URLs du Jour


  • Coming soon to a bogoda near you. Andrew Stiles of the Free Beacon has a sneak preview of An Incluxive Guide to the Races of the World by Dr. Jill Biden, Ed. D. The "Asian" page, for example:


  • Sorry, Mrs. DeSantis. Kevin D. Williamson offers, as is usual for him, a heretical observation: America Doesn't Need a First Lady.

    First ladies are the worst. All of them, even the ones I like.

    We live in a republic, not an elected monarchy, and the fact that a woman happens to be married to the president ought properly to mean absolutely nothing for her role in American life. Of course, it is a curiosity. But that we have made it a position and a rank — first! — smacks of the kind of formal aristocracy that we fought a revolution to liberate ourselves from.

    And, inevitably, the “first lady” begat the “second lady,” or, perhaps even more nauseating, the “second gentleman” in the case of Douglas Emhoff, a poor dumb bastard for whom I legitimately feel sorry. Imagine putting in all that hard work being evil at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and ending up as an accoutrement to an accoutrement to such a nullity as Dr. Jill Biden’s husband. That is practically purgatorial.


    We don’t need a “first lady.” I don’t know if IBM CEO Arvind Krishna is married, but I guarantee you that if he is, nobody calls his wife the “first lady” of IBM. Karen S. Lynch’s husband isn’t the “first gentleman” of CVS Health. Surely the government of the United States of America can manage to be at least as republican in its manners as the Fortune 500. Patty Smyth is the woman who sang “Goodbye to You,” not some special weird minor figure ceremonial in the tennis world because of her marriage to that lunatic John McEnroe. Dr. Jill Biden is a lightly accomplished, half-educated Ed.D-holding numbskull who sees the locals in San Antonio and thinks: “Tacos. What these people remind me of is tacos.”

    As usually happens, this got me to wondering about the wife of James "Jimmy" Dean, President of the University Near Here. Turning to the Google,… well, here's an article in New Hampshire Home, A Home Fit For a President.

    THE DIGNIFIED, RED-BRICK HOME overlooking Durham’s Main Street holds a special place for anyone connected to the state’s flagship university. Like the iconic Thompson Hall, the president’s home is a showpiece, situated in the midst of campus, with students, professors and residents passing by every day. Jan Dean, the first lady of the University of New Hampshire, understands the importance of her residence, as much as her husband—UNH President James Dean—understands the importance of his position.

    Yep, UNH has that "first lady" disease too. Or at least our local magazine writers do.

  • Those pesky moderates are the real problem. At the Federalist, one Auguste Meyrat explains Why Mitt Romney’s Call for Moderation Is Dishonest And Dangerous.

    In an essay published on July 4 in The Atlantic, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, sounded off on the political polarization tearing apart the nation. In expected fashion, he directs the most ire against Donald Trump-supporting conservatives for making the United States “a nation in denial.”

    Specifically, he says these Republican voters deny the seriousness of climate change and January 6, 2021. He somehow absolves Joe Biden of any blame for our nation’s current messes and instead blames Americans: “President Joe Biden is a genuinely good man, but he has yet been unable to break through our national malady of denial, deceit, and distrust.” After making his case for compromise, Romney concludes with the hope that a future leader not named Trump “will rise above the din to unite us behind the truth.”

    I'm old enough to remember when the "genuinely good" Joe Biden told a Virginia crowd that Mitt Romney was "going to put you all back in chains". I think Mitt might be overdoing the "turn the other cheek" thing here. "Dishonest and dangerous" is a stretch, though.

    I've read the essay too which Meryat links. It's pretty anodyne, although he's against a Trump comeback and disdains "MAGA loyalists". His closing paragraph:

    I hope for a president who can rise above the din to unite us behind the truth. Several contenders with experience and smarts stand in the wings; we intently watch to see if they also possess the requisite character and ability to bring the nation together in confronting our common reality. While we wait, leadership must come from fathers and mothers, teachers and nurses, priests and rabbis, businessmen and businesswomen, journalists and pundits. That will require us all to rise above ourselves—above our grievances and resentments—and grasp the mantle of leadership our country so badly needs.

    Who could possibly be against that bomfoggery?

  • For an R-rated version of that… we turn to Jeff Maurer, who wonders What Makes a Good President?.

    When thinking about what makes a good president, it’s tempting to simply list a billion positive traits. After all: A president should be strong, and smart, and enlightened, and informed, and compassionate, and steadfast, and limber, and a good cook, and they should smell like cinnamon, and be able to dunk, and own a bunch of cool shit, and know a few card tricks, and honestly being good at kung fu wouldn’t hurt. I’m sure we can all agree on that. But I’m trying to identify a few key traits that should be considered essential.

    Looking at one specific requirement:

    Knowledge. Being president isn’t like being a film noir gumshoe; you can’t get by on hunches and horse sense. You need to know stuff. You need a good working knowledge of history, law, philosophy, economics, and about a dozen other things. This is why I like the part of the Constitution that says you have to be 35 to be president; no-one can acquire the knowledge needed to be president in fewer than 35 years, even if they forgo the part of their youth that involves binge drinking and weird sex. Which nobody should.

