Making The Case

Mark Steyn muses about John McCain’s debate performance:

Why couldn’t he have used the s-word – “socialism”? Why couldn’t he have said that his opponent is a perfectly pleasant fellow but he has an all but blank resume so all we have to go on is his votes and his associations and both suggest a doctrinaire liberal well to the left of, say, Bill Clinton? Why couldn’t he have pointed out that Barack Obama would be the most left-wing president ever elected in the United States?

He concludes that McCain lacks the “killer instinct,” but I don’t know if that is quite it. McCain, even his most ardent supporters would admit, is an emotion-driven, value-laden politician. (He thinks in terms of honor and bipartisanship, which are not ends or political goals but an attribute and a process, respectively.) With the exception of certain national security issues like Iraq, which entirely occupied his interest, he does not methodically gather data to reach a conclusion (as Mitt Romney evidenced) or marshal the evidence to make his case (as Rudy Giuliani did). He doesn’t explain step-by-step why voters should agree with him, perhaps because he doesn’t rely on a step-by-step thought process himself or maybe because he thinks his conclusions are self-evident. As a result, he doesn’t use debates to his full advantage and he handicaps himself as a salesman for his own positions.

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Making The Case

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A Secularist vs. the Progressive Faith

A double standard is, in fact, a standard. Just an immoral one.

Really it should come as no surprise that the scientist and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins is the latest public figure to have fallen victim to a disinviting mania. After all, if a darling of the left feminist like Germaine Greer can face a campaign to silence her over her views on transgenderism or a woman of color like Ayaan Hirsi Ali can face similar attempts to have her free speech on campus canceled, why should Dawkins be spared?

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Unmasking Is Not a Distraction

Democrats will regret treating this as a partisan issue.

Whenever a former Obama administration official’s name comes up in the process of investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged links to Russian sources, Democrats take the position that the right’s penchant for “whataboutism” neutralizes the implication of wrongdoing. The Democratic objective is to shame those who are committed to crafting a full and unbiased portrait of the events of 2016 into ignoring inconvenient facts, but the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee remains unintimidated.

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Will Mattis Betray the Gulf Allies?

Has Mattis gone rogue?

At the core of the Qatar dispute is the question of Qatar’s support for extremism. While many Gulf states have histories of donating to or promoting radical Islamism, many have made real reforms. Saudi Arabia, for example, became much more serious about the need to curtail support for radical groups after the Kingdom started suffering blowback with terrorists targeting foreigners living in Saudi Arabia and senior Saudi officials. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, meanwhile, has cracked down not only on the Muslim Brotherhood but has also moved to sever the life-line Egypt often provided Hamas leaders in Gaza. Qatar, however, continues to set itself above the rest in its support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Partisanship Masquerading as Wisdom

Anger over health care clouds the left's judgment.

Nate Silver spoke for most of the liberal blogosphere when he objected to the mainstream media’s coverage of Senator John McCain’s speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

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A Familiar Paranoia

Donald Trump sees disloyalty even in his closest supporters.

In a performance that would have shocked sensibilities if they weren’t already flogged to the point of numbness, President Trump delivered a nostalgic, campaign-style stem-winder on Monday to a troop of boy scouts. The commander-in-chief meandered between crippling self-pity and gauche triumphalism; he moaned about his treatment by the “fake media,” praised himself for the scale of his Electoral College victory, and pondered aloud whether to dub the nation’s capital a “cesspool” or a “sewer.” Most illuminating in this manic display was an exposition on the virtues of fealty. “We could use some more loyalty; I will tell you that,” the president mused. These days, Trump seems fixated on treachery—among Republicans in Congress, among his Cabinet officials, and among his subordinates in the administration. His obsession may yet prove his undoing.

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