Carol Platt Liebau: November 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

What If?

Mercifully, all is well tonight at the Clinton campaign HQ where hostages were taken earlier today by a man who walked in with a bomb strapped to his chest.

Once the situation was resolved, it was impossible for me not to analogize the situation to the way much of the left looks at Islamofascist terrorism. By that yardstick, one would have to ask: What did Hillary Clinton do to upset this man who threatened to blow up her volunteers? How can she persuade him through dialogue and negotiation (without the use of armed help, in this case, police -- in the case of Islamofascists, the military) not to behave this way again? And if he had been upset that she had a campaign HQ in New Hampshire, then couldn't she just solve the situation by vacating the state -- much as the left (and Ron Paul supporters) apparently believe that we could end the terrorist threat by leaving the Middle East?

Ridiculous line of reasoning, isn't it?

Hello, Australia

This piece from The Age, an Australian newspaper, quotes from my Townhall column on Tila Tequila.

Commandment Breaking?

Writing for Bloomberg, former LA Times reporter Edwin Chen suggests that the Republican presidential candidates are violating Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment -- "thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican."

For starters, President Reagan's words were not intended to suggest that any Republican's policy preferences were to be immune from criticism by any fellow Republican. If he had, his race against Gerald Ford for the presidential nomination in 1976 might have been a good deal shorter and less successful.

Second, it's amusing that Chen quotes Democrat strategist (and former Clinton flack) Chris Lehane, among others, for the proposition that the Republicans this year are uniquely nasty. No doubt there will always be tut-tutters among the political consultant set, but asking Scott Reed -- Dole's campaign chairman -- for his opinion is a laugh. No, his candidate never got tough with President Clinton . . . and has the defeat to prove it.

Finally, the idea that the Democratic field is, for some reason, simply nicer than the Republican is a joke. The Clintons are among the nastiest (and most dishonest) campaigners in recent history -- and if Obama's numbers continue strong in Iowa, the gloves will come off again. We've seen so little from her because, up til now, she's been seen as an invulnerable frontrunner. We've seen so few attacks directed against her until the Philadelphia debate both because the male candidates have been reluctant to attack a woman, and also -- I suspect -- becqause they are afraid of the wrath of the Clinton machine.

Most of the attack strategies are simply a function of timing. As primaries and caucuses near, they'll become more intense. And for another piece rebutting Chen's thesis, check out this from AFP: "Democrat fury mounts in '08 race".

Secularists & Political Power

Writing at National Review Online, Arthur Brooks rebuts the notion that secularists are somehow "excluded" from the corridors of political power. Quite the contrary.

In fact, as I noted here, secularists are alive and well and voting with the Democrats. Although it's rarely discussed, that fact inevitably handicaps Democratic efforts to reach out to people of faith -- because at a certain point, doing so will alienate a key constituency: Those who aren't just indifferent about, but are actually hostile to, religious faith.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How Embarrassing!

Now it turns out that the Hillary supporter wasn't the only Democrat "plant" in the group of questioners in last night's You Tube debate. Obama and Edwards supporters were also asking questions.

Look, there's no particular reason seriously to think that the candidates themselves "planted" the questioners. But what's indisputable is that it's a black eye for CNN to have allowed unvetted partisans, with less interest in obtaining answers to real questions than in trying to force an error on the part of a political opponent, to participate in a Republican debate.

But then again, isn't that what the MSM really is? What else is the press but a group of "partisans, with less interest in obtaining answers to real questions than in trying to force an error on the part of a political opponent"?

Can you even imagine the hysterical press meltdown that would be happening if Fox News Channel, either intentionally or inadvertantly, had pulled a stunt like this on Democrats?

A Solid Performance By All (Who Matter)

In last night's debate, it's hard to pick an overall winner -- both the frontrunners had some strong moments, and some weak ones.

Romney had one of his best performances ever . . . but his answer to the question about gays in the military was unconvincing.

Giuliani was witty and sharp as ever . . . but he definitely came out the worse in his exchange on immigration with Romney (I bet Romney wishes he's the one who had used Fred Thompson's line about not blaming people for the actions of everyone they hire!).

As for the rest:

McCain was very effective in taking on Ron Paul over the necessity for the war . . . but on the torture question, his sanctimony reminded everyone of why he's so abrasive.

Thompson was, true to form, a disappointment. His habit of stating the obvious at the outset of every question -- for some time -- signals that he may be unprepared to handle the issues. And what was he thinking to use his ad -- which more profitably could have introduced his own positive qualities to the Republican electorate -- to attack other candidates? The decision came across as needlessly negative.

Huckabee was a smooth talker, as always. But how much good he would have done for the American electoral process generally if he -- using his "street cred" as a minister -- had refused to discuss the issue of whether he takes every word in the Bible literally! Instead, he's running ads that describe him as the "Christian" candidate. Does that kind of characterization really have a place in our political life?

And then, of course, everyone knows that CNN was the evening's big loser. Questions about Biblical interpretation, the Confederate flag, and the Trilateral Commission? If that doesn't tell you what the CNN folks really think of the Republican Party, what would?

Now That's Outreach!

Apparently, it's not just at Hillary's -- or even Democratic -- events that Clinton supporters are planted in the crowd . . .

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Driving Us to the Left?

John Lott makes a persuasive argument that women's suffrage has accounted for a definite leftward tilt in American politics.

That's not because all women vote liberal, of course -- just those who are single, or believe that they're likely to be single (through divorce, for example).

