The Bookworm Beat 11-18-15 — “the mother of all round-ups” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have been collecting links for days and will try to share them all with you. Here goes:

Only conservatives are paying attention

In an attempt to deflect attention of Muslim depredations in Paris, the Left and its foot soldiers (all of whom seem to be my Facebook friends) immediately attacked Americans and other Westerners for failing to pay attention to a bombing the day before in Lebanon (an ISIS v. Hezbollah bombing, so it was Horrible People v. Horrible People). I eventually got tired of commenting on their posts to the effect that I have been paying attention to all of these attacks, primarily because they are all different manifestations of a single radical Islamic entity, and I’ve been trying to get everyone to pay as much attention as I do.

Emma Kelly says what I was too polite to say explicitly to these Leftists: The reason you didn’t know about these other attacks isn’t because the newspapers didn’t report them, it’s because you weren’t paying attention.

I’ll add something that Kelly didn’t, though: You weren’t paying attention because American and European media outlets don’t want you to see that Islam is a problem, so they report on these incidents, but downplay them. Meanwhile you get loud noise about Ben Carson’s alleged lies, Hillary’s brilliance, Republicans’ meanness, Donald Trump’s hair, and Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy.

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[VIDEO] Alleged Campaign Finance Reform Stifles Free Speech

The dirty secret behind campaign finance reformWhen my Leftie friends talk about getting the Big Money out of politics, they’re very explicit about whose money they want out:  Money going to conservative and libertarian causes.  They’re fine with Soros’s and Steyer’s money.  Knowing that, I’m reflexively hostile to the campaign finance reform that Leftists demand is a predicate to freeing American politics from “big money.”  George Will goes into greater depth than that, explaining that campaign finance reform inherently restricts free speech and serves only to prop up incumbent politicians’ hold on office:

Yale madness: A little side note that nobody seems to have mentioned….

Yale-studentsI admit it. I can’t keep my eyes off the spectacle playing out at Yale and UMissouri, with side shows now taking place at campuses across America. I’ve been saying since my Berkeley days that American higher education is sick, sick, sick and, in a sad way, I feel vindicated. The rot that I sensed there in the early 1980s is finally working its way out from the center of the fruit, with the whole thing rupturing and spilling out its disgusting toxin. There are innumerable superb articles on the subject, and I’ll link to them below. I just wanted to point to one thing that I haven’t noticed anyone else mention.

When you read the articles about what happened at Yale, you’ll read that the Yale kerfuffle started when the “Department of Intercultural Affairs” (and God alone knows how much that department contributes to Yale’s hefty tuition) got the ball rolling shortly before Thanksgiving when it sent an email to all Yale students warning about the hidden dangers of Halloween costumes. And no, we’re not talking about costumes that (per elementary school lore) come from the undertakers and are soaked in deadly embalming fluid or costumes that make one blend into the darkness so perfectly that they raise exponentially the risk that a car will unknowingly crash into the wearer. Instead, the email warns about the horrors of costumes that — yikes! — might offend someone.

I believe this administrative email deserves to be quoted at some length, not just because it’s painfully, horribly, victim-centrically stupid, but also because of the Miss Nancy tone that I associate with the old Romper Room show from my childhood:

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The Bookworm Beat 11-1-15 — the Daylight Saving Time edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I like to Fall backwards, since it means I rise with the sun, which is a lot easier than getting up in the deep of night. Still, I’ve been discombobulated today, my computer has been balky, and my brain sluggish. Both the computer and I seem to have Daylight Saving jet lag. Jet lag or not, though, I have articles to share:

Should anyone in America ever be too big to jail?

I was absolutely horrified when a McClatchy article suggested that Hillary is just too darn important to prosecute for her myriad, deliberate, and quite damaging national security violations:

But most who spoke to McClatchy say it’s unlikely the former first lady, senator and Cabinet secretary will face charges because of her high profile and the hurdle to prove she knew the emails contained classified information when she sent them to others.

“She’s too big to jail,” said national security attorney Edward MacMahon Jr., who represented former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling in 2011 in a leak case that led to an espionage prosecution and 3½-year prison term. He cited a pattern of light punishments for top government officials who have mishandled classified information while lower level whistleblowers such as Sterling have faced harsh prosecutions for revealing sensitive information to expose waste, fraud or abuse in government.

Is this what our democracy has come to — the claim that Hillary Clinton, whose public career has been marked by corruption since her debut at Watergate — gets a pass because she’s just too darn elite and special?

Of course, that’s not the only problem with the McClatchy article. As my friend Wolf Howling wrote me,

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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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[VIDEO & POSTERS] The paralyzing effects of Leftist speech codes

censoredShould I apologize for the number of videos about free speech I’m sending your way today?  It’s just that there are so many good ones that friends have sent me that I feel compelled to share them.  Take, for example, Colin Quinn’s short, pungent, hysterically funny riff about the way in the Leftist speech police make ordinary conversation impossible:

I found the video especially relevant today because a friend of mine (nice gal, but very Left) posted two cartoons in the last two days, both of which she thought very meaningful and both of which are intended to shut down speech entirely:

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[VIDEO] American universities continue their crackdown on free speech

Liberals Conservatives censorship

Censorship is strong and growing on American campuses.  It’s disguised by words and phrases such as “microaggressions,” “trigger warnings,” and “political correctness,” but it all boils down to the same thing:  Telling people with whom the Left disagrees to “shut up,” but hiding that dictatorial ukase behind Orwellian phrases implying kindness and sensitivity.

Incidentally, this video is the perfect companion to a video I posted earlier today, which shows how the line between satire and reality has almost vanished completely on America’s college campuses.

We have just a sliver of time within which to preserve our constitutional rights

Man with mouth taped shutMy news feed, lately, seems to be overwhelmed by two primary stories: the Left’s increasingly shrill control over public discourse and ISIS’s depredations in the Middle East. Both stories, believe it or not, have led me to rethink the role, or perhaps “plight,” of ordinary Germans during World War II — and to realize that we are much closer to those ordinary Germans than we would like to believe, both in terms of our behavior and the risks we face.

Growing up, of course, I had nothing but disdain for every reasonably sentient German alive during the years from 1933 through 1945. They were all complicit and therefore they were all evil. I considered myself emotionally generous in that I did not believe that the post-War generation of Germans carried with them the sins of their fathers. (Indeed, I’ve long held that it’s a very dangerous mistake to make people live with a guilt they haven’t earned.) But the actual World War II generation . . . well, they were all guilty, guilty, guilty!

But I’ve learned and seen a few things of late that have made me aware that ordinary citizens in an evil nation, even if they never actively fought against that evil and seemed to enjoy the benefits of cooperation, may nevertheless be victims.

One of the things I’ve learned is that in the 1933 election that brought the Nazis to power they only had 33% of the popular vote. People may bemoan our two-party, winner take all system, but it actually serves as a bulwark against a minority power grab. As it was, once the Nazis controlled the Reichstag, they consolidated power very quickly, at which point votes became irrelevant.

The Germans consolidated power in two ways: The first was the campus Leftist way, which was thought control through speech control.  This took the form of both censorship and those hysterical mass rallies. The second way was the ISIS way, which was brute force.  While the rest of Europe and America, caught up in their own Depressions, turned a blind eye, this brute force was something very public for German citizens:  It consisted of murder, torture, and other forms of both physical and psychological intimidation. Those who tried to stand up for the victims (whether Jews or communists or gays or other targets) were very swiftly brought to realize that their efforts would result in the Nazis destroying them and, perhaps even worse, using the most painful methods to destroy their loved ones.

We all like to think that, if we were living in Germany in the 1930s, we would have stood up to the Nazis. But here’s the truth: most people aren’t that courageous. They want to live their lives free from pain and fear. They want their children to be safe. And if the bad guys come into town and conspicuously arrest, beat, shoot, behead, or throw of buildings a few human examples of people the bad guys dislike, everyone else is going to fall into line. This isn’t because they’re evil, it’s because they lack moral and physical courage — something that, when push comes to bloody shove, most of us lack.

I know that much as I’m aware of right and wrong, and freedom and tyranny, the first time someone puts a knife to my or my children’s throats, I’m going to back down.  I can’t pretend otherwise.  I’d like to be brave, but I doubt that I am.

What this means is that, when the bad guys start to move in, there is an achingly small window of time within which the ordinary people, the ones who just want to live their lives and lack the fortitude to face down raw evil, can speak and act to stop the bad guys in their tracks. Just keep in mind that, percentage-wise, the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, ISIS — every totalitarian group, didn’t traffic in numbers. They trafficked in fear when they had tested the population and the power structure and discovered that, even when the bad guys started their first tentative probes at these societies, things that could easily have been countered, no one would fight back.