    Knowledge isn’t the same as intelligence. If you transported Isaac Newton to the present day, he’d be an awful president, because he doesn’t have well-considered opinions on things like the nuclear triad and renewable energy. He’d also probably spend most of this time cowering in a corner, terrified of all the cars and airplanes. A beautiful mind is great, but a beautiful mind that doesn’t possess relevant information is as useful as a Formula One car with a beehive under the hood.

    It seems obvious to say “the president should know about president stuff,” but apparently it needs to be said. People are always calling for folks like Oprah or Duane “The Young Rock Tuesdays on NBC” Johnson to run for president, even though they show no signs of knowing a great deal about government (though both seem like nice people!). Dr. Oz is running for Senate, his main qualification being that he had a TV show that proved that he is a terrible doctor. Football great Herschel Walker is running for Senate despite perhaps knowing less than any person who has ever lived. I want my dentist to know about dentistry, I want my plumber to know about plumbing, and I similarly want my president to possess the knowledge he needs to do his job well.

    The Romans didn’t know that lead pipes can poison people. The Crusaders didn’t know that the Middle East is hot. The French Revolutionaries didn’t know that if you keep printing money, inflation ensues. History is full of bad decisions caused by not knowing stuff. The more stuff the president knows, the better his decisions are likely to be.

    More qualities at the link, but yeah, knowledge. This is why, instead of those stupid debates, we should have a Jeopardy!-style quiz show for the candidates for high public office. Concentrating on "history, law, philosophy, economics, and about a dozen other things." No pop culture, rap music, or "potent potables" categories! You wouldn't need to answer in the form of a question. And (somehow) you'd like to eliminate the advantage of quick buzzer thumbs.

    After those details are worked out, I think this would be a benefit to the country and (even better) a ratings winner. You'd have to pay me a lot of money to watch a normal candidate debate, but I'd watch this in a heartbeat.

  • Actually, he set himself up for failure by getting a job with demands far outside his abilities. But Jonah Goldberg has an alternative explanation: How Biden Set Himself Up for Failure. Yes, Biden's incompetent, his policies have been disastrous, he's aging badly, he's way too partisan, etc. But:

    But the biggest driver of his problems is ideological and structural.

    Biden will be remembered as the last Democratic president shaped by the old FDR coalition and its reliance on the white working class and bipartisanship. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party’s ideological base is philosophically and culturally contemptuous of traditional politics (yes, the same is true of the GOP) and is all too happy to blow up that old coalition. Picking Kamala Harris as his running mate—after vowing to select a woman—was an acknowledgement of this fact. Biden-Harris was a unity ticket.

    While his return-to-normalcy candidacy brought enough moderates and independents into the fold, it was Biden’s implied promise to hand the baton to the left that kept progressives in line (aside from a unifying animosity toward Donald Trump). “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” Biden said at a campaign event where several younger Democrats shared the stage with him. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.”


    But Biden let his vanity—specifically the prospect of outshining Barack Obama as a “transformational” president—and his instinct to placate the left get the better of him. Now he’s left with a party that demands an agenda that Biden can’t sell, in no small part because voters don’t want it.

    And for the "structural" reason, click on over.

  • Keeping up with the cool kids. Damien Fisher notes the latest Effort To Do Important Stuff That Will Make Peoples' Lives Better. No, just kidding! It's the latest Symbolic Gesture That Does Nothing Except Signal Virtue: In Pursuit of 'Diversity,' Portsmouth Kills Columbus Day, Keeps Indigenous People's Day.

    Bowing to pressure from a group of “woke” high school activists, the Portsmouth City Council voted to cancel Columbus Day.

    For years, the seacoast city known for its liberal politics has recognized both Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day on the same date — traditionally October 12. But at Monday night’s council meeting, students with Portsmouth High School’s We Speak club for social justice activism complained that accommodating Columbus Day and the history it celebrates was intolerable.


    Well, I'm not a huge Columbus fan, but I can tolerate a lot. See Bryan Caplan for a non-left indictment of the Admiral:

    The far left’s radical critique of Columbus Day rubs a lot of people the wrong way. But the facts are on their side. Columbus was not just a brutal slaver; he was a pioneer of slavery. I flipped through a dozen books on Columbus and slavery in the library today, and none of them disputes this – though the hagiographies generally omit “slavery” from the index.

    Can you condemn a man just for being a slaver? Of course. It’s almost as bad as you can get. And Columbus didn’t even have the lame excuses of a Thomas Jefferson, like “I grew up with it,” or “I couldn’t afford not to do it.”

    The lamest excuse of all is that we have to judge Columbus by the standards of his time. For this is nothing but the cultural relativism that defenders of Western civilization so often decry. If some cultures and practices are better than others, then we can fairly hold up a mirror to Columbus and the Spanish conquerors, and find theirs to be among the worst.

    Perhaps we should find our own heroes and celebrate them without being told to by the local, state, or federal governments.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 8:15 AM EDT