It all makes sense. In a sense, the left has created a Big Daddy Government that serves as a "partner" to single women in place of the husband (and father to their children) that they don't have.

Here Come the "Hillary Haters"

After countless years of the ugliest vituperation against President Bush -- with no MSM coverage of Bush Derangement Syndrome -- Agent Presse-France sees fit to bemoan the advent of the "Hillary haters".

News Flash: Bill Clinton Lies

This time, it's about his position on the war in Iraq. Clarice Feldman nonetheless does an excellent job of pointing out the newest example of Clintonian duplicity.

The scary thing is that one almost has to suspect that he doesn't believe he's lying, even as he's doing it.

Shifting the Burden

With facts like these -- 49,000 questionable names on Texas' voter rolls -- shouldn't the burden be on those who oppose requiring identification at the polls?

After all, states like Georgia promised a panoply of measures (like waiving the fee for an ID and providing buses to roam the state and register eligible voters), but that wasn't enough to keep its ID requirement from being struck down.

With stories like the one in Texas, it seems that the greater danger is that the vote will be diluted by ineligible people participating than that an indigent, eligible voter won't be able to obtain an ID.

Oh, and by the way, that seems to be the judgment that the American people have made, as well -- as John Fund noted back in June, Americans overwhelming support the idea of requiring ID at the polls.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who's Behind the Violence?

In this account of the unrest in France, one thing seems certain: This is a test for new President Sarkozy, akin to what President Reagan faced with the striking air traffic controllers.

Back in the 2005 French riots, the largely youthful, Arab rioters insisted that they wouldn't stop until Sarkozy (who called them "scum") were removed from office.

Of course, the reporting of this round of riots follows the familiar pattern, with journalists insisting it's just the understandable behavior of the oppressed and frustrated. But it's also entirely possible -- although less amenable to a politically correct story line -- to suspect that some of the rioters might also be trying to intimidate the new president through fomenting criminal activity and social unrest.

Running for President, Not Preacher

Kathryn Jean Lopez makes a strong and persuasive argument as to why Americans of any religious faith -- and no faith at all -- should be able to vote for Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and feel just fine about it.

I've pointed out before the difference between religiosity and theology. The fine points of any candidate's theology are irrelevant -- it's their policies that matter, as does the fact that a president is a religious believer of some stripe (otherwise, there's always the danger of a president giving in to a Nietzsche-style will to power).

Since Romney isn't running as the "Mormon candidate," it strikes me that the theological proctology exam to which he's routinely subjected is out of line. I'm not sure the same is true for Mike Huckabee, who is explicitly running as a Christian conservative.

Not As Bad as All That

David Brooks bemoans the "anger" of Lou Dobbesian positions entering the mainstream of American politics.

Let's set aside Brooks' point on free trade, which is, in fairness, most of the column. What caught my eye is his aside that "Once there was a majority in favor of liberal immigration policies, but apparently that’s not true anymore, at least if you judge by campaign rhetoric."

Well, that depends on what one means by "liberal immigration policies." It strikes me that Brooks' tut-tutting is incredibly unfair to Americans who welcome legal immigrants with both arms, but who are rightly appalled at the de facto nullification of immigration laws that the current system essentially constitutes.

I don't hear many Americans calling for new, more restrictive immigration legislation. What they are calling for -- and are entitled to -- is proper (and actual) enforcement of the laws that already exist.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Prude Radio Tonight!

I will be joining Al Rantel tonight at 8:00 pacific to discuss Prude on AM 790 KABC.

Thanks, Hugh!

Prude is on Hugh Hewitt's Christmas book list.

The (Unwarranted) Stench of "Flop Sweat"

Andrew McCarthy quite rightly lambastes the supposed "peace summit" at Annapolis.

Along with the weighty substantive problems McCarthy outlines with the entire undertaking, it's also a profoundly bad idea for the Bush Administration -- from simply a political perspective. Not only does it disenchant the administration's tough on terror conservative allies, it also seems to reek of "legacy desperation," completely unnecessary unless an administration believes it otherwise has no legacy.

With the Bush team, that simply isn't true. How strange -- just as Iraq is undeniably taking a turn for the better -- that the President would countenance the kind of desperate negotiating more suited to a presidency that has nothing in its favor to say about foreign affairs. After six and half years with no terrorist attacks and undeniable headway against Al Qaeda in the central battleground of Iraq, along with a principled determination to stand tough against the forces of Islamofascist terrorism, it's bizarre that the Bush people would choose this course.

A Voice in the Wilderness

Marty Peretz, no Republican -- in fact, described by his daughter as a "vocal, ardent Gore supporter" -- makes this clear-eyed but profoundly sad observation about the Democrats and the war in Iraq:

I suspect that many Democrats are so deeply hostile to a forward foreign policy and their minds so deeply embedded in the notion that you can negotiate successfully with fanatics and tyrants that they wouldn't mind a prophylactic victory for the enemy. Which raises the question: is this enemy their enemy? I suspect not.

Good thing a Republican didn't make this dead-on observation. He'd be accused of attacking the Democrats' "patriotism."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No Whining

I once had a button that had the word "whining" on it, with a red "Ghostbusters" slash through the word. In short, no whining.

That's the message that the Thompson campaign needs to get, as the candidate has been complaining about media bias against him -- from Fox News!

