Steyn on America
So, no, since you ask, I didn't have that Glorious a Fourth. I almost wrote about it yesterday, but was too sad to find the appropriate tone. I'm still very sad, so if you want to cut to the chase and get on with your day, the takeaway is America might as well hang a sign on its door saying, "Final Three Days! Everything Must Go!!! Ultimate Storewide Blowout!!!!!"
As readers may know, the Steyn worldwide corporate headquarters is located in Woodsville, which is part of the township of Haverhill, New Hampshire. Actually, the only reason readers would have any cause to know it at all is that an hilariously inept attack poodle called Bernie Quigley wrote in The Hill that I had no idea what the real, authentic America was like and to demonstrate the point plucked three real, authentic, entirely random American places off the map (well, two off the map and one off his LP collection) and said that Steyn would "would get a rash in real places like Tobaccoville, N.C., Haverhill, N.H. or Luckenbach, Texas".
What are the odds of that? Of all the bazillions of pinpricks on the American map, Quigly takes a blind stab and hits mine.
So, on Saturday morning, I was in Haverhill, NH working on my rash. I'd had to swing by Steyn Global HQ in Woodsville for one reason or another and got there about 9.45, and already the elderly veterans and widows and spinsters were camped out in their lawn chairs holding their miniature flags in readiness for the 11 o'clock parade. Gotta get there early and grab a good spot. But I figured I could get the work wrapped up at the office and still skedaddle back to the main drag and catch the Fourth of July observances. For decades, Woodsville has joined with Wells River across the bridge in Vermont to host one of the biggest Independence Day parades around. Between them they have a population of about 1,500, but folks come from neighboring towns because they seem to like the whole twin-state vibe. So the parade always starts in Woodsville, marches down Central Street, and over the Connecticut River into Vermont where it wraps up on Main Street, Wells River.
Anyway, one thing led to another and I had my head stuck in some rather tedious materials from my upcoming trial of the century when I heard the sound of the band approaching. So I thought, whoops, the festivites are underway, I better get up to Central Street. And by the time I got to the front door and out of the building, I didn't need to hurry along to the parade because the parade had hurried along to me. Instead of heading straight on and over the bridge to Vermont, all the beauty queens and 4-H floats and fire trucks had hung a left and come straight past my office door.
Which struck me as weird. Because they'd never done that before. And judging from the thin knot of people out on the street to watch no one else had been expecting it. So the parade went down the hill and petered out at the community field.
And afterwards I found out what had happened. Over on the Vermont side at 10.15am - 45 minutes before the parade was due to start - the one-man police department, Constable Glen Godfrey, had noticed that the "detour" signs had not been posted on the roads. I wouldn't want to make this sound more complicated a problem than it is: By "roads", I mean that Wells River basically has two of them - an east-west road and a north-south road. And Constable Godfrey had three-quarters of an hour to use his wit and ingenuity to find a workaround, to show a little bit of - oh, what's the word? - "independence" of mind.
Instead, with 45 minutes to go, a part-time village constable canceled the Independence Day parade.
As he told the local reporter:
Boy, if only George III had thought to try that line with that Boston tea-party thing, we could have skipped the whole revolutionary unpleasantness entirely.
Incidentally, who is this "they" to whom Constable Godfrey refers? It's not the responsibility of the parade organizers to put signs up on Vermont streets. It's the responsibility of another agency of officialdom - the same officialdom that the part-time constable represents. So it would have been more correct to say: "We just did not have the signs up."
As I said, it would have required three signs - one to the south, one to the north, one to the west. Or, if he'd deputized two volunteers to join him, three men raising their hands to halt whatever very minimal traffic approached the village during the parade. Instead he called the Orange County Sheriff's Department who, with the classic brain-dead cover-your-ass attitude of the bureaucracy told the local copper to make sure that Uncle Sam shall not pass and to "prohibit the parade from entering Vermont". Constable Godfrey was the Paul Revere of the hour: Instead of yelling "The British are coming!", he'd called the Sheriff's office and yelled, "The loyal patriotic flag-waving Americans are coming!" After 240 years that's what it's come down to. Happy Independence Day! Pin the flag to your ass and Shelter in Place!
[UPDATE: I now learn that no deputizing was necessary as two Sheriff's deputies were already present in Wells River to police the parade. But of course they decided to side with the useless jobsworth constable - because it's easier just to pick up your salary for doing nothing than making a human decision and risking be in violation of Rule 4,731(b) iii.]
At 10.15, the Wells River side was just like the Woodsville side - the l'il ol' ladies had carved up the prime sidewalk real estate with their folding chairs - but with the additional complication of the reviewing stand, where the parade announcer, the five float judges, and the singer of the national anthem were already in position. But, instead of doing anything to make the parade happen, Constable Godfrey instead told them that, if they wanted any red-white-and-blue and "You're A Grand Old Flag", they needed to scram over to the New Hampshire side of the river 'cause it ain't happening here.
And that too is poignant and symbolic on Independence Day. Don't you find increasingly that this is a society where no one can make anything happen? That people can give you a thousand reasons why something can't happen but can no longer figure out a way to ensure that it can.
And so the citizens of Wells River meekly shuffled over the Connecticut River bridge to the designated parade-holding area in the adjoining state. By the way, consider that: if this hadn't been a twin-state parade and the Granite State portion thereof not within Constable Godfrey's jurisdiction, there would have been no Independence Day observances at all. He would in effect have canceled the entire national holiday over failure of signage compliance.
As effete and enfeebled as post-"Live Free Or Die" New Hampshire is, Granite Staters are not quite as thoroughly castrated as are the heirs to Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys. So, on the eastern bank of the Connecticut, the organizers decided the Woodsville-Wells River Fourth of July parade would go ahead without the Wells River part and hastily improvised a new route. Which is why they wound up detouring down my road and past my office window.
Now here's the thing: Obviously, as it had never been intended to be part of any parade route, my road had no official signs up on it, and in fact, unlike the flat even plain on which Wells River's Main Street is located on, the grade drops steeply and very dramatically down to the community field. And yet, clinging on for dear life as the floats plunged down the incline, all the cute little gradeschoolers and tiara-clutching beauty queens somehow managed to survive.
Yet, while I salute the New Hampshire end for declining to let some jumped-up Vermont twerp rain on their parade, I don't think that was quite the ideal solution. When someone like Constable Godfrey tells you are no longer sufficiently independent to hold an Independence Day parade, the correct response is: Sorry, pal, we're coming through. You can stand in our path, and we'll let the 4-H-ers plow you into the asphalt. Or you can call for back up from the Sheriff's Department and tase us into submission. But you're gonna have to tase us all. Because isn't that what the Declaration of Independence was all about? George III thought this was the King's highway and freeborn Americans told him, get lost, creep, it's the people's highway. And on this Independence Day the people are coming through!
I like to think that's what the late Ray Burton, longtime NH Executive Councillor for the North Country, would have done. He marched at the head of the parade for years alongside his car (license number "1") , and I find it hard to imagine him meekly consenting to be turned away. But lots of other folks wouldn't agree to it, either. Had, say, the Dearborn Ramadan Parade or the West Hollywood LGBTQWERTY Parade taken a wrong turn, like Bugs Bunny at Albuquerque, and wound up on that Connecticut River bridge, do you think they would have submitted to Constable Godfrey's diktat? Not at all. They would have brushed him aside and poured through. And their willingness to do that is why the gays and the Muslims win everything they want - and compliant losers don't.
And, in fact, try telling those despised "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" in France that Bastille Day's off because of insufficient signs - or Quebeckers on St-Jean-Baptiste Day. This prostration before irrational, capricious but deeply totalitarian officialdom is unbecoming to a supposedly free people.
So, as ridiculous as Constable Godfrey's behavior was, the bovine acceptance of it by the citizenry is far more disturbing. In my Fourth of July rerun of an old Telegraph column, I noted how the regulatory bureaucracy was crushing the spirit of independence. That was back in the Nineties when "safety" was being used to hyper-regulate anything involving children. Two decades on, we are all children. When you can have your Independence Day cancelled by bureaucrats on 45 minutes' notice, you are not citizens, you are not even subjects - you are wards of the state, a state that no longer recognizes you as capable of functioning adulthood.
Incidentally, in previous years the parade organizers had never applied for any permit in the State of Vermont. Hitherto, it was known to all that they'd be holding the parade on July 4th, and they went ahead and held it. This time, for the first time ever, they were prevailed upon to apply for a permit, and they were entered into the system - and then the system failed. That too is a perfect distillation of the way it goes in the Republic of Paperwork: you play along with the system, and then the system screws you over anyway. Right now, the local constable, the county sheriff and the state agency of transportation are all referring questions on who should have done what back and forth to the others. That's three different agencies of government, which is two more than it would be in any functioning society:
Glen Godfrey has been constable for 20 years. It's an elected position, and it would be heartening to think the burghers of his community would toss him out on his ear. But, given the mind-numbing invocations of "safety" and "security", I expect they'll return him to office with an increased vote. His plaintive whine of "it's not our fault" does, however, suggest that, as in so many other areas of the bureaucracy where human judgment and sense of proportion are no longer required or indeed permitted, he might just as well be replaced by one of those prototype Japanese robots who can be programmed to perform simple tasks.
But you can't replace everyone - from Godfrey to the Sheriff's Department to the Vermont Agency of Transportation to the citizenry to the J-school newspaper reporters who wrote up the story as some kind of cute small-town foible: "Red (Tape), White And Blue: Lack of Safety Signs Stymies Parade"... "Sign Glitch Detours Woodsville-Wells River Parade"... "Two-State Parade Whittled To One Because Detour Signs Not Up"...
But it's not cute at all, it's pathetic. The Caledonian Record's story has a choice (but paywalled) passage:
This is the wretched passivity of a supine people. The local government can't do anything unless it's got permission from the state government and the state government can't do anything unless it complies with the national government (there's nothing "federal" about a sign law that prevents a village holding a parade). But "we didn't want to see anyone get hurt" - so just stay at home and shelter in place until a federally-approved sign can be installed by a state-credentialed official. For this you threw off a king?
Such a generation could not have won the Revolutionary War - and indeed such an attitude is not unconnected to why we don't win any wars today. A people that lack sufficient independence to hold an Independence Day Parade mocks the very meaning of the day. As some old dead guys once said:
But on Independence Day, on the bridge to Wells River, it's not looking all that self-evident anymore. Any other self-evident truths?
But as the Declaration also notes:
And so in Wells River they suffer the evils of the Commissar of Parades. In my very prescient (if I do say so myself, which I do) bestselling book After America (personally autographed copies of which, etc, etc) , I quote Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and the very definition of a sober, respected, judicious paragon of torpidly conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, musing on American decline, he observed:
That last is the one to watch: A great nation can survive a lot of things, but not "a mediocrity of spirit". And I'm afraid on Independence Day, that's the tattered banner Wells River, Vermont chose to wave.
from Steyn on America, July 6, 2015
The landmark Supreme Court decisions are bulk-discounted this week, so here's this hour's. In my conversation with Hugh Hewitt yesterday, I said: As you know, Hugh, I'm not a believer in Supreme Courts that are as supreme as America's Supreme Court is...
In its first 72 hours, the Denny Hastert scandal has galloped along at breakneck speed...
With friends like Hillary...
One of the lessons learned by the Clintons back in the Nineties is that, if you're gonna have a scandal, have a hundred of 'em. And then it's all too complicated and just gives everyone a big headache, and they go back to watching "Friends" or "Baywatch" or whatever it was back then...
For me, the issue this US election season is the corruption
Over at Breitbart News, John Nolte distills Hillary Rodham Clinton's autobiography into a single headline:
I think it's fair to say that the Hillary 2016 launch effortlessly surpassed expectations. It began with the official campaign announcement, deftly reminding us of her impressive rĂ©sumĂ©: She's fought children and families all her career.
A year later, officialdom catches up with Steyn's assessment of an American deserter
"Ignore the noise - Clinton will win in 2016," we are assured by a columnist in Hillary's journalistic namesake The Hill. "The email flap will be gone soon enough..."
Laws are for the little people
If Obama were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?
NBC Nightly News with Walter Mitty reporting
The problem with a victim culture is that so many people want to join the ranks of victimhood that eventually you run short of oppressors. As I say in my new book (personally autographed copies of which make a Christmas gift your loved one will cherish forever), Elizabeth Warren is the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out, but a dubious claim to be one 32nd Cherokee was enough to persuade Harvard Law School to promote her as their first "woman of color". No wonder so ...
President Obama dishonors an American's death
Tom Steyer, Big Climate's Daddy Warmbucks, wakes up with the all-time worst dose of "climate depression"
Thomas Eric Duncan has the distinction of being America's Patient Zero - the first but not the last person to develop Ebola symptoms in the United States. Is he a US citizen? No, he's Liberian. Is he a resident of the United States? No, he landed at Washington's Dulles Airport on September 20th, in order to visit his sister and having quit his job in Monrovia a few weeks earlier. So he's a single unemployed man with relatives in the US and no compelling reason to return to his native land. That ...
Obama's foreign policy goes KA-BOOM!
Ferguson, Missouri, and the militarization of the police
The IRS is openly sneering at us now
"I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans."
The curious selectivity of "campaign finance" enforcement...
Three portents of decay - plus a bonus one
America dishonors the victims of Major Hasan, and adds insult to grievous injuries
If you like your cow, you can keep your cow
The Republican Party is "simply not good enough"
Obama's courtiers hail a world without work
On November 22, 1963, two other notable men died, and got relegated to the foot of page 37...
If you like your cake, you can keep your cake
A uniquely fraudulent governmentalization of health care
If you're looking for an epitaph for the republic...
