Rick Hertzberg

What Has The British Electoral System Ever Done For Us?
May 04, 2010

Rick Hertzberg notes that if the Liberal Democrats get to hold the balance of power in the U.K. elections, they'll probably demand a referendum for proportional representation: There are many possibilities. But if you want to know what the Lib Dems really want—their beau ideal, their Holy Grail, their single-payer system—it was explained twenty-seven years ago, by the great John Cleese, in a ten-minute “party political broadcast” he made for the SDP/Liberal Alliance in the 1983 general election. The video is a fantastic find.

Belated, Outsourced Brooks-Blogging
April 26, 2010

Last Friday, a friend chastised me for neglecting to analyze David Brooks' column about how both parties are equally to blame for the unpleasantness of the political debate and how lonely it is for the embattled centrist who can see both sides. Fortunately, Rick Hertzberg has done my job for me, better than I could have.

It's All About The Hamiltons
March 17, 2010

A couple days ago, I quoted a bit from Dana Milbank's column, where he showed that Tea Party honcho Dick Armey's historical knowledge is less than firm: A member of the audience passed a question to the moderator, who read it to Armey: How can the Federalist Papers be an inspiration for the tea party, when their principal author, Alexander Hamilton, "was widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government"? Historian Armey was flummoxed by this new information. "Widely regarded by whom?" he challenged, suspiciously.

Acting Out
March 08, 2010

Leave it to the Oscars to frustrate me even when they’re properly awarded. On Friday, I loudly declared my belief in inavataribility, arguing that, given the Academy's lifelong emphasis on movies' commercial success, there was no way it would give Best Picture to a $12.6 million-grossing indie (The Hurt Locker) over a well-reviewed juggernaut that made 50 times as much (Avatar). On Sunday, it gave Best Picture to a $12.6 million-grossing, etc., etc. How did this act of cinematic sanity come about?

Newt Gingrich, Very Bad Literary Critic
March 01, 2010

Newt Gingrich, speaking at CPAC, declared: Orwell points out, after ["1984"] became famous, that the novel is not about the Soviet Union. The novel is about the logical extension of centralized government in Great Britain.

January 19, 2010

--The Wall Street Journal editorial page interviews Glenn Beck, in an interesting meeting of slightly different delusional pathologies --The Obama administration is reacting with some fiestiness --Rick Hertzberg reviews "Game Change"

Quick Thoughts On Obama's Speech
December 10, 2009

I’m not a big fan of political speeches in general, but I thought President Obama’s Nobel acceptance speech today was unusually good. (If I were a speech-y kind of writer, like Rick Hertzberg, I’d have used a better adjective in the last sentence than “good.”) After again acknowledging that he doesn’t really deserve the award--“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage.