National Review / Digital
The Week

(Darren Gygi)


Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law, which requires that citizens show photo identification before casting their ballots, has emerged basically unscathed from a court challenge. Judge Robert Simpson did delay the law’s implementation, requiring the state to count ballots cast by voters without ID in November. This injunction was needless: The law was tested during the state’s primaries in April, and the closest things to disfranchisement that ensued were long lines and some bureaucratic difficulties in acquiring IDs. Nonetheless, the courts got the most important thing right, and did not issue a permanent injunction. The law will serve as a bulwark against fraud in future elections, and we hope it will inspire more states to protect the integrity of their elections the same way.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority used to ban political advertisements from its subway cars and station walls on the grounds that passengers have no choice but to look at the ads. After the policy was struck down, the anti-Islamist blogger Pamela Geller posted ads decrying jihadists as “savages.” Leftists defaced them, and the MTA’s board hastily adopted new regulations banning ads that it “reasonably foresees would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.” While we sympathize with the wish to avoid violence, what the authority is doing is creating a heckler’s, or rioter’s, veto. Prohibiting speech critical of Islam for fear that Muslims will be unable to restrain themselves is a more damning indictment of the faithful than anything in Geller’s ads.

California governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in his state to apply for driver’s licenses. The new law piggybacks on President Obama’s DREAM Act–by–fiat, affording young illegals who receive work permits the opportunity to expand their collection of official documentation: In California, qualifying illegals will be given a stay of deportation, a work permit, a Social Security number, and a driver’s license. This policy effectively makes these illegal immigrants into permanent residents, removing almost all consequence from their being outside of the law. But there may be trouble ahead. Since immigration and work permits are federal, do not be surprised if some illegals living outside of California elect to relocate there, and if those who do not relocate see fit to challenge their own states’ “right” to deny them licenses.

The so-called insider attacks by members of Afghan security forces against our troops in Afghanistan are horrifying and insidious. They hit at an essential element of our strategy — building up Afghan forces through partnership with them — and undermine support for the war here at home. But letting them drive us out of the country would give dozens of people a veto over the entire war effort. They are hardly representative. There have been about 30 insider attacks this year. Yet there are more than 300,000 members of Afghan security forces. We are in the field with them constantly. And they are taking casualties in the fight against the Taliban at a greater rate than our troops. The surge made progress in the southern part of the country that the Taliban hasn’t been able to reverse. The question is whether we turn our back on what we have gained. President Obama wants to draw down most U.S. forces by 2014, and also reduce the size of Afghan forces, in what is likely a formula for mayhem. The minimal standard for success in any war is a commander-in-chief who is vested in the fight.

October 29, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 20

  • Dinesh D’Souza has scored a hit, controversially.
  • Progressive law schools and the crisis of constitutionalism.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Jason Lee Steorts reviews Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, by John G. Turner.
  • Samuel R. Staley reviews Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, by Stanley Kurtz.
  • Ronald Radosh reviews The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, by Paul Kengor.
  • Robert VerBruggen reviews The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, by Bruce Bawer.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The Master.
  • Kyle Smith reviews the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .