Ten Is Too Few


Yes, it’s unwieldy: 10 GOP candidates on one stage,  at the Reagan Library, May

Last week, Fox News announced its guidelines for the first debate among presidential contenders endorsed by the Republican National Committee (RNC). The network plans to invite the top 10 candidates, with the ranking determined by an average of the five most recent national opinion polls before the August 6 event. This is similar to the approach it has taken in previous cycles.

Following historical precedent is often smart. In addition, using a hard-and-fast metric, like a candidate’s poll position, is better than subjective criteria to determine whether a candidate is “serious.”

However, Fox has adopted the wrong approach, and the RNC is wrong to endorse it. Several problems stand out: 

The “margin of error” in polling does not disappear when one averages polls together. For instance, five polls with 750 respondents apiece would still yield a margin of error of ...


Three Boomer Presidents Are Enough


Last week, Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin convened a focus group of Iowa Democrats to discuss Hillary Rodham Clinton. They were Ready for Hillary. Indeed, they were enthusiastic about the prospect. But when Halperin asked them to name an accomplishment of Hillary as secretary of state, ...


Feminist Enemy Number One

Christina Hoff Sommers might need a safe space.


Christina Hoff Sommers speaks at Wagner College in New York, April 7, 2010.  At

Lately, there’s a lot of talk among feminists about the need to keep women safe. The rape culture is allegedly inescapable, and trigger warnings are appended to college syllabi to protect sensitive souls from reminders of any past cause of pain, from “neuro-atypical shaming” to mention of “how much a person weighs.” But it turns out that if you dare to debunk feminist myths, you’re the one that really needs protection. 

For years now, Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys, has been promoting what she calls, in the title of her latest book, Freedom Feminism. This view, she writes, “stands for the moral, social, and legal equality of the sexes,” but also for women’s freedom—including the freedom to embrace traditional femininity. “Efforts to obliterate gender roles can be just as intolerant as the efforts to maintain them,” she writes, and “theories of universal ...

TWS photo Illustration; Clown, Will heaton

Big (Phony) Data

A study in credulity.


When a new study came out late last year proving​—​scientifically!​—​how easy it is to turn opponents of gay marriage into supporters, the political scientist Andrew Gelman managed to summarize his reaction in a single unscientific word: “Wow!”

He ...

Bolton speaking at CPAC, February 27, 2015

Lessons from a Non-Candidacy

The GOP field gets a little less crowded.


On May 14, I joined a tiny, highly exclusive group of Republicans, namely those who have decided not to seek our party’s presidential nomination. By contrast, the coach section of the party contains perhaps two dozen people who have announced (or soon will) their availability. Good ...

U.S. tanks roll under the ‘Hands of Victory’  in Baghdad, November 2003.

Hindsight? Feh.

If you knew what you know now . . .


The latest craze in the presidential campaign is to ask the contenders (on the Republican side) whether they would have invaded Iraq if you knew what you know now. The answer is supposed to be obvious. Jeb Bush got himself into some trouble by answering the more important ...

McConnell, left, and Boehner: It’s all about the base.

Political Healing

An outreach campaign from Capitol Hill to grassroots Republicans.


At long last one of the nastiest rifts in the Republican party is being dealt with. It’s not the divide between conservatives and moderates. Nor does it involve who’s right about how to cut taxes, supply-siders or reform conservatives. This rift is bigger. It’s between ...

Bernini’s Rape of Persephone

Reading Ovid at Columbia

A Victorian solution for delicate sensibilities.


They’re outraged, the students at Columbia University—outraged that their professors would dare to put Ovid on mandatory reading lists, outraged that the ancient Roman author doesn’t share their sensitivities, outraged that a modern education would include something so .  .  . ...


Not Ready for Hillary

Bernie Sanders is no joke


Bernie Sanders calling for tuition-free  higher education, May 19, 2015

Burlington, Vt. -- The senator was returning to the place where it had all begun for him. Almost 40 years ago, to the surprise of practically everyone, perhaps including himself, he had been elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city and the only one with any real claim to the title. Back then, students from the University of Vermont, mobilized by his energetic grassroots campaign, had contributed significantly to his 10-vote margin of victory. Now he was back, at the student union, on a very cold night in February to speak of many things, including the possibility that he would run for president. He had been saying that he was thinking seriously about it. Which translated, if you lived in Vermont, into, “He’s running.” He had, after all, been running for something here in Vermont long before most of the people in his audience were born. Even before their parents were born.

Though Bernie ...

Thomas Fluharty

Slow Release

A few more documents from the bin Laden raid are finally revealed. They do not flatter the judgment of the Obama administration.


After four years of fierce internecine battles and inexplicable delays, the intelligence community last week started the process of releasing more documents captured in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) posted on ...

