No one needs better health care more than the South, but it fights it off so long as Obama is offering it, its governors turning down funds for Medicaid. This is a region that rejects sex education, though its rate of teenage pregnancies is double and in places triple that of New England. It fights federal help with education, preferring to inoculate its children against science by denying evolution. No part of the country will suffer the effects of global warming earlier or with more devastation than the South, yet its politicians resist measures to curb carbon emissions and deny the very existence of climate change.… The South has decided to be defeated and dumb.
Garry Wills, Dumb America
The horror of Newtown cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch.
Garry Wills, Our Moloch
Garry Wills, Why 2012 Matters

Republican operatives describe this year’s presidential election in apocalyptic terms. It will determine our future. It will seal our national fate. Well, they are probably right, but not for the reason they give. They tell Republican voters that President Obama, in a second term where he does not have to face re-election, will reveal and follow the full socialist agenda he has been trying to hide.

Only the gullible will swallow that. But the right does know that the future is at stake. That is because this election year gives Republicans one of their last chances—perhaps the very last one—to put the seal on their plutocracy. They are in a race against time.

Photo: Chuck Kennedy/The White House

Garry Wills, Why 2012 Matters

Republican operatives describe this year’s presidential election in apocalyptic terms. It will determine our future. It will seal our national fate. Well, they are probably right, but not for the reason they give. They tell Republican voters that President Obama, in a second term where he does not have to face re-election, will reveal and follow the full socialist agenda he has been trying to hide.

Only the gullible will swallow that. But the right does know that the future is at stake. That is because this election year gives Republicans one of their last chances—perhaps the very last one—to put the seal on their plutocracy. They are in a race against time.

Photo: Chuck Kennedy/The White House

Garry Wills: Why Is This Man Laughing?

Everyone has noticed by now the non-laugh laugh of Mitt Romney, a kind of half-stifled barking. But what does it mean? It is blurted out as abruptly as it is broken off. Is it a kind of punctuation, part comma, part full stop, part interrogatory mark? What, if anything, is it trying to convey? Why does it seem more like coughing or burping than laughter?

Image: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Garry Wills: Why Is This Man Laughing?

Everyone has noticed by now the non-laugh laugh of Mitt Romney, a kind of half-stifled barking. But what does it mean? It is blurted out as abruptly as it is broken off. Is it a kind of punctuation, part comma, part full stop, part interrogatory mark? What, if anything, is it trying to convey? Why does it seem more like coughing or burping than laughter?

Image: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Rick Santorum says that 62 percent of people who go to college lose their “faith commitment” there. Some have questioned those statistics, which come from a 2007 report that found even greater decline among those who don’t attend college. I do not know how one measures such things, but I think it inevitable that questioning of childhood beliefs should take place at various stages of adolescence. This does not happen in junior year or senior year on campus. It is part of a long process called growing up.
Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasure, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
Edmund Burke, 1774, quoted by Garry Wills, Edmund Burke Against Grover Norquist