R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator.
Latest from R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
LONDON — I am in jolly old London for a Spectator debate about America's presidential candidates, Donald Trump and What's Her Name. London is resplendent as ever, and at this point in the election cycle my wife is patrolling my behavior, lest I hazard our bank account by popping into Anderson & Sheppard to order another suit or seeking psychiatric refreshment.
WASHINGTON — Through the years, one of my favorite sallies against the Clintons has been referring to Hillary Clinton as "Bruno." At times, readers have asked, "Why do you call her Bruno?" It is because there has always been an atmosphere of thuggishness about her. Another way of putting it is, time and again, she acts as though the rule of law does not pertain to her -- for instance, on the matter of the many women who have willingly or unwillingly been pulled into her husband's lubricious ambit.
WASHINGTON — Did you see the interview over the weekend of a listless and, apparently, exhausted Hillary Clinton? Supposedly she has recovered from last week's bout with pneumonia, but she could have fooled me. Call me a hypochondriac, but in my opinion her recovery is not going very well.
WASHINGTON -- Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa on Sunday. She was a celestial figure to many for sweating away in Calcutta, India, with "the poorest of the poor." By that oft-used term meant the poor for whom a government poverty line would be a luxury. Mother Teresa took in street urchins, the hopelessly sick and the dying -- lost souls who were at death's door.
WASHINGTON -- This week I am going to do something unusual. I am going to enter into a conversation with another columnist. Doing so was not so unusual a few decades back. Bill Buckley and James Jackson Kilpatrick did it when provoked, and it was always interesting. But today columnists are godlike figures. They communicate solely with Mount Olympus, and the result is often a bit tedious.
WASHINGTON – This political campaign has already become too long and too arduous for campaigners and voters alike. Dare I say it? Politics as practiced in America is in danger of becoming a health hazard. I can see it now. There may well develop a movement among forward-lookers to limit the length of campaigns. You doubt me? Think of what the forward-lookers did to cigarette smoking.
WASHINGTON -- August is upon us, and it is time to change the subject from the hype of presidential politics to the hype of international sports. No, not the hype of international soccer -- the scam of that racket is well-known. Let us turn to the hype of the Olympic competition.
WASHINGTON — Race is what you make of it. For me I have made race a part of what social scientists once called the "melting pot," by which they meant that differences -- including ethnicity and race -- were all melted down into one great variegated country called America. There might be different heritages and different sub-cultures mixed into the American melting pot, but once mixed together we were all Americans.
LONDON – A week after the historic Brexit referendum I attended what we might call its sequel. As Americans will recall, on June 23 all of Great Britain's bien-pensants ever so unctuously voted (SET ITAL) against (END ITAL) Brexit. That is to say they voted against leaving the EU. They lost 52 percent to 48 percent. The outcome was a bit of a surprise, but they lost fair and square. Thus, a week later they flooded the streets of central London to protest the outcome of the vote and piously call for a new election. It was not that they claimed the election had been rigged. Rather, they claimed the wrong people won. They wanted a second try.
I see that CNN is calling upon the good offices of Mr. Potato Head to refute Donald Trump's evisceration of Hillary Clinton in his speech last Wednesday. Mr. Potato Head is very indignant that Peter Schweizer has written a book, "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich," demonstrating that a pattern of corruption exists in the relationship between The Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department.
The Boston Marathon, San Bernardino and now Orlando. It goes on and on, as Donald Trump might say. And it will continue to worsen, as Trump has already said. He is the most prescient campaigner in this race for the presidency. Hillary Clinton made progress Monday when she enunciated the words "radical Islamism," words that she thitherto refused to utter and her old friend and boss President Barack Obama still will not utter.
Looking back through the years I have seen it all coming: the militant ignorance of students strutting across our college campuses today, the authoritarian style of the administrators, the mediocrity of the professors and the sheer goofiness of the students. It all came out of the late 1960s. Most of my fellow 1960s graduates went on to careers in the professions, commerce and industry. But some remained on campus, becoming professors, administrators and increasingly, as the years went on, swamis of identity politics.
Madrid — One thing conservatives overlook in their worldview is tradition. We favor limited government, free enterprise, certain social issues and a strong defense. But we slide over the basic theme of tradition. Russell Kirk, an important conservative thinker, favored tradition, and he wrote about it. But I cannot think of another prominent thinker of recent years who stressed it.
A couple of weeks ago I heard the National Symphony perform Shostakovich’s symphony commemorating war and revolution, his Symphony 11. There was not much lyricism to it, not even a dulcet tune one could leave the symphony hall whistling. It was all ominous rumbling and groaning, with the tympani madly thundering away. Nonetheless, it was very affecting. After all, this 1957 work was about Russia on the road to the Bolshevik Revolution and the horrors of Lenin, then Stalin, his purges and Gulag, followed by the carnage of World War II. Rumble on. Rumble on.
The House Speaker, the honorable Paul Ryan, recently expressed his hope for a more "confident America." He went on to say "we don't shut people down. If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don't insult them into agreeing with us." He spoke of the superiority of persuasion to execration.
If I were among the conservatives who have been throwing names like Hitler and Stalin at Trump, I would just start to practice enunciating the words "President Donald Trump" -- the sooner, the better.
As the race for the presidential nomination enters the pandemonium stage, I take solace in the soothing wisdom of my friend the British historian, Paul Johnson. He writes: "America is a big country, with vast regions and endless opportunities for polycentrism." Another way of putting it is that America is a federalist system with endless opportunities for variation
I wrote a book in 2011 with the felicitous title The Death of Liberalism. The book's title pretty much said it all. By 2011, the ideology of Adlai Stevenson, of Hubert Humphrey, of Daniel Patrick Moynihan had expired. In the book I explained why liberalism was dead. Today the evidence is even more abundant. A socialist and a liberal naysayer as the sole candidates for the Democratic nomination? Liberalism is history.
I am certainly glad that The Washington Post reported on a controversy at Georgetown University last week, which was created by the sad death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Thanks to that informative report, I am canceling my million-dollar bequest to old Georgetown and channeling it elsewhere, probably to Donald Trump's super PAC, if I can find his super PAC.
Recall if you will those unforgettable royal figures from yesteryear with their peculiar cognomens. Some of my favorites are Ethelred the Unready, a famously tardy English king from the Middle Ages. Or how about Charles the Bald, the Holy Roman Emperor whose glabrous head was widely remarked in his time and still is to this very day? And who can forget Pepin the Short? Even standing on his tiptoes he was the diminutive King of the Franks. Now, early in the 21st century, we have another epic curiosity, Hillary the Inevitable.