R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator.
Latest from R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
As the tents were coming down at McPherson Square, the dead rats and mice being retrieved, the urine and feces and filthy bedding disposed of by District of Columbia employees dressed in hazardous-materials suits like their contemporaries at Fukushima, I thought of the left-wing press.
You see, I read the left-wing press. Not the urban throwaway rags, but I read The Nation, The Progressive, The American Prospect, and more — I read them all. They have been raving for months about the exciting prospect of a great wave of reform coming out of the Occupy movement. It was here to stay, and for a while, silly old me took them seriously.
Whose job would you want to have? Would it be President Barack Obama's or Governor Chris Christie's in the great state of New Jersey? Would it be President Obama's, whose budget woes are getting graver, or would it be Governor Christie's, whose budget is at least looking to be survivable?
Now Obama is facing the choice in his budgetary decisions. Does he raise taxes only on families making $1 million a year? Or does he, as he has heretofore promised, raise taxes on families making $250,000?
I have officially called off my boycott of the National Football League. I do not care how many felons or frotteurs play the game. Now there is Tim Tebow to redeem it. He can pass and run. He inspires his teammates. He inspires many returning fans like me. I shall follow him through the playoffs and maybe even next year as the season resumes anew. He is an American original — and he is controversial. I am for him.
No, I shall not fall for the NFL's gimmicks. You will not see me wearing a jersey of the Denver Broncos, for whom Tebow plays. I shall not even buy a coffee mug. In fact, I think I shall add up how much money I could spend on Tebow paraphernalia and donate it to charity. Tebow inspires his teammates, and now he has inspired me.
The year 2011 has drawn to an end, and as I look back, I see several of my predictions that appear pretty sound. President Barack Obama is dead in the water and will be beaten in 2012. I have made that prediction over and again this year and I think it will be borne out.
Another observation I've made is that liberalism is dead. By the coming election, it will be the rare psephologist who fails to notice. Say, the occasional MSNBC political expert may still think liberalism is full of brag and bounce after the fall elections, as will the Sunday morning news know-it-alls. But after the Nov. 6 elections, with the Senate and the presidency added to the Republicans' trophy chest, I think my observation will be commonly accepted.
When Barney Frank announced the other day that he was shuffling off stage after three decades in the Congressional limelight, I was brought back to 1980, when some very thoughtful friends from Harvard told me to watch him. Paul H. Weaver had been an aide to Irving Kristol, the godfather of neoconservatism, which was lustrous in those days, and rightly so.
Paul was one of the brightest young neo-cons of his generation. I always took him seriously. He thought that Congressman Frank was principled, stupendously intelligent and of good cheer — a wit. It seemed Frank was going to be another Daniel Patrick Moynihan, or at least an Allard Lowenstein, the former congressman and principled liberal activist who had recently been murdered.
Last weekend I was given a hint as to how an erroneous idea is born, and how it takes on a life of its own.
I was at Yale University as a guest of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale. It's run by a group of extremely winning young Yale students who are all admirably conservative. Bill would approve. They all carried themselves like young ladies and young gentlemen. They were confident in their ideas and amused.
It's called the Taranto Principle, and it's now being employed by the Kultursmogists to blanket the country in a preposterosity: namely that the Tea Partyers and the Occupy Wall Street crowd have much in common. So go ahead, loyal Democrats, and take up the Occupiers' anger. Giving presidential voice to the Occupiers' complaints will be a sure winner for President Barack Obama in 2012.
Somehow, I think not. According to the Taranto Principle, first identified by distinguished Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto, the mainstream media concocts false truths that actually encourage liberal Democrats to extravagance; thus, Al Gore hyperventilates over Global Warming, Jean-Francois Kerry presents himself as a Vietnam War hero, and Barack Obama sits awash in red ink and promises more. Operating in accord with the principle, the liberal Democrats abandon themselves to a riot of fantasies far removed from the American consensus, and the result is catastrophe for them and much amusement for the rest of us.
I do not know what the learned political scientists of the Republic say about it, but it seems to me that the laws of the land are now so poorly written that almost no one knows what they mean. That is a government bureaucrat's delight!
