Had Vice President Joe Biden behaved toward Sarah Palin in their 2008 debate the way he behaved toward Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in their debate last Thursday, he might have been denounced as a patronizing misogynist.
In his debate with Ryan, the vice president was merely a jerk.
The hottest ticket on Broadway continues to be "The Book of Mormon," a musical that pokes fun at the Mormon faith in particular and Christianity in general. It is also full of profanity and blasphemy. If there was a show called "The Book of Muhammad," the Eugene O'Neill Theatre probably would have been burned down by now. New Yorkers are selective when picking their targets.
Now there's a new musical called "Scandalous," about a colorful, some would say corrupt, evangelist named Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church. In the early part of the 20th century, Aimee was more famous than any TV evangelist today. She combined a considerable amount of show business with an equal amount of religiosity and packed them in at her Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, which remains in operation today, long after her death.
Mitt Romney's main advantage in his first debate with President Obama on Wednesday may be that the president will be speaking without a teleprompter. His second advantage is the president's record and how he has failed to fulfill many of his promises.
While the president will probably recycle his class warfare themes, Romney should focus on the president's domestic failures and on Republican initiatives that have worked in the past. We Americans didn't just crawl out of a cave. There is history.
NEW YORK -- Prior to leaving Egypt for the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi told The New York Times the United States needs to "fundamentally change" its approach to the Arab world. That includes, he said, showing greater respect for Arab values, as well as helping to build a Palestinian state.
Is there an Arab equivalent for the Yiddish word "Chutzpah"? It isn't the policies and attitude of the United States toward the Arab world that need changing. It's the attitude and policies of the Arab world that need to change. For a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who still subscribes to the group's radical beliefs, to blame America for problems in the Arab world is like blaming the mirror for what it reflects.
TAMPA, Fla. -- This week when Mitt Romney strides to center stage to deliver his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he might draw inspiration from an unlikely source: the song "I Am What I Am" from the musical "La Cage Aux Folles."
One of the chief complaints from voters about politicians is that they too often package themselves disingenuously to get elected, only to reveal their real agenda after they've won. That is what President Obama did in the 2008 campaign when he styled himself as a unifier who wanted to bridge the partisan divide by saying, "...we are not a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States of America." He then governed more like he was in Soviet America with redistribution of income and more centralized power in Washington.
It's trapping season. The targets are Republicans, whom the Democratic-friendly media (the trappers) hunt in order to smear -- especially the Romney-Ryan ticket -- forcing them off message.
The bait in the latest case is the issue of abortion in cases of rape. The hunter's target was Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, who is running for the Senate against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.
When women complain about men who can't commit, they can thank -- or blame -- two people: Playboy magazine publisher Hugh Hefner and the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown, who died this week at age 90.
Brown was the flip side of Hefner, offering women permission, even encouragement, to embrace a female version of Hefner's freewheeling "Playboy philosophy" of unrestrained sexual pleasure. Brown and Hefner offered one-way tickets to fantasyland, a journey supposedly without cost to a destination seemingly without consequences.
Last Thursday's Wall Street Journal editorial "Why Not Paul Ryan?" made the case for his selection as the Republican vice-presidential nominee in this statement: "Romney can win a big election over big issues. He'll lose a small one."
After Ryan's serious proposal to restructure Medicare -- which virtually everyone knows must be reformed -- the response from Democrats was an unserious TV ad, which showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair over a cliff.
To call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a "mad dog," as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank did, is an affront to the canine community and those suffering from legitimate mental illness. Reid was completely sane when he spread hearsay about an anonymous Bain Capital investor who allegedly told him Mitt Romney paid no taxes for 10 years.
