The Bookworm Beat 9-27-2015 — the “things that make you think” edition and open thread


Boehner was merely an effective manager, rather than an effective conservative

Andrew Klavan is kind enough to point out that Boehner was in some measure a very effective House Majority Leader:

I can’t help but notice that under Boehner — and largely because of Boehner, because Boehner outsmarted President Obama in the 2013 budget negotiations — federal spending has declined over a five year period for the first time since the post World War II cutbacks. And because of this, as the economy has struggled to a sputtering recovery despite Democrat mismanagement, the deficit has been sharply reduced…

Also under Boehner — and also largely because of then-minority leader Boehner (and the likewise much-maligned-by-conservatives Mitch McConnell in the Senate) — the disaster of Obamacare is 100% attributable to the Democrats. It hasn’t got a single Republican fingerprint on it.

As Klavan sees it, Boehner’s fall came about solely because he wouldn’t engage in a head-to-head fight with Obama over Planned Parenthood.  Boehner believed (and still believes) that fight will destroy chances for a Republican victory in 2016.  I have two points to make.

First, if Boehner’s right that the fight will fail it’s in part because he refuses to engage in the fight at the intellectual level.  Carly Fiorina is the first prominent Republican to frame the fight in non-religious terms, and boy did she make the Left squirm when she did so.  In other words, part of why Boehner can’t win the fight is because, even though he’s pro-Life, he has absolutely no idea how to fight against abortion at anything other than a monetary level.

Second, speaking of that monetary level, the fight really boils down to something James Taranto said three years ago, and it’s about the difference between checkbook Republicans and ideologically-driven conservatives.  The context was the fact that Paul Ryan seemed to understand a conservative vision of small, not big, government:
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Marin County Sheriff: I love everything about the 2nd Amendment, except the part where it lets people carry guns

Heading into Marin CountyIt turns out that even in Progressive Marin County, law-abiding residents want to carry guns on their persons.  In the weeks since the 9th Circuit (!) held that county’s cannot condition concealed-carry permits on the sheriff’s determination that the applicant has made a credibly showing that he or she is in fear for his (or her) life, the upswing in concealed-carry applications has even reached true blue Marin (emphasis mine):

As Californians in some locations have flooded sheriff’s offices with applications and inquiries for permits to carry concealed guns, in Marin, sheriff’s officials say they have been fielding more calls than usual.

Demand is being driven by a federal appeals court ruling last month that made it easier for some residents to obtain the hard-to-get permits. About 56,000 Californians have a concealed-weapons permit in a state of 38 million residents. [Prior to the ruling] In Marin County, the sheriff’s office has issued only 21 concealed weapons permits.”

Those in Marin afraid of guns, though, need not worry that their perfectly nice neighbor, the one who brings casseroles when they’re sick and helps prop up fences in winter storms, will be packing legal heat any time soon.  Although the 9th Circuit may have spoken, that’s not good enough for Marin’s Sheriff:

Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle said he doesn’t plan to loosen how permits are issued until the issue has been conclusively decided by the courts. He said he’s not sure how may people have applied for permits since the ruling as most of the inquiries in Marin have been phone calls.

“We’ve had more requests than usual since the ruling. We’ve told people they can apply, but we’re going to apply the same standard of demonstrating ‘good cause’ until it’s finally been decided by the court,” Doyle said. “The decision has basically been put on stay for three weeks to give the parties time to respond.”

Color me cynical, but I’m willing to bet that, if Sheriff Doyle had been in charge, Marin would have been issuing same-sex marriage licenses within minutes of the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down California’s Prop. 8, the much-maligned law holding that marriage is between one man and one woman.  A foolish consistency, though, is never the hobgoblin of Leftist minds.

What’s so incredibly funny in all this is Sheriff Doyle’s position on gun rights:

Doyle said he’s a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but believes concealed-weapons permits should be reserved for those who have some sort of verifiable threat in their lives.

“I don’t agree with the adage that the more guns we have, the safer we are,” Doyle said. “We do have business owners that have been robbed and some people that carry large sums of money in the course of their employment carrying concealed guns.”

Properly translated, what Doyle is saying is that “I strongly support the Second Amendment, except for the part where it says that the right to carry arms is inherent in the people, and not dependent on the whim of the government.  But otherwise, if I decide someone deserves to have a gun, I might actually give that person permission.  Maybe.”

I shouldn’t poke too much fun at the sheriff.  He is, after all, a perfect reflection of the county he serves.  Everyone here claims fealty to the Bill of Rights, provided that it’s eviscerated to conform with Leftist norms.

Even if Doyle is, as I suspect, a very nice man, I’d rather have Milwaukee’s Sheriff Clarke in charge of our concealed-carry licensing program:

Police chief get a gun

Military man schools woman who says rape can be prevented by teaching men not to rape

I posted here about a Zerlina Maxwell, a Democrat strategist who told Sean Hannity that weapons don’t prevent rape, words prevent rape.  According to her, the best way to prevent rape is to teach men not to do so.  Arming women is unnecessary.  Their power rests in the word “No.”

America’s Sargeant Major saw the same video.  Normally, he wouldn’t comment on this type of thing, because concealed carry is a hot topic issue in many states now.  Being assiduously apolitical, the Sargeant Major leaves such topics alone.

What changed his mind about writing a post taking on Maxwell’s argument is that she wrapped it up by saying ““If firearms were the answer, then the military would be the safest place for women and it’s not.”  This is a purely factual statement and, moreover, one about the military, a subject well within the Sargeant Major’s purview.

The Sargeant Major’s marvelous post explaining to Maxwell how the military actually operates — when it comes to controlling the guns in its midst and when it comes to teaching troops to avoid dangerous or illegal activity — is here.  Read it.  You’ll like it.

Can a romance novel get the NRA seal of approval?

Pink Walther pk380

I did a Costco run the other day and, as I always do, I glanced at the book display.  This time, they had two books by one of my favorite junk/romance novel writers:  Linda Howard.  Both of the books were at prices comparable to what I’d pay for them on my iPad’s Kindle app so, yielding to an impulse, I put both in my cart.

The first, Shadow Woman, Howard wrote herself and, I’m sorry to say, it’s not one of her best. Not bad, but not good either. As I read it, I had the feeling that she was dealing with a deadline, rather than enjoying the writing process. In her better books (e.g., Kill and Tell, Open Season, or Mr. Perfect), you feel that she likes her characters and wants you to like them too. In this latest, Howard just seemed to be moving people through plot. So it goes. Even the best novelists aren’t going to hit a home run every time.

The second Linda Howard novel I bought is one she wrote with another Linda — Linda Jones.  The book, Running Wild, is a cowboy novel, which isn’t a genre I particularly like, and it has a bare-chested male torso on the cover, while I like my romance novels more discretely packaged (which is one of the virtues of the Kindle app). Still, with Linda Howard as the main name on the cover page, I thought I’d give it a try.

The book is a mixed bag. Linda Howard always writes romantic thrillers, but the thriller part of Running Wild isn’t very exciting. Our heroine flees a murderous stalker and ends up on a Wyoming ranch where, of course, she finds romance. For the most part, the book is just about her worrying about the stalker, rather than doing anything about the stalker. And when she’s not worrying, she is (of course) lusting after the rancher who is (of course) lusting after her. Worrying and lusting, lusting and worrying — not my idea of the most exciting book in the world.

Scary cop

The book suddenly picks up energy, though, when it comes to guns. You see, Carlin, our heroine is being stalked by a rogue cop — he’s armed and she, because she’s on the run, is not. Part of the reason she’s on the run is because, as far as she knows, her life under the radar precludes her from buying or carrying guns.  Imagine her relief when she discovers that, in Wyoming, things are different. Her enlightenment begins when, after a pathetic punch at the rancher when he scares her, she learns that she can be armed:

“That’s twice you’ve panicked,” he said sharply. “The first time you tried to run. This time you managed a swing that a ten-year-old could have ducked. Considering your situation, why the hell haven’t you taken some self-defense lessons?”

What he said was so far from what she’d been expecting that, for a moment, she scrambled for a reply. She opened her mouth, couldn’t think of an answer, closed it again. Then she shook herself, literally. There were reasons, a couple of very good ones.

“Money.  Time.  And knowing how to punch someone won’t protect me from a bullet.”


Zeke’s jaw set, his mouth as grim as she’d ever seen it, which was plenty grim.  “You need shooting lessons.”

“Why?  I don’t have a gun.”  And she couldn’t buy one, either, because the background check could possibly alert Brad to her location.  She didn’t know enough about background checks, whether they were state or federal, or how easily accessible the data was.  She could find out, using Zeke’s computer, but buying a gun would still be problematic.

He gave a cold smile that in no way alleviated the grimness of his expression.

“Getting you a weapon isn’t a problem.”

“But the background check –”

“Doesn’t apply to private sales.”

“Oh.”  Suddenly faced with an option that a second ago had seemed impossible, all she could do was swallow.  (Running Wild, p. 185).

The message couldn’t be more clear:  when the government — or a rogue element in the government — is after you, the only protection you have is through the private marketplace.  Close that private marketplace and you, the citizen, are a sitting duck.

The book gets energized again when the ranch owner and his ranch hands give Carlin shooting lessons.  After a gun safety lesson, she gets to practice with a shotgun, rifle, revolver and semi-automatic.  The semi-automatic (that would be the kind that Democrats want to outlaw) works for her because it’s easy to use.  Even better, she can have it with her at all times.  She learns this important fact when one of the ranch hands tells her that a pistol will be the most practical weapon for her:

Concealed carry purse semi automatic

He lifted a pistol, one that looked as if Wyatt Earp would have been proud to haul it around.  “She needs something that’s easy to carry, and easy to handle.”

That was easy to carry and handle?  Good lord, it was a foot long!  The mental picture of herself was so ridiculous she burst out laughing as she pointed at the pistol.  “If I wore that in a holster, it would reach of the way to my knee!  And it sure wouldn’t go in my purse.”

“Get a bigger purse,” Kenneth advised, which, when she thought about it, was, from a man’s point of view, a completely logical solution — but then, men didn’t carry purses.  Neither did she, anymore.  If it didn’t go in the pockets of her TEC jacket, or her jeans pockets, then she didn’t carry it, which brought up another issue.

“Wouldn’t I have to get a permit to carry a pistol?”  Anything that required a background check was off the table.

“Not in Wyoming,” Zeke said.  “Concealed carry is legal.”

Holy cow.  That changed everything.  She eyed the pistol with renewed interest.

The book’s message isn’t subtle.  In California, which has just about the strictest gun laws in America, our heroine would be a sitting duck.  In Wyoming, she can buy and have upon her a weapon that will at least give her a fighting chance against an armed assailant.

Unless you’re super picky, Running Wild is a good way to while away a few pleasant hours in romance-land.  More than that, I encourage every one of you to spend the $6 or $7 at Costco or Amazon (or wherever) to buy it, just to make a statement that you approve of books that highlight why our Second Amendment rights are so important.  And if you know someone at the NRA, maybe you should tell them to put this on their approved NRA fiction list (assuming they have one).

(Also, if you like romantic thrillers, give Linda Howard’s other books a try.  I never dislike any of her books, but there are some, such as the ones I listed at the top of this post, that I really love.)