Here's the fact: If Thompson were to win the nomination, he's going to face bias much worse than anything coming from Fox. If he can't take the heat now, what's he going to do then? And if he can't deal with MSM bias -- and, frankly, it's obvious the press tilts left -- how will he deal with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Everyone knows the press tilts left. Complaining about it makes one look like a whiner. And complaining about Fox News -- just about the fairest and most balanced out there when it comes to dealing with conservatives -- is plain pitiful.

It's worth noting, also, that in L.A., even as Thompson was on Fox bemoaning the unfairness of its coverage, Mary Matalin was on "Meet the Press" boosting Thompson and running down Giuliani and Romney, largely unchallenged by Tim Russert or any other panelist. So to the extent that unfairness exists, there's plenty of it to go around.

The Leftist Consensus

Presiding over a church in disarray (if not decline), and with plenty of his own problems to contend with (most of which go ignored), the Archbishop of Canterbury nevertheless finds times to attack the United States in a Muslim lifestyle publication, Emel.

Of course, there's always one way to build consensus on the left -- by attacking America. Pandering to groups whose number includes some who are hostile to freedom -- and denigrating the country that has consistently helped secure liberty for many in the world -- is a typical tactic of those who are trying to "build bridges" at others' expense. That's precisely what the Archbishop does, predictably so. But where are his tears for the 25 million Iraqis who were living under Saddam Hussein, or at least the victims of the rape rooms and torture chambers?

The Archbishop has plenty to say in a situation like this, where the stakes (for him personally) are low and he can snipe from the sidelines. What a shame that he can't bring some of that forthrightness and plain speaking to his real job.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

No Such Thing as "Too Perfect"

The utter irrelevance of the LA Times -- and, really, of the entire elite MSM worldview -- is on display in this piece. It asserts that Mitt Romney might be turning off voters by being "too perfect."

Note that there isn't one single quote from a voter to this effect. In fact, when a voter is finally permitted to be heard in the piece -- near the end, mind you -- this is what she says:

When Kirsten Doogue, 32 and a registered independent, is asked if the candidate who had just knocked on her door was "too perfect," she scoffs: "That's just a ridiculous complaint."

The complaint doesn't seem to be coming from the voters -- rather, the meme appears to be constructed and amplified from the MSM alone. It of course reflects the opposition of a left-leaning press corps that doesn't seem to resent privilege when it comes in the shape of left-leaning elitists like Hillary Clinton (she of the comfortable middle class life and Ivy League education) or Barack Obama (pride of the elite Punahou School, Columbia, and Harvard Law) or John Kerry or, for that matter, Teddy Kennedy.

But more than that, it also reflects the jaded cynicism of an increasingly unrepresentative press corps that can't seem to believe that someone is, precisely, exactly who he says he is: Free of family dysfunction, loving husband and father, religious observer, captain of industry, successful politician. Can someone be "too perfect"? No -- not for my money, not if he wants to lead the greatest country on earth.

Churchill Lost, Too

John Howard has lost reelection.

While there's only one Winston Churchill, Howard is a man of courage and conviction. Australian history will treat him kindly.

Does his defeat foreshadow anything for our elections next year? Hard to say. No doubt in Australia the siren song of withdrawing troops from Iraq was a popular one, but Howard's opponent likewise chose to govern as an "economic conservative" (take that, Hillary and Barack!).

It's hard to project Australian election results onto US politics -- just as it would be difficult to argue that Sarkozy's election in France portends sweeping Republican victories next year.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Leading with His Heart

In this staff editorial, the LA Times ed board praises the people and entities for which it is thankful. Notable is one particular entry:

Jerry Sanders

Sanders is the Republican mayor of a conservative city, San Diego, and he's trying to get re-elected by voters who solidly approved a ballot measure defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Nevertheless, in September, Sanders announced that he had reversed his opposition to same-sex marriage, in part because he couldn't bring himself to tell his lesbian daughter that he considered her relationship with her partner somehow less than his. "I've decided to lead with my heart," he announced at an emotional news conference. Here's hoping that others follow.

Note that? The Times applauds Sanders for "leading with his heart" and hopes other politicians will follow. Well, it's a nice concept, but do voters really elect politicians to do that -- or are they supposed to be elected because of their intellects and their principles?

In truth, it's not so much the concept of "leading with one's heart" that the Times likes -- after all, it's not likely they'd be applauding someone whose heart was filled with concern for the unborn, for example. But it's a reflection of the board's monolithically liberal mindset that they can even applaud the idea of leading with the heart -- the unspoken assumption being that such a stance couldn't come back to bite them since only lefties have hearts, anyway.

Hillary's Big Problem

Kimberly Strassel points out that Hillary Clinton has a major weakness: The "ethically challenged" specter of her days as White House first lady.

Actually, as Strassel's piece perceptively argues, she has two problems. In my view, one is substantive; one strategic. The former is the ethics issue mentioned above. The strategic one is Hillary's effort to run a campaign that's reminiscent of the Rose Garden strategy employed by incumbents, in order to create an illusion of inevitability. One the illusion crumbles, the entire course of the Democratic nominating process is up for grabs.

That being said, it's not unlikely that Hillary could lose Iowa yet nonetheless go on to win the nomination. It's only one state, after all -- and the Obama scenario depends upon him (not Edwards) winning and being able to carry that momentum forward. Given some of the gaffes and the rookie mistakes he's made, it's possible he could nonetheless carry it off -- but far from certain. And Hillary has the contacts, the money, and the single-minded lust for power that makes her a very tough opponent.

