National Review / Digital
The Week

(Roman Genn)


The Spectator in Britain published a column by Sir Harold Evans that contained some stunning lines. Evans wrote that Mitt Romney had “assailed Ambassador Jon Huntsman, the sanest in the Republican asylum, for being able to speak Mandarin.” He went on to say, “This is double treason by the lights of Romney and his xenophobic Tea Party chorus in their tricky tricorne hats.” Needless to say, Romney has never assailed Huntsman for being able to speak Chinese, or even criticized him for it. The charge that the Tea Party is xenophobic is anyway merely wishful thinking on the part of people such as Evans. Also, the idea that the Tea Party is chorusing for Romney would be news to both Romney and the Tea Party. According to Evans’s official bio, “in 2001 British journalists voted him the all-time greatest British newspaper editor.” Just imagine what the second-greatest editor would have said.

Occupy Wall Street appears to have found the appropriate place for its death rattle: Oakland, Calif. The combination of a sympathetic, liberal population, an incompetent city government, and a severely depressed economy made Oakland a focal point throughout last fall. The hardcore leftists who remain lack a large encampment but continue to engage in illegal and violent demonstrations. Recently, Occupiers broke into City Hall and burned flags, bringing the cumulative damage from their rioting to $5 million. Nearly 400 of them were arrested. Rather than offering an effective police response, Mayor Jean Quan has put her trust in calling for the national Occupy Wall Street movement to renounce the rioters in Oakland, which they haven’t deigned to do. Always long on fanciful ideas and indolence but short on other options, the Occupiers may unfortunately be tormenting Oakland for some time to come.

TV actress Cynthia Nixon, who is engaged to another woman, wrote in the New York Times that her homosexuality was a conscious choice, though she conceded that for many people it was not. Her remarks stirred anger in what we are supposed to call “the LGBT community,” who cleave to the strictest genetic determinism in regard to human sexual orientation (although, that community being mainly liberals, in regard to absolutely no other behavioral or psychological traits). “We are born this way!” rose the cry. If Ms. Nixon was born homosexual, it took her a long time to realize it. She left her college-sweetheart boyfriend only at age 37, after presenting him with two children. In fact this trajectory is not uncommon among lesbians. Asked when they realized they were homosexual, males are far more likely than females to reply: “I’ve always known.” In this respect, as in many others, lesbianism and male gayness are very different phenomena — as different, in fact, as women and men. Human nature continues to resist simple-minded analysis.

Poking fun at Mitt Romney’s wealth, late-night comic Jay Leno showed pictures of the actual homes of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Then he announced a slide of Romney’s summer home, and up came an image of the huge and magnificent Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Viewers and studio audience laughed appreciatively; but Leno had apparently forgotten that, one, the Golden Temple is a holy place in the Sikh religion, and two, taking offense at trivial slights is now the U.S. national pastime, swiftly and eagerly embraced by all incoming groups. Sikh leader Dalbeg Singh has demanded an apology from Leno; India’s foreign ministry has lodged a complaint with the State Department; and Randeep Dhillon of Bakersfield, Calif., has filed suit against Leno and his network in Los Angeles Superior Court, on behalf of himself and a local Sikh community organization. With luck and strenuous diplomatic efforts, war may yet be averted.

When presidents invite American Stanley Cup winners (if you’ll pardon the redundancy) to the White House, the proceedings rival the dreaded Thanksgiving-turkey pardon for predictability: The president praises the champions, makes a few scripted jokes he probably doesn’t understand, tries not to stumble over the French names (Romney would have no trouble with this, while Newt would mispronounce them on purpose), and accepts a uniform sweater with his name on it. But this year the Bruins’ goaltender, Tim Thomas — the Cup MVP and an outspoken Boston tea partier — shook things up by boycotting the White House visit to protest big government, stressing that he blames both parties. Some critics called him a sorehead, but we think the Framers were wise to omit sports congratulation from the executive branch’s list of assigned duties. Thomas’s cause easily justifies any hint of rudeness; after all, if only for a day, he got the statistics-mad sports fans of two countries to switch their focus from shots on goal to trillions of dollars. And if a president can use his office to horn in on athletic glory, then surely athletes, who endure battles even more bruising than presidential primaries, can dabble in politics.

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  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .