Today I started the day with the great Bill Bennett, talking mainly about last night's CNBC presidential debate. You can hear what I have to say here: click the "Listen Live" button - I'm not actually live, I'm as dead as Jeb's campaign, but the old "Live" link seems to work. I show up in the final half-hour, but, as always with Bill, the whole show is worth a listen, including the snippet of "Reminiscing" by the Little River Band somewhere in the second hour. We talk Bush, Kasich, Carson, Rubio, Christie, Cruz, Trump and more.
[UPDATE: Here's part of the interview, along with two Bills - Bennett and Kristol - on the CNBC debate. Click to listen:
I'll have more to say about the debate (and probably on the new Speaker) with Hugh Hewitt this afternoon at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific. The big takeaway is: Jeb won't make it to Iowa. He had two disasters last night: First, Marco Rubio was better prepared for Bush's attack than Bush was to make it, even though he'd evidently been up half the night practicing. Even worse was his feeble answer on the Fantasy Football, where Chris Christie jumped in to tell Jeb: No, you loser, this is how you do it - and smashed the stupid question down the gullet of whatever CNBC non-entity had asked it. Both these fiascos happened because Jeb is simply not nimble enough in debate - and certainly not nimble enough to go head to head with Hillary. As I said at the weekend:
Neither Jeb nor his bazillions of staffers have any improvisational wit.
And Jeb resoundingly confirmed that. Mike Murphy thinks his checkbook can drag Bush across the finish line. So far it hasn't got the guy out of the starting gate.
~The biggest news of the day came not from Boulder but Beijing:
China has decided to end its decades-long one-child policy, the state-run Xinhua news agency reports.
Couples will now be allowed to have two children, it said, citing a statement from the Communist Party.
The controversial policy was introduced nationally in 1979, to slow the population growth rate.
It is estimated to have prevented about 400 million births. However concerns at China's ageing population led to pressure for change.
Like Jeb Bush, the Politburo was slow to adapt. Nine years ago, in my international bestseller America Alone (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc, etc), I wrote:
Will China be the hyperpower of the 21st century? Answer: No. Its population will get old before it's got rich...
The People's Republic's most distinctive structural flaw [is] the most gender-distorted demographic cohort in global history, the so-called guang gun – "bare branches": Since China introduced its "one child" policy in 1978, the imbalance between the sexes has increased to the point where in today's generation there are 119 boys for every 100 girls. The pioneer generation of that male surplus are now adults. Unless China's planning on becoming the first gay superpower since Sparta, what's going to happen to those young men? As a general rule, large numbers of excitable lads who can't get any action are useful for manning the nuttier outposts of the jihad but not for much else.
I returned to the theme in After America (also exclusively available, he pleads with an eye to his legal bills):
China is dangerous not (as many argue) because of its strength but because of its weakness... The millions of surplus young men whom the government's One-Child Policy has deprived of female companionship is a recipe either for wrenching social convulsions at home – or for war abroad, the traditional surplus inventory-clearance method of great powers. That's actually worse news than if China was cruising to uncontested global hegemony – because it means that Beijing's calculations on how the Sino-American relationship evolves are even less likely to align with ours. China has to maximize its power before demographic decay sets in. In other words, it has strong incentives to be bold and to push, hard and fast. And, when it happens, Washington will be taken by surprise by something that was entirely inevitable.
Nine years after America Alone, China has belatedly embarked on course correction.
~On Monday I mentioned that in 1967 "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be" was the last tune played by the band of the Royal Marines before the Union Jack was lowered in Aden (Yemen) and the last British troops departed. Mike Donnellan writes from New Zealand:
I was third engineer on the Sir Galahad - a troop and tank carrier later sunk in the Falkland conflict - which I think was the last British Sship to leave Aden after the handover. A very popular song on the local forces radio around that time - shared in popularity with American troops in Vietnam - I seem to remember, had been "We Gotta get out of This Place" by The Animals. (Not to mention "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha Ha!" which was almost as popular.)
Not songs a highbrow know-all with your encyclopaedic knowledge of Broadway and West End Musicals would want to claim familiarity with I presume? :)
PS Many thanks for the entertaining columns .and books. I recently completed "A Disgrace to the Profession" and I can't see how Mann can still imagine he has a leg to stand on.
Oh, I know both songs very well, and can be prevailed upon to sing the latter after a pint or three. But what I like about that "Fings" thing is its blend of stiff formality and sardonic commentary: The British colony of Aden was succeeded by the Socialist Republic of South Yemen, and the bandmaster evidently gave a bit of thought as to what would be the appropriate way to mark this perverse evolution of Arabian affairs - and then he got out the sheet music and rehearsed the lads. As I said on Monday, no such droll musical accompaniments for Obama's recent evacuation from Yemen.