The Party of the "Common Man"

I'll give you a hint -- it isn't the Democrats.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

On this most American holiday of all, there's so very much for which to be thankful -- for the gifts of God and family, health, happiness and good work to do.

We remember with gratitude and honor the troops who fight for our freedom and security in far away places, and the families who must celebrate without them today because of it -- some of them, of course, forever.

I am thankful also, of course, for you, my readers. We wish you every blessing this wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

This Fair and Blessed Land

This oped from The Wall Street Journal -- which has run on Thanksgiving since 1961 -- says it all:

[W]e can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere--in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks to Dennis Prager

It was an honor and a pleasure to be with the wise and wonderful Dennis Prager this morning. The interview can be found here.

Imams' Case Proceeds

One short-sighted judge rules that the flying imams may proceed in their case against United Airlines.

By allowing the case to go forward, the judge has validated such lawsuits, thereby assuring that either there will be more of them, or that airlines will be hesitant to take actions that would help safeguard passengers' security when they fly.

It's remarkable that if many Democrats had their way, such lawsuits could likewise be directed against vigilant citizens who reported suspicious activity to the airlines.

The Death of Shame

Scott McClellan should be ashamed. The former White House press secretary, hawking a new book, now says that the president knowingly allowed him to pass on false information.

As the linked piece itself points out, McClellan himself has denied this was the case, on CNN. But now there's a book to sell, and controversial allegations like this move the presses, presumably.

There's something unsavory about the entire exterprise. After all, McClellan's importance derives only from the job that was given to him by those upon whom he has now turned. And if his sensibilities were so jolted by the supposed deception, he was free to resign at the time -- but he didn't.

The whole genre of kiss-and-tell books put out by onetime staffers during the course of the current administration is pretty despicable. It was bad when Clinton Administration staffers did it, too -- but then again, no one has ever accused the Clintons of being loyal to those who work for them. The Bush Administration is . . . and deserves better than a self-serving money grab by former staffers like McClellan and Matthew Dowd too, for that matter.

Certainly, people are entitled to their point of view -- and to unburden their consciences, if that's what they feel compelled upon to do. But when there's no real whistleblowing -- just kiss and tell disparagement of erstwhile friends -- to me, it reflects more poorly on those doing the talking than on those whom they criticize.

Update: McClellan's publisher is rushing to clarify that McClellan isn't asserting that Bush lied to him. Fine. But with the excerpts that have already been released, it's worth asking whether that's because there's a principled desire to set the record straight -- or a belated recognition that the earlier "scoop" would alienate conservative bookbuyers who would otherwise be one of the tome's primary markets.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dennis Prager Tomorrow

I will have the pleasure of joining Dennis Prager tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Pacific to discuss Prude.

"Compassionate Conservatism on Steroids"

Jonah Goldberg lays out a few truths about Mike Huckabee that should make fans of limited government very unhappy.

If it's true that Rudy Giuliani's perceived unpalatability to pro-life conservatives is serious problem, so too is Huckabee's to small government conservatives.

Huckabee has been enjoying a good run in the MSM. There are, perhaps, three distinct reasons for this:

(1) Many of his positions -- like his tax scheme and support for a nationwide smoking ban -- sound like those of typical nanny state liberals.

(2) He would be easy to beat in a national election. All the things about Huckabee that don't bother conservatives -- but would bother liberals and some independents, like his background as a Baptist preacher and some of the finer points of his theology -- would be presented so as to make him seem like the 21st century equivalent of the flat earth society. This is especially true if Republicans themselves open the door to making theological examinations relevant through their own treatment of Mitt Romney. And some of the ethical questions that have been raised about Huckabee should bother everyone.

(3) Having Huckabee in the race rejuvenates coverage that some in the MSM might feel goes stale with repeated stories that acknowledge Romney and Giuliani as the frontrunners.

In any case, this Huckabee boomlet does no one any good -- except, perhaps, Mike Huckabee.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Upcoming Dem Crackup?

Conventional MSM wisdom had it that it was Republicans who were going to crash and burn on the shoals of the illegal immigration issue.

But as this reporting from John Fund makes clear, instead it may be the Democrats who suffer political fallout from immigration-related issues. Indeed, it must be scary to be the member of a party populated by others whose very transparent agenda is to attack the very roots of America's shared culture.

"Scary" Giuliani?

Rudy Giuliani couldn't pay for coverage like this -- leftists are deeming him not just wrong, but "scary."

Of course, that's what they said about Ronald Reagan, too.

It's worth pointing out that the animosity Giuliani elicits from the left may be one of the reasons he's performing so much better than expected among the conservatives (just as the adulation John McCain has won in the past from the MSM is one of several reasons many Republicans distrust him). One judges a candidate by his enemies as well as his friends -- and when it comes to adversaries, Giuliani seems to have them in all the right places.

Townhall Column

My Townhall column -- discussing how, when it comes to matters of sex and behavior, we get what we expect from our children -- is here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Indisputably Good News

As Jack Kelly points out, the war in Iraq is going well -- not that you'd know it from the coverage in the MSM.

Of course, this presents a political problem for the Democrats -- who've bet so much on the notion that the war is unwinnable and defeat is the only option. As I pointed out some time ago, hoping for an American defeat isn't just wrong -- it's a risky political strategy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shockingly Un-American

Governor Mitt Romney has denounced the anti-Mormon push calls being made in as un-American.

