Joan Roberts has died. Now, that may mean absolutely nothing to many readers. But for those who love the American musical theater, and regard it as one of America’s premier contributions, the death of Joan Roberts marks the end of an era. She was the last of the Rodgers & Hammerstein stars to pass on. Her death comes only a month after that of the immortal Celeste Holm, the only other Rodgers & Hammerstein star to go on this long.
There seems to be a spreading belief that we are living in horrible times, and a reflection of those times is the bitter atmosphere in Washington. Hatred! Vilification! The politics of personal destruction! Fanaticism! Oh, I just can’t go on.
This is the 48th anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy. Yes, it’s been almost half a century. For members of a particular generation, November 22, 1963, has the same impact that December 7, 1941, had for their fathers and mothers.
I once had the chance to interview Charles Kuralt, the late CBS correspondent famous for his “On the Road” series. I asked him this question: “In all your years of traveling around the United States, what is the single most important thing that you learned?” Without any hesitation, Kuralt replied, “I was always impressed at how well informed Americans are.”
It appears the Republican field is set, unless a truly dark horse suddenly announces a run. Yes, Rudy Giuliani is still undecided, and in fact polls reasonably well, but his Hamlet routine is wearing thin, and his exploits on 9/11 a distant memory. We detect no great “wanting” of Rudy.
The outlandish attack on Rick Perry by the Washington Post over the weekend, essentially charging him with a close association with a camping ground that had once had a racially charged name, is the latest in a “get Perry” series of articles in liberal papers. The New York Times has been especially bad.
A representative of Standard & Poor’s said on television that the normal period for a nation to repair its damaged credit rating was 9 to 18 years. That is probably what America faces as it tries to recover from the first credit downgrade in its entire history, which occurred last week.
A friend recently sent me some old videos of “Meet the Press.” Her father, a prominent Washington journalist, had been a frequent member of the panel. One of the videos was from the early sixties, the other from the early seventies.
Now, we are for low taxes but not for no-taxes or gimmicky-taxes. Taxes must be paid, and the founders made provision for that in the Constitution. If you want the services, you’ve got to pay the bill. But no service should be immune to public examination. Where are the funds going? How much value are we getting? It’s pretty clear, especially at the state level, that there are many savings to be had. And…we can’t have everything we want from government. This country got along quite well without many of the “services” available today.
This was the week that Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) began her testimony on Capitol Hill, challenged for the first time by House committees with GOP majorities. The GOP is somewhat skeptical about some of the EPA’s work and its scientific claims.
When you look back on the great days of the Democratic Party, long gone, one of the things that strikes you is that it had a powerful Southern wing. The states of the old Confederacy were known as the solid South. Still angry at Lincoln, they voted Democratic as a matter of civic religion.
While most midterm elections turn on specific policies, this year’s will turn on much more – America’s place in the world, both economically, as the interest on the debt continues to consume a greater part of the US gross domestic product, and strategically, as current policies of international engagement can be misinterpreted as opportunities to attack the U.S. or its allies.
Some of the things I’ve read in the last week have been among the most disheartening of my career. If people wish to be in favor of the mosque at Ground Zero, that’s fine. Make your argument. But the viciousness and arrogance of the attacks on those who oppose the structure are reminiscent of the tactics that we used to call McCarthyism. Our friends on the left have discovered the Constitution, a document they often prefer that their favorite judges ignore. They now cite our “core values as expressed in the Constitution,” they wave the flag that they’ve insulted a good part of their lives, and they denounce anyone who disagrees as a racist and a bigot, or, remarkably, as “un-American.” It is perfectly plain that they regard themselves as our betters, lecturing to the unruly masses.
The word “narrative” is one of those effete terms that’s become very trendy in some colleges and newsrooms. It basically refers to a story with a point of view. It’s also an all-purpose excuse. If someone is caught making up history, he simply says that he’s developed “an alternative narrative.” Problem solved. There was a European journalist who was caught stretching things a bit in a report from Iraq. She reacted by promptly sending a new dispatch and called it “My Truth.” Not “The Truth,” but “My Truth.” Facts? Hey, it’s an “alternative narrative.”
Fox News reported this evening that the uproar over the statement by NASA head Charles Bolden, to the effect that Obama ordered him to make “Muslim outreach” a NASA priority, was blacked out by CBS, NBC, ABC, and the print editions of both The New York Times and the Washington Post.
I’m surprised that no one, to my knowledge, has pointed this out: As each week goes by, the Obama administration’s tone looks and sounds more and more like a replay of the 1960s. We have seen a return to the constant use of “racist” to describe opponents. We have seen a return to the “non-judgmentalism” that allowed the 60s generation to peddle the absurd concept that all cultures have their own “validity.” We have seen a return to the notion that the United States is a dangerous nation, no better than any other, and probably worse. We have seen selective concerns about women and minorities, concerns expressed only when they don’t interfere with the larger leftist agenda. (If they do, the female and minority victims are treated with silence.) We have seen the growth of a new isolationism, similar to the isolationism that grew on the left in the 60s.
APRIL 12 – Franklin D. Roosevelt died on this date in 1945, some 65 years ago. There is a certain irony in those numbers. It was FDR who introduced Social Security. An American born on the day he died is eligible for full benefits today.
Americans are making it plain that they’re disappointed with the quality of their public servants. Most Americans today, according to one poll, would throw all members of Congress out of office. And the president’s poll numbers have been in the proverbial tank for months.
The United States has announced that it will report its own human-rights failings to the United Nations, in particular the UN’s Human Rights Council, half of whose members are degenerate dictatorships.
ROMNEY? ROMNEY? I’ve been intrigued by the boomlet for Mitt Romney currently underway in the Republican Party. It hasn’t gotten much media attention, which may tell you more about the candidate than he’d like you to know. But it’s there.
President Obama spoke to the American people, summarizing reports, which he’d ordered, focusing on how a terrorist boarded a plane on Christmas day and tried to blow it up, even though our government had been warned about him.