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Mark Steyn

Steyn on America

Advice for the Loyal Opposition

"The object of Parliament," observed Winston Churchill at election time in 1951, "is to substitute argument for fisticuffs."

How's that holding up after November 8th? The object of at least a proportion of those on the streets is to substitute fisticuffs for argument, and indeed for Parliament: The less self-aware even chant "This is what democracy looks like!" - by which they mean not the election but the post-election riots and looting and assaults. Some among these self-proclaimed champions of women and immigrants wish to substitute rape for argument, a cause of such broad appeal that the ideological enforcers at the monopoly social-media cartels breezily permitted the hashtag "Rape Melania" to "trend" on Twitter.

The object of the food-delivery company Grubhub, meanwhile, is to substitute unemployment for argument. The CEO, Matt Maloney, wrote to all his employees advising any Trump voters among them to take a hike:

Please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here.

Ha! What a wimp. Why fire your political opponents when you can fire at them? Substituting assassination for argument, Matt Hartigan:

Getting a sniper rife and perching myself where it counts. Find a bedroom in the whitehouse that suits you motherf**ker. I'll find you.

Who's Matt Hartigan? Some unemployable lippy slacktivist with a master's in transgender and colonialism studies? No, he's President and CEO of a cool high-tech cyber-security company called PacketSled. The sled has now decided to move on without its lead dog.

These are not perhaps the most psychologically healthy reactions to the inevitable pendulum swings of free elections in multi-party societies. Not for nothing did Andrew Sullivan warn a few months back of "the passions of the mob". Oh, no, wait - he was worried about Trump supporters:

And so, as I chitchatted over cocktails at a Washington office Christmas party in December, and saw, looming above our heads, the pulsating, angry televised face of Donald Trump on Fox News, I couldn't help but feel a little nausea permeate my stomach. And as I watched frenzied Trump rallies on C-SPAN in the spring, and saw him lay waste to far more qualified political peers in the debates by simply calling them names, the nausea turned to dread. And when he seemed to condone physical violence as a response to political disagreement, alarm bells started to ring in my head.

Obviously, I'd rather be "chitchatting over cocktails at a Washington office Christmas Party" with Andrew Sullivan, but my invite got misplaced. So I wound up viewing Trump's rallies not through the woozy filter of my martini glass but from the fifth row of the stalls, and they were a lot less "angry" and "frenzied" than, say, Matt Hartigan or Matt Maloney. Sometimes it helps to take the pulse of America from outside the cocktail party. Speaking of pulses and pulsating, I couldn't honestly say Donald Trump's face "pulsates" on TV more than Andrew Sullivan's. Perhaps it was the gin and vermouth, or a problem with the vertical hold. To his credit, Mr Sullivan was at least getting it back-to-front six months ago. CNN's Sally Kohn was getting it back-to-front at 9pm on election night:

My sense is that if Trump wins, Hillary supporters will be sad. If Hillary wins, Trump supporters will be angry. Important difference.

Hmm. Sally Kohn and Andrew Sullivan appear to be substituting Psychoanalysis for Dummies for argument - and everywhere except where it's needed. When a major political party suffers the scale of defeat the Democrats have (losing the presidency, the Senate, the House, and governor's mansions and state legislatures across the map), a period of private introspection and public circumspection is often helpful - as Churchill recognized after losing the 1945 election, telling his colleagues that the public didn't want to hear a word from the Conservative Party for a long time and he proposed to go somewhere and paint. Instead, if Tuesday night was a rude awakening, by Wednesday morning the smart set had all gone back to sleep, retreating to the soothing, self-flattering bromide "Love Trumps Hate" - even though evidently in swing states it doesn't. Thus telly star John Oliver, after the election:

While Oliver agreed "in the broadest sense" that it would typically be good to hope for the president's success, this is not a normal situation.

"Optimism is nice if you can swing it, but you've got to be careful, because it can feed into the normalization of Donald Trump — and he's not normal," Oliver said. "He's abnormal. He's a human 'What Is Wrong with This Picture?' He sticks out like a sore thumb, and frankly he even looks like a sore thumb. So giving him a chance, in the sense of not speaking out immediately against policies that he's proposed, is dangerous. Because some of them are alarming..." It's "the to-do list on Satan's refrigerator, which of course Satan no longer needs now that hell has frozen over," Oliver said.

