The Atlantic »

Reflections of an Affirmative-Action Baby

November 14, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

In 1991, the African American Yale Law School professor Stephen Carter wrote a book called Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby. I remember reading part of it at the time. Little did I realize that the book’s title applied to me. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Republican Is Not a Synonym for Racist

November 10, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Is American conservatism inherently bigoted? Many conservatives would be enraged by the question. Many liberals suspect the answer is yes. Read more…

The Forward »

The Orthodox Should Know Better Than To Embrace Hatred Of Muslims

November 10, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

This fall, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) announced that Steve Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart and a former adviser to President Trump, would speak at its annual gala.

Liberal Jews protested that Bannon has fanned the anti-Semitism of the “alt-right.” Conservatives replied by citing all the Jews Breitbart has employed, and Bannon’s support for moving America’s embassy to Jerusalem. Far from being an anti-Semite, they insisted, he loves and admires Jews.

Problem is, the conservatives are right. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Trump Insults People From Afar, Then Praises Them in Person

November 9, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

When Donald Trump addressed South Korea’s parliament earlier this week, The Associated Press noted his “striking shift in tone.” After Trump journeyed from Seoul to Beijing, The New York Times made a video entitled “Trump’s striking change in tone on China.”

But the change isn’t all that striking. It’s predictable. Trump insults people from afar and then praises them in person. He demands they change their behavior, and then forgets those demands when they’re in the room. He’s been doing it consistently for at least a year. Read more…

The Atlantic »

‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Could Be Exactly What America Needs

November 7, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Americans have developed a set of rituals around mass shootings. Politicians who oppose gun control pray for the victims. Politicians and journalists who support gun control savage them for praying rather than acting. After the San Bernardino murders in December 2015, the New York Daily News reprinted four Republicans’ tweets about prayer on its cover alongside the words “God Isn’t Fixing This.” After Stephen Paddock killed 58 people in Las Vegas, Chris Murphy excoriated his Senate colleagues: “Your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers.” After Sunday’s murders in Texas, when Paul Ryan tweeted, “The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers,” Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal responded: “They don’t need our prayers. They need us to address gun violence crisis & pass sensible regulation.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

Lindsey Graham’s ‘Religious War’

November 2, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Tuesday night, hours after the terrorist attack in New York City, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham went on Fox News to express his gratitude that, at times like these, Donald Trump is president. “The one thing I like about President Trump, he understands that we’re in a religious war,” Graham declared. “Here’s what I like about President Trump,” he added later, “the gloves are off.” Trump, Graham explained, “is right to make sure when somebody comes into the country from a place where radical Islam [flourishes] … we’re going to ask extra hard questions.” And Trump is—you guessed it—“right to slow down who comes into this country.” When the Fox anchor turned to Robert Mueller’s indictment of two former Trump campaign officials, Graham’s enthusiasm didn’t flag. “If I’m the Trump team,” Graham declared, “I’d rest pretty good tonight.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

The Attack in Manhattan Poses a Test for Donald Trump

October 31, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Give credit where credit is due. President Donald Trump’s first response to Tuesday’s deadly attacks in New York City was fine. “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person,” Trump tweeted. “Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!” Sure, it’s weird to declare “NOT IN THE U.S.A.!” after an attack has just occurred in the U.S.A. But Trump didn’t incite hatred and he didn’t lie. His second and third tweets were comparatively mild too. Read more…

The Forward »

John Kelly erased slavery — just like Trump ignores the Palestinians

October 31, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Monday on Fox News, President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, discussed the Civil War. He called Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee “an honorable man.” He blamed the conflict on “the lack of an ability to compromise.” And he never mentioned the word “slavery.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

Anti-Trump Conservatism Is Politically Dead

October 25, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

In his speech on Tuesday announcing that he won’t seek reelection to the Senate, Jeff Flake denounced the “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior coming from “the top of our government.” Earlier the same day, Bob Corker—also retiring—said Donald Trump “debases the country.” In the days to come, George Will will likely say something similar on MSNBC. Charlie Sykes may do so on public radio. Bret Stephens may pen an anti-Trump column in The New York Times. Read more…

The Forward »

Why Are Mormons Obsessed With Jews?

October 23, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Earlier this month, Stephen Walt marked the tenth anniversary of his and John Mearsheimer’s book, The Israel Lobby, with a column in The Forward. In it, he restated his thesis that “unconditional U.S. support for Israel — the so-called ‘special relationship’ — is not explained by U.S. strategic interests or by shared values, as is often claimed, but is due primarily to the political efforts and activities of the [pro-Israel] lobby.” Read more…