its president, all the while a reconstituted Ottoman sultan in his own imagination. His Justice and Development party, the AKP in its Turkish acronym, wins elections by hook and especially by crook, so it was all the more mind-blowing that in recent local elections it lost Istanbul to the opposition. The winning Republican People’s party has so slim a majority that the AKP took the chance to demand recounts in selective districts, first of invalid ballots and then of the entire vote of the 14 or so million Istanbulis. Should they get their way, have the election canceled, and hold another that puts them in power, a Republican spokesman says that even crows will laugh.

The Saudi government is doing what it does: arresting dissidents and torturing them. Lately, the government has concentrated on women: women who have been asking for simple rights, such as the right to move about on their own, without the permission or company of a male relative. Most recently, the government has rounded up at least ten people, two of whom are Saudi-U.S. dual nationals. The new prisoners are not “front-line activists,” as one report put it. Instead, they are merely known to support women’s rights, or to have ties to those already imprisoned. One of the new prisoners is pregnant: Khadijah al-Harbi, a writer. Women have been held in solitary confinement, and some have reported being electrocuted, caned, sexually assaulted — the usual. The Saudi government may be a necessary ally of the United States, but we should be clear that our ally is a nasty piece of work.

Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan since 1989, was deposed and detained in a military coup in April, after months of protests in the capital, Khartoum. Beginning in 2003, Bashir directed mass assaults on civilians in the Darfur region, the International Criminal Court alleged. Issued in 2009, the ICC’s warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity has yet to be honored. Spokesmen for the Sudanese army say that they won’t let Bashir be extradited to stand trial at The Hague, or anywhere, and that he’ll be tried in Sudan instead. To that end, the U.S. State Department should provide encouragement and expert legal counsel to Khartoum, with the specific aim of identifying witnesses and Sudanese jurists, many of whom are now in exile. It’s the best chance the world stands of bringing to justice the alleged war criminal on a massive scale.

In 1997, the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong to the Chinese Communist Party, which rules China. The CCP promised “one country, two systems.” In short, Hong Kong could remain free, while the rest of the country was Communist. That was always an unfunny joke. In 2014, democratic protests broke out, known as the Umbrella Movement. (Protesters used their umbrellas to shield themselves from pepper spray.) Participants have been tried and locked up. Most recently, nine leaders of the movement were convicted, and they now face seven years in prison. One of them, Professor Benny Tai, said, “This is a case about some Hong Kong people who love Hong Kong very much.” The CCP may love its power still more.

“Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” the former Pope Benedict XVI asked in a stunning intervention into the Catholic Church’s self-examination, published at the beginning of April. He answers his own question: “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.” The pope emeritus had promised to live a life of silent prayer. But the publication of his recent letter, one written to help the cardinals and bishops who gathered to discuss the abuse of minors in the Church, is the most clear and expressive message to date. He writes as a witness to the events in question. He traces the abuse crisis to a theological breakdown in the 1960s, in which the Church tried to revise its understanding of moral theology. Some theologians were so bold as to say that no action could be described as intrinsically evil. “What must be done?” the former pontiff asks, before mocking the pretensions of his opponents. “Perhaps we should create another Church for things to work out? Well, that experiment has already been undertaken and has already failed.” In some ways the question can be turned back on Benedict, who has created something new in the Church, an office for retired popes. His intervention is a reminder that Benedict has put the Church in an ironical and sad position: The ecclesiastical figure who exercises no authority in the governance of the Church still possesses the lion’s share of intellectual and moral authority among the hierarchs.

For years, Cuban players joined Major League Baseball the hard way: by undertaking escapes, often dangerous, and putting themselves in the hands of smugglers (human traffickers). Wishing to prevent this, MLB struck a deal with the Cuban Baseball Federation. Under the terms of the deal, the federation would allow players to join MLB teams. A player would keep 100 percent of his signing bonus — but the team would have to pay the federation 25 percent of the bonus, on top of that. Also, the player would have to send back 4 percent of his earnings to Cuba, as income tax. MLB has similar arrangements with Japan, South Korea, and China. The Trump administration, however, has nixed the deal, saying that the Cuban Baseball Federation is an arm of the Cuban government — which it certainly is — and that the deal treated Cuban players like property of the Cuban state. (Needless to say, there are no independent entities in China, either.) We regard this as a close call, with the wishes of the players themselves probably getting low priority. The ultimate solution, of course, is the liberalization of Cuba, which our government should hasten in all ways possible and prudent.