John Oliver & Co spent the last 18 months "de-normalizing" Trump, and the upshot was that half the country voted for the to-do list on Satan's refrigerator. But not the half of the country that Oliver et al care about, so why not de-normalize all those Satanist rubes too? Early on election night, tweeter Freddie de Boer anticipated how this was likely to go:

I am honest to god begging you guys, John Oliver and Lena Dunham are f**king killing you and you have no goddamn idea, please stop it

To which his chum Pete replied:

Really? You think we should have broadened our appeal to racists and misogynists?

Got it. There are two Americas: John Oliver's America and Satan's America, with one almighty River Styx between them - literally: River Styx is a township in Medina County, Ohio, which went for Trump over Hillary 60/35. Coincidence?

Just a thought, but, if you keep insisting that half your fellow citizens are haters, maybe you're the hater.

Speaking of counties, there are precisely 676 of them across this great republic that voted twice for Obama. Last Tuesday, one-third of them flipped and went for Trump. The condescendicrats' view of America is tribal: These ghastly Trump types are not our kind of people, darling, and they never will be. But they were your kind of people in 2008 and 2012. So, by "broadening our appeal to racists", Pete in fact means "reducing our appeal to hitherto non-racists". Two-time Obama voters, offered a choice between the Devil and the deep-blue sea of celeb-led boutique liberalism, opted for Satan's to-do list.

It's one thing to substitute fisticuffs for argument (in some countries, that works), and even to substitute insults for argument (with certain kinds of doormat Republicans, that also works). But I'd be less confident about substituting condescension for argument. Here's Harry Potter star Emma Watson picking herself up and dusting herself off on a grey morning after:

Today I am going to deliver Maya Angelou books to the New York subway. Then I am going to fight even harder for all the things I believe in.

But, if you're just passing out third-rate doggerel to bored strap-hangers and platform derelicts slumped in their own urine, are you really "fighting" that "hard" for what you believe in? The lesson of Tuesday night for Democrats should have been the thought Rush Limbaugh left his listeners with just before he signed off on Election Day back in 2000: "Maybe there are fewer of us than I thought..." The people who think like Andrew Sullivan and Sally Kohn and Emma Watson and John Oliver and Lena Dunham are, if not few in number, concentrated in relatively few corners of a sprawling country: one third of the Democrats' representation in the House now comes from just three states - New York, Massachusetts and California. That's one reason why they're calling for the abolition of the Electoral College.

But, absent the upending of the constitution, they have a problem.

John Oliver and Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah have sportingly decided, to judge from their ratings, to prioritize their politics over their comedy. But, whether or not "Love Trumps Hate", condescension doesn't trump anything. For a year-and-a-half they shoveled industrial-strength coastal sneering into the path of the Trump train on a scale that would have derailed any other candidate before he got to Iowa. Instead, Trump just bulldozed through it - and so easily that he won the White House for a fifth of what Hillary spent. If elite condescension failed to deny him the presidency, is it likely to be any more effective now that he is the president?

It was left to the film-maker Michael Moore to explain it to his fellow lefties. He predicted that Trump's victory would be "the biggest f**k-you ever recorded in human history". And it wasn't just a f**k-you to Washington, but also to boutique liberalism's ersatz-aristocracy - Katy Perry and Amy Schumer, and Miley Cyrus weeping her election analysis all over YouTube, and Lena Dunham threatening to move to Canada. The very threat underlines the difference: They can afford identity-group leftism, and they can afford to escape it when everything goes south. How bad is it in those 209 two-time Obama-voting counties that plumped for Trump? Those losers can't even afford to flee to Canada, or Australia, or John Oliver and Andrew Sullivan and Emma Watson's Britain.

Strangely enough, all these people swaggering about insouciantly demonizing millions of their fellow citizens as haters and Satanists profess to feeling "scared" and "unsafe" from the terror all around. Fortunately, in the midst of their fears they've found a marketing opportunity:

Days after Donald Trump was named president-elect, Americans are spreading a message of unity with a simple symbol: a silver safety pin.

And what "message of unity" could be simpler than that one in every two Americans is a violent hater-racist-misogynist-homophobe-Islamophobe-transphobe Satan fridge-magnet?

On Friday, the hashtag #safetypin trended on Twitter, as dozens of people shared selfies with safety pins attached to their clothing.

"Standing together we will be safe," one user tweeted.

"My #SafetyPin shows I will protect those who feel in danger bc of gender, sexuality, race, disability, religion, etc.," another said. "You are safe with me."

That's true in the sense that, if Matt Hartigan is around and they've confiscated his sniper rifle, he'll be able to borrow your safety pin and stab Trump with it.

Can you really substitute virtue-signaling for argument? Especially when it's this lame? And, indeed, are there enough safety-pins in America for all those who feel unsafe? Or will Trump's trade war be dealt a massive crushing defeat as cheap knock-offs from Chinese safety-pin factories flood the US market?

Like almost every other schoolhouse in America, my own kids' principal sent out a morning-after email blast bemoaning the way elections are determined "not by reasoning but by emotions". ,Somewhat oddly for a chap draping himself in the banner of reason, he then blathered on about hope and love and the power of love to triumph over hate with more hope so that love wins, etc. And he seemed not to notice that, having bemoaned the way elections are decided by emotion, he'd discussed this one entirely in terms of his feelings. To return to Churchill, the schoolmaster's object was to substitute emotional exhibitionism for argument.

And what of the "reasoning" behind the exhibitionism? There is something grim and trivializing about snowflakes with safety-pins. Are they truly feeling "unsafe" in their safe space? If so, the safety-pin will come in handy for holding their recyclable diapers on. As I said to Howie Carr last week, these delicate blooms are professing to be traumatized because, after years of civics class, they had no idea America wasn't a one-party state and that once every few years a fellow with a different opinion gets to win. If we indulge this, what silver-pin decorative brooches are left for the 60 per cent of the planet without free elections?

My kids' school principal seems a pleasant enough fellow and perhaps even sincere in his effusions about love and hope. But the reaction to the normal pendulum swings of contested elections is profoundly unhealthy, and totalitarian in its implications. Pace Andrew Sullivan, Trump didn't win because he substituted "name-calling" for "political disagreement". The exit-polling revealed that large numbers of people who didn't "approve" of Trump personally nevertheless voted for him ...because they agreed with him on policy, on trade and immigration and unwon wars, and his willingness to stick to his positions through a barrage of elite scorn. The derision didn't work, and it will continue not to work. I made the point to Howie that, because of political correctness and their hammerlock on the culture, the left hasn't needed to argue - and so gradually they've lost the ability to argue. Thus: "Hater!" "Racist!" "Misogynist!" These are safety-pins with the point drawn, but in the end they're mere fashion accessories, too.

Hence some advice for the Loyal Opposition: Your virtue is not dispositive, nor is your condescension. Reader Steve Messer recently reminded me of a C S Lewis response that seems apposite:

I complained that the tone of undergraduate criticism was too often 'that of passionate resentment'. You illustrate this admirably by accusing me of 'Pecksniffian disingenuousness', 'shabby bluff' and 'self-righteousness'. Do not misunderstand. I am not in the least deprecating your insults; I have enjoyed these twenty years l'honneur d'ĂŞtre une cible and am now pachydermatous. I am not even rebuking your bad manners; I am not Mr Turveydrop and 'gentlemanly deportment' is not a subject I am paid to teach. What shocks me is that students, academics, men of letters, should display what I had thought was an essentially uneducated inability to differentiate between a disputation and a quarrel. The real objection to this sort of thing is that it is all a distraction from the issue. You waste on calling me a liar and hypocrite time you ought to have spent on refuting my position. Even if your main purpose was to gratify resentment, you have gone about it in the wrong way. Any man would much rather be called names than proved wrong.

To be honest, I'd be mildly impressed were any of the #NotMyPresident types to hold up a sign accusing Trump of "Pecksniffian disingenuousness" and "shabby bluff", but it doesn't seem to be Miley or Katy's bag, and Pecksniffian uses up too many Twitter characters for a viable hashtag. That said, Donald Trump is pachydermatous on a nuclear scale and clearly relishes l'honneur d'ĂŞtre une cible (look it up, snowflakes). So you're gonna need something new. Like maybe try refuting Trump's positions rather than labeling the millions of voters who support them. Oh, and while we're at at it, you might politely suggest to Messrs Oliver, Colbert and Noah that there's never been a better time to embark on a mid-life career change and move into comedy. If the object is to win the next election, sneering is not a substitute for argument, or entertainment.

But maybe, as the schoolhouse trauma-counseling suggests, they're moving beyond all that. Reader D C Alan writes from Washington:

The Play-Doh generation might not have the mettle to slog it out on the Western Front, but that doesn't mean that they are not ready and willing to fight. These are exactly the types who get motivated to savage mob violence very quickly and easily, which is the ultimate goal of the Left's infantilization of the culture. (Steyn: "The scale of solipsistic compliant ignorance is totalitarian -- and terrifying, in that it will inevitably be exploited for catastrophic and evil ends." July 31, 2015)

If Trump is a hater, then voting for him is a hate crime. So, if you de-normalize Trump, you de-normalize the millions of your fellow citizens who voted for him. And, if you de-normalize his voters, you de-legitimize their votes. And, if you de-legitimize their votes, you de-legitimize the very idea of representative government.

And, if you lead a generation of young Americans down that dark road, you more or less guarantee that argument and Parliament and politics will be succeeded by fisticuffs and terror and horrible consuming violence .

~In this bright new dawn and/or leap into the abyss, I'll be starting a new nightly telly extravaganza called, with stunning lack of imagination, The Mark Steyn Show. It kicks off in less than three weeks, on December 5th, and we'll be surveying the new scene five days a week: you can watch it from around the world at whatever hour your heart desires, via TV or telephone, Amazon or Apple, or any other known delivery system. For more details, and to subscribe at a low introductory rate that includes Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin and Steven Crowder, see here.

from Steyn on America, November 15, 2016

 

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A Dagger at the Heart of Justice

Just when I thought the George Zimmerman "trial" couldn't sink any lower, the prosecutorial limbo dancers of the State of Florida magnificently lowered their own bar in the final moments of their cable-news celebrity...

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The Simulacrum of Self-Government

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 — just another day in a constitutional republic of limited government by citizen representatives...

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Big Politically Correct Brother

Every time I go on his show, my radio pal Hugh Hewitt asks me why congressional Republicans aren't doing more to insist that the GOP suicide note known as "the immigration deal" include a requirement for a border fence. I don't like to tell Hugh that, if they ever get around to building the fence, it won't be to keep the foreigners out but to keep you guys in...

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The All-Seeing State

A few years ago, after one corruption scandal too many, the then Liberal government in Canada announced that, to prevent further outbreaks of malfeasance, it would be hiring 300 new federal auditors plus a bunch of ethics czars, and mandating "integrity provisions" in government contracts, including "prohibitions against paying, offering, demanding or accepting bribes." There were already plenty of laws against bribery, but one small additional sign on the desk should do the trick: "Please do not attempt to bribe the Minister of the Crown as a refusal may offend. Also: He's not allowed to bribe you, whatever he says." A government that requires "integrity provisions" is by definition past the stage where they will do any good.

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The Lois Lerner Defense

The IRS advances to "pre-auditing"

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The Autocrat Accountants

When everything's a tax issue

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The Benghazi Lie

A failure of character

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The Immigration Transformation

Most countries in the world have irrelevant numbers of "immigrants." In the Americas, for example, only Canada, America, and the British West Indies have significant non-native populations. In Mexico, immigrants account for 0.6 percent of the population, and that generally negligible level prevails all the way down through Latin America until you hit a blip of 1.4 percent with Chile and 3.8 percent in Argentina. There's an isolated exception in Belize, which, like the English Caribbean, has historical patterns of internal migration within the British Commonwealth, such as one sees, for example, in the number of New Zealand–born residents of Australia. But profound sweeping demographic transformation through immigration is a phenomenon only of the Western world in the modern era, and even there America leads the way.

Over 20 percent of all the immigrants on the planet are in the United States. The country's foreign-born population has doubled in the last two decades to 40 million — officially...

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The Collapsing of the American Skull

One of the most ingenious and effective strategies of the Left on any number of topics is to frame the debate and co-opt the language so effectively that it becomes all but impossible even to discuss the subject honestly. Take the brothers Tsarnaev, the incendiary end of a Chechen family that in very short time has settled aunts, uncles, sisters, and more across the map of North America from Massachusetts to New Jersey to my own home town of Toronto. Maybe your town has a Tsarnaev, too: There seems to be no shortage of them, except, oddly, back in Chechnya...

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Co-Existing with the Caucasian Killers

This has been a strange and deadly week in America. On Monday, two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, the first successful terrorist attack on a civilian target on American soil since 9/11.

In America, all atrocities are not equal...

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Government-by-fake-disaster-movie

A few weeks ago, Ann Coulter announced that she was bored of American politics and spending her days watching Turner Classic Movies. I confess that, when it comes to Beltway melodrama, I, too, am fighting vainly the old ennu...

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Magical Fairyland budgeting

"I'm also issuing a new goal for America," declared President Obama at his "State of the Union" on Tuesday. We'll come to the particular "goal" he "issued" momentarily, but before we do, consider that formulation: Did you know the president of the United States is now in the business of "issuing goals" for his subjects to live up to?