With American Leftists on the move, we are getting very close to the last chance for ordinary people — the one who will yield to brutality — to have their say. This is our time to be as brave as we can be. Once a totalitarian group gets the bit in its mouth, it will not hesitate to use force to cow the majority. I understand now that most ordinary Germans were not bad people. They were people who didn’t speak out before 1933 and, because of their ordinary-people limitations, couldn’t speak out after 1933.

What we need to do now is stand up firmly to the Left’s increasingly strident (and scarily successful) efforts at thought and speech control.  When our guns are gone and theirs come out, we’ve lost.

We must ridicule the insane university speech codes; call out Progressives on their refusal to allow people to express dissenting opinions; constantly remind all of the people in our world that ISIS and Boko Haram and all these other fanatic groups are entirely in keeping with Mohamed’s dictates; and, among other things, get people to acknowledge that you, as a non-Muslim, are allowed to draw a picture of Mohamed — although you can make it clear that, as someone who respects religion, you would not gratuitously draw a deliberately offensive picture of Mohamed.

By the way, here’s a nice, and quite respectful, picture of Mohamed:

17th century French picture of Mohamed

(Incidentally, let me just point out that, because we have no images from life of either Jesus or Mohamed, none of the pictures we draw are actually of those two men. Jesus is typically drawn as a 14th century Northern European man, while the picture above demonstrates that, over the centuries, Mohamed was drawn as some sort of Ottoman potentate. We know these men through their words, not their visages. I prefer Jesus’s words.)

Again, let me repeat my message: we are very quickly losing the window of time within which we can push back against a totalitarian movement. The Left’s attacks on Christian bakers is a warning shot over the bow. Obama’s endless efforts to politicize every madman’s act in order to destroy the 2nd Amendment is another shot over the bow. The insanity of speech codes in universities — more preliminary missiles.

We are being silenced, softened up, and threatened. If we ordinary Americans, the ones who have passively valued our constitutional rights, don’t push back now — and all that we need to do push back now is to speak up, politely, firmly, logically, and freely — the Left will bring out its big guns, secure in its minority victory over a cowed American majority.

The Bookworm Beat 6-8-15 — the “heat wave” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual heat wave in May this year but, instead, had a series of extremely cold, often foggy and windy, days. Also, thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual three-day long heat wave in the first week of June this year, with the weather instead continuing to be extremely cold, as well as foggy and windy. Today, however, we had a hot day, so I guess that damn global warming is backing off a little.

I spent my day writing legal documents, and shlepping my mother to various appointments. I would have preferred to recline at my computer, reading and writing, while taking sips of a cool ice tea. Still, I am singularly blessed to have paying work and a living mother, so I can’t complain too much. (Or more accurately, I shouldn’t complain too much. Sadly, my temperament being what it is, I’m always capable of complaining.) I’m still working away, making up for work time spent with Mom, but there’s so much I want to share with you, I’ll just sneak in a few minutes of blogging here.

Captain Picard supports embattled British gay bakers

Considering that Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Picard from Star Trek : The Next Generation, is a good, card-carrying British Lefty, I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:

Patrick Stewart has weighed into the ‘gay cake’ debate, saying that he supports the right of the Christian bakers to refuse to ice messages they find offensive.

Ashers Bakery lost a court case after refusing to make a cake with the words “support gay marriage” above a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

The McArthur family who own the bakery were found guilty of unlawful discrimination and fined £500.


While many celebrated the ruling as a blow for equal rights, Patrick Stewart said that he backed the bakery.

Talking on Newsnight, the actor said: “Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers.”

Stewart argued that nobody should be forced to write specific text that they disagreed with.

“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” said Stewart. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”

He continued: “I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.”

Make it so, Captain Picard!  Make it so!!!

Netanyahu goes on the offensive against the world

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going on the offensive, not just against the Muslims raining rockets down on his country, but against a world that sits silent while this happens, only to speak up when Israel dares to respond to these deadly attacks:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the international community on Sunday morning for failing to condemn Gaza rocket fire at southern Israel.

“I did not hear a single member of the international community condemn the attack, and the UN did not say a word,” Netanyahu said. “I’m interested to see if the silence will continue when we act in self defense.”

“It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel,” he added.

Caroline Glick has also noticed that Netanyahu is taking on the world, and she too thinks it’s a good thing:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors. And if it continues on its current diplomatic trajectory, it may do something that its six predecessors failed to accomplish. Netanyahu’s new government may improve Israel’s position internationally.


The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.


The time has come, then, for Israel to take the wheels off the wagon.

For the past dozen years or so, pro-Israel activists in the US in particular have been fighting an uphill, lonely battle against the organizations promoting the BDS movement. Among their top complaints has been the constant refrain that the Israeli government has undermined their actions by standing silent or denying what was happening or treating Israel’s defenders as the moral equivalents of its adversaries.


All the while, Israel’s diplomatic standing has gone from weak to incapacitated.

Against this backdrop, statements and actions by the new Netanyahu government are encouraging because, unlike its predecessors, it seems to have stopped playing the fool.

At the outset of this week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke out angrily and specifically against the BDS movement and warned that Israel must not blame itself for the BDS haters’ assaults against it.

As he put it, “The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred. We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”

It’s high time Israel stops making nice with her enemies worldwide and, instead, starts calling them out on their gross and blatant hypocrisy. Meanwhile, Israel lives up to her standards by doing everything she can to protect those Druze citizens living in Syria.

Stay classy, United States Air Force

I’m ambivalent about Air Force General Hawk Carlisle’s decision to call an ISIS fighter a “moron.” As all those great cartoons and movies from WWII show, there’s a lot to be said for ridiculing the enemy. However, I think that ridicule somehow works better coming from the public sector, rather than from a high-ranking officer. It seems to diminish his rank, more than it ridicules the enemy.

Be that as it may, I think it’s also bad to boast about using social media to target terrorists. Armed with this knowledge, I suspect that next time the terrorists will be more careful.

Here’s some good WWII social satire:

A boxer remembers his tough, tough grandfather

Dustin Fleischer is an up-and-coming Jewish boxer training at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. He comes by his toughness honestly:

Fleischer, who grew up in Monmouth Beach on the Jersey Shore, can recount his grandfather’s tale of survival in dark detail: how he hid in the attic while the Nazis murdered his family; how he was shot three times while trying to escape a concentration camp; how the gun jammed and he was left to die in the heart of winter; how he miraculously survived and slept between horses to stay warm; how he joined the Jewish resistance.

“As far as a fighter, it gives me so much strength in the ring to have his bloodline run through me,” Fleischer says later. “To know that he could survive something like that. It pushes me to reach my goal of becoming a world champion.”

Incidentally, as the same article explains, Jews have periodically made a name for themselves in the boxing world, going all the way back to the late 18th century in England.

A victory in King v. Burwell could unshackle the economy

I wrote here the other day about the fact that a lot of Republicans are worried that, if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, Republicans will be in trouble because they’ll be viewed as having destroyed the subsidies that so many Americans have come to know and love. Richard Pecore, however, points to an upside that could and should make all those petty subsidies irrelevant:

Without subsidies, the employer mandate is toothless, because employers are only fined if their uninsured workers go to an exchange and get a subsidy.

Employers who have been struggling to keep their workforce under 50 (where ObamaCare kicks in) and use part-timers (who aren’t subject to ObamaCare) won’t have to worry any more.

Nullifying the employer mandate is likely to ignite a hiring boom.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, that looming mandate has caused 21 percent of small businesses to reduce workers’ hours, 41 percent to delay hiring and 27 percent of franchises (such as fast-food restaurants) to replace full-timers with part-timers.

People facing a penalty for being uninsured will also come out ahead. Without subsidies, most will be exempted from the penalty, saving them $2,000 on average next year.

Despite Democrats’ dire warnings, the poor won’t be hurt. An amazing 89 percent of people who are newly insured because of ObamaCare are on Medicaid, which won’t be affected.

Thank you, Mr. Pecore, for that cheering reality-check.

“I defaulted on my student loan because I’m an entitle s**thead.”

Lee Siegel has a New York Times opinion piece in which he explains why he defaulted on a student loan secured by the taxpayers of the United States of America. The short version is “I’m an entitled s**thead who chose an expensive college that I couldn’t possibly afford and then, when the bill came due, which would have forced me to take a real job to pay it, I stared deeply into my navel, and decided that, being an entitled s**thead, I could do whatever I wanted and leave the bill to working and middle class Americans.”

If I had my way, the Siegel’s of the world would be prosecuted and, ideally, imprisoned for fraud and various types of theft. Back in the day, I did something weird: I went to colleges I could afford, so I required minimal student loans and, when I left college, I worked hard and spent little so that I could pay off those loans.

Bruce Jenner will always be a mere simulacrum of a woman

D.C. McAllister has an interesting point, which is that being a woman isn’t simply about the proper chromosomes, boobs, vagina, hormones, etc. — instead, it’s about the sum total of our life experience growing up female, which mostly means our life experience going through puberty. Just as boys had the dubious delights of cracking voices and uncontrollable erections, girls got embarrassing in-your-face boobs (or equally embarrassing non-existent boobs) and periods with all the pain, inconvenience, and inevitable embarrassment.

Those experiences are part of who and what we are. We didn’t go to a grocery store to buy the bits and pieces we need, or to have cut off the parts we no longer want. We developed along with our sexual identity.

Incidentally, if you haven’t yet read Mark Steyn’s brilliant post on what it use to mean to be a transsexual, and how the Left has managed to pervert even that experience, drop everything and read it. Here’s the core idea but, as always, Steyn develops it so well, at such length, and with so much elan you must read the whole thing to appreciate it fully:

The coronation of Caitlyn is ultimately not about the right to choose which of the two old teams you want to play on. It’s about creating a cool new team. The “T” was always the relatively sleepy end of LGBT, and didn’t ostensibly have much in common with the other three-quarters of the acronym. The company it keeps only makes sense if the object of transitioning is not to “pass” but to create a new assertive identity group in and of itself.

Feminist Elinor Burkett is irritated by something else, which is that everyone who celebrates Jenner’s coming out party is also reinforcing the old-fashioned, 1950s-style stereotypes of women as emotionally-sensitive bimbos obsessed with clothes and make-up.

Kevin Williamson shreds the NYT’s attack on Marco Rubio’s driving record

If you haven’t read Kevin Williamson writing about the NYT’s attack on Rubio’s driving record, you must. I’m running out of time, so let me just repeat that: read it!

The Bookworm Beat 6-6-15 — the “I’m still standing” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m sorry for the long silence, but to quote Granny Clampett, “I was just plumb tuckered out.” Between escalating work demands and the usual family demands, I haven’t had either spare energy or spare time. It was only two days ago that I stopped being in denial and accepted that, for the time being at least, I have a 3/4 time legal job that requires a heightened level of commitment and organization. (Incidentally, I’ve found that, for managing large projects, Microsoft’s One Note, when combined with a good calendaring program, is very helpful.) I still intend to blog, but I just need to buff up my time management skills a bit.

And that’s it for the excuses. On to the post itself:

It’s not such a wonderful life

Victor Davis Hanson has scored another home run with his post examining at Obama’s new world order as another Pottersville:

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The Bookworm Beat 5-22-15 — the “no more doctors, please!” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265My post title notwithstanding, I am well, I have been well, and I expect that I will continue to be well. It’s just that I’ve spent between five and fifteen hours every week for the last few weeks in doctors’ offices thanks to my mother and my kids, all of whom are well, but who needed a variety of maintenance appointments. I’m all doctored out. Politics, however, still interest me:

Obama’s ego is all that stands between Israel and destruction

Obama sat down for an interview with his go-to Jew, Jeffrey Goldberg. Goldberg worships at the Obama altar, but periodically manages to sound as if he cares about the welfare of Israel and the Jewish people. I used to be fooled. I’m not anymore.

In any event, James Taranto caught Obama in a fascinating narcissistic moment in that interview. First, here’s what Goldberg wrote:\

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The Bookworm Beat 5-8-15 — the “packing it up” edition and open thread

Woman writingThis weekend there’s a wedding that I’m very happy I’ll be able to attend. There are only two downsides: (1) The dogs have to go to the kennel and (2) I have to pack. Both those things make me sad. The posts to which I link are an equally mixed bag: They’re all wonderfully written but, considering that we live in Obama’s America, they’re depressing too.

Mike Huckabee is a moron

I don’t like Mike Huckabee. He’s got charisma and is quick with the quip, but his “conservativism” stops with social issues. In all other ways, he seems to be just another garden-variety southern demagogue with a penchant for big government. A Power Line reader caught Huckabee in a big lie about Medicare and Social Security:

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