November 06, 2004

American Exceptionalism

Victor Davis Hanson is at it again:

The East and West Coasts and the big cities may reflect the sway of the universities, the media, Hollywood, and the arts, but the folks in between somehow ignore what the professors preach to their children, what they read in the major newspapers, and what they are told on TV. The Internet, right-wing radio, and cable news do not so much move Middle America as reflect its preexisting deep skepticism of our aristocracy and its engineered morality imposed from on high.

The Democrats now lament that America would prefer to be "wrong" with George Bush than "right" with them. They will no doubt adduce a number of other paradoxes, excuses, and sorrows. But the fact is that the Left was united, well-funded, and ran the most vitriolic campaign in the Democratic party's history — and still lost, taking all branches of power with it. The New York Times and the major networks have undone their legacy of a half-century, and in the desire for cheap partisan advantage have ruined the reputations of anchormen, the very notion of fair front-page reporting, and, indeed, the useful concept itself of an exit poll. 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC News — these are now seen by millions as mere highbrow versions of Fahrenheit 9/11.

And that goodness for that.

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October 28, 2004


Some Germans get it right.

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October 24, 2004


This picture of a Bush rally in Jacksonville, Florida is pretty impressive.

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Kerry dumber that Bush?

How will the liberals explain this?

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August 11, 2004

The Stem Cell Religion

Will Saletan suggests that maybe its the Democrats who are being dogmatic. (Via Bainbridge.)

Posted by Old Benjamin at 09:26 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

John Kerry and Cambodia

Instapundit has a must-read post on the topic. Be sure to follow the links back, especially the one about the Kerry campaign's backpedaling.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn has more.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 09:03 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 10, 2004

John Kerry: War Hero

Bob Novak, the old curmudgeon, had an excellent column yesterday on John Kerry's war record.

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Talking Down the Economy

James Glassman has a nice piece on the economy:

Democrats and their allies in the media have been giddy about the latest jobs report. The New York Times said it showed that July "was a sputtering, tepid month"--a boon to Democrats.

John Kerry said Friday's report showed that instead of "turning the corner," as President Bush claims, the report shows the economy was "taking a U-turn." He added, "Millions of good jobs (are being) lost to plant closings and outsourcing." Baloney.

Pessimism about the economy helps Kerry and his friends, but an objective look at the report shows a very different picture. Yes, the number of people employed in July rose only slightly, by 32,000. But the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent--down from 6.3 percent a year ago and the lowest since October 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks.

The rate today is lower than when Bill Clinton was running for re-election in 1996. It's lower than the average unemployment rate in the 1990s--not to mention the 1980s and 1970s. Plant closings are way down from a year ago, and the threat of outsourcing is a figment of Lou Dobbs's imagination.

He thinks the press is talking down the economy for the benefit of the Kerry campaign. Never . . .

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August 07, 2004

John Kerry: Hero of the Vietnam War

But whose side did he help most?

LOS ANGELES — The John Kerry many Vietnamese-Americans remember is not the hero promoted by the Democratic Party, but the ex-soldier who returned to the United States to denounce the Vietnam War.

"His close association and anti-war activity make him known as Mr. Jane Fonda," said Frank Jao, who fought in the South Vietnamese army against the communist North.

I suspect the anti-Communist Vietnamese -- in other words, our allies -- wouldn't say it was our side.

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August 05, 2004

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Anne Applebaum, in the WaPo, busts the Kerry campaign for its demagoguery on the stem cell research issue:

We also -- we also need to lift the ban on stem cell research -- (cheers, applause) and find cures that will help millions of Americans. (applause continues)."

Applause continues. That's a direct quote from the transcript of the speech that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton gave at the Democratic convention last week. Unexpectedly, the applause continued all week long, for anyone who spoke about stem cell research. Sen. John Kerry got some for asking, "What if we have a president who believes in science, so we can unleash the wonders of discovery -- like stem cell research -- and treat illness for millions of lives?" Ron Reagan, son of the late president, who mistakenly imagined he was being cheered merely for what he said rather than who his father was, hit an even higher rhetorical note: "Sound like magic? Welcome to the future of medicine."

Listening to all these speeches, you might have come away with the impression that stem cell research is illegal in this country, and that if our recalcitrant, medieval, anti-science fundamentalist president would only "lift the ban," or lose the election, there would be "magic" cures for old people with Alzheimer's and children with diabetes. By coincidence, the quadriplegic actor Christopher Reeve told CNN last weekend that he would walk again "in the next three to five years" with the help of stem cell research. He spoke of the obstacles to that goal as political rather than merely medical. The message: President Bush has grounded Superman.

As it happens, I do think we should liberalize our national policy on stem cell research. But before we do that, it's important to be pretty clear about what that national policy actually is, and how it got to be that way. Stem cell research is not, in fact, either illegal or unfunded: The federal budget in 2003 included $24.8 million for human embryonic stem cell research -- up from zero in 2000. Private funding of stem cell research, which is unlimited, runs into the tens and possibly hundreds of millions of dollars. The current, admittedly hairsplitting policy came about because Congress in 1995 passed a ban on federal (but not private) funding for any form of research that involved the destruction of human embryos, because it is a form of research many American voters dislike and don't want to pay for. After some important (privately funded) breakthroughs, the Clinton administration began looking for legal ways to bypass the ban, but never got around to paying for any actual research.

The Bush administration thought about it, too, and came up with a solution: Federal funding could be used for research on stem cell lines already in existence. In practice, this means scientists who get their funding from the government are restricted in which materials they can use. Although this compromise will soon become a real obstacle to research, for the moment the irritant is largely philosophical. "What hampers people is the concept that there is a lack of freedom to operate," one scientist told me.

If all of that sounds a little long-winded and complicated, that's because it is. The question now is whether we want, as a nation, to continue to have long-winded and complicated debates about complicated issues, or whether we want to resort to slogans such as "lift the ban" and "unleash the wonders of discovery." The question is also whether Americans and their political representatives are allowed to think twice about the implications of brand-new science -- a prerequisite for public support, one would think -- or whether the patients' groups and pollsters behind last week's rhetoric always get the last word.

It's not complicated for the Democrats. I wonder why that is.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 09:22 PM | Permalink | TrackBack