Great Reads for Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016


Six days (well, five-and-a-half, really) until the election. (Running a little behind today.)

Only at American Greatness: Robert Curry describes the election as a choice between political correctness and common sense, while Mytheos Holt calls out the Republicans’ “Ungrateful Bastard” caucus.

Pour yourself an honest drink, get comfortable, and delve into today’s great reads . . .

Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics would like to remind you (with the aid of history, math, and data) that it ain’t over ’til it’s over: “While we might be able to make some broad projections based upon early voting – maybe – we’re more likely to substitute our own judgments and arbitrary intuitions for actual results.”

“Donald Trump gave a very, very good speech [Monday] in Pennsylvania,” reported Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, which is news for a couple of reasons, one being the source. Cillizza writes:

Trump ended—and, yes, one of the big pluses of the speech is he didn’t go on and on and on—with his strongest point: He is fundamentally different from the people who have been elected president in the modern era.

“I am not a politician,” Trump said. “My only special interest is you, the American people. The guiding rule of the political class in Washington, D.C., is that they are looking out only for themselves. They will say anything, and do anything, to cling to their power and prestige at your expense. I’m running to change and reverse decades of failure, and to work with the American people to create generations of success.”

Although that is as may be, the Washington Post also reports on Wednesday that some suburban Republicans aren’t sold. What makes the feature, headlined He’s not one of us,” such a great read? The fourth and fifth paragraphs of the story are almost too perfect to be real. You can practically soak in the condescension:

“You’re in a town that’s about going to college and raising a family. People are polished and hard-working. He’s not one of us,” said Andy Schwichtenberg, a 28-year-old stockbroker.

“I did try,” Schwichtenberg added with a sigh. “I went to a rally.” But he was not swayed and he was turned off by the crowd, which he noted was packed with men and women “who came there on Harleys.”

Harleys? Huh. You don’t say.

And yet, as Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. points out in the Wall Street Journal, “Mrs. Clinton is a screw-up. And when a trait takes such trouble to announce itself, note must be taken.”

Screw-up or not, David Frum argues in The Atlantic there is a “conservative case” for Hillary Clinton. (Read the piece, but remember what our own Publius Decius Mus says about “conservative cases” for leftist causes: they aren’t conservative; they’re reliably leftist.)

Another case of a putative conservative adopting the tactics of the Left: Gabriel Schoenfeld levels a scandalous charge against The New Criterion‘s Roger Kimball.

Kimball responds: “[T]here is in my view plenty to affirm in Donald Trump’s platform. Gabriel Schoenfeld disagrees. That . . . is his prerogative. But by fabricating a dark narrative in which Trump — and anyone who supports him — somehow ‘enables’ anti-Semitism, he not only exhibits a bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome, he also adopts a tactic that hitherto was the province of the fever swamps of left-wing animus. He is peddling a disgusting calumny, as baseless as it is offensive.”

Speaking of anti-Semitism: “A Donald Trump administration would ask the Justice Department to investigate coordinated attempts to intimidate Israel-supporters on U.S. campuses, a senior adviser to the Republican presidential candidate revealed to The Algemeiner on Monday in a new policy announcement.”

Tough break for Hillary: Errol Lewis argues that certain black voters may be fed up (at long last) with being taken for granted by the Democratic Party. Turns out, African-American religious leaders have noticed they are just as vulnerable to the progressive “social justice” agenda as white evangelicals. And they intend to do something about it.

“What they want,” Lewis writes, “according to the manifesto, is a conversation with Clinton—and, by extension, the Democratic Party—about the hypocrisy of rounding up black votes through community churches while undermining core values of the clergy and members of those same congregations.”

Myron Magnet has a lengthy essay in the Autumn issue of City Journal on Barack Obama’s terrible legacy:

Obama drove the races apart, reversing some of the progress that so many earnest civil rights supporters had won, some even at the cost of their lives. Instead of uniting the country, Obama divided it almost to the point of fracture, pitting group against group with a self-righteous certitude that he alone could see the right as God gives us to see the right, and that all who disagreed with him deserved withering scorn. Unlike the Era of Good Feelings that James Madison bequeathed to the country when he left the White House, Obama has already ushered in the Era of Ill Feelings, fanning every low, intolerant, and ignorant impulse in the American heart. Whether history will judge that his reversal of racial progress and the divisiveness he has inflamed make him the worst of our presidents we can’t yet know. But it is worth looking back to ask what made him so overbearing, so contemptuous of the spirit of our Constitution, and so dismissive of the idea of American exceptionalism that he pretended to embrace in 2004.

A nation of lotus-eaters will not prosper. The Wall Street Journal editorializes Wednesday (“A Brave New Weed“) for skepticism and caution in the rush to de-criminalize marijuana:

We realize it’s déclassé to resist this cultural imperative, and maybe voters think the right to get high when you want is worth the social and health costs of millions of more stoners. Then again, since four states have volunteered to be guinea pigs, maybe other states should wait and see if these negative trends continue.