Strange how the monarchical urge persists even in a republic two-and-a-third centuries old. Many commentators have pointed out that the modern State of the Union is in fairly obvious mimicry of the Speech from the Throne that precedes a new legislative session in British Commonwealth countries and Continental monarchies, but this is to miss the key difference. When the Queen or her viceroy reads a Throne Speech in Westminster, Ottawa or Canberra, it's usually the work of a government with a Parliamentary majority: in other words, the stuff she's announcing is actually going to happen. That's why, lest any enthusiasm for this or that legislative proposal be detected, the apolitical monarch overcompensates by reading everything in as flat and unexpressive a monotone as possible. Underneath the ancient rituals – the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod getting the door of the House of Commons slammed in his face three times – it's actually a very workmanlike affair.

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Easy to see why Tehran endorses Hagel

You don't have to be that good to fend off a committee of showboating senatorial blowhards. Hillary Clinton demonstrated that a week or so back when she unleashed what's apparently the last word in withering putdowns: What difference does it make?

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Hillary lip-synced more than Beyoncé

If I'm following this correctly, according to one spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band, at Monday's Inauguration Beyoncé lip-synced to the national anthem but the band accompanied her live. However, according to a second spokesperson, it was the band who were pretending to play to a tape while Beyoncé sang along live. So one or the other of them was faking it. Or maybe both were. Or neither...

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What Is the Future of Conservatism?

Not to be too pedantic, but for there to be a "future of conservatism in America" there first has to be a future in America. And that's a more open question than my more optimistic comrades like to admit. The Brokest Nation in History has just told the rest of the world that it is incapable of serious course correction–and around the planet prudent friends and enemies will begin planning for a post-American order.

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Hagel vs. too-big-to-fail Defense Department

If you had buttonholed me in the Senate men's room circa 2003 and told me that a decade hence Joe Biden would be America's vice president, John Kerry Secretary of State, and Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense, I'd have laughed and waited for the punch line: The Leahy administration?

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Senate plan ignores key to shrinking debt?

(Video) Mark on the fiscal cliff from Fox & Friends...

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Two months of arguing over 10 hours of savings

The politics of the "fiscal cliff" deal is debatable: On the one hand, Boehner got the "Bush tax cuts" made permanent for most Americans; Obama was forced to abandon his goal of increasing rates for those earning $250,000. On the other, on taxes Republicans caved to the same class-warfare premises (the rich need to pay their "fair share") they'd successfully fought off a mere two years ago; while on spending the Democrats not only refused to make cuts, they refused to make cuts even part of the discussion.

Which of the above is correct? Who cares? As I said, the politics is debatable. But the reality isn't. I hate to keep plugging my book "After America" in this space, but if you buy multiple copies they'll come in very useful for insulating your cabin after the power grid collapses. At any rate, right up there at the front – page six – I write as follows:

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Not the absurdity he thought he was exposing

A week ago on NBC's "Meet The Press," David Gregory brandished on screen a high-capacity magazine. To most media experts, a "high-capacity magazine" means an ad-stuffed double-issue of Vanity Fair with the triple-page perfume-scented pullouts. But apparently in America's gun-nut gun culture of gun-crazed gun kooks, it's something else entirely, and it was this latter kind that Mr. Gregory produced in order to taunt Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.

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The Massacre of the Innocents

"Lullay, Thou little tiny Child

By by, lully, lullay..."

The 16th-century Coventry Carol, a mother's lament for her lost son, is the only song of the season about the other children of Christmas...

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The Doctor Won't See You Now

A few years ago, my small local hospital asked a Senate staffer if she could assist them in obtaining federal money for a new building. So she did, expediting the process by which that particular corner of northern New Hampshire was deemed to be "under-served" and thus eligible for the fed gravy...

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America not paying its fair share

Previously on "The Perils of Pauline":

Last year, our plucky heroine, the wholesome apple-cheeked American republic, was trapped in an express elevator hurtling out of control toward the debt ceiling. Would she crash into it? Or would she make some miraculous escape..?

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Jill Kelley for secretary of state

Let us turn from the post-Thanksgiving scenes of inflamed mobs clubbing each other to the ground for a discounted television set to the comparatively placid boulevards of the Middle East...

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Reality doesn't need to win Electoral College

Amid the ruin and rubble of the grey morning after, it may seem in poor taste to do anything so vulgar as plug the new and stunningly topical paperback edition of my book, "After America" – or, as Dennis Miller retitled it on the radio the other day, "Wednesday"...

