Friday, November 06, 2015

Cruising the Web

Charles C. W. Cooke wonders how Donald Trump will cope with no longer being number one in the polls.
Of all the presidential aspirants who are at present scrabbling their way up the White House wall, Donald Trump is by far and away the best, the classiest, and the most handsome. He doesn’t pander or kowtow to the special interests. He doesn’t back down or apologize. He doesn’t sweat, or even drink water. Instead, he makes great deals and knows the smartest people. He writes fabulous books and anchors top-rated TV shows. He makes great gobs of hard cash, sleeps on nothing less than the finest sheets, and imports only the most beautiful women to join him under them. He’s richer than Solomon, more elegant than Jackie O, and he has the hair of an exquisite racehorse. (Not Secretariat.) He wins each and every debate with ease and style. Everybody agrees with him, and they tell him so: publicly, privately, and via the most superb online polls. All ethnic groups love him in equal measure, and females up and down the land yearn for his protective hands. He’s number one; a winner; the tops.

What’s that? Ben Carson is now leading the Republican pack, beating Trump by six points nationally? And Carson is ascendant in more than one poll?


Just how well Trump’s triumphant shtick will work when delivered from anything other than the pole position is unclear. There is a good reason that both he and his supporters have elected to rest their case upon a tautology — “He’s winning because he’s winning!” — and that is that, in a culture that celebrates champions, standing in first place is quite the aphrodisiac. Unsure about the Donald’s positions on matters of state? Worry not: He’ll make America great again because he is great; he’ll choose the best people because he is the best people; and have you noticed how rich he is?

....Every campaign likes to talk up its guy. Every political ego needs a massage. But there is something especially fragile about the vehemence with which Trump and his team insist upon his primacy. Could it be, perchance, they know somewhere within their souls that bravado and bluster are compelling when exhibited from on high, but rather pathetic when they pour forth from the second spot or beyond? Could it be, perhaps, that “I’m doing pretty well” is understood to be lethal to the proposition, “I’m winning because I’m a winner”? Could it be, just maybe, that the word “loser” is a relative one?

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Obamacare continues to pull down Democrats. It's rather a nice retribution for their supporting such an atrocity of a bill.
The Democratic Party has prospered for decades by promising voters entitlements in return for Election Day loyalty. It worked with Social Security and Medicare, and so it was supposed to work for ObamaCare: Pass it and they will come. Instead the Affordable Care Act has become a recurring political catastrophe for Democrats, most recently on Tuesday in Kentucky.

The GOP picked up the Kentucky governorship for only the second time in 44 years as businessman Matt Bevin hung President Obama’s signature domestic achievement around Bluegrass State Democrats. Mr. Bevin trailed Attorney General Jack Conway in the polls for most of the campaign, but a late surge produced a GOP rout.

Mr. Bevin won 53%-44% and swept 107 of Kentucky’s 120 counties—including a few liberal strongholds. Republicans had held one statewide office; after the election they’ll hold four of six. Mr. Bevin’s running mate, business executive and Air Force vet Jenean Hampton, became the first African-American to win a statewide race.

Democrats blamed the drubbing on low turnout and “Trump-mania”—a swipe at Mr. Bevin’s Tea Party roots. But before the election they were saying that Mr. Bevin, who tends to shoot from the lip, was unelectable. He might have been—if not for ObamaCare.

The national press had made Kentucky a showcase of the Affordable Care Act, touting Democratic Governor Steve Beshear’s state-run exchange, KYnect, and his Medicaid expansion. The local results weren’t so cheery. Two-fifths of Kentucky hospitals have had to cut services due to soaring Medicaid costs.

Thousands of residents lost the health-care plans they liked, and most insurers on Kynect are increasing premiums by double-digits. In terrible timing for Mr. Conway, the Kentucky Health Cooperative, the largest insurer on the ObamaCare exchange, imploded in October, leaving 51,000 residents without coverage.

Mr. Bevin hammered away at all this, promising to shutter Kynect, hand the mess back to a federal exchange, and limit the Medicaid expansion. The Republican Governors Association dropped a late $2.5 million ad blitz on ObamaCare, quoting Mr. Conway as saying he “would have been proud to vote for” the bill had he been in Washington. Other ads tagged Mr. Conway for continuing to support a law that is “hurting Kentucky families” and for failing as Attorney General to join the national lawsuit against ObamaCare.
Will other Democrats run next year on how proud they are for supporting Obamacare? Republicans can only hope so.

