Thursday, August 23, 2007

President Compares Iraq to Vietnam

Jonah Goldberg gets to the nut of why the interpretation of the President's comparison differs between right and left (and some right-leaning historians):
I was away from the news all day yesterday. But one narrow political point seems worth making about all of the hullabaloo of Bush's Vietnam comparison (I haven't read/heard the speech yet and forgive me if ten others have already made it). The mainstream media and a lot of liberal-leaning analysts seem to think it's politically foolish or reckless for Bush to compare Vietnam to Iraq because they have one very specific narrative in mind when it comes to that war: America shouldn't have gotten in, couldn't have won, and then lost. What they have long failed to grasp is that's not the moral of the story in the hearts of millions of Americans who believe that we could have won if wanted to and it was a disaster for American prestige and honor that we lost (whether we should have gone in is a murkier question for many, I think). This is a point the Democrats fail to grasp: being on the side of surrender in a war is popular enough during the war, but if you succeed lots of Americans will later get buyer's remorse and feel like it was a mistake and the next generation will see things very differently than their anti-war activist parents. Karl Rove made this point in his exit-interview with Gigot, I think, and he's right. Pulling out of Vietnam was an enormous short term victory for the Democrats and a long term curse.

Friday, August 17, 2007

List of Plagiarists

Randall Hoven:
Scott Beauchamp was the last straw. I realized that I need a scorecard to keep track of all the fallen journalists, journalistic mistakes and major and minor screw-ups in the media. I couldn't find one already made, although Wikipedia came close, so I started my own. I apologize if there is a good list already out there, but I looked and could not find.

Offenses include lying and fabricating, doctoring photos, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, falling for hoaxes, and overt bias. Some are hilarious, such as an action figure doll being mistaken for a real soldier. Some are silly, such as reporting on a baseball game watched on TV. Some are more serious.

Politics of Envy

Jonah Goldberg:
John Edwards leads an all-star cast of liberal politicians and intellectuals (Edwards is decidedly not the latter) who worship at the altar of Invidia, praying that she will exact penance from the undeserving half of our “two Americas.”

Like the “scientific socialism” that concealed envy behind a slide rule, today’s liberals invoke social science as justification for their covetousness. In one famous study, a majority of people said they would
rather make $50,000 if others earned $25,000 than earn $100,000 if others were making $200,000.

Such studies are deeply flawed. For starters, as Arthur Brooks notes in the current edition of City Journal, they don’t address the question of whether people would be happier in a world of total equality. Rather,
they ask whether people would be happier in a world of inequality so long as they could be richer than everybody else.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Kennedy Assassination: Ideological Turning Point of Democratic Party

Rich Lowry:
In his eye-opening new book "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution," Jim Piereson argues The Fall was the assassination of President Kennedy. It represented more than the tragic death of a young president, but the descent of liberalism from an optimistic creed focused on pragmatic improvements in the American condition to a darker philosophy obsessed with America's sins. Echoes of the assassination -- and the meaning attributed to it by JFK's admirers -- can still be heard in the querulous tones of contemporary liberalism.

The real John F. Kennedy wasn't the paladin of liberal purity of myth. He was friends with Joseph McCarthy. In his 1952 campaign for Senate and his 1960 presidential campaign, he got to the right of his Republican opponents on key issues. "Kennedy did not want anyone to tag him as a liberal, which he regarded as the kiss of death in electoral politics," Piereson writes. As president, he was vigorously anti-communist, a tax-cutter and a cautious supporter of civil rights.

His kind of liberalism -- "tough and realistic," as Piereson puts it, in the tradition of FDR and Truman -- was carried away in the riptide of his death. In a crucial and counterintuitive interpretive act, the nation's opinion elite made JFK a martyr to civil rights instead of the Cold War. Kennedy had been killed by a communist, Lee Harvey Oswald, who a few years before had tried to defect to the Soviet Union. Liberals nonetheless blamed the assassination on, in the characteristic words of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, "the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots."

Thus, the assassination curdled into an indictment of American society: "Kennedy Victim of Violent Streak He Sought to Curb in Nation," read a New York Times headline. Until this point, 20th-century liberalism had tended to see history as a steady march of progress. Now, the march had been interrupted by the country's own pathologies. "Kennedy was mourned in a spirit of frustrated possibility and dashed hopes," Piereson argues, and that sense of loss came to define the new liberalism.