More from Right Wing News’ Top 25 Conservative Columnists of 2009:
“The dilemma Congress always faces, when it messes with the economy, was aptly described in a Negro spiritual play by Marcus Cook Connelly titled “Green Pastures.” In it, God laments to the angel Gabriel, “Every time Ah passes a miracle, Ah has to pass fo’ or five mo’ to ketch up wid it,” adding, “Even bein God ain’t no bed of roses.” When Congress creates a miracle for one American, it creates a non-miracle for another. After that, Congress has to create a compensatory miracle. Many years ago, I used to testify before Congress, something I refuse to do now. At several of the hearings, I urged Congress to get out of the miracle business and leave miracle making up to God.”
“How can political commentators, politicians and academics get away with statements like “Reagan budget deficits,” “Clinton budget surplus,” “Bush budget deficits” or “Obama’s tax increases”? Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution reads: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.” A president has no power to raise or lower taxes. A president cannot spend a dime that Congress does not first appropriate. That means that credit for a budget surplus or blame for budget deficits rests on the congressional majority at the time.”
“Where in the U.S. Constitution does it authorize Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance? If Congress gets away with forcing us to buy health insurance, down the line, what else will they force us to buy; or do you naively think they will stop with health insurance? Which way is our nation heading, tiny steps at a time? Are we headed toward more liberty, or are we headed toward greater government control over our lives? I think the answer is unambiguously the latter — more government control over our lives. Are there any signs on the horizon that the direction is going to change?”
11.) David Limbaugh:
It’s the Republican Party that’s in trouble, not conservatism. The GOP’s shrinkage can’t be because it’s too conservative. George W. Bush, our most recent Republican president, was hardly an extreme conservative. His most outspoken critics today include wide swaths of conservatives who decried his failure to rein in federal spending and control illegal immigration, among other things.
And the GOP’s 2008 presidential candidate, John McCain, was hardly a staunch conservative, either, lest he would never have been the liberal media’s favorite Republican. McCain didn’t lose because of any extreme conservatism. Nor did Obama win because he was honest about his liberalism, which he denied every time he was confronted about it.
10.) Karl Rove:
“Yes,” he said. “I’m a pretty good orthopedic surgeon. When my younger son is deployed to Iraq next March, I would like to be working as a Navy medical officer, but they won’t let me because I am 61 years old. Will you give me an age waiver, Mr. President?” Mr. Bush pointed to me. Dr. Krissoff and I exchanged business cards and he promised to fax me his application.
I checked him out on the way back to Washington. His reputation was that of an outstanding trauma and sports medicine surgeon. He was also a marathon runner and a really fine person.
Two days later, I placed Bill’s application on the president’s desk before he met with Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I made sure Gen. Pace had the file when he left. He promised to get back soon with an answer. I told him that he would have to get back to someone else: The next day was my last day at the White House. One of the last things I did before turning in my badge was to write Bill Krissoff to wish him well.
A day later, I was in West Texas for the start of dove season. While waiting for the next flight of birds, I realized I hadn’t written Mrs. Krissoff. So I sat down that night at the Gage Hotel in Marathon and did. She had already lost her oldest son. Her younger son was preparing to deploy to Iraq. Meanwhile, her husband wanted to give up their comfortable life, career and friends so he could honor their sons by joining the military at age 61. And she had given her full, heartfelt support.
Watching the smoke rise from the Battle of Bunker Hill, Abigail Adams wrote her husband John, who was away at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. While she and others lived “in continual Expectation of Hostility,” Abigail wrote, “like good Nehemiah, having made our prayer with God, and set the people with their Swords, their Spears, and their bows, we will say unto them, Be not affraid of them.”
Christine Krissoff’s husband and sons, wrapped in prayers and armed with swords and scalpels, have served our nation with valor. So has she. So long as our nation produces families like the Krissoffs, America will remain not only the greatest nation on earth, but also the most noble in history.
9.) Robert Samuelson:
“Barack Obama’s quest for historic health care legislation has turned into a parody of leadership. We usually associate presidential leadership with the pursuit of goals that, though initially unpopular, serve America’s long-term interests. Obama has reversed this. He’s championing increasingly unpopular legislation that threatens the country’s long-term interests. This legislation is a monstrosity; the country would be worse for its passage. What it’s become is an exercise in political symbolism: Obama’s self-indulgent crusade to seize the liberal holy grail of “universal coverage.” What it’s not is leadership.”
“Consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal requiring permits for large industrial facilities emitting 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually. New plants or expansions would need permits demonstrating they’re using “the best practices and technologies” (whatever they might be) to minimize six greenhouse gases. Permits would be granted on a case-by-case basis; the proposed rule is 416 pages of dense legalese. How could this promote investment and job creation, except for lawyers and consultants? Government erects many employment obstacles: restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling; unapproved trade agreements; some regulations. But reducing these barriers would require the Obama administration to choose between its professed interest in more jobs and its many other goals — a choice it has so far avoided.”
8.) Charles Krauthammer:
When John F. Kennedy pledged to go to the moon, he meant it. He had an intense personal commitment to the enterprise. He delivered speeches remembered to this day. He dedicated astronomical sums to make it happen.
Today the manned space program will die for want of $3 billion a year — 1/300th of last year’s stimulus package with its endless make-work projects that will leave not a trace on the national consciousness.
Obama’s NASA budget perfectly captures the difference in spirit between Kennedy’s liberalism and Obama’s. Kennedy’s was an expansive, bold, outward-looking summons. Obama’s is a constricted, inward-looking call to retreat. Fifty years ago, Kennedy opened the New Frontier. Obama has just shut it.
7.) John Stossel:
If competition is a discovery process, the congressional bills would impose the opposite of competition. They would forbid real choice.
In place of the variety of products that competition would generate, we would be forced “choose” among virtually identical insurance plans. Government would define these plans down to the last detail. Every one would have at least the same “basic” coverage, including physical exams, maternity benefits, well-baby care, alcoholism treatment and mental-health services. Consumers could not buy a cheap, high-deductible catastrophic policy. Every insurance company would have to use an identical government-designed pricing structure. Steven Horwitz:
“By what method exactly will the officials know how to allocate resources? By what method will they know how much of what kind of health care people want? And more important, by what method will they know how to produce that health care without wasting resources? In markets with good institutions, profit-seeking producers can get answers to these questions by observing prices and their own profits and losses in order to determine which uses of resources are more or less valuable to consumers.”
Profit is the key to competition. Anyone who claims to favor competition but looks down at profit has no idea what he is talking about.
6.) Michelle Malkin:
The two most important questions for society, according to the Greek philosopher Plato, are these: What will we teach our children? And who will teach them? Left-wing celebrities have teamed up with one of America’s most radical historians to take control of the classroom in the name of “social justice.” Parents, beware: This Hollywood-backed Marxist education project may be coming to a school near you.
On Sunday, Dec. 13, the History Channel will air “The People Speak” — a documentary based on Marxist academic Howard Zinn’s capitalism-bashing, America-dissing, grievance-mongering history textbook, “A People’s History of the United States.” The film was co-produced and bankrolled by Zinn’s Boston neighbor and mentee Matt Damon. An all-star cast of Bush-bashing liberals, including Danny Glover, Josh Brolin, Bruce Springsteen, Marisa Tomei and Eddie Vedder, will appear. Zinn’s work is a self-proclaimed “biased account” of American history that rails against white oppressors, the free market and the military.
Zinn’s objective is not to impart knowledge, but to instigate “change” and nurture a political “counterforce” (an echo of fellow radical academic and Hugo Chavez admirer Bill Ayers’ proclamation of education as the “motor-force of revolution”). Teachers are not supposed to teach facts in the school of Zinn. “There is no such thing as pure fact,” Zinn asserts. Educators are not supposed to emphasize individual academic achievement. Ann Pelo disparages “a too-heavy focus on academic skills” in favor of “social justice and ecological teaching” for preschoolers.
Teaching for Change’s objective, in Obama-esque fashion, is to train students not to achieve actual proficiency in core academic subjects, but to inspire them to “become active global citizens.” Today’s non-achieving aspirants are tomorrow’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, after all.
5.) Victor Davis Hanson:
Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true.
1. Obama now rails against a pernicious Washington and its insiders: ergo, Obama controls Washington through both houses of Congress and the White House, and wants to expand Washington’s control…
2. Obama bashes the Supreme Court on weakening public efforts to curb campaign contributions. Therefore, we know Obama has done more than any other president in destroying public campaign financing by being the first presidential candidate in a general election to refuse public funds — in confidence that he could raise a record $1 billion, much of it from big moneyed interests on Wall Street. […and from overseas, which he also blasted the Court about!–ed.]
3. Obama calls for a freeze on government spending and deplores deficits. Hence, we know that…the Obama record budget deficits that will continue to grow well over an annual $1.5 trillion a year — as Obama piles up the greatest budgetary shortfalls in any four-year presidential term in history.
