Wednesday, 24 January 2007


I leave you this fine evening with Mitt Romney’s campaign website. If you click on “Issue Watch,” you’ll see a list of what Romney considers the most important issues of the day. I’m glad that he takes the jihadist threat seriously. Democrats do not. If there is any justice in this world, it will cost them the presidency in 2008.


Feminist Law Professors do not like it when only women’s clothing is mentioned in news stories. Maybe if Nancy Pelosi and other female members of Congress didn’t so self-consciously dress to stand out, with garish colors, textures, styles, and so forth, their clothing wouldn’t be mentioned. By the way, I haven’t seen Pelosi’s clothing mentioned by any male bloggers. Perhaps only women notice such things, in which case, whose fault is that? The author of the New York Times story being criticized is a woman. Is she sexist? Is she trying to keep women down?

Addendum: Suppose that, as a matter of fact, women are more interested in clothing than men are. I’m pretty sure they are. Indeed, I would be willing to bet a substantial percentage of my wealth that they are. New York Times stories are written for both men and women. What is wrong with reporters mentioning women’s clothing, knowing that many of their readers care about such things? Are reporters to refrain from mentioning women’s clothing because they shouldn’t? And why shouldn’t they, other than that feminists find it objectionable? Is the reporter supposed to give readers what they need instead of what they want? That’s not journalism. It’s condescension.


Here is a heart-pumping scene from the recently concluded Tour Down Under, won by Swiss Martin Elmiger.

Notes on the State-of-the-Union Address

1. President Bush seemed to go out of his way to schmooze with Nancy Pelosi, who is the first woman to serve as speaker of the House of Representatives. People who know President Bush—I’ve followed his career since January 1995, when he became my governor—say that he is warm and genuine. That so many progressives believe him to be hard-hearted and fake shows that they don’t know him and are determined to think and speak the worst of him. That is motivated—and therefore culpable—ignorance.

2. Watching the proceedings made me proud to be an American. Here were people from all parts of the political spectrum—from socialism at one end to libertarianism at the other. Here were blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians. Here were men and women, old and young, gay and straight. (Only the poor and the honest were unrepresented.) They listened attentively to the president (at least when they weren’t napping), applauded when he said something they liked, and in general comported themselves with dignity. No fistfights broke out, to my knowledge. We Americans know how to do due diligence on democracy.

3. President Bush used the expression “Democrat majority,” thus proving beyond cavil that he understands language. He won’t let the Democrat Party get away with linguistic murder. Suicide, yes.

4. On immigration, President Bush said “no amnesty.” The question is, what does he mean by “amnesty”? May I help? Anyone who is not in this country legally should be deported immediately. Anything else is amnesty.

5. Vice President Cheney was doing strange things with his face while President Bush described his plan to reduce gasoline consumption by 20% in the next 10 years. Either he had gas or he didn’t like what the president was saying about gas. I wonder whether the vice president supports this proposal. Is he beholden to the oil companies, as progressives think? Just sayin’.

6. Hillary Clinton applauded when President Bush said, “To win the war on terror, we must take the fight to the enemy.” Interesting. Was she playing to the Right? It certainly didn’t endear her to the Left. Maybe she had her fingers crossed while clapping.

7. Whoever wrote President Bush’s speech is brilliant. President Bush asked members of Congress to give his new war plan—a “surge” of troops—a chance to succeed. He paused momentarily and added, “and support our troops.” He knew that members of Congress would have to applaud the latter part, but since it came closely on the heels of the former, a viewer could have inferred that those applauding agreed with his plan. In effect, he forced everyone to applaud his troop surge. Good work, Karl, you evil genius!

Addendum: This is too cool. James Fallows annotates President Bush’s State-of-the-Union address. Click the green boxes for Fallows’s notes. I’m delighted to see that Fallows picked up on the thing I discussed in my seventh note, namely, President Bush forcing Democrats to applaud his troop surge.


On 24 January 1993—14 years ago today—I brought two-month-old Sophie to my house in Fort Worth. She was probably scared to death. But she quickly adapted to life in a house (she was born in a horse barn in Red Oak) and has had the run of the place for the past 5,113 days (counting leap years). Sophie is not doing very well. Her bones and joints ache and her senses are deteriorating. Sometimes I think her mind is going, too. But she still has a good appetite, and I sometimes see a glimmer of her spirit. I spend as much time with her as I can, because we won’t have many more days together.

Ten Strangest Inventions

Mark Spahn sent a link to this. It’s hilarious. I have tears streaming down my face.

