Mona Charen | Editorial
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  • Dr. Oz Quacks the Code of Republican Politics for 12/03/2021

    Sean Parnell, the Trump-anointed candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, dropped out of the race a week ago after a custody hearing that featured lurid details of his relationship with his ex-wife. Laurie Snell alleged that Parnell had struck her, choked her, left her by the side of the road and hit one of their sons hard enough to leave a welt on the boy's back. Parnell countered that she had invented all of it. Custody battles are infamous for exaggerated accusations and heated denials, and it's difficult for outsiders to know whom to believe and how much. But Parnell's comments off the witness stand didn't burnish his credibility. Appearing on Fox Nation, for example, Parnell opined, "I feel like the whole 'happy wife, happy life' nonsense has done nothing but raise one generation of woman tyrants after the next." He wasn't finished. "Now there's an entire generation of men that don't want to put up with the BS of a high-maintenance, narcissistic woman." Well. Someone seems to be dealing with anger issues. The would-be — er, rather, won't-be — senator concluded with a short sermon on biology: "From an evolutionary standpoint, it used to be, you know, women were attracted to your strength because you could defend them from dinosaurs." Where does the GOP find these geniuses? Well, this one was one of the crops cultivated by Fox News. Parnell served, apparently honorably, in Afghanistan and wrote a book about his war experiences, but since his discharge, he has sought advancement mostly through public speaking. Becoming famous is a stand-alone career goal these days. Parnell was Diamond and Silk with testosterone. Fox and other right-wing media elevated him. He ran once for Congress — unsuccessfully. That's the whole resume. But Parnell caught the eye of the dauphin, Donald Trump Jr., who told Trump Sr. about him and voila, he was on his way to the U.S. Senate ... until the judge in the above-mentioned hearing awarded full custody of his three children to his ex-wife.Updated: Fri Dec 03, 2021 […]

  • Family, Pfizer, Zoom and Other Things I'm Grateful For for 11/26/2021

    Each year at Thanksgiving, before tucking into the feast, we go around the table and express gratitude for something. My husband often advises that mentioning family is off limits — he thinks it goes without saying that we are most grateful for our families — but this rule is flouted every single year. And rightly so. Families are the alpha and omega of a well-rounded life. This year, I will list health among the top blessings for which I'm grateful. Millions of Americans will be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner this week with an empty chair at the table. More than 770,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in the past 18 months, and 175,000 children have lost a parent, guardian or caretaker grandparent. We are grateful to have been spared during this siege.Updated: Fri Nov 26, 2021 […]

  • Democrats, You Have One Job for 11/19/2021

    Barring some act of God, the Democratic Party is going to get crushed in the midterms. The president's party usually loses House seats in off-year elections. Since 1946, the average loss has been 25 seats — which is scary enough for a Democratic Party that currently holds a 221-213 seat margin — but when the president has approval ratings below 50%, the typical loss has been 37 seats. President Joe Biden's approval rating is averaging 41.2% now. Some of the generic ballot polling — Which party would you like to see in control? — is looking dire for the Democrats. The director of ABC News polling, Gary Langer, noted that among registered voters, 51% say they favor Republican control, while only 41% prefer the Democrats. That's the largest advantage for Republicans since 1981. Thomas Edsall tallies more signs of discontent, such as Public Opinion Strategies polling showing that on matters of great concern to voters, Republicans are seen as more capable. On controlling inflation, 45% of voters trust Republicans, compared with 21% for the Democrats. The edge for Republicans on the economy is 45/27, and on handling crime, Republicans are preferred 43/21. Edsall concludes that "Democrats shouldn't panic. They should go into shock."Updated: Fri Nov 19, 2021 […]

  • Welcome to the Daddy Wars for 11/12/2021

    After what seems like 150 years of "Mommy Wars" in America, we haven't solved anything. So we're applying what we haven't learned to a new front: We're adding men to the fray. Welcome to the Daddy Wars! When it was revealed that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was taking four weeks of paternity leave to care for the newborn twins he and his husband had adopted, the right-wing death eaters were scathing. Tucker Carlson mocked Buttigieg on his Fox show, sneering: "Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went." Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted his disapproval of Buttigieg, objecting that he was "absent during a transportation crisis that is hurting working-class Americans."Updated: Fri Nov 12, 2021 […]

  • Why Are We So Awful to Each Other? for 11/05/2021

    On Saturday morning, as I was preparing to head to our basement to use the stationary bike, I smelled something. Opening the basement door, I saw something no one ever welcomes on the floors of their homes — running water, ankle-high. Calling to my husband to get the wet/dry vac, I rushed downstairs only to make the second disgusting discovery: This water had raw sewage in it. The source was the drain under the water heater. It just kept coming and coming, a great gusher of awfulness. And so, the frantic phone calls began. We called the sewer emergency line for Arlington County. We called Servpro. We called plumbers. We called the insurance company. The county said they'd send a crew. I ran to my neighbors to warn them. One was just pulling into her driveway. When I blurted out the crisis, she froze. "You might want to check your basement!" I repeated, confused at her stare. "I know," she said, "but I'm terrified." Her basement had not been spared.Updated: Fri Nov 05, 2021 […]

