George F. Will


The greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. --Russian President Vladimir Putin on the collapse of the Soviet Union Ultra-liberalism is the new communism of our age. --French President Jacques Chirac on proposals to move the European Union toward more reliance on free markets The Lord God allowed nazism twelve years of existence...


A concatenation of three events last week--two protracted deaths and one literary birth--was, as a stimulus to reflection, remarkable. Or, some will say, providential.In a utilitarian, if humane, place, a hospice in Florida, a woman tangled in some toils of modernity--medical technology, and the machinery of litigation and legislation--died because, after 15 years in a vegetative state, and supposedly out of respect for her autonomy, nutrition and hydration were withdrawn from her.


The story, perhaps apocryphal, is that the adjective "posh" began as a British acronym. For travelers by sea to India and the Orient, the preferred shipboard accommodations, because of the tropical sun, were portside out, starboard side home.Bentley automobiles, manufactured in Britain, are among the world's poshest luxury goods, with models ranging from U.S. prices of $165,000 to $280,000.


Under the stopped-clock principle--even a stopped clock is right twice a day--let the record show that Sens. Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Democrats from California, New York and Ohio, respectively, have a tenuous hold on a piece of a point in their election-reform bill that is, however, generally dreadful and, in parts, patently unconstitutional.The Count Every Vote Act, which might better be called the What's a Little Fraud Among Friends?


PRESIDENT, n. The leading figure in a small group of men of whom--and of whom only--it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.By the time most NEWSWEEK readers receive this issue, they and other voters will be choosing, or will have chosen, the man least not wanted, a.k.a.


A fat lot Keats knew about autumn. "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"? Fiddlesticks. It is football season, the distilled essence of modern life.It is sex (pneumatic cheerleaders), violence (when the 1976 Super Bowl made the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders famous, a CBS producer said, "The audience deserves a little sex with its violence"), technology (quarterbacks electronically instructed by coaches wired to subordinate Merlins in the upper reaches of the stadium), committee meetings...


Pittsburgh--re-ordained in Manhattan, George W. Bush headed for his 34th presidential visit to Pennsylvania. Tony Podesta dourly says Bush cabinet members are so thick on the Pennsylvania ground, "He could have a quorum for a cabinet meeting here." Podesta's job is to see that Bush's courtship of this state becomes, like Quasimodo's ardor for Esmeralda, a famous episode of unrequited love.Podesta, a political lifer, lives in Washington--his younger brother John was a White House chief of staff...


November's most portentous vote is not for president. It is Colorado's vote on abandoning, beginning this year, the winner-take-all allocation of the state's electoral votes.


Some progressives, as liberals now prefer to be known, would rather rid the world of Wal-Mart than of Baathists. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is not preserving its reputation for seriousness, has listed Vermont--all of it--among America's most endangered historic places.


Ronald Reagan, unlike all but 10 or so Presidents, was a world figure whose career will interest historians for centuries, and centuries hence his greatness will be, and should be, measured primarily by what happened in Europe, as a glorious echo of his presidency, in the three years after he left the White House.


Briefly last week, political hygienists, who strive to perfume the world with campaign-finance reforms, suffered the vapors. Like Victorian maidens scandalized by a glimpse of a loose woman's ankle, they sprawled prostrate on a divan, crinolines askew, faces chalky from shock.

The Politics Of Trash Talk

Although David Hume was a skeptic regarding religion, he frequently attended church services conducted by a severely orthodox clergyman. Hume said, "I don't believe all he says, but he does, and once a week I like to hear a man who believes what he says." Which is why this presidential campaign may drive even atheists into pews.The candidates' rhetoric sounds excruciatingly inapposite at a moment when Internet video of the beheading of an American causes no attention to be paid to reports of...

Comanche Spring, 2004

In "Lone Star Nation," his new history of the battle for Texas independence, H. W. Brands of Texas A&M writes that one particularly fierce Indian tribe called itself, as many tribes did, simply "the People," but the tribe's neighbors, the Utes, referred to it with a word meaning "anyone who wants to fight me all the time." Rendered in Spanish, that Ute word became "Comanche."For the Texan who is president, and is under enfilading fire on all sides, from adversaries and events, this may seem...