The healthcare bill, disparagingly and often referred to as ObamaCare, is typical. No member of Congress could have read it before voting on it, and, even now, I doubt any congressperson has read it through. I know someone who did read it all, but he is an insomniac and does not count. Then there is Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York. She read it through, but only because she thought it an atrocity and wanted to protect Americans from it.
It is clear from the way President Barack Obama has been talking about the federal budget recently, and about taxation since he came to office, that all the money that Americans earn belongs to the federal government. The key words in this conversation are "tax expenditures." Obama has lost a lot in tax expenditures, and he wants more of those tax expenditures back. He can spend that money, he believes, more wisely than the citizenry — that is to say, you and me.
He has wiggled and wobbled on the nation's finances over the years. First, he spent money that he did not have. Then he threatened to raise taxes on the rich to pay for it. Then again he spent money that he did not have. Now, he is getting very serious about the budget, which means that the budget deficit is so large you do not even want to think about it. So he is back to taxing the rich again, which eventually means you and me.
When Vice President Joe Biden rolls into a room to talk politics, frankly I am ready to laugh. He is, for me, the gaffable Joe Biden. Remember when he told the perky Katie Couric that during the great stock market crash of 1929 President Franklin Roosevelt immediately "got on television" to reassure the American people. Biden apparently reassured Miss Couric; yet others in the audience who knew their history and recognized his blunder got a huge laugh at Joe's expense. The president in 1929 was, of course, Herbert Hoover, and there was no television.
Or what about the gaffable vice president declaring, "The number one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be as Barack says, a three-letter word, jobs, j-o-b-s, jobs"? Good old Joe!
Alas, we lost a most desirable candidate for the White House this week, one that is not charismatic, did not write (or have someone else write) his memoir, has displayed no jump shot in public and did not leave important documents on his desk while gallivanting around the country in campaign mode and heading for vacation on Martha's Vineyard. In the first instance, I am talking about Congressman Paul Ryan. In the second, I am talking about President you-know-who. Since the day he was inaugurated, he has been campaigning for his second term, all the while expressing ambivalence about wanting a second term. That is nonsense. He is living rent-free and has that big airplane to fly about the country in.
There is squabbling in the White House. President Barack Obama's approval rating has dipped to unprecedented lows in the polls, and he has not a clue as to what to do about it. Within the president's team there are the pragmatists led by David Plouffe (pronounced plu' fey) and William M. Daley who favor small gestures. I mean really small gestures. They would opt for free trade agreements, possibly with Gabon, perhaps the Maldives. They also support improved patent protections for investors, assuming they can find investors, and something about Michele Obama's garden. At least I thought it was about her garden. At any rate, it was small. Maybe they were advocating growing cherry tomatoes.
We are engaged in a long war — actually two long wars. The first and most commonly accepted of our wars is the long war against Islamofascists. It is not a war against vast armies. Comparatively speaking, it is just a war against a handful of thugs, but they want to strike at our heart, wherever we are ill-prepared, and if they can they will cause incalculable destruction. This we discovered on September 11, 2001. We are on the hem of wiping al-Qaeda out, but there are other thugs waiting. We must be vigilant against them. It will be a long war.
The second long war is at home on budgetary matters. That both the left and the right are in a fury about an early battle in that war, the debt-ceiling battle, suggests just how long that war will be. We have little consensus on this war. Yet a war it is, and a very long war I fear it will be. It is a war to balance the budget, putting the economy on a sustainable course, ensuring growth and jobs. It is a war to get the country back to a federal budget that accounts for 20 percent of GDP rather than the 25 percent of GDP that President Obama has snatched from us while we were not looking.
Think of Anders Behring Breivik, the man who bombed a government building in Norway before proceeding to coldbloodedly massacre scores of defenseless young people on a secluded island several miles away, as an Adolf Hitler of one. The first Adolf Hitler was a Hitler to millions. He captured an entire nation and terrified the world for years.
One imagines that the two, if ever they could have a quiet talk together, would have much to agree on. Both were meticulous planners, though I dare say Breivik was Hitler's superior. He would not delay an invasion of Russia. Both harbored grudges against threats to their culture from the foreign-born and what Breivik called the "cultural Marxists." I can well imagine the Führer admiring Breivik's taste in uniforms, his Aryan features and his longing for his viking past. Both were mama's boys.
