The American Conservative, 26 January 2009

Much of this issue is devoted to Israeli military operation in Gaza and its likely consequences for the politics of the Middle East.  The four items I want to note are not related to that topic, however. 

An obituary for Samuel Huntington notes that Huntington produced “pathbreaking scholarship in all four major subfields of political science.”  This led me straight to Wikipedia, which lists the five major subfields of political science as “political theory, public policy, national politics, international relations, and comparative systems.”  Which of these Huntington missed I don’t know.

Another obituary, for Father Richard John Neuhaus, includes a much harsher assessment of its subject.  Neuhaus is described there as a 1950’s liberal whose lack of imagination led him to conclude his public life as the ringleader of a group of “predictable apologists for the  very secular policies of the Bush administration, which were notable neither for their attention to claims of transcendent justice nor for their respect for the dignity of the human person.”  Among Neuhaus’ many delinquencies was a public campaign of defamation he and his followers waged against the staff of Chronicles magazine in 1989.    

Ronald Reagan hitting a girl

Ronald Reagan hitting a girl

A review of William F. Buckley, Junior’s The Reagan I Knew includes a couple of anecdotes from the book.  I reproduce them below:

Buckley’s Reagan is robust: when we (and Buckley) first meet him, he is about to introduce a Buckley talk at a Los Angeles high school. But the microphones are dead and can only be switched on from a locked booth above the auditorium.

“His diagnosis seemed instantaneous,” Buckley recalls. “He was out the window, his feet on the parapet, his back to the wall, sidestepping carefully toward the control-room window. Reaching it, he thrust his elbow, breaking the glass, and disappeared into the control room.” In a moment, “we could hear the crackling of the newly animated microphone.”

At their final encounter, in 1990, the ex-president again demonstrates his adventurous streak. He holds out his cup of tea to Buckley: “Stick your finger in this.”


“Yeah. Go ahead.”

The drink is scalding. “Now, watch this,” Reagan says as he swigs from the cup. “See? The tolerance of your mouth tissues is infinitely greater than that of your hand! … You know who taught me that? It was Frank Sinatra.”

You can see why someone lack that would grab people’s imaginations.  


  1. cymast

     /  February 10, 2009

    “You can see why someone lack that would grab people’s imaginations.”

    What do you mean by that?

  2. acilius

     /  February 11, 2009

    I mean, “You can see why someone LIKE that would grab people’s imaginations.”

  3. cymast

     /  February 11, 2009

    I see . .

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