Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Stoke And Scare" 

Last week the media were gushing about the president's dinner with his former Republican colleagues from the Senate. Mr. Obama was praised for once again reaching out to his critics, while our media elites waited with bated breath wondering if the recalcitrant conservatives would dare reject him one more time. 

But as former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan noted in a weekend Wall Street Journal op-ed, while the president may have been trying to extend an olive branch, his political allies evidently did not get the memo. They are still in campaign mode, churning out more horror stories about the sequester. Consider this excerpt from Noonan's column: 

"It is interesting that almost at the same time as the dinner the president's people had once again begun warning of doom. A blast email from Organizing for Action, signed by Stephanie Cutter, used these words: 'Devastating,' 'obstructionism,' 'destructive,' 'this is real.' It claimed 100,000 'teaching jobs' will be cut, along with '70,000 spots for preschoolers in Head Start, $43 million for food programs for seniors, $35 million for local fire departments,' and nutritional assistance for 'over half a million women and their families.' …

"They aren't dropping the Frighten Everyone strategy. Their whole approach is still stoke and scare -- stoke resentment and scare the vulnerable…"

About Those Sequester Cuts… 

The White House made headlines when it announced that the sequester cuts had forced it to shut down the popular White House tours. The news has disappointed schoolchildren and parents all over the country. Last week I received a message from a concerned grandmother telling me that her granddaughter's scheduled visit to the White House had been cancelled.

One sixth grade class at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa, is fighting back. It has launched a Facebook campaign to pressure the White House into keeping the doors open. Their message is simple: "The White House is our house. Please let us visit!" 

I applaud their activism. But according to Bloomberg News, shutting down the popular tours are the only cuts the White House has made so far. 

Meanwhile, Politico writes that the Obamas are making plans for their fourth expensive summer vacation to Martha's Vineyard. But wait…there's more!

While American kids are being kicked out, it has been reported that the White House is already planning a lavish party for Michelle Obama's 50th birthday -- which is next year! According to someone familiar with the planning, "America's first lady will be holding a huge celebrity-packed party for her birthday at the White House next year and, as she adores Adele and Beyoncé, she has asked them both to sing." 

The Next Pope 

The leaders of the Catholic Church are gathered in Rome this week to select the next pope. Some of my fellow evangelicals may be inclined to feel that they do not have a horse in this race, or some may be dwelling on the doctrinal differences between Catholics and Evangelicals. But I am praying that the cardinals have great success. 

Western Civilization is in grave danger. It is under attack from radical secularism and from radical Islam. I think that anyone who cares about Christendom should pray that this selection is done with God-given wisdom and that the next pope will continue to aggressively defend Judeo-Christian civilization as the last two popes have done. 

Mary Eberstadt, of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argues that the next pope should be "ready to play offense." Eberstadt writes that "Christianity Lite" has been embraced by our elites, including many mainline Protestant denominations. But a faith that rejects orthodoxy in exchange for the whims of popular opinion has failed to draw in large crowds. Meanwhile, radical secularism is gutting the West.

Mrs. Eberstadt put it better than I could have when she wrote:

"Unprecedented numbers of fatherless homes, burgeoning levels of depression and anxiety, a sexual ethos so freakishly jejune that parents of every stripe fear it -- these are just some of the specters now stalking the secular West. Then there are the crushing burdens outside the West that traditional teaching also addresses: the women around the world who suffer genuine oppression, like sex trafficking; the millions of believers persecuted for believing; the many other human beings unwanted by anyone else and upon whose intrinsic dignity Christianity -- and sometimes, only Christianity -- insists.

"The best defense remains a good offense, and the riven secular world itself, however inadvertently, hands the next pope plenty of moral ammunition. He just has to be willing to use it."

"Morning In America" 

This morning I had the opportunity to join my old friend Bill Bennett on his radio show, "Morning In America." Of course, that was Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign slogan, and Bill and I had the great honor of serving together in the Reagan Administration -- I was Under Secretary of Education when Bill Bennett was Reagan's Secretary of Education. 

This morning, we had a great conversation about a host of issues making headlines -- Rand Paul's filibuster, drones, marriage, the Boy Scouts, etc. Click here to listen to my segment on Bill's show.

If you want to get a good overview of what conservatives are thinking and talking about as the day begins, Bill Bennett's radio show is the best place to start.