Articles by Bill Asher

Nancy Pelosi’s Wow! Signal

If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants to retain her gavel, she should use her megaphone. She should speak into her papier-mâché trumpet, so she may change sets before viewers change the channel. She should change the story to fit the season, or switch the plot and production, because Frank Capra’s most political film is […]

The Trial of John Roberts

The four-minute walk from the Supreme Court Building to the north wing of the Capitol represents not only a change of venue but a transfer of power. Between the time Chief Justice John Roberts leaves his marble palace and enters the people’s house, in the time it takes him to walk 290 feet from his […]

Quentin Tarantino’s
Film of the Year

The best film of 2019 is a fairy tale about 1969. The film ends with words of beginning. The film elides the end of five lives by giving viewers the ending they deserve. The film ends with the start of the title card: “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood.” The film is […]

‘The Irishman’ Stinks

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is an Irishman without wit, charm, charisma, comedy, tragedy, or drink. He reeks not of whiskey, but of AirWick®. He induces the phantom smell of pine, so as to lessen the stench of piss. He looks like a man—an old man—who stinks, who bears the odor of infirmity and incontinence, who absorbs […]

‘The Mandalorian’ Is
Must-See TV

The gust of wind. The glare of ice. The glint of metal. Between the elements outside and the forces inside, between the opening of a door that dilates like an iris and the turning of a camera that acts as an eye—between panning the room and focusing on a stranger with his back to the […]

Dispatches From the Administrative State

When a member of the military pulls rank on a ranking member of Congress, when he politicizes his service by admonishing a public servant, when he acts as if the ribbons pinned to his jacket are more legitimate than the pin every congressman wears, when he uses his uniform to command attention—and attempts to commandeer […]

In Memoriam: John F. Kennedy

He came to the Lone Star State as the leader of all 50 states. He came as the man who had finished first in America’s second-largest city. He came to Dallas in 1963 as he had come to Chicago in 1960, like a bronze warrior for peace. He left as the first president to have […]

The Lexus and the Cherry Tree

Despite the adage about Carnegie Hall, the rule about practice does not apply to that musician of language known as Tom Friedman. Because Friedman, whose walrus mustache makes him look like a king among burghers and the in-house philosopher of Burger King, also looks like a 19th-century soldier in a 21st-century world. He looks like […]

Democrats and Double Standards

When a politician weakens the dollar and strengthens the price of gold, when his policies undercut the American farmer and enrich America’s strongest foe, when he goes against the grain in so many ways, angering the friends of liberty while befriending the enemies of freedom, critics call him a genius. When another politician leaves his […]

Deadspin in a Tailspin

The invisible hand of self-interest is the right hand of moral sentiments. The charity we give, the alms we perform, the deeds we do, all this depends on the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. To do otherwise is to see the overly sentimental surrender to the overtly sinister. To see […]

Not Enough Crosses,
Not Enough Rows

What the Greeks mythologized one man sought to materialize. Blinded by the vanity of his head and the certainty of his heart, this child of the South owed his faith to the North’s southernmost institution.  From the burning but flourishing bush of the Presbyterian Church, to flourishing under the God of Princeton University, this man […]

The Boy Who Cried Wolf’s Lair

By approving the rules on an impeachment inquiry, by having each member of the House of Representatives vote on this resolution, by revealing the number of votes in favor of this resolution, by recording the names of each voter, by entering each vote into the Congressional Record, by making the votes accessible in print and […]

Hillary Clinton and
the Politics of Gibberish

Forget the words of TV sponsors, because no pitchman—not even a person from a fifth dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity, not even a host and narrator in the prime of his life—could convince a prime-time audience to enter the imagination of a political hack, who also coughs like a smoker, […]

The ‘Back to School’ Election

What to call the 2020 election? Call it the “Back to School” election, after the film of the same name, in which Donald Trump is the Rodney Dangerfield of presidents; rather, Dangerfield is a Trump-like mogul named Thornton Melon, who runs his own company—and runs from his conniving, adulterous second wife—while running (and diving) to […]

The New York Times and Impeachment

When a newspaper denies a holocaust and underreports the Holocaust, when nameless millions lie alongside the victims of a crime without a name, when the souls of the dead feed the soil with their ashes, when a country is a cemetery with a flag and a former killing field on behalf of the twin banners […]

The Death of the
Washington Post

If democracy dies in darkness, common sense ends in the newsroom of the Washington Post. All sense of decency fades to black amidst the bleeding of a thousand screens, hemorrhaging both the light source and life force of plasma until the only glow that remains is the patina from the horsebit on Ben Bradlee’s Gucci […]

Bret Stephens Plays War

In his siren suit and slippers, atop a stack of bound but leftover newspapers from September 30, 1938, next to a butter dish of an ashtray and a mimeographed sheet of the Munich Agreement, sits Bret Stephens: the Newseum’s in-house performance artist. A Chamberlain of a Churchill, he commands a column of one. He types […]

Pete Buttigieg: America’s Unelected High School Class President

From a politician who tweets like a Frenchman to a presidential candidate who acts like one, Pete Buttigieg is Mitt Romney with dermabrasion and a Just For Men® (indeed!) dye job. Mayor of America’s 306th largest city, Buttigieg brings the hauteur of Harvard to the heartland. He brings his passive-aggressive style to South Bend and […]

McRaven and Mattis:
The M&M’s of Perpetual War

Give writers their pens, soldiers their swords. Do not, however, salute old warriors who write in defense of war without end. Do not let retired admirals and generals end the peace with their pieces about the honors of war. Not the horrors of war, of the dead and disfigured, of the living dead who have […]

The Forbidden (Magic) Kingdom: Hong Kong Disneyland

The poorest wage slave is braver than the richest slave driver. To prove this point look at the view from the highest point. Cross the trails and climb the mountain to reach the peak, so as to see the traffic on Boundary Street. Witness a sea of protesters, in contrast to an island of conformists […]