Ed Morrissey writes at Fiscal Times that the trouble with the Obamacare coops is going to only get worse.
A key piece of the Obama administration’s plan to control the health insurance market is in a state of collapse. With it will go the philosophical underpinning of big government solutions to private-sector problems--and that will pose a core question for voters in the upcoming national elections.

In the original plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, Democrats wanted to include a “public option” in the health insurance exchanges – a government-run plan that advocates claimed would guarantee affordable access. To critics and consumers, it looked like an end run to a single-payer health care system.

A government-funded plan could run deficits with no consequences, forcing health insurers to either match the price and go out of business or leave the markets altogether. Republicans accused Democrats of plotting to drive private insurers out of business, while supporters of the public option accused Republicans of leaving consumers at the mercy of for-profit corporations in accessing health care.

To critics and consumers, it looked like an end run to a single-payer health care system.
When it became clear that the public option would be a non-starter, Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress settled on a compromise: health insurance co-ops. These non-profit entities would operate under consumer control, providing an option outside of for-profit insurer plans that would focus entirely on patient care. The ACA provided for a significant amount of backing from the federal government, both in loans and in the so-called “risk corridor” funding that gave the Obama administration the option of covering losses for insurers in the first few years of Obamacare.

That backstop was necessary, advocates insisted, as insurers and especially the co-ops needed time to adjust for unknown utilization patterns, premium pricing, and the proper level of deductibles. The co-ops remained an important component for advocates of the government-controlled system, both as a check on for-profit insurers and as a proof of concept for excluding profit-based coverage entirely at some point.
But those co-ops are failing and Congress put a stop to spending federal taxpayer funds for risk corridors.
As it turns out, the non-profit co-op model for health insurance turns out to be unsustainable without government subsidies. More than half of the co-ops have been shut down this year, and nine of the 12 have shut down since October 1, either by HHS or by the states in which they operate. Over a billion dollars in loans and and backstop payments have been lost. The latest failure to be announced was in Michigan, where Consumers Mutual Insurance announced Tuesday that it would not sell insurance for 2016. The failure of these dozen co-ops has left nearly 750,000 consumers in the cold, looking for a plan from a traditional insurer at a higher price.

What happened? Predictably, the financial model that critics warned would lead to a death spiral for insurers hit the co-ops first. “They were low-cost alternatives,” Kaiser Health’s Mary Agnes Carey told PBS anchor Judy Woodruff. “If they were the lower price point, that tended to attract sicker beneficiaries. That would drive up their costs.”

....This disaster isn’t limited to the co-ops, though. The same model has forced premium prices on other plans to skyrocket three years in a row, and deductibles to rise to the level where many of these plans are nothing more than overpriced catastrophic coverage. Had the Democrats gotten their way, the public option would have covered up those issues and pushed the insurers out of business.

The solution to this isn’t more government intervention and cost masking, but the elimination of government rationing and reform based on free market principles. At the very least, it’s one option that the federal government has yet to try.

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John Kasich made a bit of a splash in the first debate when he gave an answer about going to a gay friend's wedding. I know that several of my students responded quite positively to that answer. But things have gone downhill for Kasich since then. A successful and popular governor of Ohio should have the wind at his back in GOP primaries, but it hasn't worked that way for him. It seems that the more people see him, the less they like him. For that reason, Debra Saunders argues that he's been hurt by being in the debates.
io Gov. John Kasich is the Republican in the 2016 presidential field whom Democrats I know like the most. He evokes his Christian faith to explain his support for government spending. At the CNBC debate, he declared, “I care about poor people’’ — in a way that made you wonder if he thought he was the only R who could make that claim. Kasich even liked the CNBC debate. Leon Wolf, a blogger for the conservative website RedState, seized on Kasich’s remarks to declare him “far and away the candidate in this field who is just utterly clueless about the Republican electorate as a whole.”

Debates have not been good for Kasich. The more GOP voters hear him, the thinner are the ranks of those who support him. Kasich’s high mark in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls was about 5 percent. He’s now in ninth place at 2.2 percent. The Kasich campaign has staked his candidacy on scoring big in New Hampshire, where the RealClearPolitics average puts him in fifth place with 8.3 percent of the vote.

Kasich should be doing better, because he has impeccable conservative credentials. At the CNBC debate, he boasted he was “the chief architect of balancing the federal budget.” PolitiFact ruled he was not the only party responsible, but indeed was “one of the chief architects of the balanced federal budget.” In 1996, when Kasich was chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed a budget that reduced domestic appropriations by 9 percent and cut discretionary spending by $53 billion over two years. A year later came the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

When Kasich became Ohio governor in 2011, the state faced an $8 billion projected shortfall. That deficit is gone and has been replaced by a $2 billion rainy day fund....

Sometimes, however, Kasich strays from pragmatic to sanctimonious. He famously told one conservative critic, “When you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor.” There have been respectable arguments on both sides of the Medicaid expansion issue. So my advice: When you’re running in the Republican primary, it’s best not to talk like Nancy Pelosi.
It's a shame. I had very positive memories of Kasich from the 1990s when he was working hard to achieve a balanced budget. I would have been happy to support him this year, but, as Saunders writes, I've just found his sanctimony very off-putting.

Unless it turns out that Rubio has lied about using party funds for personal use, there is nothing to the story of his use of the party charge cards. Charles C. W. Cook writes,
This story has been doing the rounds for five years now, since Rubio first ran for the Senate. And now, as back then, I am struggling mightily to determine what exactly is supposed to be scandalous about it. Per the Times, the card in question was a Republican-party-linked American Express that was tied to Rubio’s “personal credit.” Primarily, it was used “for political expenses, which were covered by donations to the party.” Occasionally, however, “a few personal expenses were charged to the card as well.” Thus, when the bill came in, it contained a mixture of outlays that needed to be carefully sifted through.

And the scandal is . . . what? Did the GOP pick up the tab for those personal charges? Did a group of secret donors bankroll Rubio’s home expenditures? Did Rubio and his wife benefit from a line of untaxable private income?

Nah. Not even close. Rather, as the Times flatly notes, Rubio made sure to identify all of
the personal purchases and ultimately paid for them himself. He wrote a monthly check to the credit card company to cover the personal costs, and the party wrote a check to cover the political ones, according to his staff.
In other words, he did what millions of Americans who work for corporations do each and every month. He didn’t borrow money. He didn’t ask his backers to pick up his personal tab. He didn’t default on his obligations. He was not, as Donald Trump proposes, “a disaster with credit cards.” Instead, he had a “company” charge card that he used occasionally for personal expenses and he settled the account at the end of the month. Unless he is lying about something — which would, of course, be a serious transgression — I can discern no story here whatsoever. Asked to investigate whether there was anything untoward about the arrangement, the Florida Ethics Commission ruled in 2012 that the charges were so much fluff. Where’s the meat?

That this is a scandal only because it has been decided that it is a scandal was apparently not lost on the Times, which failed at any point in its story to explain what exactly was wrong with Rubio’s behavior. This is a problem for Rubio, the paper suggested, because he has been accused of it — not the most liberal of standards, let’s say....

What of those charges? Is there is any fire below the smoke? Padding out its complaint, the Times notes that the Rubios had “a brush with foreclosure on a second home in 2010 over late mortgage payments,” and liquidated “a retirement account that prompted a large tax penalty.” And . . . well, actually, that’s it. There are no brown envelopes; no secret transfers from the Caymans; no accusations of quid pro quo. There’s nothing. As far as I can see the general complaint here is that Rubio isn’t rich enough to do all that he wishes to do without tradeoffs, and that he has therefore had to make the sort of difficult financial decisions that Americans who are not as wealthy as Donald Trump have to make every day.
If this is all there is to this story, it's a real nothingburger. The attention of the national media (and Donald Trump) is just a sign that they will do anything to slime a Republican so that people will end up being less concerned about Hillary Clinton and her multitudinous ethical problems.

Kimberley Strassel thinks it's problematic that Americans want to elect someone like Marco Rubio who has struggled with family debts and thus understand their own concerns. Perhaps so. But perhaps not.
Mr. Rubio’s response has been to profess openly that he grew up in a poor family and has struggled financially himself, and to say that this makes him more qualified for office because he is like most Americans. In a Fox News interview on Wednesday he said: “I think it would be good for this country to have a president that knows what it is like to have your house lose its value because of irresponsible and reckless behavior by Fannie and Freddie, by the Federal Reserve. I think it would be good to have a president that knows what it’s like to owe money and student loans like I once did. Someone who grew up paycheck-to-paycheck.” Mr. Rubio is betting his own story adds authenticity to his argument that all Americans deserve more “opportunity.”

Whether Americans buy that pitch gets to a central, if somewhat under-reported, tension of this presidential race. The reality is that Americans—even the most up-from-their-bootstraps Americans—tend to vote very wealthy people into the White House. Not always: The late 19th and early 20th century featured a turn to executives of more modest means. But the past 100 years in particular has seen mostly millionaire presidents.

Americans like winners, and wealth is a marker of success—so that might be part of it. Donald Trump has also highlighted another possibility: independence. The real-estate mogul likes to brag that his wealth means that he won’t end up beholden to donors or “special interests.” That Mr. Trump is beholden to other, weirder forces (like his own ego) seems not to matter to Americans who fear the government has been bought.

The flip side to this argument is none other than Hillary Clinton. What worries many voters isn’t that the former first lady is too wealthy to identify with average Americans, but that the Clintons still can’t outgrow their keeping-up-with-the-Clampetts mentality. Bill Clinton likes to note that he was the poorest president elected in the 20th century, and don’t we all know it—the Lincoln Bedroom, the dictator-speaking circuit. The Clintons would do anything for a buck.

No one will admit it, but all these underlying biases are driving the focus on Mr. Rubio’s money. Though they present him with a legitimate challenge. Americans might indeed like a president who has lived it all. But only if they believe the individual has moved beyond the struggle. In such pressing times, the electorate fears a president who must divert precious energy to personal problems, or who feels compelled to cut ethical corners to make money.
I am not sure that Strassel isn't getting the causation turned around in her analysis. Have Americans elected wealthy men because they're successful men whom we admire. Or is it that the people who are very successful in politics tend to be people who have made or inherited money at some point in their lives? And there have been plenty of politicians who came from solidly middle-class backgrounds such as Taft, Coolidge, Truman, Nixon, and Ford. Poor or lower-class people don't usually succeed in politics. Even Abraham Lincoln had, despite his poor background, become a successful corporate lawyer by the time he was running for president.

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I thought they were all already dead and gone, but the Dana Milbank at the Washington Post pronounces the last rites for Blue Dog Democrats.
It was a pitiful whimper from the last of a breed.

During last week’s House speaker election, almost all Republicans were voting for Paul Ryan and virtually all Democrats for Nancy Pelosi. Then the clerk called on Jim Cooper, a moderate Democrat from Tennessee.

“Colin Powell,” he declared.

A moment later, Gwen Graham, a centrist Democrat from Florida, cast her vote — for Cooper. A third moderate Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, voted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who, along with the rest of the 183 Democrats in the chamber, voted for Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal icon.

All three dissidents are members of the once-powerful Blue Dog Coalition, which has seen its membership of Democratic moderates shrink to just 15 from 54 in 2010. All three are also members of the New Democrat Coalition, a 50-strong group that claims to represent moderates — but the average “liberal” rating of New Democrat leaders, 79 percent, is above House Democrats’ overall liberal rating of 77 percent.

It was a timely reminder that there really is no such thing anymore as a moderate Democrat. The handful of centrists in office have ceased to play a meaningful role in the party, much as moderates long ago ceased to influence the Republican Party.

The Democratic Leadership Council, the idea factory behind Bill Clinton’s rise, closed four years ago. The likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, joined populist insurgent Bernie Sanders in opposing a Pacific trade deal dear to the New Democrats. Only 28 House Democrats — 15 percent — voted to give President Obama fast-track trade authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Two decades ago, 40 percent of House Democrats were free- traders.

Bernie Sanders is now revising and extending his remarks about not caring about Hillary Clinton's damn emails.

And these are Obama's partners in peace.
Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.

The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.

At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.

The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.

The explosive devices are a “hallmark weapon” of Iran’s Quds force, a paramilitary group that operates outside of Iran’s borders, according to sources familiar with the report. It has been determined that only Iranian-backed operatives use these weapons in Iraq.

U.S. military leaders disclosed in testimony before the Senate that Iranian terror activities have claimed the lives of around 500 U.S. soldiers, which accounts for at least 14 percent of all American casualties in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.
And then there is this story from the WSJ.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard military force hacked email and social-media accounts of Obama administration officials in recent weeks in attacks believed to be tied to the arrest in Tehran of an Iranian-American businessman, U.S. officials said.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, has routinely conducted cyberwarfare against American government agencies for years. But the U.S. officials said there has been a surge in such attacks coinciding with the arrest last month of Siamak Namazi, an energy industry executive and business consultant who has pushed for stronger U.S.-Iranian economic and diplomatic ties.

Obama administration personnel are among a larger group of people who have had their computer systems hacked in recent weeks, including journalists and academics, the officials said. Those attacked in the administration included officials working at the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs and its Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

“U.S. officials were among many who were targeted by recent cyberattacks,” said an administration official, adding that the U.S. is still investigating possible links to the Namazi case. “U.S. officials believe some of the more recent attacks may be linked to reports of detained dual citizens and others.”
But of course, they're perfectly trustworthy when it comes to reporting and policing their own nuclear research and production, right?

John Nolte explains how leftists' supporters don't need to make campaign contributions in order to help their side.
When is a pro-Hillary SuperPAC not a pro-Hillary SuperPAC?

How do Hillary Clinton supporters funnel millions of corporate dollars into Hillary Clinton’s coffers without funneling millions of corporate dollars into Hillary Clinton’s coffers?

How is this all done legally and with no media scrutiny?

When it comes to how these gigantic left-wing multinational entertainment corporations produce what amounts to millions of dollars in in-kind contributions to Democrats, everything is so hidden in plain sight that it can sometimes be difficult to connect the dots. Which, of course, is the whole idea.

This is how the shell game begins..

The entertainment media plays along by making the headline as innocuous as possible: “‘Fair And Balanced’ News Channel Comedy Starring Kal Penn From ‘Harold & Kumar’ Writers In Works At ABC.”

The story doesn’t tell you much more.

Here is what is really going on:

Kal Penn is a former Obama White House staffer. Sure, he’s made a serious splash in the world of entertainment, but he is a political animal to his core, and a cunning one.

The sitcom in question, “Fair and Balanced,” is going to ridicule and attempt to further marginalize Fox News, possibly sometime next year.

If so, next year is a presidential election year.

If not, the sitcom still benefits Democrats.

If it is next year, Democrat Hillary Clinton will be running for president and every television news outlet, other than Fox News, will be doing everything in its power to elect Hillary Clinton president.

Here’s where it gets especially juicy…

The sitcom is going to be developed by and air on the ABC television network.

ABC News has made former Clinton staffer, George Stephanopoulos, the face of its brand.

ABC is part of the Disney-ABC Television Group.

The Disney-ABC Television Group president is Ben Sherwood.

Ben Sherwood worked closely with Stephanopoulos for 10 years as executive producer of “Good Morning America” and later as president of ABC News.

Ben Sherwood’s sister, Elizabeth Sherwood, is a Special Advisor to President Obama.

The Disney-ABC Television group is owned by the Walt Disney Company.

Bob Iger is president of the Walt Disney Company.

Bob Iger is a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Bob Iger has not only contributed $400,000 to Clinton and other Democrats…

…Bob Iger memory-holed the highly rated “Path to 9/11″ miniseries because it told the truth about the mistakes Bill Clinton made in not aggressively pursuing 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

So what you have here is the ultimate Hillary Clinton SuperPAC.
That's why Marco Rubio's line in the debate so resonated with Republicans. We know all that. And no form of campaign finance reform would check these sorts of contributions.

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If Republican candidates are so upset about the bias oozing out the CNBC moderators that Reince Priebus suspended NBC from hosting another debate, shouldn't they also be concerned about National Review co-hosting the debate with NBC? Or at least, shouldn't Donald Trump be concerned. As Byron York writes, NR's writers have been quite vociferous in their contempt for Trump. I should know. I read NR regularly both in the paper and online forms and there's been barely a positive word said about Trump except for some admiration for his showmanship. Sure, they've criticized some of the other Republicans, particularly Bush, but nothing like what they regularly dish out against Trump.
Lowry says that won't be a problem come debate time. "We obviously have strong opinions and don't hide them, but that won't keep us from being tough but fair with everyone," he told me in an email exchange.

The underlying problem here is that some of the networks have leaned so far left in the past that the RNC felt the need to insist on including someone who "speaks conservative" among the debate panelists. But some of the best conservative speakers are prominent figures at opinion publications who are 1) appalled by Trump, and 2) unconstrained from expressing their feelings about him. That makes for a lively public conversation, but is it a good idea for a presidential debate?
Isn't that argument that they can suspend their opinions in order to be fair, the same thing that the liberal members of the media always claim? Should conservatives get a pass with that excuse that we don't want to extend to liberal journalists? It's a good question.

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Damon Linker ponders the dearth of conservative university professors in the humanities and social sciences. His theory is that conservatives are less likely to want to the sort of research prized by university humanities and social science departments today.
These two visions of the university intertwine on most American college campuses today. Professors in the humanities and social sciences engage in highly specialized research, attempting to push knowledge into new areas — and many view this effort as a project that involves and requires liberating individuals from the dead weight of received prejudices.

The result is that academics usually end up pursuing scholarly agendas that are the furthest thing from anything that could be described as "conservative." The imperative to advance knowledge demands that research contributes something new. Meanwhile, the tendency to relegate all received truth claims to the category of prejudice leads to suspicion even of the established findings of the previous generation of scholars.

At least as much as ideological bias, it is this relentless drive to break from the past and push further in the pursuit of knowledge that fuels the radicalism of liberal arts scholarship, especially in the humanities. "Yet another dissertation on death and existential anguish in King Lear? That sounds boring. Oh, you mean you're deconstructing the play to reveal the heretofore hidden grammar of cisnormative oppression in the text? Now that's interesting and fresh!"

At least until what is currently viewed as "interesting and fresh" gets redefined by the next generation of scholars.

This approach to scholarship has little to do with what draws conservatives to the study the humanities and social sciences. For them, innovation and novelty are precisely the problem — and continuity with the past, not a radical break from it, is the solution. That's why they tend to favor core curricula that introduce students to the Great Books of the past.

The motivation behind this impulse can vary quite a lot. Some conservatives believe that scholarship and education should serve as a kind of civilizational finishing school that aims at producing broad-based cultural literacy. The United States is an outpost of Western Civilization, the argument runs, and so American professors should be studying and teaching an established canon comprised of Western Civilization's greatest cultural achievements in order to hand them down to the next generation.

Other conservatives, meanwhile, believe that the greatest works of Western Civilization should be studied and taught not because they're ours but because they contain timeless human wisdom and can serve as a gateway to reaching extra-historical truth about such perennial human concerns as love, friendship, justice, death, and God.

Note that both of these conservative approaches to the liberal arts emphasize teaching over research. That alone places conservative-minded would-be academics at a competitive disadvantage in the contemporary university, where hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions are based far more on scholarly publication than pedagogy.

Note also that when such conservatives do pursue a rigorous research agenda, they tend to be drawn far more powerfully toward the study of, say, death and existential anguish in King Lear than they are toward the cutting-edge styles of scholarship that generate excitement among the majority of academics.

Does the world need yet another study of a Timeless Human Question in a classic play by William Shakespeare? If you're committed to the contemporary research university's norms of perennially pushing the boundaries of knowledge, you probably think the answer is no.

A conservative would probably answer differently. And that's because conservatives tend not to accept those norms.
It's an intriguing theory. I know that I find a lot of what passes as cutting-edge research in those fields today are of little interest to me.

Larry Sabato has an interesting retrospective on the 1968 election and what a mess that was. The entire year was traumatic and dramatic. I usually spend a day just on that year in both my AP US History and AP European History classes since it was such an important year in both our history and that of Europe. And I could spend a day on that year alone to cover themes in my AP Government and Politics class.