R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

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WASHINGTON — Last week the headlines should have abounded with the year's good news. It was the economy: gross domestic product was up some 3 percent and, for the last quarter, nearly 4 percent; unemployment was down to a 17-year low, with black unemployment at the lowest level since such statistics were compiled. The stock market was soaring, up some 40 percent since Donald Trump was elected, and inflation was low. 


WASHINGTON -- My friend and colleague Donald Rieck, president of The American Spectator Foundation, died late last week in an automobile accident. He leaves two charming and very young children. He also leaves many friends throughout the conservative movement and shocked colleagues at The American Spectator. He was 50 years old.


WASHINGTON -- I never expected to come to the defense of The New York Times, but here I am ready and willing to defend what I have hitherto called the Bad Times, as opposed to the Good Times, that being the Washington Times. The New York Times has always been biased, but with the rise of Donald Trump, it has become unbearably biased. Even the obituaries are biased. 


WASHINGTON -- On the occasion of my 50th anniversary of founding and editing The American Spectator, I feel moved to reflect on the parlous condition of the magazine business. We celebrated our anniversary this week, and naturally I composed my reflections before the event. What makes this column something more than an occasion for indulgence is that the sickly condition of magazines is, of a sudden, a hot news item.


Here we sit in the comfort of Washington, D.C., and read of the discomfort in Florida. The massive Hurricane Irma moved from the Caribbean up through south Florida, displacing as many as 5 million people. It marched up the west coast, displacing many more. The eye of the storm settled on Naples and Fort Myers, Florida, but it terrified pretty much the whole state, including the largest population of retired Americans gathered anywhere.


WASHINGTON -- Labor Day weekend passed with soggy weather in Washington. It was not as soggy as in other parts of the United States, but it kept me indoors most of the time, so I decided to give some thought to the one American president who I associate with Labor Day, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. To be historically correct, I should associate President Grover Cleveland -- a conservative Democrat -- with Labor Day, for he was the first to make it a national holiday. For some reason, it is associated with FDR -- at least in my mind.


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is in trouble again with his Moral Superiors. His problem, of course, is that he cannot throttle his B.S. Detector. It seems he acquired a B.S. Detector at some point in life that has usually served him well. It certainly did during his long years in business, and it has during his brief time in politics. Now, however, it is problematic.


WASHINGTON — Last week, CNN fired Jeff Lord, its famously pro-Trump contributor, for mocking an activist whom The Daily Caller has reported is a racist and an anti-Semite. Lord addressed him by saying, "Sieg Heil!" What is wrong with that? Is CNN covering for racists and anti-Semites? CNN is the pious cable news network whose servile on-air performers, if they are to stay in the network's good graces, must seek regular counseling on what topics are politically correct, what words must not be uttered on air and how to part one's hair on the set — in the event one still has hair.


I have experienced defeat in presidential politics many times. Actually, I expect most Americans have. You win some, and you lose some. I first experienced defeat in 1964 when then-Sen. Barry Goldwater went down, though I was not even old enough to vote. I experienced it in 1968. I experienced it again in 1976, when my candidate was Ronald Reagan.


Luigi Barzini, my old pal and the author of so many fine books all written from his aerie above Rome -- his finest of which, The Italians, he wrote in English -- once jolted me by saying, "You Americans talk too much." Of course, he said it with affection. Back in the days of the Cold War, he was one of the few European intellectuals who really understood and admired America. What provoked him, however, was the famous euphuism of American politicians.


On the Russia-Trump imbroglio, let us be clear. We are now months into it. A dozen or so culprits have been fingered, some being actually quite amusing. You will be seeing more of the fat British music promoter Rob Goldstone, who has been photographed wearing a baseball hat emblazoned with the letters "C*NTY." He is too good to be ignored.


I have recently been reminded of one of my earliest conclusions about the American left. I arrived at that conclusion when it was relatively civilized. In those days, we called it American liberalism, but even then it was fla fla. My conclusion was that when any entity falls under the dominance of liberalism, it loses all sense of its fundamental purpose. A city loses all sense of its purpose, which is governance. A university loses all sense of its purpose, which is education.


I have returned! From Europe, that is, and I hope I met with no Russian agents while there. The soi-disant liberals are in a snit about the Russians. Apparently, Donald Trump Jr. and the mysterious senior White House adviser Jared Kushner met with an agent of the Kremlin in June of last year, and they did not report their meeting to The Powers That Be.


Last weekend, while visiting the New Jersey shore, I heard an astonishing number of vacationing Americans -- all well-intentioned, to be sure -- greet their fellow vacationers with a cheerful "have a happy Memorial Day." That cannot be right. The more I think about it, that greeting sounds as misguided as saying "have a happy Good Friday" on that solemn day. 


While contemplating the Democrats' agitated preoccupation with the allegations of Russia's intrusion into our 2016 presidential election, many thoughts occur. However, the salient thought for me, engendered by our Democratic friends' anti-Russian rhetoric, is that many years ago during the early stages of the Cold War, The John Birch Society tried to warn us. It was raising the alarm as the Democrats are today. How did we greet them? What did the Birchers get for raising the specter of Russian imperialism and world domination?

 


WASHINGTON — Well, she did not show up. I am talking about Ann Coulter, the svelte conservative firebrand who was invited to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, and, inadvertently, to show the assembled coeds how a stylish blond dresses. But then, she was disinvited. Hold on -- she was, of a sudden, re-invited but only under certain university conditions. 


WASHINGTON — We call it Kultursmog, "it" being that collection of attitudes, ideas, tastes and personages that are polluted by the politics of the left and predominate on both coasts. And who are we? We are the freethinkers who are immune to the Kultursmog by virtue of our natural skepticism and reliance on empiricism, which is to say, reliance on evidence. 


WASHINGTON — There is hope! I am speaking of the envisioned memorial of Dwight D. Eisenhower here in Washington, D.C. Admittedly, its design by the crank architect, Frank Gehry, has been pretty much accepted by the memorial commission, and the chairman of the House committee that has control of the funding, Ken Calvert, seems to be going along.


It looks like former President Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice will get a reprieve. With all the hullabaloo from President Donald Trump's military action last week in Syria's ... do we call it Syria's civil war or a massacre? ... it now appears that Rice's mishandling of surveillance is going to subside from the headlines temporarily. 


WASHINGTON — Have you been keeping up with the news from Washington, D.C.? If you have, doubtless you know that there are congressional investigations of Russian interference with our recent presidential election. It's possible you even suspect that agents of the diabolical Donald Trump were in contact with those dastardly Russians. Oh, yes, and there was something in the news about Russian bankers talking with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, a real estate developer who now sits in an office right down the hall from Trump and can pop in at anytime.