the scroll

Your Morning Newt Basket

David Frum December 6th, 2011 at 7:58 am 99 Comments

John Podhoretz on Gingrich in the New York Post today. “[Republican primary voters] know him mainly from Fox News.”

From a funny story in Politico that I missed while traveling: “He’s going to blow up at some point, and I’m just hoping it comes before he gets the nomination,” said one unaligned Republican insider, who has worked with presidential campaigns before. “I’m waiting for him to say, ‘Literally, I’m the smartest guy to ever run for president,’ “

Click here to read more

All you really need to know about the state of Washington, D.C. are three facts:

A–a majority of Republicans in the Senate defeated a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday that was introduced by their own Senate Minority Leader last week;

B–President Obama has decided that the only real legislative item he wants passed is that very payroll tax holiday–not deficit reduction, not extension of unemployment benefits, not ending the expansion of the Alternative Minimum Tax into the middle class, not preventing a 27 per cent overnight reduction in payments to Medicare providers;

C–Congressional Democrats and Republicans, as well as the White House, still have not approved the basic appropriations bills necessary tokeep the government operating.

To extend what should be extended will cost about $200 billion plus. The President doesn’t want to run the risk as a big taxer, so he is watching as Congress wrangles, something that has been thematic about this President–talk and watch.

Click here to read more

Newt Gingrich recently described his 2008 appearance in a 30-second ad with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “the dumbest single thing I’ve done.” Many conservatives share a negative view of it. Ron Paul, for instance, cites the ad as an example of Newt’s “serial hypocrisy.”

Curious, I took a look at the ad, eager to assess its dumbness. Here’s the full transcript:

Pelosi: Hi, I’m Nancy Pelosi, lifelong Democrat and speaker of the House.

Gingrich: And I’m Newt Gingrich, lifelong Republican and I used to be speaker.

Click here to read more

Only Yesterday

David Frum December 5th, 2011 at 11:42 pm 24 Comments

Newt Gingrich endorsed Harriet Miers.

Conservatives should feel confident with the selection of Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court for a simple reason: George W. Bush selected her.

The Republicans have finally found a tax increase many of them can get behind. Unfortunately it’s the first middle class tax increase in decades. Make no mistake, failure to renew the payroll tax cut would mean a significant tax increase.

If nothing is done, then starting next month everybody who works for a living will have an extra 2% of their pay deducted from each and every paycheck, and everybody will surely notice that.

Click here to read more

Conservatives give a lot of deference to the opinions of business leaders and other ‘job creators’. The operating assumption is that their criticisms of White House policies are accurate and well informed. What if this assumption is largely off-base?

Consider this roundtable hosted on CNBC between Austan Goolsbee, the former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and several business executives. Pay close attention to the arguments made by John Allison, former CEO of the bank BB&T:

Click here to read more

In my column for CNN, I discuss how Mansoor Ijaz is putting Pakistani democracy in danger:

Big events do not always have big causes. The British once went to war over an injury to a sea captain’s ear. And today’s Pakistan may collapse into military rule because of one man’s eagerness to read his name in the newspaper and see his face on TV.

The man in question is Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman who takes a special delight in political intrigue. Ijaz represents himself as a democrat, a secularist, and a friend of the West. Whatever Ijaz’s personal views, nobody has done more these past weeks to undercut Pakistani democracy and poison U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Click here to read more

In an interview with Laura Ingraham, George Will despairs of the choice between Gingrich and Romney as GOP frontrunners:

Ask yourself this: Suppose Gingrich or Romney become president and gets re-elected – suppose you had eight years of this…What would the conservative movement be? How would it understand itself after eight years? I think what would have gone away, perhaps forever, is the sense of limited government, the Tenth Amendment, Madisonian government of limited, delegated and enumerated powers — the sense conservatism is indeed tied to limitations on federal authority and the police power wielded by Congress — that would all be gone. It’s hard to know what would be left.

In a column, Will doubles down on this line of criticism.

Click here to read more

Give Santorum His Chance

December 5th, 2011 at 12:00 am 59 Comments

Well the punditry has pretty much come down to determining that Republican choices are Gingrich or Romney. Here’s the big Kahuna of Conservative Commentary on that very subject.

In my quest to avoid voting for Romney I have pretty much picked through the remainders of announced candidates this year. In that piece I ruled out Perry and Huntsman and my criticisms are only more justified now. The best candidate for my money left early. In that piece I dismissed Bachman as unelectable and so she remains. I left Herman Cain before he claimed to be a man who, unbeknownst to his wife, paid the monthly bills of a woman he never slept with. Newt is not my guy either. Paul is obviously not for me.