Speaking of high hopes, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, who is currently polling at 4.6 percent nationally, has released a list of six potential Supreme Court nominees. They’re all solid picks:

  • Alex Kozinski, circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Randy Barnett, director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution
  • Janice Rogers Brown, D.C. Circuit Court judge and former California Supreme Court justice
  • Tom Campbell, former member of Congress and dean of the Chapman University School of Law
  • Miguel Estrada, partner at the Washington, D.C., law office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Jonathan Turley, Professor at George Washington University Law School

Dump all those emails . . . or dump all those emails? David Weigel of the Washington Post makes a case for the latter. That’s fine. I’d simply point out that the words “Bleach” and “Bit” appear nowhere in Weigel’s piece.

Popehat’s Ken White is no fan of Donald Trump (to say the least). But he has no patience for nonsense like this“This week social media is full of a narrative that the mainstream media is ‘ignoring’ that Trump is on trial for rape and racketeering in December. That’s dishonest.”

Here is Scott Adams on the state of the persuasion race, a week out:

In summary, Clinton’s message this closing week is that Trump is politically incorrect, offensive to many people, and sexually aggressive beyond the point of appropriate social behavior. That’s all the stuff you already assumed about Trump a year ago. And it doesn’t scare you, no matter how badly it offends you.

Meanwhile, the current news cycle along with Trump’s supporters have framed Clinton as a low-stamina liar with a drinking problem who is running a criminal enterprise (The Clinton Foundation) that sells influence to foreign countries and companies that are more interested in war than peace. While she trash-talks Putin. That stuff could get all of us killed.

If you’ve come this far and you’ve made your way through some of the longer reads, you should be on your second drink by now. So this one is just for the lulz: A totally plausible path for Evan McMullin to become president. (The Hill)

What? Dude is serious? Even funnier!

Vanity Fair has the inside scoop on what “Clintonworld thinks about the latest Abedin-Weiner Scandal” (gotta love that “latest”): “If Weiner hadn’t taken pictures of his weiner, we wouldn’t be in this thing.” The fact that those 650,000 emails were reportedly stored in a directory labeled “Life Insurance” doesn’t seem to have registered . . .


Easy prediction: the media, already widely loathed and distrusted, is going to emerge from the 2016 elections even weaker. Case in point: Marc Ambinder’s recent paean to truth at USA Today:

What galls people more than the fact that journalists have obviously chosen sides is the pretense that they haven’t. Rubbish. Of course they have. Choosing a side does not mean and has never meant that people stop being journalists, or that they cover gay people or the gay rights movement uncritically.

In the same way, the fact that most journalists dislike Trump and don’t want him to become president does not in any way obviate their obligation to hold a President Hillary Clinton accountable. Nor does it mean that the profession should over-correct and hold Clinton to ridiculous standards. It does mean worrying less about what the audience thinks and worrying more about truth, about facts and about context.

Too little, too late. As friend of American Greatness Michael Walsh remarked on Facebook, “Wow. Just wow. Remember this when you read something from a lefty ‘journalist.'”

Semi-retired journalist Richard Benedetto laments the turn his profession has taken (also a bit too late, but maybe in this case we can be charitable and say, “better late than never”):

USA Today, a newspaper I helped found in 1982, and which enjoyed a reputation for honest and fair reporting, last month departed from 34 years of no-endorsement policy and told readers, “Don’t vote for Trump.” It was a violation of its founding principles.

It is not the job of the news media to tell people how to vote. Syracuse University Newhouse School Dean Wesley Clark said this 46 years ago to budding young reporters:

“Your job is to give people, good, solid, fair information. They can figure out what to do with it.”

Sadly, the media no longer believe it.

Related: New York Times reports 95.7 percent fall in quarterly profit.

Last But Not Least . . .

Vice highlights sundry crimes against nature disguised as a political and artistic “movement.”

Amanda Morgan, a faculty member at the UNLV School of Community Health Sciences who is involved in the ecosexual movement, says that ecosexuality could be measured in a sense not unlike the Kinsey Scale: On one end, it encompasses people who try to use sustainable sex products, or who enjoy skinny dipping and naked hiking. On the other are “people who roll around in the dirt having an orgasm covered in potting soil,” she said. “There are people who **** trees, or masturbate under a waterfall.”

. . . Morgan and [writer-activist Stefanie Iris] Weiss both say that they also see sex as a potentially powerful tool for motivating people to make the environment a priority. As Weiss put it: “If you’re running from floods, you won’t have any time for sex.”


About Ben Boychuk

Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. He is a former weekly syndicated columnist with Tribune Media, and a veteran of several publications, including City Journal, Investor's Business Daily, and the Claremont Review of Books. He lives in California.

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2 responses to “Great Reads for Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016”

  1. David Frum has gone off the deep end. He is the quintessential member of the Holt’s “Ungrateful Bastards” caucus. As for the article itself it is so unhistorical and nonsensical that words would be wasted debunking it.

    • Frum still feels he has to crawl over broken glass for ‘Axis of Evil’.