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Ashbrook E-Mail Update
April 6, 2006

In This Edition: Review of Recent News and Commentary | Other Ashbrook Web Sites | Recent Ashbrook Publications | Book of the Week | Upcoming Events | Ashbrook Podcasts | RealAudio Archive | Donate to the Ashbrook Center

Review of Recent News and Commentary

Blacks to GOP?

From this morning’s Washington Post:

An internal document prepared by a top Democratic strategist warns that a majority of African American voters in Maryland are open to supporting Republican Senate candidate Michael S. Steele and advises the party not to wait to "knock Steele down." The report says that as much as 44% of likely black voters could abandon the Dems.
Now, if you are a Democratic operative, you tell me why this is only true in Maryland? Why not Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, for example?
Posted by Peter W. Schramm

Gorbachev: USSR Shouldn't Be Dead

I continue to be surprised how many liberals still think well of Gorbachev and the USSR. Things were nice and neat, stable; everything was clear. No more. In this USA Today interview with him, Gorbachev makes clear that the USSR should have been preserved, and could have been preserved; he merely wanted some decentralization, but things got out of hand. Oh, and he also doesn’t like the rearranging going on the Middle East.
Posted by Peter W. Schramm

The Vast Left Wing Environmental Conspiracy

Okay, that may be over the top… but not by all that much. David Mastio at Real Clear Politics connects the dots in a striking article about the near seamless symmetry between the media, radical environmentalists, and left wing politics.
Posted by Julie Ponzi

The Vast Left Wing Environmental Conspiracy, Take 2

Julie’s reference above to Dave Mastio’s story about the Enviro-Media Complex raises a mystery: the enviros, as I noted in my Weekly Standard article a few weeks ago, have embarked on a massive PR campaign to elevate the profile of global warming in American politics. This would seem foolish on the surface: the Bush Administration has shown that it is not for turning on this. So why make this kind of effort more than two years before the next election?

Dick Morris offers a clue in this column from The Hill. Al Gore might run again in 2008. Not only will he run to Hillary’s left on the war, but he may also run as the candidate to fight global warming. I can tell you from conversations I’ve had with enviros that one of the great mysteries in their mind is why Gore was so silent about global warming (since that is the ONLY issue for most greens) in his 2000 campaign. Typically I just run through the Gallup poll numbers for them: the issue is a loser politically. But if public opinion can be brought around over the next couple of years, then Gore can campaign on it. And if he wins, then he’d be in a position to do something, rather than flounder around as the Clinton administration did with its non-starter idea for a BTU tax.

This is the surest hint yet that Gore is indeed getting ready to run again.

There are a few signs of pushback to note, starting with this George Will column and this Robert Novak column.
Posted by Steven Hayward

Philadelphia Society

I went to the Philadelphia Society meeting last week. There were some panels, some OK speeches, and some very foolish ones (some so-called conservatives can be almost willfully stupid, I must say). One of the best panels was on "Republic, Democracy, and Empire" and Mac Owens gave the best talk at the event. Read it.
Posted by Peter W. Schramm

This Week's Podcast

My podcast this week is, once again, with David Foster from Ashland's Department of History and Political Science. David is writing a book on the writings of Mark Twain. Last week we discussed Tom Sawyer. This week's subject is Huckleberry Finn. Do listen, especially if you are a fan of Twain.
Posted by Peter W. Schramm

Liberals are Manic Depressive Girly-Men

The Washington Post carried a short report earlier this week about a forthcoming article in the Journal of Research in Personality that analyzes in detail the language used by Bush, Cheney, Kerry, and Edwards in the 2004 campaign. (The study was done by linguists at the Univesity of Texas/Austin—a blue outpost in that red state). The finding: "Sen. Kerry seemed the most depressed and suicidal. And Kerry’s running mate, Sen. John Edwards, sounded most like a ’girly man.’"

It gets better (and even more depressing for liberals):

Cheney easily sounded the smartest of the four… Edwards also was the most likely to use feminine speech patterns and ’female’ words, while Cheney sounded most like a man’s man… The Vice President sounded the most honest of the four, and Kerry the least.
The study’s authors said that Bush also used a lot of feminine language (that’s the trouble with compassionate conservatism), but at least he wasn’t depressed like Kerry.