He's right -- they are un-American, shockingly so. This sort of naked religious bigotry is the kind of thing one expects to see, perhaps, in the least developed, least enlightened corners of the world -- but in the USA? To say that a man is bad, unfit to hold office because of his (entirely peaceful) faith runs counter to every principle of fair play and equality that Americans hold dear.

As I noted here, anti-religious prejudice seems to be one of the last remaining acceptable forms of bigotry in this country.

But every religious believer in America should be standing up to denounce what's been done to Mitt Romney. After all, if his faith can be impugned without outcry or penalty, so can everyone else's.

Blessings Rare in Human History

As this Thanksgiving week kicks off, the incomparable Mark Steyn extols the miracle that is America.

He begins by noting that he "think[s] of Thanksgiving as the most American of holidays."

Me, too. In fact, writing about Thanksgiving three years ago, I characterized it as the most American holiday of all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Dying to Date"

Kathleen Parker discusses the rise of the "hook up" culture -- not coincidentally, one of the topics I cover in Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)".

In Prude, I talk about the existence of "do-me feminists" -- women who think it's a sign of "liberation" and "empowerment" for young girls to have sex consistent with the worst stereotypes of the way men do it, i.e. without affection, emotion or commitment.

For anyone who thinks such women don't exist, check this out. From their perspective, it isn't that young girls can suffer physical, emotional, psychological and (for people of faith) spiritual damage from giving too much, too soon to the wrong person (or people). Apparently, the problem is that someone, somewhere might be encouraging young girls to behave modestly. Heaven forbid!

Good News for the SWANS

Christine Whelan reports on SWANS (strong women achievers, no spouse):

On average, educated or career-oriented women marry for the first time at age 30. So among the twentysomething set, successful women may be feeling a little panicky. Then the tides turn: A smart, successful single 30-year-old has a 75-percent chance of walking down the aisle in the next ten years — significantly greater odds than her less educated or lower earning peers.

. . .

SWANS are worried that their career success is holding them back in their personal life. But instead of pouting with self-pity, it’s time to celebrate: According to the 2006 Current Population Survey, among 35- to 39-year-old women, 88-percent with advanced degrees have married compared with 81-percent of women without college degrees. And once married, these smart, successful women may even be more likely to have children.

The Dem Playbook

Once again, the Democrats have failed in their efforts to defund the troops and force a failure in Iraq.

It's hard to know why the Democrats keep on with this nonsense, knowing that their efforts will be stymied by the President, unless they're just trying to score points with the left wing netroots. But they'd better start paying attention to some of the good news coming out of Iraq, lest Americans conclude that it's not just that they want the war in Iraq to end -- they want America to lose.

And that certainly wouldn't look good in the run up to next year's elections, would it?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sex and the College Girl

Here is a fascinating piece from the November 1957 Atlantic Monthly.

As I discuss in Prude, so many of the worries and anxieties that used to plague college-aged girls are now on the minds of girls as young as 13.

Religious Right a Spent Force?

This LA Times story asserts that "aging evangelical leaders [are] split on the 2008 race and a new generation of pastors [is turning] away from politics altogether."

Hold on a minute. I'm not sure that I'd trust the Los Angeles Times to have its (lefty) fingers on the pulse of the religious right. The Times reflects a sensibility that neither knows, trusts, nor respects evangelical leaders and their political priorities -- so no doubt it's all too easy to decide that the religious right is a spent political force.

For one thing, the story seems to reflect some mistaken assumptions about the way that evangelical conservative politics works. Witness quotes like these:

Florida pastor Troy Gramling, 40, recently preached a series he called "My Naked Pastor," which involved airing his every thought to webcams that followed him around the clock. Make that almost every thought: Gramling said he would never announce to his congregation of 14,000 how he planned to vote.

"That would be putting pressure on them to agree with me, and I don't feel I have a right to do that," Gramling said. "God doesn't call me and tell me who's his favorite."

I'm not sure that anyone has ever credibly claimed that God is calling them and telling them who's his favorites. For the most part, evangelical pastors have only pointed out what the tenets of their faith are, and left it to their flocks to take that information and decide which candidate(s)' views are in conformity -- or pointed out whose are and whose aren't.

As this story implicitly concedes, that's no more than pastors in black churches have been doing for a much, much longer period.

Note also that the Times blames the disenchantment on old lions of the religious right:

[T]here's also shame at the often-bombastic, sharply partisan rhetoric of the traditional standard-bearers for conservative Christian values, including televangelist Pat Robertson, 77; the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died this spring at age 73; and radio host James C. Dobson, 71.

It's worth asking -- is there shame because of these men's activities, or has the distaste (if there is any) been elicited through years of relentlessly negative coverage in the mainstream media, which has too often resulted in turning them into caricatures of which any Christian would be ashamed? Note that there are no examples of the rhetoric the Times is referring to; that's because it would be hard to find, especially with respect to Dr. Dobson.

And finally, why is their rhetoric characterized as "often-bombastic, sharply partisan" (without examples) while the truly divisive demagoguing of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton goes decently unmentioned? It's worth remembering -- however little the Times likes it -- people with conservative Christian values (pastors included!) have as much right to participate in the political process as anyone else.

No doubt it's tempting for Christians to decide to focus on the hereafter, rather than on the here and now. But that would be a terrible mistake. It would be ceding the political debate to those who are either hostile to or indifferent about religion itself and its role in our common civic life -- and the policies that people of faith care most about.

FBC Appearance

I am scheduled to promote Prude on the new Fox Business Channel in a little over an hour -- that's 10:30 am Pacific, 1:30 pm Eastern.

