Obama’s Failure


Military parade in Tehran

Barack Obama wants us all to simmer down about Iran. He wants Senator Bob Menendez, a fellow Democrat, and the donors he represents to butt out of the sanctions debate. He wants Republicans to quit crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He wants the media to stop hyping terror threats. He wants the American people in the dark about the secret correspondence he’s had for years with Iran’s supreme leader. He wants John Boehner to be mindful of protocol. And most of all, he wants Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop questioning his accommodationist approach to Tehran.

With the breezy confidence that is his trademark, the president has repeatedly delivered a reassuring message on Iran to the country and the world: Trust me.

With respect, Mr. President: No.

From the earliest moments of his first term, Obama sought to convince the ...

A patriot and a nationalist

Netanyahu’s Moment


Sometimes a speech is just a speech. Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech about Iran policy on March 3 will not be his first address to Congress. It will make familiar, if important, arguments. One might assume that, like the vast majority of speeches, it would soon be overtaken by events ...


The Chris Christie Comeback Tour

Down but not out.


Gary Locke

Moorestown, N.J.
A Chris Christie town hall feels a little like a rock concert. In this community recreation center in South Jersey, nearly 500 people are seated on the basketball court or in bleachers, forming a semicircle around the space where the big man will speak on a chilly February afternoon. The speaker system is pumping out Springsteen song after Springsteen song (including, wink wink, “Born to Run”). One of Christie’s staff members confidently takes the microphone, does a final sound check for the 15 TV cameras, and welcomes the audience. “Have any questions for me?” the staffer asks. He pauses for a beat while the audience stays quiet. “No one ever does,” he deadpans, and the crowd laughs. As warm-up acts go, he’s not bad.

Minutes later, the hefty (but noticeably trimmer) star of the show bounds out from behind a curtain. Christie shakes a few hands and grabs the mike to begin. As ...

Adam Laxalt, Scott Pruitt

Full Court Press

The Republican state AGs continue to be Obama’s most ­formidable opponents.


President Obama’s legacy is in jeopardy. The fates of his main achievements—Obamacare, his amnesty for five million illegal immigrants, the Dodd-Frank financial institution reforms—are now in the hands of the federal courts.

This is extraordinary. ...


Retaking Mosul

It won’t be easy.


In late 2001, when initial military operations in Afghanistan produced surprising successes, the opening skit on Saturday Night Live was a send-up of the daily press conference given by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Actor Darrell Hammond made a perfect Rummy, ...

A worrisome resemblance

Appeasement in Our Time

One unforced error after another.


Is Barack Obama another Neville Chamberlain? I’ve been reluctant to make the comparison, but as talks with Iran have unfolded, it’s become impossible not to think of the 1938 Munich conference, where Britain and France agreed that strategically and economically vital Czech ...

...and harder to ditch than it might seem.

Be Prepared

How to respond if the Court ends Obamacare ­subsidies.


Few people expect much to happen on health care in the 114th Congress, certainly not President Obama. He plans to continue bending and twisting his interpretation of Obamacare’s many complex provisions as necessary to keep it afloat and to avoid dealing at all with ...

Gary Locke

Iran as Partner

Obama’s deep game.


Last week it was reported that the White House and Iran may be moving toward a deal over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. The proposed phased agreement, lasting 10-15 years, would initially attempt to freeze the program. But during the last years of the agreement, Iran would be allowed ...

Leopoldo Lopez goes into custody, February 18, 2014.

Implausible Deniability

Lame excuses by sinister governments have a ­purpose.


Santiago, Chile
Across Latin America there are a slew of cases in which governments are engaging in more or less transparent misconduct, ranging from simple corruption to repression to murder, and offering patently implausible excuses. The litany ...

Maybe fantasizing will help: Berkeley, 2014.

The Lowdown on Higher Education

A crisis in search of better answers.


Scott Walker was never going to win fans among the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. Four years ago, Wisconsin professors were in the state capitol protesting the governor’s plans to limit public employee collective bargaining powers. But, boy, did he make enemies this month ...

Notorious R.B.G. dozes off...

The Justice and Her Fans

The progressive cult of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


Like many Americans, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg napped through a portion of the president’s 2015 State of the Union address. This was hardly important news—she was caught napping during the 2013 address, too—but the story made a splash anyway, helped ...


Hidden in Plain Sight

What the Democrats hope you will keep on ignoring about Obama’s foreign policy


Jason Seiler

President Obama has ignored the recent history of U.S. foreign policy, faithfully repeating failed strategies and turning his back on successes. The pattern is so strange and striking, we can almost hear it trying to tell us something. The something is this: You cannot be a nationalist and a globalist simultaneously; not if you take either of those ideologies seriously. The president takes them very seriously, and has made it clear that he is not a nationalist but a globalist.

