"Treason!" "Socialism!" America's extremists, then and now, remain awfully similar
On Sunday, October 7, pastors around the country will try to bait the federal government into investigating them by preaching explicitly partisan sermons. As part of a conservative movement organizers call “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” some religious leaders will endorse Mitt Romney from the pulpit. Others may refrain from an endorsement but vigorously criticize President Obama. And some will tell their congregations that a good Christian can only vote for a candidate who opposes gay marriage and abortion.
THE LAST FOUR YEARS have created what economists call a “natural experiment” in economic policy. As a consequence of deregulation and globalization, Britain and the United States experienced the financial crisis of 2008 in much the same way. Large parts of the banking system collapsed and had to be rescued; the real economy went into a nosedive and had to be stimulated. But after 2010, the United States continued to stimulate its economy, while Britain chose the stonier path of austerity. The British are no more wedded to the idea of fiscal austerity than are the Americans.
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of PowerBy Robert A. Caro (Knopf, 712 pp., $35) I. MANY LIBERAL Democrats have yet to come to terms with Lyndon Johnson.
Eisenhower in War and Peace By Jean Edward Smith (Random House, 950 pp., $40) The histories we write say as much about our own times as about those we study. The current polarization in Washington has prompted a nostalgia for parties that were less ideologically uniform and more prone to compromise. Fashionable “pragmatism” has similarly infected thinking about foreign policy, as the fallout from the Iraq war lingers in the air a decade on.
In case you weren’t convinced that we’ve reached the campaign’s silly season, the War on Dogs has arrived to erase all doubt. It started with Democrats poking fun at Mitt Romney’s dog-on-car incident. The Daily Caller retaliated earlier this week with a post “uncovering” the “shocking” “news” that Barack Obama once ate dog meat as a child (an event he had mentioned in his memoir). The battle moved to a new front when Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom alluded on Twitter to Obama’s dog-eating. And thus began the War on Dogs, just the latest of the innumerable wars waged this election cycle.
When Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Barack Obama on Monday, the main issue will be trust. Obama will ask that Israel trust America’s determination to stop Iran, and trust that when he says all options are on the table he means it. Netanyahu will likely be thinking about May 1967. In late May 1967, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol dispatched his foreign minister, Abba Eban, to Washington. Egyptian and Syrian troops were pressing on Israel’s borders; Egypt had imposed a naval blockade on the Straits of Tiran, Israel’s shipping route to the east.
[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] In his Sunday Review column “A Good Candidate Is Hard to Find,” Ross Douthat argues that successful presidential candidates must possess no fewer than two of three key characteristics. They need: “the gift of management,” the power of persuasion, and the ability to effectively demagogue opponents. Those who possess the “trifecta,” as Franklin Roosevelt did, are unstoppable. Those who master two of the three (Clinton and Reagan lacked management skills; Nixon was unpersuasive) do fine. Those who possess only one of the three (H.W.