The Most Interesting Candidate in the World

It's not a party unless it's a Jeff Bell party

Jeff Bell was a reform conservative before it was cool. He’s spent his career arguing with a risk-averse Republican establishment. He pushed Ronald Reagan to embrace the supply-side doctrine of tax cuts before deficit reduction. He spent the 1990s warning the GOP that its tax policy favored investment capital over human capital, corporate interests over working families. He designed a family-friendly flat tax that reduced payroll taxes, increased the child tax credit, taxed capital gains and regular income at the same rate, and ended business expensing. Payroll tax relief and a generous child tax credit are elements of today’s reform conservatism. Bell was there first.

The Genie of San Francisco

Kingofthieves107

Some of the best actors make the worst movies. Robin Williams, who killed himself Monday, made clunkers like Popeye, Bicentennial Man, What Dreams May Come, and Jumanji. But that isn’t a difference between Williams and actors of similar caliber such as Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. It’s a similarity.

Free Gaza

AP

Three. That is the number of times Israel has fought Hamas since 2007, when the terror group seized control of the Gaza Strip. There was Operation Cast Lead in 2008, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and now Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In all three cases the story has been the same: Israel is attacked; Israel responds; Israel is condemned; Israel ceases fire. Hamas is weakened. Hamas recovers. The rockets return. Rewind and repeat.

Israel Can Win

AP

Slandered, despised, insulted, degraded, Israel is nonetheless winning its war against Hamas. The number of rocket attacks launched by the terror group each day has been halved. The IDF is uprooting the underground tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle weapons, contraband, and terrorists in and out of the Gaza Strip. On Wednesday evening, Israel’s Channel Two newscast carried footage of Hamas terrorists surrendering to the IDF. The jihadists carried white flags. They stripped to their shorts, proving they were not wearing suicide belts. These are facts Hamas does not want you to know, images Hamas does not want you to see.

The Bear Is Loose

MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/Getty Images

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

The New Old Europe

Demonstrators being separated by Murrieta police officers / AP

Clemens Wergin is something of a contrarian. A German editor of the Die Welt newspaper group, he often found himself defending American foreign policy against European criticism. He would chide his countrymen for neglecting their dependence on the U.S. armed forces. He would lampoon the European belief that moral grandstanding makes for a foreign policy. He would praise American leaders for having the courage to make costly decisions.

De-Listing

iStockPhotos

“I’ve got a little list,” sang Ko-Ko in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado. I have got—or, more accurately, I am on—about 20 of them: Email newsletters to which I subscribe, and which appear in my inbox throughout the day. How I made it through life without all of these lists, which bring me the latest news on economics, politics, literature, foreign policy, defense, and media, I do not know. I am not quite sure how I will make it through life with them, either.

“Email newsletters, an old-school artifact of the web that was supposed to die along with dial-up connections, are not only still around, but very much on the march,” writes David Carr of the New York Times. And newsletters, in my experience, are not lone wolves. They overwhelm.

Power Precedes Politics

An ISIL image shows the country’s largest oil refinery under ISIL control / AP

The situation on the ground: Iraq in flames. The black flag of al Qaeda over Sunni-majority cities, Shiite militias cleansing Baghdad neighborhoods of other sects and ethnicities, car and suicide bombs exploding daily, the government of Nouri al-Maliki looking insolent and ineffective, the Kurds hinting at independence. Civil war. Iranian meddling. American defeat.

Hillary’s People

The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

The facts are these. In 1975, before she married Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham defended a child rapist in Arkansas court. She was not a public defender. No one ordered her to take the case. An ambitious young lawyer, she was asked by a friend if she would represent the accused, and she agreed. And her defense was successful. Attacking the credibility of the 12-year-old victim on the one hand, and questioning the chain of evidence on another, Clinton got a plea-bargain for her client. He served ten months in prison, and died in 1992. The victim, now 52, has had her life irrevocably altered—for the worse.

Blame Obama First

A series of bombs hit the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq / AP

On June 12, as al Qaeda forces marched toward Baghdad, John McCain spoke on the Senate floor. Noting that the al Qaeda affiliate ISIS has conquered a third of Iraqi territory, has overrun the city of Mosul, has captured abandoned American equipment, and has stolen more than $400 million in cash reserves, McCain said that the enemies of the United States are on the verge of a strategic victory. Only a major course correction, McCain went on, might prevent the emergence of an al Qaeda state that stretches from eastern Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad. “It’s time that the president got a new national security team,” he said.