  • Virtually Normal for 11/04/2021

    Isn't it interesting that Democrats appear to have forgotten how to manipulate voting machines, stuff ballot boxes, engage in the wee-hour ballot dumps, collect ballots from dead people, and coordinate with Chinese/Venezuelan governments to change the outcome of elections? Two-thirds of Republicans believe that's what happened in 2020. And yet, only one year later, Democrats have lost the knack? Democrats lost in Virginia, and everybody behaved ... normally. The losing candidate, Terry McAuliffe, acknowledged that "last night we came up short" and offered congratulations to the victor, Glenn Youngkin, adding, "I hope Virginians will join me in wishing the best to him and his family." There was even a correction regarding one Virginia district, HD 85, that had originally been reported as a Democrat hold but now seems to be a Republican pickup (though the race is so close it might require a recount). No conspiracy theories have surfaced regarding why this correction was made in the dead of night. Democrats digested the news as the normal ebb and flow of information, even if it meant losing control of the Virginia House of Delegates.Updated: Thu Nov 04, 2021 […]

  • Will Critical Race Theory Sink McAuliffe? for 10/29/2021

    There are two big reasons that Republican Glenn Youngkin shouldn't be within striking distance of Virginia's state house. The first is that Virginia has been trending Democratic over the past decade and a half. Joe Biden won the state by more than 10 points last year. The second and far more important reason is that Youngkin has never distanced himself from the attempt to overthrow the constitutional order on Jan. 6. During the primary, Youngkin declined to say that Biden was the legitimately elected president and not the pretender who had stolen the presidency through fraud. Worse, he promised that "election integrity" would be his highest priority, thus giving credence to the stolen election myth. In a politically healthy country, forcefully repudiating the dangerous lie about the 2020 election would be the price of admission to respectable politics. But in our world, voters don't hold candidates to high standards, nor do they recognize threats to democratic legitimacy, and so the Virginia race is too close to call.Updated: Fri Oct 29, 2021 […]

  • Robert E. Lee Doesn't Deserve a Statue, But Thomas Jefferson Does for 10/22/2021

    In New York City, a statue of Thomas Jefferson has graced the City Council chamber for 100 years. This week, the Public Design Commission voted unanimously to remove it. "Jefferson embodies some of the most shameful parts of our country's history," explained Adrienne Adams, a councilwoman from Queens. Assemblyman Charles Barron went even further. Responding to a question about where the statue should go next, he was contemptuous: "I don't think it should go anywhere. I don't think it should exist." When iconoclasts topple Jefferson, they seem to validate the argument advanced by defenders of Confederate monuments that there is no escape from the slippery slope. "First, they come for Nathan Bedford Forrest and then for Robert E. Lee. Where does it end? Is Jefferson next? Is George Washington?" No historical figure is without blemish, they protest. And it's unfair to condemn our ancestors using today's standards. If owning slaves is the discrediting fact about Lee, how then can we excuse George Washington? As if on cue, "TFG" chimed in with a statement chiding the city for "evicting" the "late, great Thomas Jefferson, one of our most important founding fathers." Not so important, apparently, that former President Donald Trump felt the need to learn about him though, because the next phrase was "a principal writer of the Constitution of the United States." Sigh. No, Jefferson was in Paris during the Constitutional Convention. He authored another founding document Trump hasn't read. But never mind.Updated: Fri Oct 22, 2021 […]

  • Jonah Goldberg's Narcissism of Small Differences for 10/15/2021

    Back in 2016, when formerly distinguished conservatives were suddenly lining up to issue glassy-eyed endorsements of a half-mad reality TV figure, Jonah Goldberg wrote a brilliant column comparing the experience to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." He captured the sense so many of us had that nearly an entire party and, eventually, nearly an entire intellectual movement had been lobotomized. "People would go to sleep violently opposed to Trump and everything he represented," he recapped for Vanity Fair, "but by morning they'd start telling me how under comrade Trump, we were going to have the greatest harvest we've ever seen." If he does nothing else in his career, I will always cherish him for his indomitability when others, with less to lose, crumpled. So it's disappointing to see him falling for the narcissism of small differences. As Sigmund Freud wrote, "It is precisely the minor differences in people who are otherwise alike that form the basis of feelings of hostility between them." Celebrating the two-year anniversary of The Dispatch, Goldberg, apparently feeling the need to do some product differentiation, tossed off a gratuitous swipe at The Bulwark. Both publications are redoubts of Trumpism-defying conservatives and thus, you might think, allies? Compadres? Friends? I was a charter subscriber to The Dispatch. Updated: Fri Oct 15, 2021 […]