Last September, Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship, his first victory in five years. It was his 80th win, putting him two behind Sam Snead, the all-time leader in this category. Of Woods’s victory in the Tour Championship, we said, “Some experts are calling this the greatest comeback in the history of sports.” We continued, “Woods is now 42, and is unlikely to stop winning.” Woods has now won the first major since the Tour Championship: the Masters. It is his 15th victory in a major. (Jack Nicklaus is the leader in this category, with 18.) Woods had not won a major since the U.S. Open in 2008. The eleven years between ’08 and ’19 were a strange trip for him, involving moral, mental, and physical collapse. The comeback of Tiger Woods has thrilled people all over the world, and many of them have no interest in golf. They just know an inspiring story when they see one.

James Lane Buckley, brother of our founder and onetime director of this entity, has served the nation as have few others — in all three branches of government. A former United States senator from New York, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and undersecretary of state for President Reagan, he somehow also managed to be president of Radio Free Europe. And Lieutenant Buckley, U.S. Navy, was in the thick of combat at Leyte, Okinawa, and other major Pacific battles. Several weeks back, seeming decades younger than his 96 years, this gentlest and happiest of warriors capped the National Review Institute Ideas Summit by addressing the assembled on his favorite theme, our country’s need for federalism. (An excerpt from his speech is below.) His remarks were smart, powerful marching orders deserving of heed. Before he gave them, Jim Buckley let it slip that the speech would be his final public appearance. It was fitting punctuation on the career of a great American, and it has been a singular honor for National Review to be alongside him for much of this journey.

The Case for Federalism

Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from James L. Buckley’s speech at the National Review Institute Ideas Summit, March 29, 2019.   

The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights provides that “the powers not delegated to the United States by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This allocation of powers mirrors those of the venerable Rule of Subsidiarity, which assigns responsibilities to the lowest levels capable of handling them. Its effect is to decentralize political power and ensure, wherever feasible, that the decisions that most directly affect people will be made by those who are the closest to them and most familiar with both their priorities and the relevant facts.

But with the advent of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, Congress began a wholesale assumption of the states’ responsibilities. This was done through a proliferation of programs that offer states and their subdivisions regulation-ridden grants of money for purposes that are acknowledged to be the sole responsibility of the states.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the states may not be coerced into accepting the grants and their attendant regulations. Experience, however, has demonstrated that the states find it enormously difficult to decline them, whatever their conditions. Thus the practical effect of the Court’s decision has been to empower Congress to, yes, coerce the states into adopting Washington’s approach to matters that remain the states’ exclusive responsibility.

Federal grant programs have effectively nullified the Tenth Amendment, and, in the process, helped undermine Congress’s ability to function effectively. But what can be done about it? Four years ago, I had the temerity to write a book with the title “Saving Congress from Itself,” in which I detailed the extraordinary systemic and financial costs of those programs on both state and federal levels and proposed a simple reform that would restore federalism; namely, their conversion into block grants free of federal directives telling the states how the money was to be spent. It is a reform that, at one stroke, would reduce federal spending by major amounts in administrative costs alone, rid Congress of a significant distraction from its essential national responsibilities, and restore the people’s ability to control their own state and local affairs. Needless to say, Congress has yet to act on my advice.

I recognize, however, that we now live in novel times. The power to move political mountains is passing from printed books to the social media, or so I’m told. So there may be another way to force congressional attention. What I dream of is a tweet in which the president advises Congress that he will veto any bill that tells the states how to run their own affairs. Such a tweet would stir up a vigorous debate of the merits of my proposal and encourage its adoption. It might even remind our countrymen that our Constitution indeed places limits on what the federal government may engage in and that the enforcement of those limits might well be in their interest.

“One of the best things about writing is that it’s private,” Charles Van Doren noted in The New Yorker in 2008. For 15 minutes in the late 1950s he’d been famous, as a telegenic, well-spoken young champion of the TV quiz-show circuit. The shows were rigged, though, and he lied at first when law enforcement and the media got wise to the game. Then he confessed and lost his teaching job at Columbia (where his father, Mark, was already a pillar of the English department), and NBC fired him from his lucrative gig. He never quite shook off the infamy. He went to work in publishing and wrote and edited for many years with some distinction, primarily for Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Having made himself a high-profile villain in an age of relative innocence, when dissimulation in pursuit of ratings was considered not just tawdry but a shocking ethical scandal of national importance, he paid the price. The Greatest Generation held one another to some pretty high standards of honor and integrity. Dead at 93. R.I.P.

Paul Hollander was born in Hungary in 1932. In 1944, his family (Jewish) went into hiding. Twelve-year-old Paul, anticipating his death, wondered what it was like to be shot. He discussed it with his father, who had been wounded in World War I. When the Soviets came in, Paul welcomed them as liberators and allied himself with Communism. As was true for many, that did not last long. He escaped to America, where he earned a Ph.D. in sociology at Princeton. He spent most of his career at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also spent a good deal of time explaining Communism to sleepy people in free countries. He wrote many books, among them Political Pilgrims (1981), about the travels of Western intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba. He wrote for NR over the years, including a review for this issue. He was authoritative on anti-Americanism, political correctness, identity politics, etc. He had a clear, unflinching eye, and he taught a lot of us, mainly outside the classroom, through his writings. Paul Hollander has died at 86, having given of his rich experience — asked for or not — and exceptional intellect. R.I.P.

After recovering from the shock of Pearl Harbor, most Americans never doubted that their country would defeat the Axis in World War II. Still, there were times in 1942, amid ship sinkings, the relentless Japanese advance in the Pacific, and American defeat in the Philippines, when that faith was hard to sustain. Those dark early days were brightened considerably when a group of 16 fearless Army Air Forces crews led by Colonel James Doolittle struck a blow at the very heart of the Japanese empire by taking off from the deck of the USS Hornet and flying 600 miles to bomb Tokyo. After the bombing, the pilots had to crash-land their planes in China and do their best to find a way to safety. Strategically, the raid had little significance, but for boosting morale, in the armed forces and among civilians, it was monumental. From the late 1940s to 2013, the brave men who had volunteered for this mission met every year in reunion, and now the last of them, Lieutenant Colonel Richard E. Cole (Doolittle’s co-pilot), has died at age 103. R.I.P.

 

IMMIGRATION
Irresponsibility at the Border

The border crisis rumbles on. There were more than 100,000 apprehensions in March, higher than the 76,000 in February, which had been the highest monthly figure in more ten years. By some estimates, we could receive more than a million migrants in a year, and nearly 1 percent of the population of Guatemala and Honduras could come here.

It is true that apprehensions were higher in the 2000s, but the population was different then. It was overwhelmingly single men from Mexico who, if caught at the border, were simply returned home (perhaps to try to cross again). Now, the majority of migrants are minors or family units from Central America who under our perverse immigration rules can’t be easily sent back.

President Trump is understandably enraged by the situation, but is lashing out in foolish ways. He cashiered Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. The White House believes she wasn’t pushing the bureaucracy hard enough for regulatory changes, and there may be truth to this, but the biggest problem was that, through no fault of her own, Nielsen was presiding over this crisis.

He has threatened to close the border to force more cooperation from Mexico, but a border closure would cause considerable economic pain on our side of the border, too, and Mexico will never be as invested in stopping migrants coming to the U.S. as we want them to be. It’s not their problem.

Finally, he has talked of sending migrants to sanctuary cities. But ICE is underfunded and overwhelmed and doesn’t have the wherewithal to carry out a major logistical operation on top of its current responsibilities. Regardless, migrants shouldn’t be shipped around the country as political pawns.

There is no substitute for Congress’s acting to change the asylum process — we welcome almost all the migrants into the country, though the vast majority won’t ultimately win asylum — and the other rules that make it impossible to detain and swiftly return family units. Yet Trump has very little leverage. It’d be natural to trade making DACA permanent for these kinds of changes, but a court has stopped Trump from overturning the Obama-era unilateral amnesty, in effect already making it permanent.

Democrats are content to sit and watch the border crisis build, and the president stew.

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

In This Issue

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Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... 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
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
Immigration

The Merit of Merit-Based Immigration

Having chain-migrated his way into the White House and a little bit of political power, Donald Trump’s son-in-law is shopping around an immigration plan. And if you can get past the hilarious juxtaposition of the words “merit-based” and “Jared Kushner,” it’s a pretty good one. As things stand, the ... Read More