But I never came back to Rick Santorum.

Click here to read more

In my last post I argued that Justice Elana Kagan is obliged by 28 U.S.C. 455 (b)(3) of the federal recusal statute, which applies to Supreme Court justices, to recuse herself from the challenge to the Obama Health Care law. The provision requires a judge to recuse if he or she “has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser… concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the case in controversy.”

Click here to read more

The Man Who Invented the Euro

David Frum December 3rd, 2011 at 12:06 pm 8 Comments

The Telegraph today posts an interview of Jacques Delors by Charles Moore.

I ask the man who prides himself on being an architect of European Union whether he got it all wrong. Unhesitatingly, he denies it. It is a fault in the execution, not of the architects, which he claimed to have pointed out in 1997 when the plans for introducing the euro finally came together. At the time, he says, the best of the eurosceptic economists, whom he refers to as “the Anglo-Saxons”, raised the simple objection that if you have an independent central bank, you must also have a state.

Mr Delors thinks “they had a point”, but the way round this problem was to insist on the economic bit of the union as much as the monetary. As well as creating a single currency, you also had to create common economic policies “founded on the co-operation of the member states”.

Click here to read more

If Saudi Women Drive

David Frum December 3rd, 2011 at 11:39 am 34 Comments

The social consequences will be horrendous, warn Saudi Arabia’s clerics:

As part of his careful reform process, King Abdullah has allowed suggestions to surface that the ban might be reviewed.

This has angered the conservative religious elite – a key power base for any Saudi ruler.

Now, one of their number – well-known academic Kamal Subhi – has presented a new report to the country’s legislative assembly, the Shura.

Click here to read more

The ongoing debate over Tim Tebow’s legitimacy as an NFL quarterback revolves around philosophy as much as football, and has broad implications for sports and beyond.

Stephen Jay Gould divided modern thinkers into two categories: neo-Platonists committed to the “central tendency” of any given system, and their antagonists who emphasize “richness of variation.” This division nicely tracks the polar positions on Tim Tebow.

Click here to read more

Topics:  , , ,

Recent comments by Newt Gingrich to the effect that illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for 25 years, “obey the rules, have children and belong to a church” should be allowed to remain here are deliberately deceptive. His premise is that an illegal immigrant can somehow live and work in this country for a long period without breaking any laws. He should know better and probably does.

Click here to read more

I Heart Romneycare

December 2nd, 2011 at 12:00 pm 38 Comments

‘Galatea’ is a columnist writing about her experience looking for work after her recent downsizing. Previous entries in her series can be read here.

Were you aware that there is at least one (1) conservative-ish person who is a fan of Romneycare? Hint: it’s me.

I know! My mom is a resident of Massachusetts and gets all your free health care money! Awesome, right?

Click here to read more

Great Leap Backwards

December 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 am 20 Comments

The head of a major union lauding a model where striking gets you shot?

Lord I miss George Meaney and Lane Kirkland.

Topics:  , ,

The other day, I read a disturbing column by Bret Stephens, the Wall Street Journal’s deputy editorial page editor, entitled “The Great Global Warming Fizzle.” In the column, Stephens compares concern about global warming to religion and characterizes such concern as “…another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.”

He goes on to say:

As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate.

Mr. Stephens, in one fell swoop, is equally dismissive of religion and science. What kind of hubris causes one to have no use for either the knowledge gained from empirical evidence or the faith that has pushed mankind to rise above his base instincts?

Click here to read more

The People of the Book

David Frum December 2nd, 2011 at 12:54 am 5 Comments

In the current Commentary, I review Gertrude Himmelfarb’s new book, The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England from Cromwell to Churchill.

Topics: 

Austerity Comes to Britain

David Frum December 2nd, 2011 at 12:44 am 39 Comments

Dagenham is an industrial suburb east of London, hard-hit by the decline of manufacturing in the United Kingdom. It was the site of tonight’s Question Time program on BBC, where I occupied a chair hoping that I wouldn’t get asked too many questions about the British educational system.

Click here to read more

We’re not back to the energy glory days, when oceans of east Texas crude fueled the ships, aircraft, and tanks on which the Allies rode to victory in World War II.

U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products, however, have dropped a hair below 50 percent. And on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is exporting more refined petroleum products than it imports, the first time we’ve been in the black with refined fuels since the Truman administration.

Click here to read more