High Stakes

As this NY Times piece notes, the stakes are high for Hillary in tonight's debate.

After complaining that she's being ganged up on because she's a girl, the candidate must show that she's twice as tough as any male on that stage -- at least if she's going to be a convincing potential Commander-in-Chief. But if she's too tough, she risks turning people off. Not an easy row to hoe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How to Go After Hillary

Kathleen Parker is 100% right to advise men to go after Hillary Clinton on her policies -- not on her looks. As Parker notes, too many critical observations about Hillary's appearance, figure, etc. carry a slight whiff of misogyny that even females like me -- who oppose her candidacy with every fiber of their beings -- find repugnant.

In fact, I made essentially the same point back in August of '06.

Sexualized Culture Hurts Teens' Brains

That's what Prude argues.

Now, there's even more scientific evidence.

Autism and Its Challenges

Thomas Sowell writes about the danger of overdiagnosing autism -- a phenomenon that seems to be becoming more and more common.

He notes:

Many parents have told me that they have been urged to let their children be labeled autistic, or on the autistic spectrum, in order to get money for speech therapy or other conditions from grants that are available to deal with autism.

According to a pediatrician I ran into recently, this is absolutely true. The highest incidence of new diagnoses of autism are on the coasts -- precisely where many health insurance plans won't cover very expensive speech therapy, but will cover therapy for those with disorders on the autism spectrum. So because a doctor's duty is to a patient, if they can diagnose the latter, the child's college fund stays intact, but (s)he gets the help (s)he needs.

The topic came up in the context of Jenny McCarthy's new book about her autistic son, which has been all the rage here in L.A. It's reportedly driving pediatricians crazy, because it makes parents reluctant to have their children immunized for measles, mumps and rubella (rumors about thimerasol, a preservative in the vaccine playing a role in autism).

What isn't getting out is that the British researcher whose work sparked the anti-vaccination frenzy has been charged with serious misconduct.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Judicial Litmus Test

Sometimes, it's tempting to figure that a Democratic senator from a red state can't do much harm -- after all, (s)he's got to get reelected, right?

Well, this analysis from the Committee for Justice demonstrates why that's fallacious thinking. Apparently, when it comes to judicial confirmations, red state Democrats vote pretty much just like their blue state senate brethren.

STD on the Rise

The AP reports that in excess of 1 million cases of chlamydia were reported in the United States last year. That's the most ever reported for a sexually transmitted disease, according to the bulletin.

As I note in Prude, the highest age-specific rates of chlamydia are among girls 15-19.

Crying (to) Wolf

According to Drudge, the Clinton machine is warning Wolf Blitzer not to treat their "gal" too roughly.

If Hillary is elected president, let's hope such warnings also work with the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Once again, Hillary's sense of entitlement is showing. And can anyone imagine a male candidate getting away with this?

Greed vs. "Justice"

Jonah Goldberg writes about the Democrats' penchant for taxing "the rich" -- many of whom, it's worth noting, are self-made small businessmen, entrepreneurs, and the like.

The left's attitude about these matters reminds me of my days working in the US Senate, and having to listen to Senator Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) talk about the government "giving people tax cuts." The phrase always grated on me, because her assumption -- and that of so many on the left -- seemed to be that it was, first, the government's money, and if you were lucky, you got to keep some of what you earned.

That's an economic system, all right. But it isn't capitalism.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Finding his Voice?

Barack Obama's performance at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa has some in the MSM swooning that he has found his "voice."

Well, perhaps. But it's worth asking: Is Obama really saying something new and different? It's possible, of course, that he's decided that it is, indeed, now or never, and has sharpened his rhetoric somewhat, especially when it comes to Hillary Clnton.

But it's just as lkely that what he's saying is being heard differently, now that hte press has decided that there may be a race for the Democratic nomination after all. And, of course, there's nothing that the MSM likes better than a real horse race, especially when it's between two candidates that they consider as fun to cover as Clinton and Obama.

In fairness, however, a bit of the same phenomenon is going on on the Republican side, with the glowing MSM coverage of Mike Huckabee. Some in the MSM may like Huckabee because his economics aren't all that conservative. Others may figure that he'd be easier to beat than a Rudy or Romney -- in light of his preacher background and ethical questions that have been raised.

Or, again, it may be that the MSM loves a dark horse story. But before one decides that it's all just a matter of the press loving the horse race aspect of the election, it's worth pointing out that there's already a race on the GOP side without Huckabee; there isn't one with Obama. Interesting.

ISO Common Sense

This op/ed from the LA Times highlights everything that's wrong with too many current interpretations of the First Amendent.

As the op/ed notes, a wacky church that was characterizing soldiers' deaths as punishment from God for America's tolerance of homosexuals -- picketing and disrupting their funerals -- has lost a lawsuit against them for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy, to the tune of $11 million.

Even as it notes that "The 1st Amendment doesn't require that mourners -- or anyone else -- put up with face-to-face insults or intimidation or trespassing on private property," the Times insists that the judgment is tantamount to stripping the church's free speech rights.

Nonsense. There are time, place and manner restrictions on almost every kind of speech. Telling these protestors that they may not disrupt soldiers' funerals is hardly preventing them from disseminating their message (in all its repugnance) other places and other times. These protestors don't even have the rationale for picketing where they are that abortion clinic protestors do -- those at the soldiers' funerals have no hope of or belief that they are saving a life.

It's remarkable that the LA Times would support campaign finance reform, which puts severe and meaningful restrictions on the core of First Amendment speech -- namely, political debate. Yet when protestors interrupt the funerals of fallen American heroes, in the Times' view, that's just the price their loved ones have to pay.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Dem Dilemma

The MSM is discovering that the immigration issue doesn't necessarily cut against Republicans -- as this piece in US News & World Report and this piece in the LA Times highlight.

On the one hand, Democrats are eager to bring Latinos firmly into their coalition, and believe that the way to do so is to show interest in illegal immigrant-friendly policies (that, in itself, may be an incorrect assumption; many legal Latino immigrants resent the "line jumping" of illegals). On the other hand, as the linked pieces emphasize, many independent voters are firmly opposed to open borders and other liberal immigration policies -- and the Democrats need those people to be able to win nationwide.

It's going to be a difficult needle for them to thread. Indeed, it strikes me that it's much easier for Republicans to come up with a coherent position on immigration -- we welcome and appreciate legal immigrants, but don't countenance illegal immigration -- than for the Democrats.

The Makings of a Hero

Just in time for Veterans' Day, this piece discusses the qualities most often found in heroes.

The whole discussion calls to mind the fact that courage isn't the absence of fear -- it's moving forward to do the right thing despite the fear.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Note to John McCain: When someone is running for president as a tough and proven leader, it's perhaps not the best idea to trot out one's mommy to take shots at your competitors -- especially when the criticism sounds suspiciously like religious bigotry.

Kudos at least to McCain for quickly disclaiming any intent to smear the Mormon faith of fellow candidate Mitt Romney.

Hillary: "Smug and Entitled"

Peggy Noonan discusses Hillary's tendency to resort to a gender-based victim status when her political adversaries come after her.

There are political dangers for Senator Clinton in whining about her treatment at the hands of "the boys' club", as I noted here and here. Because it's worked before for her in other contexts doesn't mean that it will work when she's auditioning to become the nation's Chief Executive -- and Commander-in-Chief.

But Mrs. Noonan hits the nail on the head precisely when she concludes that the entire episode is simply another manifestation of Hillary's membership in the club of the "smug and entitled." Another issue that came up in the debate -- namely, the Clintons' reluctance to release relevant correspondence from Bill Clinton's term -- is a similar example of Clintonian arrogance, and yet one more example of Hillary Clinton wanting it both ways.

As I put it in the post linked directly above, "her prominent sense of entitlement when it comes time for difficult questions and accountability" constitutes a huge stumbling block for Hillary's presidential ambitions. Hillary engenders particular opposition because her rise to power was so totally based, not on her own merits, but on her husband's political acumen (there are many, many other intelligent and accomplished women in America, contrary to the myth the Clintons propagate that Hillary is uniquely gifted).

That's another reason she must be particularly careful not to let her "air of entitlement" get the best of her. I (and no doubt most other Republicans) wouldn't support candidates like Senators Barbara Mikulski or Dianne Feinstein simply because we don't agree with their policies. But because they have come up through the political fray on their own, they wouldn't be playing the gender-victim card, and thus wouldn't elicit the kind of reaction Hillary is getting from women all across the political spectrum from Peggy Noonan to former NARAL head Kate Michelman.

Confusing news with OpEd

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

This morning's New York Times runs a "news" article entitled, "House Backs Tax Relief Bill, but Fate in Senate Is Unsure".

Look under the hood, though, and the headline's "Tax Relief" involves a $78.3 billion dollar tax increase that more than doubles the capital-gains rates for private equity funds, hedge funds and other partnerships. But don't feel sad, the article tells us, the tax increase is not an "increase", it's the removal of a "tax break" (notwithstanding the fact that these enterprises receive no preferences in accordance with tax treatment that has been in place for nearly a century).

So who gets the tax relief? The nearly 21 million people who will fall next year under the Alternative Minimum Tax, put in place decades ago by Democrats to go after fewer than two dozen millionaires who had paid no tax under general tax rules.

And whose fault is it that yet another Democratic "soak the rich" scheme whacks the middle class? According to the article, George W. Bush, of course, because of the way the AMT "interacts with Mr. Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003".

The article further tells us that if this "tax relief" measure fails, the cause will be the act that "[p]rivate equity funds have spent millions lobbying in defense of the tax break for 'carried interest,' rather than the stupidity of more than doubling taxes on highly competitive capital market firms that squeeze more productivity from corporate assets and generate higher returns for pension funds, endowments, and individual shareholders and limited partners.

A left-wing editorial posing as a NYT news article? That's not news either.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Belated Thank You

Thanks to the one and only Instapundit for his kind mention of Prude here.

Prude Rising?

Yesterday, Prude cracked the top 100 on, reaching as high as #91.

Many, many thanks to everyone who's been buying the book -- keep it up, please!

And no doubt the book has been helped immeasurably by the kind endorsement offered by Dr. Laura, and interviews with Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett.

By the way, my interview yesterday morning with Bill Bennett will be posted -- along with the Hewitt interview -- at later today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

And the Prude Campaign Continues

In a few minutes, I'm scheduled to be on Morning in America with Bill Bennett.

Yesterday's interview with Hugh Hewitt is here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Prude Campaign Continues!

Among other events, I'm looking forward to talking about Prude tonight with Hugh Hewitt during the third hour of his show.

An interview about the book will also air in the third hour of The Savage Nation.