  • What Nobel Prizes Say About National Greatness for 10/08/2021

    It's Nobel Prize season. The just-announced 2021 winners in medicine/physiology are two Americans, Dr. David Julius and Dr. Ardem Patapoutian, who've done groundbreaking research on the senses of touch, taste, heat and pain. Their joint discoveries may yield new, nonopioid treatments for pain and other breakthroughs. Patapoutian had his cellphone switched off, and so he missed the call from Stockholm. The committee eventually reached his 94-year-old father on a landline, so Patapoutian learned that he hit the prestige jackpot from his dad. Do you feel a flush of pride when Americans win Nobel Prizes? I do. It's a sign that for all of our division, disarray and decay, we continue to achieve excellence. If you peruse the winners of Nobel Prizes by country since 1901, you find that a number of European countries are well-represented. France has earned 70, Germany 111, and Great Britain 135. Russia/Soviet Union claimed 31, and Belgium 11. But towering over the list is the USA with 392. This year's winners in medicine are not atypical. One is native-born, and the other an immigrant. Patapoutian, who traces his ancestors to Armenia, was born in Beirut. He and his brother fled the civil war there when he was 18. While at UCLA, he fell in love with basic research.Updated: Fri Oct 08, 2021 […]

  • What We Lost When the GOP Lost Itself for 10/01/2021

    In the typhoon of congressional brinkmanship we've witnessed this week, one detail caught my eye that could easily have been lost in the gales. A group of 35 Republican senators signed a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden about an aspect of the House reconciliation bill that they find disturbing. "As you know, current marriage penalties occur when a household's overall tax bill increases due to a couple marrying and filing taxes jointly. ... Unfortunately, despite its original rollout as part of the 'American Families Plan,' the current draft of the reconciliation bill takes an existing marriage penalty in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes it significantly worse. This is not the only marriage penalty created or worsened by the partisan bill."Updated: Fri Oct 01, 2021 […]

  • Why I'm a Single-Issue Voter for 09/24/2021

    In a few weeks, Virginia will hold an election, and I will have to make a decision. In the past, it would have been no contest. I'd have voted Republican. But now, though Terry McAuliffe leaves me cold, I will vote for him. I guess that makes me a single-issue voter. What is that issue?Updated: Fri Sep 24, 2021 […]

  • The Future is Female: But Is That Entirely a Good Thing? for 09/17/2021

    "Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels." So declares the opening sentence of a Wall Street Journal piece that is creating quite the buzz. Here are some of the eye-popping statistics: Women now account for 59.5% of college students in the United States. They also earn 58.5% of master's degrees and 52.9% of Ph.D.s. Women have been earning the majority of doctorates for 13 straight years. In the 2020-21 academic year, a million more women than men applied to college. You can be forgiven if you find these numbers startling. The popular press focuses on the challenges women face, not on their achievements. We are constantly warned about silencing girls' voices, discrimination against female athletes, glass ceilings, pay gaps, "mansplaining" and the paucity of women in the top ranks of corporate America. There are innumerable programs, scholarships and inducements to increase the share of girls and women who study STEM subjects (the only fields where men continue to earn more Ph.D.s than women). And the assumption persists that it's a man's world.Updated: Fri Sep 17, 2021 […]

  • Pro-Life Cause Deserves Better Than Texas Law for 09/10/2021

    The Supreme Court's fateful step of judicializing abortion in 1973 effectively removed it from the political process for nearly a half-century. Americans' passionate feelings on the matter were displaced from legislative disputes (where they belonged) to the composition of the Supreme Court, resulting in crude, openly political, circuslike nomination battles that have characterized nearly all recent appointments. But now the Court seems poised to toss the question back into the political realm. I say this not so much because of what happened with the Texas law but because the Court is scheduled to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a Mississippi case aimed squarely at Roe v. Wade. The Texas Heartbeat Act currently causing such angst may be remembered as a sideshow. Bear in mind that in declining to issue an injunction, the Supreme Court did not endorse the substance of the law. It ruled only that the appellees lacked standing. Updated: Fri Sep 10, 2021 […]

  • The Party of Violence for 09/03/2021

    A Republican running for Northampton County executive in Pennsylvania gave a heated address on Aug. 29 about mask mandates in schools. Steve Lynch is tired, he said, of providing his school board arguments and data (he apparently thinks the data support letting kids go maskless), but the important thing about his rant is the threat of force: "Forget into these school boards with frigging data. ... They don't follow the law! You go in and you remove 'em. I'm going in there with 20 strong men." That's the kind of language that Republicans are now employing. Lynch has not run for public office before, but he did attend the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., and has posted on social media that the violence that day was a false-flag operation meant to discredit Trump supporters. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina spoke last weekend at an event sponsored by the Macon County Republican Party. He delivered the kind of lies that have become routine among some Republicans. The election was stolen — and not just the presidential contest but also that won by Gov. Roy Cooper (who defeated his opponent by a quarter of a million votes). Cawthorn told the crowd that vaccines are harmful to children and urged them to "defend their children." A woman asked what he plans to do about the "535 Americans who have been captured from Jan, 6." Cawthorn, who has apparently heard this before, thundered, "Political hostages!" When someone in the crowd asked, "When are you gonna call us back to Washington?" he replied, "We are actively working on that one."Updated: Fri Sep 03, 2021 […]