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Biggest Big Government can't keep lights on

In political terms, Hurricane Sandy and the Benghazi consulate debacle exemplify at home and abroad the fundamental unseriousness of the United States in the Obama era...

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Benghazi bungle requires act of urgent political hygiene

"We're going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video," said Hillary Clinton. No, not the person who made the video saying that voting for Barack Obama is like losing your virginity to a really cool guy. I'll get to that in a moment. But Secretary Clinton was talking about the fellow who made the supposedly Islamophobic video that supposedly set off the sacking of the Benghazi consulate. And, indeed, she did "have that person arrested..."

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Democrats find their issue, in a binder

So the other morning a reader emails me a picture of a handful of women demonstrating outside the headquarters of the Ohio Republican Party – in what we expert analysts round about this point in the quadrennial election cycle like to call the critical battleground of the Buckeye State. The women each wore two giant pieces of cardboard, front and back. Ah, I thought, a timely protest...

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Step Aside, Reporters — Poets Take On The Debate

(AUDIO) Pundits and reporters, step aside — we have poets with their thoughts on Wednesday night's presidential debate. One from the right, Mark Steyn, and the other from the left, Calvin Trillin.

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Will Big Bird ever leave the government nest?

Apparently, Frank Sinatra served as Mitt Romney's debate coach. As he put it about halfway through "That's Life":

"I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly ... ."

That's what Mitt did in Denver. Ten minutes in, he jumped right on Big Bird, and then he took off – and never looked back, while the other fellow, whose name escapes me, never got out of the gate. It takes a certain panache to clobber not just your opponent but also the moderator. Yet that's what the killer Mormon did when he declared that he wasn't going to borrow money from China to pay for Jim Lehrer and Big Bird on PBS. It was a terrific alpha-male moment, not just in that it rattled Lehrer, who seemed too preoccupied contemplating a future reading the hog prices on the WZZZ Farm Report to regain his grip on the usual absurd format, but in the sense that it indicated a man entirely at ease with himself – in contrast to wossname, the listless sourpuss staring at his shoes.

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The President of Tomorrow, and the wreckage of today

One of the reasons why Barack Obama is regarded as the greatest orator of our age is that he's always banging on about some other age yet to come – e.g., the Future!

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'Barack & Hillary at the movies'

I see the Obama campaign has redesigned the American flag, and very attractive it is, too. Replacing the 50 stars of a federal republic is the single "O" logo symbolizing the great gaping maw of spendaholic centralization. And where the stripes used to be are a handful of red daubs, eerily mimicking the bloody finger streaks left on the pillars of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as its staff were dragged out by a mob of savages to be tortured and killed. What better symbol could one have of American foreign policy? Who says the slick, hollow, vapid marketing of the Obama campaign doesn't occasionally intersect with reality?

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Choice not part of this future

According to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, invited to address the Democratic convention and the nation, America faces a stark choice this November...

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Racist dog whistles and the men who hear them

American racism is starting to remind me of American alcoholism. At the founding of the republic, in the days when beer was thought of as "liquid bread" and a healthy nutritional breakfast, Americans drank about three-to-four times as much as they do now. Today the United States has a lower per capita rate of alcohol consumption than almost any other developed nation, but it has more alcoholism support groups than any other developed nation...

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War on women? The real war is on children

The Democratic Party, never inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth, does have a tendency to flog him to death. So it is with a fellow called Todd Akin, a GOP Senate candidate who unburdened himself of some ill-advised thoughts on abortion and "legitimate rape," and put Missouri back in play for the Democrats. Less-ambitious political parties would be content with that little windfall, but the Dems have decided to make – what's his name again? Oh, yeah – this guy Akin the face of the Republican Party...

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Half-wit demagoguery, hard truths

Americans, according to a Winston Churchill quote of uncertain provenance, always do the right thing after they've exhausted all other possibilities. More verifiably, Sir Winston, upon being asked if he had any criticism of the United States, replied tersely: "Toilet paper too thin, newspapers too fat." But that was then. Today, America is a land of two-ply toilet paper and one-ply newspapers...

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Obama the great disabler

The other day, I passed a Republican Party county office here in my home state, its window attractively emblazoned with placards declaring "Believe in America. Romney 2012" and "New Hampshire Believes. Romney 2012."