And thanks to my friends at The Independent Women's Forum for their kind mention.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Townhall Column and More

Tila Tequila is a perfect example of the phenomenon I discuss in Prude
-- celebrating girls and women for their "sexiness," rather than for intelligence, character or talent. My Townhall column on that topic is here.

And many thanks to the gentlemen at Powerline for this kind post.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thank You, Dr. Laura!

Dr. Laura Schlessinger was very kind and generous in her praise for Prude today, at the top of the second hour of her radio show.

If you're a subscriber, you can listen here.

More Prude Promotion!

I will be on "Fox & Friends" at 6:20 am Eastern.

I'm also looking forward to speaking with Bill O'Reilly on "The Radio Factor" and Mancow, too!

In fact, I'm excited about all these events tomorrow and the others -- and very appreciative of everyone who's invited me on to talk about Prude!

Challenges of Girlhood

In the New York Times, Bob Morris discusses some of the challenges confronted by his niece, and other young girls -- including inappropriately sexy fathers, along with parents who are too invested in their children's popularity and would rather be their friends than anything else.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Promoting Prude

Given time constraints, I won't be able to post details on every media outlet where I'll be promoting the book (though I'm grateful for all of them!). But there is a particularly noteworthy item for today:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger has been kind enough to feature Prude as her "book of the week" and has linked to it in her Reading Corner.

How Bad, Indeed?

Froma Harrop makes a strong point in discussing the recent news that a Portland, Maine middle school would start giving contraceptives to 11-13 year olds, even without parental permission:

Helping girls obtain birth control could to some degree "normalize" sexual activity for kids in the single-digit grades. Girls will observe a classmate "putting out" for the coolest boy in school. If the school nurse helps their friend get birth control pills in furtherance of that activity, how bad could it be?

But she goes on and charges that unnamed "conservatives" don't want to pay for the kind of programs that would be entailed in a "discplianarian" approach. The problem is that she sees such an approach including some fairly radical measures. But for starters, couldn't everyone agree that -- if necessary -- the families of the underaged faathers of these babies be called upon for child support. And even more, who, on either side of the political spectrum, opposes prosecuting older men for statutory rape when they're impregnating 13 year old girls?

But in a sense, the entire discussion is a little like arguing about how best to pull drowning children out of the water. What would be better is keeping them from falling in, in the first place. And one important step in that effort is working to change the culture, so that young girls don't grow up believing that it's normal, appropriate, and even expected for them to have sex, long before they're ready for any of the commitments -- from marriage to motherhood -- that sexual activity implies.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Coming Up Tomorrow . . .

I'll be posting some more information about some of the upcoming publicity for my new book, Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!).

Here's the site where you can find out more about Prude -- and here's where you can buy it.

The site devoted to the book is Interestingly, provides an example of some of what the book discusses.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Prude Debuts!

Today marks the debut of my first book, Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!).

There is a website devoted to Prude here. I'm grateful for the interest and the excellent feedback the book has already received. I hope you'll pick up a copy, take a look and then share your thoughts with me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Homecoming vs. Hanging Out

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Jeff Zaslow talks about how homecoming is losing out to "hanging out" -- that is, boys are reluctant to commit to any formal dating relationship with girls.

Well, why should they? For now, America has tolerated a culture that teaches girls that being "sexy" is more important than intelligence, character or any other quality. Girls are getting the message that "empowerment" means having the right to be as sexually active as the stereotype of the worst kind of boy, and they've been encouraged by much of the culture to make themselves available at the drop of a hat.

Given this phenomenon, why, exactly would boys make the kinds of overtures including formally committing to dates, holding hands, or engaging in other romantic behaviors that were traditionally aimed at finding favor with girls? They already know that the girls are available, ready and waiting. Some female "liberation," isn't it?

I discuss all this in more depth in my book that's out tomorrow. Stay tuned.

The Danger of Whining

Hillary's political team is adopting a risky strategy by complaining about her treatment by Tim Russert, as detailed in this piece from The Hill:

[Clinton senior strategist and pollster Mark Penn] also said criticisms from Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would backfire and that he was already “detecting some backlash,” particularly among female voters.

Those female voters are saying, “Sen. Clinton needs our support now more than ever if we’re going to see this six-on-one to try to bring her down,” Penn told those on the campaign call.

He, Mantz and several supporters hinted repeatedly on the call that Clinton was unfairly targeted by Tim Russert, debate moderator and host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

As I noted before, there are dangers in Hillary's team again trying to play the victim card that worked so well in her Senate race against Rick Lazio.

For the first serious female candidate for the presidency, it's imperative that she seem twice as strong as any of the male candidates. It may not be fair, but it's so. Everyone knows that tough treatment is just part of the price one pays for being a prohibitive favorite to win the nomination -- and so any complaining about it makes Clinton look weak. If they're going to whine about Tim Russert, goes the thinking, what will they do about Kim Jong Il? And dealing with Al Qaeda is a lot more difficult than enduring a "six on one" in a political debate.

Could a man get away with stoking grievances about unfair press treatment? Maybe so. Can Hillary? No. The rules are different (fairly or not) and she's got to live with them.

Finally, the bellyaching coming from the senator's staff is laughable. The Clintons play tougher than just about anyone else in political life today. They run the risk of looking like the kind of schoolyard bullies who punch everyone else in the face, but then cry when anyone pushes back.

Good News From Iraq

Michael Yon reports that the Iraqi Islamic Party has declared that Al Qaeda is defeated in Iraq.