The Week

Elizabeth Warren (Roman Genn)


The Romney campaign hired Richard Grenell, a former spokesman for John Bolton, to speak for it on foreign policy. Some social conservatives complained because Grenell is openly homosexual, others (including Matthew Franck at National Review Online) because he has agitated for same-sex marriage. Liberals, meanwhile, raised eyebrows at his history of personally abusive tweets toward liberal women. He ended up quitting. A few principles recommend themselves after the fact. There is and ought to be no test of chastity for campaign aides. The candidate’s views on policy matter far more than an aide’s, especially when that aide’s work has little to do with the policy in question. And those who would speak for candidates should be as judicious on Twitter as elsewhere.

Journalist David Maraniss, whose new book, Barack Obama: The Story, was excerpted in Vanity Fair, found and interviewed the hitherto unnamed white girlfriend Obama met in New York City when he was 22 (she is Genevieve Cook, an Australian). Obama’s account in Dreams from My Father showed why he and a white woman could not stay together, though to write it he wove in details of another failed interracial relationship. Smoothing the crooked timbers of experience into insights is an old practice of memoirists. More important are the insights that Cook and other New York friends of Obama had into his psyche: “coolness,” “wariness,” “guardedness,” “the most deliberate person I ever met in terms of constructing his own identity.” Young Obama was deciding to create himself as a black American; only so could he feel at home, and advance politically. Say what you will about the man, he knew his market.

Regular readers will no doubt have heard the basics about Texas’s Ted Cruz, who hopes to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate, from one of his many fans here. But to review: The 41-year-old Houston native was a Princeton debate champion, a standout at Harvard Law, and a clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He advised George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign on domestic policy and served in his administration in both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. Once back in Texas, he was an able and busy solicitor general from 2003 to 2008, playing pivotal roles in Supreme Court decisions that kept the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, affirmed the individual right to bear arms, and held off an attempt by the International Court of Justice (and the Bush administration) to meddle with Texas’s legal system. To borrow a phrase from baseball, Cruz is what one might call a five-tool candidate: He is excellent on the Constitution, on the economy, on social issues, and on foreign policy, and he possesses the intellect and rhetorical gifts to combine these views into a cogent and compelling vision. We urge Texans to vote for Ted Cruz in the May 29 primary, to vote for him in a runoff, should there be one, and to send him to the Senate.

After 36 years of representing Indiana in the Senate, Dick Lugar went down to defeat against state treasurer Richard Mourdock. Lugar has served the country well in his six terms, but the times call for a more consistently conservative voice, and it’s healthy to remind the brood in Washington that their positions aren’t lifetime appointments. Lugar didn’t help his cause by making juvenile attacks against Mourdock — e.g., alleging that the treasurer was playing hooky by sending staff to certain meetings instead of appearing in person. And Lugar’s refusal to say during the primary whether he would support Mourdock in the general election indicated a childish pride beneath a man widely considered a statesman. The Left will call this election an instance of right-wingery run amok, but Mourdock, soft-spoken and self-assured, is no bomb thrower. His call to cut spending, end government support of ethanol, and cast a more suspicious eye toward Russia resonated with Indiana voters. We congratulate him on his victory.

May 28, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 10

Books, Arts & Manners
  • Rob Long reviews The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, by Jonah Goldberg.
  • Arnold Kling reviews Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society, by Jim Manzi.
  • Jay Nordlinger on the composer Michael Hersch.
  • Charles C. W. Cooke on Walt Disney.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Sound of My Voice.
  • Kyle Smith on the NFL draft.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .