Last April, former TNR Senior Editor Jonathan Chait asked a piercing question: “Why Does the Weekly Standard Hate Hippies So Much?” Chait’s pictorial tour of hippies on the cover of the right-wing magazine did little to stop the epidemic. In fact, The Weekly Standard may have taken it as a challenge: In the last six months alone, the magazine has had no less than five covers depicting liberals in long-haired hippie glory. Sandals? Check. Unkempt hair? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Rolling Stones t-shirt? Check. Poor George Harrison.
[Guest post by Jarad Vary] Matthew Bowman has a thoughtful analysis on the homepage that sketches the surprising ways that Mormonism may shape the social welfare policies of a potential Romney administration. But if Mitt Romney is, indeed, obliged by his faith to show general concern for poor people, I thought I’d ask a more specific follow-up: Mr. Romney, what about panhandlers? For some conservatives, it’s an easy question to answer.
After a disappointing showing in Florida, Newt Gingrich may soon need to give up his dream of becoming President of the United States (not to mention “Definer of civilization”). It will probably be a while yet until Newt qualifies for food stamps, but in the meantime we thought we’d offer him some pro bono career counseling. The former Speaker is ambitious; he’s well-educated; and even if his historical analysis is shoddy, even we’ll admit he’s not a dumb guy.
The death of North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong Il, marks the end of his 17 years of strict control over the starved and crumbling state. While his eccentricities were often worthy of parody—the overblown legend involving new stars and double rainbows pronouncing his birth, thousands of books penned, and one strikingly good round of golf—his reign was marked more distinctly by the extreme suffering of the North Korean people.
[Guest post by Jarad Vary] Any time you hear about a sensible idea to help keep the world economy afloat, you can bet on two things: First, Mitt Romney will probably give it a tepid thumbs up. Second, Republican lawmakers will make him sorry he did. After all-night negotiations in Brussels, this morning International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde made an encouraging announcement: EU countries had promised $267 billion to boost the Fund’s lending capacity.
Newt Gingrich is no stranger to hypocrisies. It’s just that his own self-righteousness often gets in the way of admitting to them: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” the family-values candidate once famously said about his multiple extra-marital affairs.
In a speech before Parliament last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron posed a rhetorical question as he harangued the opposition Labour Party: “Is there a single other mainstream party anywhere in Europe who thinks the answer to the debt problem is more spending and more borrowing?” Cameron was meaning to taunt Europe’s Social Democratic parties, rubbing in the fact that they lack the power to implement the types of programs they’d prefer.
[Guest post by Jarad Vary] Mitt Romney is rolling out his deficit agenda, GOP allies be damned. Promoting his plan in a USA Today op-ed yesterday, Romney warned that “The irresistible mathematics of debt will soon lead to unimaginable peril.” President Obama, Romney added, “inherited a severely imbalanced budget, and he made it much worse.” Campaign spokesman Andrew Saul underscored the point in an email to ABC News: “The middle class won’t see an improvement in their situation until Barack Obama is defeated and gone.” Romney’s message: Only I can prevent fiscal Armageddon. This may be news t
[Guest post by Jarad Vary] Adam Serwer has written a devastating new profile, for Mother Jones, of Romney advisor Walid Phares. On Monday, I reported for TNR on the same subject: “Just who is Walid Phares, and why would the risk-averse Romney add an obscure and controversial pundit to his star-studded foreign policy team?” I asked, before concluding that Romney may have picked Phares to pander to Islamophobes, “who happen to enjoy a strong base of support in Iowa.” According to Serwer’s revealing account, however, the Romney-Phares connection goes back much further than this year’s campaign.
Robert Kagan. Eliot Cohen. Michael Hayden. Dov Zakheim. Michael Chertoff. Skim through the names of Mitt Romney’s recently announced foreign policy team, and you will be struck by the high level of experience, erudition, and pragmatism across the list. Indeed, since Romney announced his advisors on October 6, he has won praise for a foreign policy group that is unusually large and uncommonly strong. But one name sticks out: Walid Phares, a Lebanese Christian academic who has come under fire from Muslim advocacy groups and academics alike since his inclusion on Romney’s team.