In Stereo Now

George Will observes that the Olympic-bid speeches by Obama and his wife were noteworthy for their dreadfulness. He writes:

Both Obamas gave heartfelt speeches about . . . themselves. Although the working of the committee’s mind is murky, it could reasonably have rejected Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Games on aesthetic grounds — unless narcissism has suddenly become an Olympic sport.

As Will notes, it wasn’t simply the egotism of the appearance but of the speeches themselves that should give us pause. A festival of “I” and “me” and personal tales of playing ball with dad. Who cares? Well, not the IOC.

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In Stereo Now

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Left’s Immigration Radicalism

Mirror images.

Observers on the right must have been confused by the controversy that erupted following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recent appearance on Fox News. What he advocated sounds at first glance like common sense.

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Presidents, Porn Stars, and America’s Soul

Podcast: Is America in decline?

So Trump pays off a porn star and it isn’t even the biggest story of the day. On the second COMMENTARY podcast of the week, we explore all angles of this peculiar state of affairs. What does it say about us politically? What does it say about us morally? And what does it tell us about the condition of the American soul? Give a listen.

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The Favor Trump Has Done for the Politically Correct

Legacy achievement.

The controversy surrounding ugly and profane remarks Donald Trump allegedly made in a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators has had a longer half-life than the average Trump-linked contretemps, perhaps because so many appear willing to throw themselves under its treads.

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Venezuela Targets the Catholic Church

Deliver us from communism.

Vatican diplomacy moves slowly and cautiously. The Pope is the spiritual leader of some 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, but he commands no armies and his statecraft runs mostly on moral authority. He and his representatives understandably prefer quiet, behind-the-scenes advocacy to public grandstanding. But from time to time, it becomes necessary for the Holy See and the Pope himself to throw down the gauntlet to worldly authorities that threaten the Church and her flock.

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But Will Democrats Overplay Their Hand?

Confrontation or competence?

Republicans are fortunate. Whenever they find themselves in positions of advantage amid a crisis or controversy that reflects poorly on Democrats, the press becomes consumed with concern for the GOP’s well-being. In these moments of Democratic misfortune, political analysts in media can often be heard fretting over the prospect of Republican “overreach.” They warn that those in the GOP should not “overplay their hand,” and observe that the scandals engulfing their opposition are subordinate to the fact that Republicans have an unattractive tendency to “pounce” on the news. Democrats don’t have the luxury of such faithful and consistent mentorship, which is unfortunate for them. They’re going to need it. With Republicans stumbling into one self-set trap after another, and their opponents enjoying the spoils, the Trump era’s newly empowered Democrats already seem tempted to mistake their good fortune for a mandate.

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