In confronting the growing challenge of China, as with Japan in the 1980s and other challengers in the…
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Rubio: Beat China via Free Trade and Passing Trans-Pacific Partnership, Not Self-Destructive Protectionism

In confronting the growing challenge of China, as with Japan in the 1980s and other challengers in the past, the easy and simplistic response is to advocate protectionism.  But America remains the most prosperous and innovative nation in human history on the basis of free trade, not protectionism.  If closing borders to trade was the path to prosperity, then North Korea would be a global exemplar.

On that chord, Senator Marco Rubio (R - Florida), set to give a much-anticipated foreign policy speech on the campaign trail today, offers a refreshing commentary in today's Wall Street Journal entitled "How My Presidency Would Deal With China."  In his piece, Rubio advocates free trade and passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as effective tools for confronting China, resisting the…[more]

August 28, 2015 • 09:52 am

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Charles Krauthammer Is a Great American, and That’s a True Fact Print
By CFIF Staff
Monday, April 12 2010
Charles Krauthammer is demonstrably never 'hysterical.' Charles Krauthammer is demonstrably not a rumor-monger. Nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, if he says something, you can bet a big burger lunch that he’s right.

Boy, did we step in it last week.  In our Commentary piece -- “Here Come the VAT” -- we wrote, "No longer is it just those hysterical rumor-mongers like columnist Charles Krauthammer speculating on the next national tax to be imposed by the Obama administration..."

Our first intent was to correctly credit the iconic conservative columnist with being one of the first to identify the emergence of a VAT as the next huge tax-and-spend scheme of the administration.  Our second was to attempt to poke a sharp verbal stick in the eyes of liberal gladiators who like nothing better than to attack their betters, including Mr. Krauthammer, with hyperbole as silly as we used.

Charles Krauthammer is demonstrably never "hysterical."  Charles Krauthammer is demonstrably not a rumor-monger.  Nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, if he says something, you can bet a big burger lunch that he’s right.  We were thus attempting one of the principal forms of irony – using words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning.

That’s not the way some readers read it.  Perhaps reading in haste or at mid-boil over the excessive opprobrium heaped on conservatives daily, not pausing to consider the source, they read the lines literally and heaped some of their own rather literally on us.  Further down in the piece we straightforwardly referred to the “growing number of warnings from seers like Krauthammer,” but that was too late.  We just hope we don’t get blamed for people spilling hot coffee on themselves.

Writing humor – whether satire, parody, irony, ridicule, hyperbole or even just plain old wisecracking – is difficult...and as many examples demonstrate, from the history of those who have been great at it and from our own feeble attempts...dangerous.

In a Freedom Line blog posted the same day, we made up fictitious legislation called “the kick your constituents’ dog” bill.  It seemed like an appropriate humorous symbol for describing the penchant of our current Congress to treat constituents contemptuously.  We referred to Stimulus XXIII, there being no such bill.  It just feels like it.  We got no complaints for those, nor for a ridiculous rendering of a global warming story, which was just too priceless for grown-up comment.

Perhaps a serious conservative advocacy organization like the Center for Individual Freedom should stick to straight “just the facts, ma'am” writing.  But given the serious, existential challenges this Republic faces, from enemies foreign and domestic, the relief provided by humor keeps us (and we hope most of you) from being committed to a rubber room now overseen by Mistress Sibelius.  (See, we just can’t help ourselves, and the image of the HHS Secretary in black latex wielding a cat-of-nine-tails is, to us at least, as scary as the reality of her in charge of our health care.)

Humor can be and should be a powerful weapon against entrenched power.  The cartoons of the brilliant Michael Ramirez at www.cfif.org are daily testament to that.  But they are cartoons, the purpose immediately understood, just as the straight-razor wit of Rush Limbaugh is understood (by those who don’t wish to distort it for their own ends) by his set-ups and inflections and long history of just raising verbal hell and having fun doing it. 

Although stand-up comics at open mike night might beg to differ, written humor is much tougher to pull off, because all the writer has is words strung together. With written humor, to telegraph it, to label it, to prepare the reader for it is to weaken it.  It doesn’t work if you say, “here come the joke.”

If we could wake up every morning and offend every liberal, lefty, psycho on the planet, that would make our every day.  (Now we’re going to get complaints from psychos that they are merely mentally challenged and shouldn’t be lumped in with those evil liberals.)  Likewise with faux conservatives and other hypocrites whose only reality is themselves, for what they can get from their masquerades. 

Offending regular, devoted readers who share our values, if not always our way of expressing those values, is unintentional, but, frankly, a risk we knowingly take, in the pursuit of being more interesting than oatmeal.

Our website is something of a hybrid, and we’re going to keep changing it until we get it right.  If we ever get tagged with some line like “as predictable as the mainstream media,” it’s time to shred our thesaurus.

We strive to be current, accurate, insightful and, yes, occasionally edgy.  When we go over that edge, our readers are the rocks below, banging our heads.  To intentionally mix metaphors, those who can’t take a beating should stay out of the ring.  Is it Round Two yet?

Question of the Week   
A Louisiana second-grader wrote to First Lady Michelle Obama with regard to which one of the following school lunches that had changed under new federal nutrition requirements?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"A federal judge in North Dakota acted late Thursday to block the Obama administration's controversial water pollution rule, hours before it was due to take effect. Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court for the District of North Dakota found that the 13 states suing to block the rule met the conditions necessary for a preliminary injunction, including that they would likely be harmed if courts…[more]
 
 
—Timothy Cama, The Hill
— Timothy Cama, The Hill
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe that Vice President Joe Biden’s willingness to consider a presidential run is because he knows more than the public knows about the content of Hillary Clinton’s emails?