Aleksandr Kerensky died in New York in 1970. He had lived there since the 1940s, also spending time at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. From May 1918 to 1940 he lived in Western Europe, editing newspapers and journals for other Russian emigres.


Last week's stomach-turning images from Fallujah--ecstatic children learning from adults the delights of creating and then mutilating corpses--were redundant reminders, but evidently necessary reminders, of how difficult it is going to be to build a democratic, multiethnic Iraq.


Each morning, as republicans--bright- eyed after sleep made especially refreshing by dreams of defeating Howard Dean--shave or apply makeup, they should look into their mirrors and say to the images of complacency there: "Read my lips--Michael Dukakis got 45.6 percent of the vote."The landslides that buried George McGovern in 1972 and Walter Mondale in 1984 are incessantly invoked as the Great Warnings to Democrats determined to go on an ideological toot with Dean.

2003: Not In Our Interests

Whatever happens," said Lord Salibury (1830-1903), a conservative in thought, word and deed, "will be for the worse, and therefore it is in our interests that as little should happen as possible." By that sensible standard, eventful 2003 was not in our interests.Make love and war, or else the terrorists will have won:During Valentine's week in February, with war impending and the government elevating the terrorism alert, two of Wal-Mart's hot-selling items were lingerie and duct tape.

Conservatism, Um, Evolving

By the time the conservatives running Congress and this conservative president are done doing what they think will win the next election, tweezers may be needed to pick up the remnants of conservatism as traditionally understood.

The Dueling Nightmares

Everyone who embarks on the pursuit of a party's presidential nomination must, as in John Milton's gloomy words, "scorn delights, and live laborious days." By last week, all the Democratic candidates except Howard Dean must have wondered why they were doing this.Well, perhaps not the three antic candidates.

Handicapped On The Hill

Washington, with the highest concentration of television cameras per acre in this galaxy, and with more journalists per capita than is wholesome, makes national names out of legislative luminaries such as Gary Hart, Birch Bayh, Howard Baker, Richard Lugar, John Glenn, Joseph Biden and other failed seekers of presidential nominations.

Paris Versus Philadelphia

America's thinking about its engagement with the world is being bedeviled by the insistent asking of the wrong question, which is: how can we close the rift with Europe caused by the Bush administration's "unilateralism," which betokens wariness about international institutions and international law?

The European Project Sags

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, Europe is seething with resentment about one nation's hubris. The Continent reverberates with angry denunciations of that renegade nation's lawless unilateralism.

Dean And Big Differences

If it was not already as plain as a pikestaff, last week's events made it so: In 2004 there will be no talk, as there was in 2000, of the presidential election's being about "the narcissism of small differences." The differences between the parties are now sufficiently stark that even Wesley Clark, the retired Army general who fancies himself a president, has suddenly discovered, in his 59th year, that he is a Democrat.The next election will turn on big differences about two questions.

Restoration At 346 Madison

--MARY McCARTHY, "The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt" (1941)Some business stories are social parables. One such is the long, stately rise, then the swift, undignified descent, and now the resurrection of Brooks Brothers, the men's clothier that long ago became one of America's iconic brands.It was founded in 1818 near the southern tip of a mostly rural Manhattan.


What is to be done with the American people? They are so disappointing. Perhaps they should be recalled, and a new public elected. Given a chance by their moral tutors to behave virtuously, and tirelessly exhorted by those tutors to do so, they still don't.In 1974, as part of the political class's post-Watergate vow to sin no more, it adopted a less-than-painful penance.

The Greening Of Chicago

Chicago-- Thirty-five summers ago, in the angriest year of a boiling era, the forces of peace, love and understanding--they fancied themselves "flower power"--clashed violently at the Democratic Convention with the police of Mayor Richard Daley.