Sounds like liberals could use a dose of Manliness. And also this.
Posted by Steven Hayward

Same-Sex Marriage and Polygamy

Tom Cerber also calls our attention to and comments on this piece, in which Jonathan Rauch tries to decouple same-sex marriage from polygamy. Offering a good public policy argument against polygamy—imagine lots of men without the prospect of marriage and imagine how uncivilized they’d likely be—Rauch by implication raises, as Cerber notes, the connection between marriage and liberal democracy. What’s the connection—historical and theoretical—between traditional monogamy and liberal democracy? Cerber has the right answer. Rauch wants to avoid the question.
Posted by Joseph Knippenberg

College Admissions Season

The Washington Post Magazine has a package of articles on higher education admissions and marketing, timed to the particular time of year, when high school seniors and their parents (not to mention those of us whose paychecks depend upon their decisions) are anxious.

This article, in particular, caught my attention, since it argued that name-brand private universities weren’t necessarily worth the expense. Unfortunately, the comparison is with flagship state universities and worth is measured in terms of future career and earning potential. I can’t and won’t quarrel with the conclusions, such as they are. But I will quarrel with the means of measuring "worth," which seems to set aside (probably as impossible to measure) any consideration of how life-changing or character-building (or "just" character-maintaining) a college education can be. The author is correct that you can get a decent education and build a good career network at any "elite" institution, public or private. Whether your future success depends more on your ambition and innate talent, as opposed what happens within the ivy-covered walls, is another question.

On the other hand, if college is supposed to put a seal on your character, suiting you to assume the responsibilities of a liberally educated gentleman, gentlewoman, or citizen, then other considerations ought to come to the fore. About these, we learn nothing from the article.
Posted by Joseph Knippenberg

Why the Failure to Launch?

Speaking of manliness—or perhaps it absence—Leonard Sax (who has a book coming out soon on the subject) writes in the Washington Post about what appears to be a growing phenomenon: the unmotivated 20-something male living at home with his parents. While there has been no change in the number of young women doing this, the increase among males ages 22-34 has been more than 100% in the past 20 years! I find that statistic staggering. Really?! The Sax article is a teaser, though, in that it does not really offer an explanation or cure for the problem so much as a simple diagnosis. Perhaps the book will offer more. In the meantime, he offers a link to the website of something called The Boys Project that is attempting to come to a better understanding of this phenomenon and the declining numbers of young men at college and university.
Posted by Julie Ponzi

CRB: The Best Review of Books Going

My fresh copy of the best review of books in the English language The Claremont Review of Books arrived on my doorstep yesterday. Professor Mansfield has an article in it and there is also a review of his book Manliness—so I’ll have to put down his book for awhile. Harry V. Jaffa has a new essay, as does Victor Davis Hanson. Our own Steve Hayward has an excellent review of Martin Gilbert’s latest on Churchill. And I would be remiss in my duties as a shameless self-promoter if I did not mention that I have a small review in this issue as well. At this point, none of the articles are available online—so, by all means, go to Barnes and Noble and pick one up or do yourself a real favor and subscribe today! Happy reading.
Posted by Julie Ponzi

Thank Goodness for This News

Blondes are not going extinct. Another urban legend bites the dust.
Posted by Steven Hayward

Recent Ashbrook Publications

America's Role in the World: Republican Empire and the Bush Doctrine
by Joseph Knippenberg (Editorial)

When he was elected to the American presidency in 2000, George W. Bush gave every indication that he, like his father before him, was a conventional "realist" in foreign affairs, committed to a grand strategy of selective engagement and critical of the open-ended nature of the Clinton doctrine and its indiscriminate use of military force in instances not involving vital national interests. Then came 9/11. MORE

Publications Archive

Book of the Week

Islamic Imperialism: A History by Efraim Karsh

Book of the Week Archive

Upcoming Events

G. William Benz on Leadership
Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at noon
Myers Convocation Center,
Ashland University,
Ashland, Ohio

All of the Ashbrook Center's events are broadcast live on the Internet at:

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For further information on any event, visit the Ashbrook Calendar of Events or call the Ashbrook Center, toll-free, at (877)289-5411.

Ashbrook Podcasts

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RealAudio Archive

This week's feature:

Lamar Alexander on Teaching American History
Major Issues Lecture Series
March 23, 2006

Visit our archive of on-line speeches at:

Other Ashbrook Center Web Sites

No Left Turns: The Ashbrook Center Blog
Features daily commentary on recent news by Peter Schramm, Robert Alt, Steven Hayward, Joseph Knippenberg, Julie Ponzi and other Ashbrook Center Adjunct Fellows.
Our web site for social studies teachers and students, featuring an extensive document library, information on our seminars and summer institutes for social studies tecahers, and an audio archive of previous teacher seminars.
A web site to accompany our Presidential Academy program which will lead selected secondary social studies teachers in a careful study of the pivotal turning points in American history memorialized by the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and the "I Have a Dream" speech.
Our web site to accompany Thomas G. West's fine book defending the American founders' views and actions on slavery, women's rights, property rights, voting rights, and other controversial issues.

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