Doesn't Reid, a Mormon like Romney, subscribe to the prohibition in the Ninth Commandment: "Thou shall not bear false witness"? He appears to pay no political price because he's a Democrat and unlike Joe McCarthy, to whom some are comparing him, no prominent fellow Democrat or top media figure has asked Reid the question put to the commie-hunting McCarthy by attorney Joseph Welch in 1953: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"
PLYMOUTH NOTCH, Vt. -- Two of my pundit colleagues -- David Brooks of The New York Times and Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal -- have written about this "boring" and "inconsequential" presidential campaign.
Perhaps the reason is that we've heard it all before. "There is nothing new under the sun," wrote the author of Ecclesiastes, but that doesn't mean old ideas that worked in the past can't be updated and applied to our time.
The Obama re-election team must be in panic mode. The president is stuck in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in some polls and behind him in others, so in desperation it has reached out to the Big Dog, Bill Clinton, for help.
Clinton will speak next month at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in a Wednesday night position often reserved for the vice presidential nominee. Obama and Clinton have not had the most cordial relationship, but when you're drowning, your feelings about the lifeguard matter less than his ability to keep you afloat. And Obama is a sinking man.
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is in hot water with the LGBT community because he committed the cardinal sin in an age of political correctness: Thou must not speak ill of anything gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgenders wish to do.
In an interview with the Baptist Press and later on a Christian radio program, Cathy, whose father, the philanthropist Truett Cathy, founded the company, defended marriage between a man and a woman and when asked about the company's support of traditional marriage said, "Guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit." Cathy believes American society is rotting (and where is evidence to the contrary?) because the country has turned away from God.
By now the script should be familiar. A bombing or a mass shooting occurs and the media immediately look for a simple cause. Invariably, they turn to talk radio or some other conservative pit of "intolerance."
Within recent memory are tragedies like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1999 massacre at Columbine, the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings and the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson. Some politicians and liberal interest groups have sought to link these and other violent incidents to the far right. There have also been incidents when some conservatives have tried to blame other tragedies on "liberals" "secularists" and abortion.
Stephen Covey, the management guru who died this week, would have had a hard time selling his books in Benjamin Franklin's America, or Abe Lincoln's. His best seller "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" would have been considered a self-evident truth, one drummed into earlier Americans by schools, churches and the Puritan ethic.
Today, Covey's thoughts about how to become a success by applying principles with a proven track record seem innovative and cutting edge. His work is a rebuke to the notion that government can do it all for you.
Mitt Romney's speech to the NAACP convention in Houston was -- according to one's political perspective -- a "calculated move on his part to get booed..." to help his white base (Rep. Nancy Pelosi), or a presentation to "independent thinking adult citizens" whom he treated as equals (Rush Limbaugh).
Having an adult conversation in a racially and politically polarized age is nearly impossible, especially when our current political culture does not require a solution to problems, only the use of rhetoric and symbols to gain political power.
In order to get the correct answer to anything, one must ask the right question. That is what former ABC News and current Fox News TV host John Stossel does on his weekly program. If ever there was "must see-TV," this is it.
Stossel's show on Saturday, June 30 was a classic. It was called "Government, Incorporated" and focused on what private industry can do less expensively and more efficiently than government. After watching it, I wondered why this isn't happening. Why does inefficient, costly and unresponsive government continue to grow while the people and companies that could do the work much better are regulated and taxed to death?
President Obama's attempt to spin the latest discouraging unemployment numbers as "a step in the right direction" is like telling passengers aboard the Titanic to ignore the sinking vessel and listen to the live music.
A Wall Street Journal analysis of the June unemployment figures offers little comfort, nor does it produce confidence that the economy will improve before the election.
When asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 what the Founders had wrought, Benjamin Franklin famously said, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
That question might also be put to the five Supreme Court justices who voted last week to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which mandates health insurance for most Americans, based on twisted logic that it is a tax and thus within the power of the Congress to impose on an already overtaxed people.
When is a tax not a tax? When President Obama says it isn't, or when the Supreme Court says it is?
Obamacare was sold on several fraudulent lines. The president knows the country doesn't want to pay higher taxes, given the deplorable way their government spends the money. And so the administration packaged it as something different.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (this was written before the decision), the Obama administration has indicated it will move forward with those parts of the unpopular law it can impose on the country.
Guidebooks are helpful when going on vacation. The U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) is the best guidebook for Americans concerned where a nationalized health system might take us.
Don't you find it odd that the word extremism seems to apply only to conservative Republicans? Terminology often drives political discourse and those who control the terms often determine the outcome.
Establishment Republicans have too often been uncomfortable in their own skin. When they win elections, they sometimes seem unsure of what to do next. Democrats never seem to have this problem. They operate according to their core convictions and are never considered extreme. Instead, they are moderate, even normal. When Republicans stick to their convictions, they are branded with a scarlet "E."
LONDON -- One of many things left out of the film "The Iron Lady" was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's warnings on the effects a single currency would have on the economies of European nations. Thatcher's premonitions place her among the great political prophets of all time.
On the single currency, Peter Oborne, a columnist for the London Daily Telegraph, writes, "Mrs. Thatcher foresaw with painful clarity the devastation it was bound to cause. Her autobiography records how she warned John Major, her euro-friendly chancellor of the exchequer, that the single currency could not accommodate both industrial powerhouses such as Germany and smaller countries such as Greece." Thatcher predicted the currency would harm poorer countries because it would "devastate their inefficient economies."
If the polls are right, the vote next Tuesday in Wisconsin on whether to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators could amount to a redial of their original victory. Voters who first elected the conservative Walker on a promise to fix the state's dismal economy and crushing debt appear ready to reaffirm their judgment.
They would be making the right decision given the results Gov. Walker appears to have produced.
On Sunday, Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the battleship USS Missouri at the end of ceremonies marking the unconditional surrender of Japan and the formal end of World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur spoke for a world weary of war and hoping for peace: "Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always."
That prayer was not answered as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and a host of regional and tribal conflicts have preserved war, not peace, as the means by which too many attempt to settle their differences.
Evidence of big media's bias against religion that doesn't advance the secular and liberal agenda of the Democratic Party is beyond dispute. Any faith attached to a conservative agenda is to be ridiculed, stereotyped and misrepresented. Islam is a notable exception. The media appear to bend over backward not to offend Muslims.
The Washington Post on Monday, reporting from Carrollton, Ark., uncovered an event that occurred nearly 155 years ago and then sought to link it to the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney: "On Sept. 11, 1857, a wagon train from this part of Arkansas met with a gruesome fate in Utah, where most of the travelers were slaughtered by a Mormon militia in an episode known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre."
It is one thing to talk about "fairness" when it comes to allowing gays and lesbians to marry; it is quite another to claim biblical authority for such relationships.
President Obama cited the "Golden Rule" about treating others as you would like to be treated, but in doing so he ignored the totality of Scripture and the Lord Himself, who alone gets to set the rules for human behavior.
Former NPR and current Fox News political analyst Juan Williams made an excellent point Monday night on "The O'Reilly Factor." Williams said the major reason President Obama had not endorsed same-sex marriage is because of the strong opposition to it in the black and Hispanic communities.
Who could have doubted, though, that the president favors expanding the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians?
"Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." is another of the Harvard professor's wonderful television series for PBS. This is "must-see TV" and a more than worthy sequel to three previous projects Gates has hosted about how some of us came to be what and who we are.
In this latest 10-part series, Gates explores the genealogical and genetic history of a diverse group of people, from entertainer Harry Connick Jr. and Pastor Rick Warren to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brown University President Ruth Simmons. There are less famous people, but the famous get you hooked for the rest.
In the 1993 movie "Dave" the faux president (played by Kevin Kline) calls in his best friend (played by Charles Grodin) and they stay up all night balancing the federal budget, not by raising taxes, but by cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending.
If only it were that easy. Most presidents have talked about cutting spending, but few succeed because Congress holds the power of the purse and is reluctant to give it up.