The progressive drive to broadly define and thoroughly eradicate political "corruption" has corrupted politics. But discord is not altogether pandemic in Washington, and last week a unanimous Supreme Court, in this term's most important decision, limited the discretion prosecutors have to criminalize politics.
"See that little stream? We could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a month to walk to it -- a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Tender Is The Night"
The Leave campaign won the referendum on withdrawing Britain from the European Union because the arguments on which the Remain side relied made Leave's case. The Remain campaign began with a sham, was monomaniacal with its Project Fear, and ended in governmental thuggishness.
"There's an old adage about a vat of wine standing next to a vat of sewage. Add a cup of wine to the sewage, and it is still sewage. But add a cup of sewage to the wine, and it is no longer wine but sewage. Is this what Donald Trump has done to our politics?" -- Martha Bayles, in the Claremont Review of Books
Months before the 1940 Republican convention nominated Wendell Willkie, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Theodore Roosevelt's waspish daughter, said that Willkie's support sprang "from the grass roots of a thousand country clubs." There actually was a Republican establishment in 1940, when GOP elites created a nominee ex nihilo.
Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue University, knows that no one in the audience is there to hear a commencement speaker. When, however, he addressed his institution's class of 2016, it heard him distill into a few lapidary paragraphs a stance toward life that illuminates this political season.
Of the fighting faiths that flourished during the ideologically drunk 20th century, anti-Semitism has been uniquely durable. It survives by mutating, even migrating across the political spectrum from the right to the left. Although most frequently found in European semi-fascist parties, anti-Semitism is growing in the fetid Petri dish of American academia, and is staining Britain's Labour Party.
Sitting on the sun-dappled terrace of the House of Lords, watching the Thames flow, Lord Nigel Lawson explains that the June 23 referendum, which he hopes will withdraw Britain from the European Union, was never supposed to happen. It is, he says, the fulfillment of a promise Prime Minister David Cameron expected to be prevented from keeping.
The Caligulan malice with which Donald Trump administered Paul Ryan's degradation is an object lesson in the price of abject capitulation to power. This episode should be studied as a clinical case of a particular Washington myopia -- the ability of career politicians to convince themselves that they and their agendas are of supreme importance.
Misery loves company, so refugees from America's Republican Party should understand that theirs is not the only party that has chosen a leader who confirms caricatures of it while repudiating its purposes. Jeremy Corbyn, the silliest leader in the British Labour Party's 116-year history, might kill satire as well as whatever remains of socialism.