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Obama builds roadblocks, not roads

On the evidence of last week's Republican campaign events, President Obama's instant classic – "You didn't build that" – is to Mitt Romney what that radioactive arachnid is to Spider-Man: It got under his skin, and, in an instant, the geeky stiff was transformed into a muscular Captain Capitalism swinging through the streets and deftly squirting his webbing all over Community-Organizerman. Rattled by the reborn Romney, the Obama campaign launched an attack on Romney's attack on Obama's attack on American business. First they showed Romney quoting Obama: "He said, 'If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.'" And then the Obama team moved in for the kill: "The only problem? That's not what he said." Indeed. What Obama actually said was: "If you've got a business, you, you didn't build that. [Interjection by fawning supporters: "Yeeaaaaah!"] "Somebody else made that happen."

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Lights out for U.S.-style Big Government

...No advanced society has ever attempted Big Government for a third of a billion people – because it cannot be done without creating a nation with the black-hole finances of Stockton, California, and the recent Black-Hole-of-Calcutta fetid, airless, sweatbox utility services of Rockville, Maryland...

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A lie makes Obamacare legal

Three months ago, I quoted George Jonas on the 30th anniversary of Canada's ghastly "Charter of Rights and Freedoms": "There seems to be an inverse relationship between written instruments of freedom, such as a Charter, and freedom itself," wrote Jonas. "It's as if freedom were too fragile to be put into words: If you write down your rights and freedoms, you lose them."

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Earthly woes mount as Obama's rhetoric soars

Round about this time in the election cycle, a presidential challenger finds himself on the stump and posing a simple test to voters: "Ask yourself – are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

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Eternally shifting sands of Obama's biography

It used to be a lot simpler. As E.C. Bentley deftly summarized it in 1905: "Geography is about maps But Biography is about chaps." But that was then, and now Biography is also about maps. For example, have you ever thought it would be way cooler to have been born in colonial Kenya? Whoa, that sounds like crazy Birther talk; don't go there!

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America's Slow Suicide

Mark tells Charles Adler why he believes America is in the midst of a slow suicide.

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The Michael Graham Show

Mark joins Michael to discuss John O'Sullivan's upcoming appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire and more...

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Democrats should let sleeping dogs lie

A couple of days ago, Obama campaign top dog David Axelrod threw in the towel on the dog war. "I thought it was a little absurd to talk about what the President had done as a 10-year-old boy," he sniffed to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, which is as near as the suddenly sheepish attack dog will ever get to conceding that Barack Obama is the first dog-eating president in the history of the Republic...

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Buying 'Buffett Rule' makes you a fool

In the end, free societies get the governments they deserve. So, if the American people wish to choose their chief executive on the basis of the "war on women," the Republican theocrats' confiscation of your contraceptives, or whatever other mangy and emaciated rabbit the Great Magician produces from his threadbare topper, they are free to do so, and they will live with the consequences...

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Wait and see how flexible he'll be

As Bob Hope and Bing Crosby observed in "The Road To Bali": "He gets his shirts straight from Paris Cigarettes from the Nile He talks like a highbrow But he plays Chicago style..."

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Land of legalisms

ObamaCare is an affront to self-government: It's not just that the legislators who legislate it don't know what's in it, nor that citizens can ever hope to understand it, but that even the nation's most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension.

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Gradual insolvency about to speed up

I was in Australia earlier this month, and there, as elsewhere on my recent travels, the consensus among the politicians I met (at least in private) was that Washington lacked the will for meaningful course correction, and that, therefore, the trick was to ensure that, when the behemoth goes over the cliff, you're not dragged down with it. It is faintly surreal to be sitting in paneled offices lined by formal portraits listening to eminent persons who assume the collapse of the dominant global power is a fait accompli. "I don't feel America is quite a First World country anymore," a robustly pro-American Aussie told me, with a sigh of regret...

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America's longest war will leave no trace

Say what you like about Afghans, but they're admirably straightforward. The mobs outside the bases enflamed over the latest Western affront to their exquisitely refined cultural sensitivities couldn't put it any plainer: "Die, die, foreigners!" And foreigners do die. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Loftis, 44, and Army Maj. Robert Marchanti II, 48, lost their lives not on some mission out on the far horizon in wild tribal lands in the dead of night but in the offices of the Afghan Interior Ministry. In a "secure room" that required a numerical code to access. Gunned down by an Afghan "intelligence officer." Who then departed the scene of the crime unimpeded by any of his colleagues.