Books & Arts

Poor Relations

The rise and fall of our Neanderthal cousins.


Neanderthal family models in ‘Ice Age Giants’ exhibition, Garding, Germany (2011

Pity the poor Neanderthals, our prehistoric cousins. The first Neanderthal fossils were discovered in a place of that name in Germany in 1856. Archaeologists have since turned up fossils ranging from Protoneanderthals and Transition Neanderthals to Classic Neanderthals at about 75 sites from Western Europe to Central Asia. In examining the recovered fossils, tools, and other remains, archaeologists have attempted to reconstruct the lives, habitats, and habits of these archaic humans. Since all living non-Africans share, on average, 2.5 percent Neanderthal DNA, the question of their relationship to modern humans has fascinated scholars and the public alike.

There have been two theories concerning the disappearance of Neanderthals from the archaeological record about 30,000 years ago. One ascribes a primary role to the effects of radical and ...

Franklin Raines: ‘We manage our political risk with the same intensity that we m

Mortgage Madness

Blame for the 2008 financial collapse is, and should be, widespread.


In The Semisovereign People, political scientist E. E. Schatt-schneider argues that “political conflict is not like an intercollegiate debate in which the opponents agree in advance on a definition of the issues. As a matter of fact, the definition ...

Shelley Memorial, University College, Oxford

Isn’t It Romantic

The late Peter Gay underestimates the movement.


Peter Gay, who died May 12 at the age of 91, had a long and estimable academic career, writing “groundbreaking books on the Enlightenment, the Victorian middle classes, Sigmund Freud, Weimar culture and the cultural situation of Jews ...

Chinese destroyer ‘Harbin’ visits Pearl Harbor (1997).

Numero Uno

The not-so-secret Chinese strategy for global supremacy.


Warning against the threat from China has been a staple of national security literature since at least the late 1990s. This genre typically begins by compiling a list of the most alarming statistics related to China’s economic potential, ...

Eighth-floor gallery: exposed roof beams and slanted skylights

Whitney’s New Digs

Alas, the very model of a modern major museum.


New York
In 1966, the Whitney Museum of American Art moved into a new building designed by Marcel Breuer that perfectly embodied its institutional contempt for museum-goers. Building and curatorship worked ...

Ferguson Jenkins

A Fable for Moderns

The Cubs will win the World Series. And the Fed will raise interest rates.


The very old ones—los viejos—still tell the tale of the Cubs and the Fed. 

As children, they heard stories about the legendary Cubs squads of the past, teams with players like Tinkers and Evers and Chance, Banks and Santo, ...


Among Fans

David Bahr, sports fan*


jori bolton

I used to watch sports on television in the same episodic and grudging manner I would tune in to C-SPAN. The proceedings mattered little, but I picked up useful information. It made me better at water cooler conversation—I got passing references to Monday night’s game. 

Then something changed. It happened during the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, and it’s been converting me into a fan of televised sports—admittedly, a fan with an asterisk.

Before we get to
that experience, though, some history. I grew up playing sports and loving it. Whether running track alone or playing on a soccer team, I was at it almost every day, from elementa0ry school through high school. Sure, I slowed down in college and graduate school, and now that I’m starting to see soft middle age on the horizon, a hint of duty has crept into my jogging. I’ve even started lifting weights with my health in mind. But ...


Once a Clintonite . . .

Poster near ‘Good Morning America’ studios, May 21

Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, seems to be a victim of the law of unintended consequences. His book lays out, in lurid detail, what it claims in its subtitle: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. And it must be said, coverage in the media has generally been favorable: Even publications prone to admire the Clintons (the New York Times, for example) have treated with respect Schweizer’s chapter-and-verse account of corruption and influence-peddling in Clintonland.

But while Clinton Cash may or may not influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign, its most prominent victim, thus far, has not been Hillary or Bill Clinton but their old friend and sometime colleague George Stephanopoulos. And truth to tell, Stephanopoulos has only himself to blame: When, in late April, he conducted a distinctly hostile interview with ...

Pass it On

Crime and Punishment

Between the early 1950s and mid-1990s, crime rates rose steadily across the United States. Crime destroyed neighborhoods, ruined lives, and topped public opinion polls of the issues Americans cared about most.

Unsurprisingly, politicians from both ...


Stories We Stopped Reading

"Alexandra Svokos was six years old, growing up in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, when she became a Hillary Clinton fan” (“Not What You’d Expect: What Young Feminists Think of Hillary Clinton,” National Journal, May 16, 2015).

Henry Sokolski

Must Reading

In the release last week of a few more documents from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, the director of national intelligence included a list of the English-language books that were found in bin Laden’s possession. Among them, The Scrapbook was pleased to see, was ...


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