Mona Charen | Editorial
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  • Biden Needs a Safe Choice for VP for 08/07/2020

    Political pledges often cause headaches. On election night in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt told reporters, "Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for or accept another nomination." He regretted it almost immediately. Later, he would say, "I would be willing to cut off my hand if I could call back that statement." In 1988, accepting the Republican nomination for the presidency, George H. W. Bush pledged "no new taxes." Bush did wind up agreeing to raise taxes. It may have been the right governing choice, but because he had pledged in such memorable terms not to do it, he stirred a profound sense of betrayal among Republicans and encouraged cynicism about politicians in general.Updated: Fri Aug 07, 2020 […]

  • Who Is Really Burning Things Down? for 07/31/2020

    My friend David French, one of the most admirable voices in America today, argues that conservatives need not vote against Republican senate candidates in order to send a message about Trumpism. I disagree. He writes, "A rage, fury, and a 'burn it all down' mentality is one of the maladies that brought us to the present moment." This assumes that the reason some plan to evict Republican senators is simply a matter of anger. But voting against a candidate or even a whole party is not nihilism. It's the legal, Constitutional way to express approval or disapproval. The current Republican Party has chosen to become the burn-it-all-down party. The most demoralizing aspect of the past four years has not been that a boob conman was elected president but that one of the two great political parties surrendered to him utterly.Updated: Fri Jul 31, 2020 […]

  • Trump Is Right for 07/24/2020

    President Donald Trump has a point. People are being injured. The property damage runs into the millions. Things are out of control. Local governments are not able to handle this on their own. It demands a federal response. When sacred things are desecrated, it takes a toll on the national spirit. Trump thinks this applies to rioters and protesters in Portland and other cities. He thinks the sacred things are confederate monuments. In truth, it's the coronavirus that demands a response — and when it comes to that, the president is AWOL. Updated: Fri Jul 24, 2020 […]

  • Bari Weiss Was Too Honest for The New York Times for 07/17/2020

    Bari Weiss brought keen intelligence and broadminded liberalism to the editorial pages of The New York Times. So, naturally, she had to go. The right will cackle that this proves how dangerous the left is. They're not totally wrong, but they need to look in the mirror. Many Twitter denizens first became aware of former New York Times writer and editor Weiss, who resigned on July 14, when she was dragged for tweeting about an ice skater. It was during the Olympics, in February of 2018. An American skater named Mirai Nagasu became the first female American to land a triple axel at the Olympics. Weiss tweeted an image of her whirling body and jauntily retweeted an NBC Sports tweet: "'HOLY COW!' You just witnessed a historic triple axel from Mirai Nagasu. #WinterOlympics." Weiss added a line from "Hamilton," the musical, "Immigrants: They get the job done."Updated: Fri Jul 17, 2020 […]

  • Was Trump's Mount Rushmore Speech Divisive? for 07/10/2020

    A number of conservative commentators have rushed to defend President Donald Trump's Mount Rushmore speech. Incensed by press depictions of the speech as "divisive and dark," figures such as Mollie Hemingway and Tom Fitton rode to the president's side, assailing The New York Times as a "leftist propaganda outfit" (Hemingway) and a "leftist advocacy group" (Fitton). "Talking about American greatness is only divisive if you hate America," tweeted the Daily Caller. Rich Lowry penned a column noting that the president mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. and other African American heroes; that he affirmed America's dedication to "equal opportunity" and that he condemned slavery. "So where's the hate?" Lowry demanded. "Where's the white supremacy?"Updated: Fri Jul 10, 2020 […]

  • So Much for Trump's Love of the Military for 07/03/2020

    Christopher Slutman, 43, had always wanted to be a firefighter. He was that kind of kid, the kind who wants to save people. He was also a Marine Reserves Staff Sergeant who had served in Iraq. Last year, he was assigned to duty in Afghanistan. On April 8, 2019, just two weeks before he was scheduled to return home, he and two other Marines were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near Bagram Air Base. This may be one of the attacks Russia was sponsoring. Also murdered that day were Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York, and Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania. Updated: Fri Jul 03, 2020 […]