4.) Jonah Goldberg:
For many people, the idea that he is a Muslim fanatic, motivated by other Muslim fanatics, was — at least initially — too terrible to contemplate. How else to explain the reflexive insistence after the attack that the real culprit was post-traumatic stress disorder? The fact that PTSD is usually diagnosed in people who’ve been through trauma (hence the “post”), and that Hasan had never seen combat, didn’t seem to matter much. Apparently the “P” in PTSD can now stand for “pre.”
A few months ago, an anti-Semitic old nut named James von Brunn allegedly took a gun to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to get payback against “the Jews” and killed a black security guard in the process. In response to this horrific crime, the leading lights of American liberalism knew who was to blame: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the GOP. One writer for the Huffington Post put it succinctly: “Thank you very much Karl Rove and your minions.”
The fact that Von Brunn was a 9/11 “truther” who railed against capitalism, neocons, and the Bush administration didn’t matter. Nor did the glaring lack of evidence that Rove et al. ever showed antipathy for the museum. It was simply obvious that Von Brunn was the offspring of the “right-wing extremism (that) is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment,” wrote columnist Paul Krugman.
If only Hasan were a fan of Glenn Beck!
We have a real problem when much of the political and journalistic establishment is eager to jump to the conclusion that peaceful political opponents are in league with violent extremists, but is terrified to consider the possibility that violent extremists really are violent extremists if doing so means calling attention to the fact that they are Muslims.
3.) Mark Steyn:
The Reuters headline put it this way: “Pirates Pose Annoying Distraction For Obama.”
So many distractions, aren’t there? The sub-headline of the Reuters story suggests the unprecedented pace at which the mountain of distractions is piling up: “First North Korea, Iran — now Somali pirates.”
Er, okay. So the North Korean test is a “distraction,” the Iranian nuclear program is a “distraction,” and the seizure of a U.S.-flagged vessel in international waters is a “distraction.” Maybe it would be easier just to have the official State Department maps reprinted with the Rest of the World relabeled “Distractions.” Oh, to be sure, you could still have occasional oases of presidential photo-opportunities — Buckingham Palace, that square in Prague — but with the land beyond the edge of the Queen’s gardens ominously marked “Here be distractions . . . ”
As it happens, Somali piracy is not a distraction, but a glimpse of the world the day after tomorrow. In my book America Alone, I quote Robert D. Kaplan referring to the lawless fringes of the map as “Indian Territory.” It’s a droll jest but a misleading one, since the very phrase presumes that the badlands will one day be brought within the bounds of the ordered world. In fact, a lot of today’s badlands were relatively ordered not so long ago, and many of them are getting badder and badder by the day.
[I]f the United States Navy hanged some eyepatched peglegged blackguard from the yardarm or made him walk the plank, pious senators would rise to denounce an America that no longer lived up to its highest ideals, and the network talking-heads would argue that Plankgate was recruiting more and more young men to the pirates’ cause, and judges would rule that pirates were entitled to the protections of the U.S. constitution and that their peglegs had to be replaced by high-tech prosthetic limbs at taxpayer expense.
Meanwhile, the Royal Navy, which over the centuries did more than anyone to rid the civilized world of the menace of piracy, now declines even to risk capturing their Somali successors, having been advised by Her Majesty’s Government that, under the European Human Rights Act, any pirate taken into custody would be entitled to claim refugee status in the United Kingdom and live on welfare for the rest of his life. I doubt Pirates of the Caribbean would have cleaned up at the box office if the big finale had shown Geoffrey Rush and his crew of scurvy sea dogs settling down in council flats in Manchester and going down to the pub for a couple of jiggers of rum washed down to cries of “Aaaaargh, shiver me benefits check, lad.” From “Avast, me hearties!” to a vast welfare scam is not progress.
As my colleague Andrew McCarthy [who belongs on this list!–ed.] wrote, “Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn’t recede willingly before the wheels of progress.” Very true. Somalia, Iran, and North Korea are all less “civilized” than they were a couple of generations ago. And yet in one sense they have made undeniable progress: They have globalized their pathologies. Somali pirates seize vessels the size of aircraft carriers flying the ensigns of the great powers. Iranian proxies run Gaza and much of Lebanon. North Korea’s impoverished prison state provides nuclear technology to Damascus and Tehran. Unlovely as it is, Pyongyang nevertheless has friends on the Security Council. Powerful states protect one-man psycho states. One-man psycho states provide delivery systems to apocalyptic ideological states. Apocalyptic ideological states fund non-state actors around the world. And in Somalia and elsewhere non-state actors are constrained only by their ever increasing capabilities.
