In the months leading up to his declared presidential candidacy, Rick Perry was busy shoring up his religious bonafides. In April, while his state burned under 8,000 wildfires and was afflicted by a pernicious drought, the governor decreed three days of prayer to call rain down from the heavens.
On Saturday evening, I opened my work e-mail account to find it inundated with dozens of scathing messages. Apparently, my article about Elizabeth Warren’s devoted followers had been poorly received by the folks who stood at its center. Her peeved supporters had zeroed in on the article’s headline, which labeled them a “cult” and they were responding en masse with vitriolic missives. “Watch out who you call a cult, buster!” read one. “Are you part of the cultish far right?” asked another.
On Tuesday, Representative Patrick McHenry called Elizabeth Warren a liar. Twice. As Obama’s advisor for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren has grown accustomed to conservative ire. But this grew personal. First, while chairing a House subcommittee hearing, the North Carolina Republican accused Warren of misleading testimony. Then, after she testified, she asked to be excused for another meeting, which she claimed to have previously discussed with the congressman’s staff.
The trumpets have sounded. Judgment Day is upon us. At least in theory. Harold Camping—an 89-year-old former civil engineer turned radio mogul who seems to command a number of followers—has predicted today, Saturday, May 21, as the day of the Rapture. And the media, as well as the people who consume it, have responded with barely contained glee. Yesterday, references to Judgment Day made up the entire top five of Google’s Hot Searches. At The Washington Post, a story about Family Radio—the Christian broadcast network that Camping owns—was the site’s most popular item.
Serving as the ambassador to Malta should have been a breeze for Douglas Kmiec. A prominent pro-lifer and Catholic Republican who campaigned for Obama in 2008,the conservative turncoat had been rewarded for his efforts with the Mediterranean post in July 2009. Having previously worked as dean of Catholic University’s law school and as legal counsel to both Reagan and Bush Senior, he had some managerial chops.
From day one, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to make Hearst executive Cathleen Black the new chancellor of New York City’s public schools, despite her complete lack of education experience, was appalling. Her selection was an affront to students, parents, teachers, and others deeply invested in improving public schools. Still, it would have been hard to imagine that Black’s tenure, which ended on Thursday when she abruptly resigned after only three months on the job, would go as terribly as it did.
Upon leaving office, George H.W. Bush left his successor with only one request: preserve federal support for Points of Light, the foundation he created to encourage volunteerism and civic engagement. Bill Clinton followed through on that appeal and went on to establish AmeriCorps in 1993, which further solidified government support for nationally organized community service. He, in turn, had one request for his successor. “When I was leaving, and George W. Bush was coming in, the only thing I asked him to do was to preserve AmeriCorps,” Clinton said at a recent event in Washington.
Over the next few months, the dedicated Reagan fan will have numerous opportunities to celebrate the fortieth president. There are tributes at a NASCAR race in California in late March and at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in early August. The Gipper’s hometown— Dixon, Illinois—will host a “Dutch” ice cream social in September; Washington will throw a gala in May, and London will unveil a statue on July 4.
Everyone was expecting the Pete King hearings on Muslim radicalization to be the second coming of Joseph McCarthy. Yesterday, an hour before they began, a line already snaked around the third floor of the Cannon Office Building, as reporters queued to catch a glimpse of demagoguery. Dozens of cameras lit up the hallway, bulbs on or flashing; and the press seemed to far outnumber any protestors or concerned citizens on hand. As it turned out, though, while the hearings were certainly controversial, they were, in terms of substance, fundamentally anticlimactic.
Last December, nearly 400 Hispanic conservatives and their allies crowded into conference rooms at the Washington Hilton, attending sessions on immigration and national security, the “melting pot” versus the “salad bowl” view of America, and developments in Latino blogging. A gala crowned the affair; the Miami Symphony Orchestra serenaded guests while they dined at linen-covered tables. Officially, the forum and gala were hosted by a year-old web magazine called The Americano.