It seems Rep. Michele Bachmann is under increased scrutiny for her religious views, even as she climbs ever higher in the presidential polls. With tea party support, she is now No. 2 in the Republican polls even though she has been in the race for only a short time. The numero uno, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is himself the victim of gentler bigotry for his religious views. He is a Mormon. No, I did not say moron. I said Mormon.
What is Bachmann's transgression? She was, until recently, a member of a church that opposes homosexuality and gay marriage. It also takes issue with the Roman Catholic papacy. It is the Salem Lutheran Church of Stillwater, Minn. And by the way, it is no longer Bachmann's church. She now attends the evangelical church Eagle Brook, in another part of Stillwater, where she now lives. A close friend, JoAnne Hood, tells The New York Times that the Bachmanns "are absolutely not against the gays. They are just not for marriage" — presumably not for gay marriage. As for their position on the Catholic papacy, Hood is mum.
Do we need any other evidence that the Kultursmog exists and that it is international — at least in the English-speaking world — than the fact that the biggest news story in the United Kingdom today is also the biggest news story here. I have in mind the story that News of the World reporters in London listened in on private conversations and possibly bribed Scotland Yard. The Kultursmog is that set of ideas and tastes that are utterly polluted by left-wing values and carried by the liberal news media to pollute people's minds.
Every day, the money-losing New York Times and its subsidiaries throughout mainstream media hammer away at the story of a scandal in faraway England, and of course, they have located Rupert Murdoch at the very heart of the story. Over the weekend, he flew to London. He meets with top aides. The News of the World is killed off. Now a deal for BSkyB is being pulled. What comes next? Well, what comes next, reports Reuters, is that the American Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into Murdoch's company, News Corp., on this side of the Atlantic for criminal behavior. Or maybe they are not. No one would go on the record and say they are investigating. Oh, yes, and by the way, we have a constitution here with a First Amendment. The Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, did not want to see the press harassed by innuendo.
In the weeks ahead, I shall be in Europe to speak on American politics. What will I say to old Europe? Well, I shall give them my broad view of American politics and end with the present election cycle, in which I believe Barack Obama will be retired to private life, though he cannot really conceive of private life. He will continue his public life as he has for all his adult life. That is how Democrats live. He will be a community organizer to the world, as Bill Clinton has become, in the words of MSNBC, "president of the world."
WASHINGTON — So there are two. Two pulchritudinous ones, that is. Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are very beautiful, and the feminists tell us, "So what?" Well, they never say "So what?" when an attractive male, usually a Democrat, comes onstage. They call him charismatic. Bachmann and Palin are sufficiently charismatic for me, and both have raised families, Bachmann five children of her own and 23 foster children before entering public life. That is the proper sequence of events — raise a family, enter public life.
They call it BCS, Bill Clinton syndrome, and it has broken out anew in New York and here in Washington, where it was first discovered. As elaborated upon in scholarly detail in the now famous "Starr Report: The Official Report of the Independent Counsel's Investigation of the President," BCS strikes powerful figures, usually male, who experience lewd compulsions of an overpowering nature, generally in the presence of technology — often the telephone, occasionally a smartphone or even a computer — and usually when they are alone or behind closed doors with a woman of inferior rank. The first victim of the syndrome was, of course, President Bill Clinton, but it has struck a growing number of powerful individuals, most recently Rep. Chris Lee, International Monetary Fund chieftain Dominique Strauss-Kahn and now Rep. Anthony Weiner (pronounced VY'-nehr — at least by him).
How did so flawed a man as Newt Gingrich get to the top of his party in the 1990s? For that matter, how did so flawed a man as Bill Clinton get to the top of our government in the 1990s? And — here I am giving you a hint to the answer for the above questions — how did so flawed a man as Dominique Strauss-Kahn get to the top of the International Monetary Fund and of French politics? All are about the same age. All have similar, shall we say, recreations. The answer is that they came from what is called the 1960s generation. Now they are gone. There will be temporary reprises — more court appearances for DSK, an occasional public appearance for Bill, some more catastrophic missteps on the campaign trail for Newt — but for all intents and purposes, they are history.