When all the world’s a “distraction,” maybe you’re not the main event after all. Most wealthy nations lack the means to defend themselves. Those few that do, lack the will. Meanwhile, basket-case jurisdictions send out ever-bolder freelance marauders to prey on the civilized world with impunity. Don’t be surprised if “the civilized world” shrivels and retreats in the face of state-of-the-art reprimitivization. From piracy to nukes to the limp response of the hyperpower, this is not a “distraction” but a portent of the future.
2.) Ann Coulter:
Being ranked one of the worst presidents by “historians” is like being called “anti-American” by the Nation magazine. And by “historian,” I mean a former member of the Weather Underground, who is subsidized by the taxpayer to engage in left-wing political activism in a cushy university job.
At the time, historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. dismissed Reagan as “a nice, old uncle, who comes in and all the kids are glad to see him. He sits around telling stories, and they’re all fond of him, but they don’t take him too seriously” — and then Schlesinger fell asleep in his soup.
Even liberal historian Richard Reeves blanched at Reagan’s low ranking in 1989, saying, “I was no fan of Reagan, but I think I know a leader when I see one.” Reagan changed the country, Reeves said, and some would say “he changed the world, making communism irrelevant and the globe safe for the new imperialism of free-market capitalism.” In Reeves’ most inspiring line, he says Reagan “was a man of conservative principle and he damned near destroyed American liberalism.”
Soon after he took office, President Reagan famously hung a portrait of President Calvin Coolidge in the Cabinet Room — another (Republican) president considered a failure by historians. Coolidge cut taxes, didn’t get the country in any wars, cut the national debt almost in half, and presided over a calm, scandal-free administration, a period of peace, 17.5 percent growth in the gross national product, low inflation (.4 percent) and low unemployment (3.6 percent).
Unlike some recent presidents with Islamic middle names, he didn’t run around comparing himself to Lincoln constantly. Putting preposterously overrated presidents like John F. Kennedy or FDR in the same category as Reagan or Washington is like a teenage girl ranking the Jonas Brothers with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles as the three greatest bands of all time.
Liberals may call him a “war criminal,” but historians have inadvertently paid Bush a great tribute this week by ranking him as a “below average” president. I can only dream that, someday, no-name, left-wing historians will rank me as one of the all-time worst columnists.
1.) Thomas Sowell:
They say talk is cheap. But in fact it can be devastatingly expensive. Among the generation of Germans who were enthralled by Hitler’s eloquence, millions paid with their lives and their children’s lives for empowering this demagogue to lead them to ruin and infamy.
Do not for one moment think that we are either intellectually or morally superior to those Germans who put Hitler in power. We have been saved by our institutions and our traditions — the very institutions and traditions that so many are so busy eroding or dismantling, whether in classrooms or court rooms or in the halls of Congress and the White House.
Talk matters for good reasons as well as bad. Anyone familiar with the desperate predicament of Britain in 1940, when it stood alone against the Nazi juggernaut that had smashed whole nations in weeks or even days, knows how crucial Winston Churchill’s command of the English language was to sustaining the national will, which was the margin between survival and annihilation.
Unfortunately, people on the make seem to have a keener appreciation of the power of words, as the magic road to other power, than do people defending values that seem to them too obvious to require words. The expression, “It goes without saying. . .” is a fatal trap. Few things go without saying. Some of the most valuable things in life may go away without saying — whether loved ones in one’s personal life or the freedom or survival of a nation.
Barack Obama is today’s most prominent example of the power of words. Conversely, the understated patrician style of country club Republicans is no small part of their many problems. It is no accident that by far the most successful Republican politician of our lifetime — Ronald Reagan — was a man who did not come from that country club background but someone who was born among the people and who knew how to communicate with the people.
Words can shield the most blatant reality. Legislation to take away workers’ rights to a secret ballot, when deciding whether or not they want to be represented by a labor union, is called the “Employees’ Freedom of Choice Act.” The merits or demerits of this legislation have seldom been debated. Who could be against “freedom of choice”?
The Obama administration’s new budget, with deficits that make previous irresponsible deficits look like child’s play, has a cover that says “A New Era of Responsibility.” You want responsibility? He’ll give you the word “responsibility.” Why not? It costs nothing.
Wow–now I see why I’m not on the list this year. But I’ll keep on trying. Congrats to all those fine authors.