Globalists believe that nations should act together. Globalists denigrate or dismiss such ideas as national interests, traditional alliances, and traditional enmities. They believe in the interests of ethnic communities or peoples and of the world as a whole, not of old-fashioned nations. They recoil from traditional alliances, which fracture the seamless world community into small-scale liaisons. Because they reject national interests, they reject traditional ...

Jason Seiler

Violent Extremist vs. Holy Warrior

The consequences of the president’s linguistic dodge


Is Barack Hussein Obama wrong to avoid appending “Islamic,” “Muslim,” “Islamist,” or even “jihadist” to the terrorism that has struck the West with increasing ferocity since the 1990s? This question has at least two parts: Is the president historically correct to do this? And is he ...

Books & Arts

Israel’s ‘Old Man’

The long life, and longer reach, of David Ben-Gurion


David Ben-Gurion at the opening of the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (1948)

In one of his more whimsical short stories, the late Israeli satirist Efraim Kishon pits two characters against one another in a game of “Jewish poker,” a game “played without cards, in your head, as befits the People of the Book.” The rules are simple: Whoever thinks of a higher number wins the round. In the end, one character, sure of his triumph, reports that he has thought of infinity. The other, not to be outdone, cries, “Ben-Gurion!” and takes the pot. Both players accept that there can be no higher.

In a concise new biography, Anita Shapira, professor emerita of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University and doyenne of Israeli historians, expertly charts David Ben-Gurion’s transformation from labor leader (as secretary-general of the Histadrut, or General Federation of Jewish Labor, 1921-35) to national figure (as prime minister, 1948-53, and minister of defense, 1955-63). Along the way, she gives us the materials to understand why Israel’s ...

Edgar Allen Poe

Poe’s Shadow

A look at the laureate of self-destructiveness


There he is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper, tottering between Carl Jung and Fred Astaire, breathing fumes over Marilyn Monroe’s bare back and William Burroughs’s bald pate. Edgar Allan Poe, the original Man in Black—before Johnny Cash, before the Beatles in Hamburg, before ...

Mary Stuart, Lynn Loring, Karl Weber in ‘Search for Tomorrow’ (1955)

One Man’s Meat

Finding sustenance in the afternoon serials


Why should I, an elderly literary gent who spends much of his time reading, talking, and writing about Shakespeare or W. B. Yeats, spend an hour every weekday watching a soap opera? How odd is it that after a hardworking class teasing out ...

‘Red Dawn’ (1984)

Past as Prologue

A ‘yes, but’ perspective on ‘what-if’ history


A noted historian of modern Germany, Richard J. Evans has entered the lists of historical combatants in recent years as a sharp opponent of counterfactual history—also known as “what ifs.” His entry into this particular fight, one that’s as enjoyable to witness as it is important ...


Is Hollywood Racist?

It depends on which Hollywood you’re talking about


The question that haunted the American motion-picture industry in the two months leading up to the Academy Awards broadcast was this: Is Hollywood racist? In December, leaked emails revealed how one of  Hollywood’s longest-serving ...



Joseph Epstein, out of touch


Dave Clark

This past week I decided to change living arrangements chez Epstein. I turned my office into a den and our spare bedroom into an office. Sounds simple enough. I soon realized that I would have to hire professional movers to lug a couch, a weighty television set, and several bookcases and a few file cabinets from one room to another in our apartment. I was prepared to do so, and to pay the expense, which came to $288 plus $60 in three $20 tips for the men who did the lugging. I wasn’t prepared for two days’ loss of the use of my computer, television set, and landline phone, due to the loss of my cable connection, which rendered me, apart from the flip-phone I carry around, essentially incommunicado.

I don’t use a smartphone because I would be checking it too regularly for emails, texts, and other information. I already do too much of this on my computer when at home. I am, I’m embarrassed to report, a man who checks his email ...


Obama Negotiations


Gary Locke


Last week National Review’s Jonah Goldberg and Kevin Williamson were left to sort out one of the most inane and idiotic media “fact checker” efforts The Scrapbook has ever seen. And when you consider what has appeared in these pages regarding PolitiFact, that’s saying ...


The Democratic War on Science

Roger Pielke Jr., a respected climate scientist at the University of Colorado, announced recently on his blog that he is being investigated by congressional Democrats. Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, sent a letter to the ...

Jay Cost

Must Reading

Speaking of global warming, The Scrapbook could have used a little more of it this winter. Meanwhile we’ve been bundling up against the cold and curling up next to the fireplace with our favorite new book, Jay Cost’s


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