  • Contra Fox News, Trump Is the Threat to Civilization for 06/26/2020

    This election "is no longer about Donald Trump's tweeting," conservative historian Victor Davis Hanson told Fox News host Tucker Carlson the other night. Nor is it about "a lockdown, the virus, the economy (or) foreign policy. It's an existential question ... and I'm going to vote for civilization." Updated: Fri Jun 26, 2020 […]

  • George Floyd Changed My Mind for 06/19/2020

    For many years, I was skeptical about accusations of racism in the criminal justice system. Yes, I knew that blacks comprised only about 12% of the population yet represented 33% of the prison population. But those data alone did not prove that police are racists or that courts are tougher on blacks than others. The relevant criterion is not the percentage of the population, but the percentage of the criminal population, and when you consider the higher rates of offending among African Americans, the seemingly disproportionate rates of incarceration make sense. Well, some countered, if you look at who winds up on death row, you can see the racism at work. Less than half of murder victims in the U.S. are white, yet a 2003 study found that 80% of inmates on death row had killed white people. I wasn't convinced. It might be evidence of racism, or it could be that when people kill others of their same race, they are more likely to know them. These could be crimes of passion and therefore less likely to draw the death penalty. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 2001 and 2005, nearly 78% of blacks were murdered by other blacks, and nearly 70% of whites were killed by other whites. Updated: Fri Jun 19, 2020 […]

  • LOL: Some Things Do Matter After All for 06/12/2020

    We thought it was a fixed feature of our new era. We thought that objective reality didn't matter anymore, if it even existed at all. We thought we were so entrapped by our information silos that nothing could penetrate. "LOL. Nothing matters" ran the Twitter meme. What we've learned in the past two weeks is that we were wrong. Reality reasserts itself. Minds can change. Just weeks ago, Black Lives Matter was regarded as a fringe movement, a response to a real problem perhaps, but a vastly exaggerated one. Today, the slogan emblazons 16th Street in front of the White House. As Politico's Tim Alberta reports, in 2014, after Eric Garner was choked by police, only 33% of Americans believed that blacks were more likely to be mistreated by police than others. Only 26% of whites thought so. Today, 57% of Americans, including 49% of whites, believe police are more likely to use force against African Americans. This week, the 2012 Republican nominee for president marched in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in Washington, D.C. The last two-term Republican president released a statement using the term "systemic racism," which curled the toes of some right-wing commentators but comports with the views of more than 80% of Americans. An eyebrow-raising 29% of Republicans say President Donald Trump has "mostly increased" racial tensions, along with 92% of Democrats and 73% of independents. The conservative Drudge Report website, once a redoubt of Trump enthusiasm, hawked "Justice for George Floyd" T-shirts. Updated: Fri Jun 12, 2020 […]

  • A Tale of Two Church Visits for 06/04/2020

    Both President Donald Trump and candidate Joe Biden visited churches on Monday — though "visit" is a poor descriptor of what Trump did. Consistent with his life pattern, he didn't actually enter a church. Rather, he positioned his body in front of St. John's Episcopal and held a Bible aloft, like a trophy, for the cameras. Though in the physical vicinity of a place of worship, Trump betrayed no trace of piety. Asked his thoughts as he brandished the book he has never read, he defaulted to rally slogans: "We have a great country. ... It's coming back strong. ... Greater than ever before." Updated: Thu Jun 04, 2020 […]

  • Bird-Watching While Black for 05/29/2020

    A lifelong bird-watcher ventured into a section of New York's Central Park, the "Ramble," at 7:30 a.m., hoping to catch a glimpse of waterfowl. In previous days, he had spied scarlet tanagers, ovenbirds and mourning warblers. On Memorial Day, as he waited quietly, an unleashed spaniel scurried into the area — as happens frequently in the park during quarantine — though a posted sign notifies owners that all dogs must be leashed. The bird-watcher asked the owner to please leash her dog. She was less than cooperative. According to the birder, Christian Cooper, the conversation went like this: "ME: Ma'am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there. HER: The dog runs are closed. He needs his exercise." After more refusals from her to leash the pet, he said, "Look, if you're going to do what you want, I'm going to do what I want, but you're not going to like it" and reached for dog treats that he keeps for such situations. Alarmed, she yelled, "Don't you touch my dog!"Updated: Fri May 29, 2020 […]

  • Trump Smashes the Right's Ability to Police Itself for 05/22/2020

    Among dozens of addled tweets from the commander in chief over the past few days, one in particular deserves pausing over because it demonstrates not just the weak-mindedness of our president but also the way his leadership is sabotaging conservatism. Trump retweeted a post featuring disgraced columnist Michelle Malkin, who complained about being silenced on social media. Trump responded: "The radical left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. The administration is working to remedy this illegal situation. Stay tuned, and send names & events. Thank you Michelle!" In the name of standing up for aggrieved conservatives, Trump soils the brand. First, a detail. The "radical left" is not in control of those outlets, and even if it were, they are private entities and therefore perfectly free to make their own judgments about content. There is nothing "illegal" about it. If the administration were working to "remedy" the situation, that is what would be illegal. Another detail: Trump has 19.7 million followers on Instagram, 26.7 million on Facebook and 80 million on Twitter. Perhaps what keeps him so popular is his audience's inexhaustible appetite for whining. Updated: Sat May 23, 2020 […]

  • But He Fights! for 05/15/2020

    One of the chief selling points about Donald Trump in 2016, one that persuaded many initially dubious Republicans, was the argument that "he fights." Some of us tried to counter that his battles nearly always concerned his own fragile ego, not the cause of conservatism, nor even the Republican Party, but these objections were swept aside. Since January, we have witnessed a vivid lesson in the limits of fighting. There were ample reasons before now to recoil from Trump's style of combat. It is so consistently cruel, witless, below-the-belt and unhinged (e.g. his recent tweets implying that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was guilty of murder), that it taints by association any reasonable arguments that might be advanced for conservative ideas. But what we've witnessed in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic is that even when a dire emergency calls for traits other than bellicosity, fighting is all he knows how to do. This is proving to be a catastrophe for the nation, and also for Trump's self-interest. Updated: Fri May 15, 2020 […]

  • You Can Choke on Schadenfreude for 05/08/2020

    During Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, some conservatives, including supposedly Donald Trump-despising ones, declared themselves "radicalized." "Kavanaugh snapped something in me," Sohrab Ahmari tweeted. The Democrats had demonstrated their depravity, they said. On the strength of this revelation, they ran into the arms of Trump. What is the logic of that response? If the Democrats and progressives resorted to irresponsible character assassination, trafficked in loose accusations and failed to respect due process, how is the correct response to do exactly the same thing to them? "He is a liar and a cheat; therefore I must be one?" If that is the standard, then we are consigned to an endless cycle of slander, with each side pointing to the other's previous outrage to justify itself. Updated: Fri May 08, 2020 […]

  • Testing: The Way Out of This Trap for 05/01/2020

    One of the less helpful aspects of our current quandary is the shrill argument between two closed-minded camps. One condemns those who wish to open up the economy as science-defying ghouls who care nothing for human life. The other depicts the stay-at-homes as economic saboteurs willing to destroy the national economy in the name of unobtainable safety. Neither reckons with the indispensable bridge — the testing problem. Whatever mayors, governors, or presidents might say, we cannot restart the economy as long as people are too frightened to resume working, shopping, and socializing. An NPR/Marist poll found that 65% of Americans believe that it would be a "bad idea" to have people return to work until further testing is available, and 80% say the same about eating in restaurants. Even larger majorities oppose opening schools or sporting events. On the other hand, it's simply untenable to keep huge sectors of the economy in what Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center calls "soft house arrest" indefinitely, or to open up only to be forced to shut down again in the face of new illness spikes. We are stuck in limbo. We've succeeded in flattening the curve but haven't conceived a way to avoid thousands of more deaths without causing an economic catastrophe.Updated: Fri May 01, 2020 […]