The least dispiriting moment of another grim week in Washington was the sight of ornery veterans tearing down the Barrycades around the war memorials on the National Mall, dragging them up the street, and dumping them outside the White House...
The shutdown that isn't a shutdown, the ceiling that isn't a ceiling, and the rollout that isn't a rollout...
A few years ago, after the publication of my book America Alone, an exasperated reader wrote to advise me to lighten up, on the grounds that "we're rich enough to be stupid."
"This is the United States of America," declared President Obama to the burghers of Liberty, Missouri, on Friday. "We're not some banana republic."
He was talking about the Annual Raising of the Debt Ceiling, which glorious American tradition seems to come round earlier every year. "This is not a deadbeat nation," President Obama continued. "We don't run out on our tab." True. But we don't pay it off, either. We just keep running it up, ever higher. And every time the bartender says, "Mebbe you've had enough, pal," we protest, "Jush another couple trillion for the road. Set 'em up, Joe." And he gives you that look that kinda says he wishes you'd run out on your tab back when it was $23.68.
Still, Obama is right. We're not a banana republic, if only because the debt of banana republics is denominated in a currency other than their own â€“ i.e., the U.S. dollar. When you're the guys who print the global currency, you can run up debts undreamt of by your average generalissimo. As Obama explained in another of his recent speeches, "Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt." I won't even pretend to know what he and his speechwriters meant by that one, but the fact that raising the debt ceiling "has been done over a hundred times" does suggest that spending more than it takes in is now a permanent feature of American government. And no one has plans to do anything about it. Which is certainly banana republic-esque.
I see the Obama "reset" is going so swimmingly that the president is now threatening to go to war against a dictator who gassed his own people. Don't worry, this isn't anything like the dictator who gassed his own people that the discredited warmonger Bush spent 2002 and early 2003 staggering ever more punchily around the country inveighing against...
On his radio show the other day, Hugh Hewitt asked me about running for the Senate from New Hampshire. My pollsters and PACs haven't fine-tuned every detail of my platform just yet, but I can say this without a doubt...
On Thursday, the Washington Post's revelation of thousands upon thousands of National Security Agency violations included this fascinating detail...
On December 7, 1941, the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked. Three years, eight months, and eight days later, the Japanese surrendered.
These days, America's military moves at a more leisurely pace. On November 5, 2009, another U.S. base, Fort Hood, was attacked â€” by one man standing on a table, screaming "Allahu akbar!" and opening fire.
Three years, nine months, and one day later, his court-martial finally got under way...
Let us put aside, as he so rarely does, Anthony Weiner's spambot penis, and consider his wife and putative first lady...
To achieve this level of devastation, you usually have to be invaded by a foreign power...
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...
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 — just another day in a constitutional republic of limited government by citizen representatives...
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...
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.
The IRS advances to "pre-auditing"
When everything's a tax issue
A failure of character
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 Zealandâ€“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 â€” officially...
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...
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...
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...
"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.
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?
If I'm following this correctly, according to one spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band, at Monday's Inauguration BeyoncĂ© 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 BeyoncĂ© sang along live. So one or the other of them was faking it. Or maybe both were. Or neither...
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.
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?
(Video) Mark on the fiscal cliff from Fox & Friends...
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:
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.
"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...
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...
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..?
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...
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"...
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...
"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..."
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...
(AUDIO) Pundits and reporters, step aside â€” 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.
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.
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!
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?
According to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, invited to address the Democratic convention and the nation, America faces a stark choice this November...
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...
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 â€“ what's his name again? Oh, yeah â€“ this guy Akin the face of the Republican Party...
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...
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."
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."
...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...
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."
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 â€“ are you better off now than you were four years ago?"
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!
Mark tells Charles Adler why he believes America is in the midst of a slow suicide.
Mark joins Michael to discuss John O'Sullivan's upcoming appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire and more...
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...
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...
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..."
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.
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...
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.
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."
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!"
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.
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.
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
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 ...
Ring in the same old same old
Newt's world is one of more government, more bureaucracy, more dependency
As the SS Spendaholic heads for the abyss, Steyn proposes a new national anthem
Steyn on Penn State: What's illegal, what's wrong, and what's the difference.
...from the Superfriends' Supercommittee to the Social Security lifestyle glossy
The grand convergence of the non-productive classes
It's Awareness-Raising Day Awareness Day!
The youth of "Occupy Wall Street" share the same assumptions as their parents and grandparents
It's American Autumn ...and you know what comes after that: America's college kids demand more government-funded lethargy
There was no due diligence on Obama in 2008, and the press has no plans to change that.
'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 ...
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 ...
Guest-hosting for Rush on Friday, I mentioned that, for a writer,Â 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 ...
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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