John Forbes Kerry

Senator John Kerry, who was defeated by a “mentally unstable” man two years ago, thus calling his own intelligence into question, has announced that he will not run for president in 2008. Democrats are overjoyed; Republicans, dismayed. Me? I’ll find someone new to kick around.

More Confirmation of Keith’s Law

Here. David Shuster of NBC News has decided that he’d rather be the darling of the moonbats than a journalist. Either that or he thinks he can be both—in violation of Keith’s Law. (Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link.) If you’re wondering what Keith’s Law is, see here.


Here is a Wall Street Journal column about President Bush’s health-care proposal, which he announced yesterday in his State-of-the-Union address.

Best of the Web Today


Why He Turned Right

You will love this essay by Peter Berkowitz, who has a bachelor’s degree in English literature, a master’s degree in philosophy, a doctoral degree in political science, and a law degree. That, my friends, is a perfect storm.

Dial Testing

Here is an interesting column about pollster Frank Luntz, who has helped Republican candidates for public office refine their message and technique. As much as philosophers would like to think that only the content of a message affects voters, the manner in which it is conveyed also matters—greatly. Politics is not mere logic, in other words; it’s also rhetoric. It appeals to the heart as well as to the brain. It’s an art as well as a science. Great politicians such as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton understand this and take advantage of it. Lesser politicians such as Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush fail to understand this and suffer from it. As much as I like the content of President Bush’s policies (not all of them, obviously), I cringe whenever I hear him speak. He does not have a way with words. If Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator, then George W. Bush is the Garbled Guy. I think his lack of facility with the language has deterred him from speaking more often to the American people about what he is up to and why. This has allowed his critics, such as Paul Krugman, to impute bad motives to him and to mischaracterize his beliefs, values, and policies. I hope the next Republican president is a better speaker. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are wonderful speakers, with brilliant minds to boot.


I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, so you can imagine how I felt about Newt Gingrich. I hated the man. But things have changed, as you know if you’ve been reading my blog or my Tech Central Station columns for the past three years. I’m now a zealous conservative. I would love to have Newt as my president. Imagine progressives trying to portray Dr Gingrich as uncurious. Ha! Newt can run intellectual circles around 99% of progressives, and they know it. See here for a story about the good doctor.

Lincoln Allison on Political Philosophy

Traditionally, political philosophy has concerned itself with the virtues and defects of various forms of government. The list of such forms is potentially endless to anyone who possesses a Greek dictionary: monarchy, autocracy, democracy, aristocracy, theocracy, isocracy. . . . All of these words purport to label a particular form of rule: by one man, by priests, by a hereditary group, by all the citizens or whatever. The making of such taxonomies of government is by its nature a fairly crude exercise. Much more complex prescriptions for the form government should take can be found in the works of such political philosophers as Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. Their theories contain a series of inferences from the nature and circumstances of man to the details of the form which government should take.

It is fair to say that political philosophy of this kind is outdated and that it has been considerably undermined by political science. Categories of government do not catch the subtle but vastly significant variations of real politics; inferences about the best forms of government seem foolishly abstract in the context of the wonderfully wide variety of local political conditions which exist in the late twentieth century. Even if one were to regard one of the contemporary political philosophers of the old style, perhaps John Rawls or Robert Nozick, as ultimately correct, it would be difficult to know how to interpret their work in the immediate context of Northern Ireland or Zimbabwe or Belgium.

(Lincoln Allison, Right Principles: A Conservative Philosophy of Politics [Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984], 151 [ellipsis in original])

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

If we are to explore President Bush’s behavior in terms of Captain Ahab in “Moby-Dick,” as Nicholas D. Kristof urges (“Et Tu, George?,” column, Jan. 23), then surely the white whale is Saddam Hussein, and not the desire to prevent another terrorist attack.

Mr. Bush arrived in office already obsessed with Saddam Hussein and went on to twist his policy and warp the whole world to get him. Absurdly inappropriate motives of family revenge and infantile fantasies from cowboy movies were in play: Saddam Hussein had tried to assassinate the first President Bush and so the second felt free to involve nations, armies and societies in his vendetta.

A terrible triviality was at work here, which Melville’s tragic vision might have done much to correct and caution against, but reading lists (much flaunted now) seem to have come too late for this president—to our loss.

William Guy
Pittsburgh, Jan. 23, 2007

Note from KBJ: Bush Derangement Syndrome. Why do progressives love to psychoanalyze President Bush? Two can play that silly game. Someone psychoanalyze William Guy.