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The all-you-can-eat salad bar of rights

CNN's John King did his best the other night, producing a question from one of his viewers: "Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?" To their credit, no Republican candidate was inclined to accept the premise of the question. King might have done better to put the issue to Danica Patrick. For some reason, Michelle Fields of The Daily Caller sought the views of the NASCAR driver and Sports Illustrated swimwear model about "the Obama administration's dictate that religious employers provide health care plans that cover contraceptives." Miss Patrick, a practicing Catholic, gave the perfect citizen's response for the Age of Obama: "I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans."

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Sorry, Newt. Only the debt ceiling will reach the moon.

Had I been asked to deliver the State of the Union address, it would not have delayed your dinner plans: "The State of our Union is broke, heading for bankrupt, and total collapse shortly thereafter. Thank you and goodnight! You've been a terrific crowd!"

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GOP not so 'Grand'

VIDEO: The Republican primary process hasn't left Mark Steyn filled with hope for the near future. Find out why in this interview with Michael Coren on The Arena.

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Ron Paul beckons GOP to Fortress America

In the 2010 election the New Hampshire Republican Party took 298 out of 400 House seats, 19 out of 24 state Senate seats, and all five seats on the Executive Council. A little over a year later, in the state's presidential primary, the same (more or less) electorate gave over 56 percent of its votes to a couple of moneyed "moderates," one of whom served in the Obama administration and the other of whom left no trace in office other than the pilot program for Obamacare. Another 23 percent voted for Ron Paul.

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Politics trumps Left's empathy

Lest you doubt that we're headed for the most vicious election year in memory, consider the determined effort, within 10 minutes of his triumph in Iowa, to weirdify Rick Santorum

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Our Sick State

A couple of months back, I was with a friend of mine when she suddenly collapsed and I found myself having to run her to the emergency room. After a fairly harrowing 14 hours, the hospital released her, the doctor writing her a prescription for the still-very-intense pain she was in. So we stopped at her local Kinney Drugs in Vermont. Despite having been called in by the doc, the prescription wasn't ready. Come back in an hour. Heigh-ho. So we left it an hour and a half, and then, not wishing ...

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THE COCOON OF DENIAL

Ring in the same old same old

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THE GINGRICH GESTALT

Newt's world is one of more government, more bureaucracy, more dependency

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MORE MORE MORE. HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?

As the SS Spendaholic heads for the abyss, Steyn proposes a new national anthem

 

NO MAN'S LAND

Steyn on Penn State: What's illegal, what's wrong, and what's the difference.

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AUSTERITY FEVER GRIPS WASHINGTON!

...from the Superfriends' Supercommittee to the Social Security lifestyle glossy

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REVOLUTION KARAOKE

The grand convergence of the non-productive classes

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DIAPER CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN

It's Awareness-Raising Day Awareness Day!

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MOMENTARY MADNESS

The youth of "Occupy Wall Street" share the same assumptions as their parents and grandparents

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BIG SLOTH AND THE AMERICAN AUTUMN

It's American Autumn ...and you know what comes after that: America's college kids demand more government-funded lethargy

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SOFT SELL, HARD CONSEQUENCES

There was no due diligence on Obama in 2008, and the press has no plans to change that.

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IN THE DANGER ZONE

'It's the end of the world as we know it," sang the popular musical artistes R.E.M. many years ago. And it is. R.E.M. has announced that they're splitting up after almost a third of a century. But these days who isn't? The eurozone, the world's first geriatric boy band, is on the verge of busting apart. Chimerica (Prof. Niall Ferguson's amusing name for the Chinese-American economic partnership that started around the same time R.E.M. did) is going the way of Wham!, with Beijing figuring it's ...

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THE "PASS THIS BILL NOW!" BILL

The president has taken to the campaign trail to promote his American Jobs Act. That's a good name for it: an act. "Pass this bill now!" he declared 24 times at a stop in in Raleigh, North Carolina, and another 18 in Columbus, Ohio, and the act is sufficiently effective that, three years into the Vapidity of Hope, the president can still find crowds of true believers willing to chant along with him: "Pass this bill now!" Not all supporters are content merely to singalong with the ...

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THE HOLE AT THE CENTER

Guest-hosting for Rush on Friday, I mentioned that, for a writer, one of the pleasures of doing the show is that a listener's call will start your mind heading to places it might never have got to if you were just sitting in a room typing away. One example of that occurred last year when I was hosting the show during the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, and my resulting riff attracted a lot of commentary. I subsequently expanded my thoughts in After America, and it seems appropriate to excerpt ...

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LIFE, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT

That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the "debt ceiling" negotiations the other day: "What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today." It's always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to ...

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