National Review / Digital
The Week

(Roman Genn)


During a debate in Tampa, Fla., Romney argued that if employment laws are tightened to make it difficult for illegal immigrants to get work, the illegals will “self-deport.” This proposal was greeted with howls of outrage and hoots of derision by commentators and politicians who plainly had never heard it before, in spite of its having been a staple of immigration-restrictionist arguments for at least two decades. Gingrich told Spanish-language TV network Univision that “I think you have to live in worlds of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million–a–year income with no work to have some fantasy this far from reality.” How is it a fantasy to suppose that persons present illegally in the U.S. will go back to their home countries if they cannot find work? Is this notion more fantastic than, say, that of a 13,000-member moon colony’s applying for statehood?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently gave shape to $487 billion in military cuts, necessitated because Washington could not find a way to reduce the deficit by trimming the federal government’s amoebic periphery and so elected to gut its core instead. Under the cuts, the Army will shrink by 80,000 members and the Marine Corps by 20,000, bringing our fighting force to pre-9/11 levels. Our historically undersized Navy will shrink more, as seven cruisers will be retired early and the acquisition of next-generation nuclear submarines will be delayed. Purchases of the multi-service F-35 aircraft platform, a single basket into which the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps have placed many an egg, will be slowed as well. This is in addition to a spate of potential base closings at home and a net disaggregation of American military power abroad. Decline is indeed a choice, and it appears that the elected class has made its decision.

The Constitution places a “wall of separation” between church and state, and politicians who breach this are theocrats. Right? Evidently not if you’re a Democrat. Obama aide Valerie Jarrett took to the pulpit in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in January to warn the congregation that the jobs of teachers, police, and firefighters “are now in jeopardy because [of] Congress — well, let me be specific — because [of] the Republicans in Congress.” Having issued the warning, Jarrett then used the church to host a voter-registration drive. In doing so, she likely caused the church to violate IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations from hosting activities that favor one candidate or party over another, or explicitly engaging in politics. IRS enforcement of these rules is skewed in the extreme, and there is a fair debate over whether they should exist at all — but oh, why bother? The lady is a Democrat, and that’s the last you’re ever going to hear about this.

Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat running for the Senate against Scott Brown in Massachusetts, is fond of Occupy Wall Street rhetoric and promises to be the scourge of the hated “1 percent.” During a recent interview on MSNBC, she declared that she is not a “wealthy individual” with “a lot of stock portfolios.” Pity the poor lady from Harvard, which pays her only $429,000 a year, forcing her to the extremity of earning a few extra bucks on the side by helping Travelers Insurance avoid making settlement payments in its ongoing asbestos-liability litigation. We can’t blame her: Somebody has to make the payments on the $5 million house in which she lives and pay the professionals to manage her $14.5 million net worth. But she spoke the plain truth when she said she doesn’t own a lot of stocks: Most of her millions are in mutual funds. Because that’s how the 99 percent does things.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie made two nominations to the state supreme court, stressing that they would enhance its diversity: One is Asian, the other black and homosexual. Christie said zilch in his announcement about the legal philosophy of these nominees. The second nominee is on record as a supporter of same-sex marriage, appears to favor the judicial extension of the legal incidents of marriage to same-sex couples, and believes that legislators whose religious convictions inform their political positions are violating the U.S. Constitution. So it seems fair to count him as a “No” vote on originalism. Christie is also trying to avoid having to veto a law establishing same-sex marriage by putting the issue to a referendum. Ducking leadership on marriage is disappointing enough; leading in the wrong direction on the rule of law is worse.

February 20, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 3

  • What the protesters don’t know.
  • A visit with the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, after her first year in office.
  • Ron Paul’s ignorant cry.
  • The president’s acolytes decide he is a different sort of messiah.
Books, Arts & Manners
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .