The Week: Most Recent from Matt K. Lewis recent posts.en-usWed, 17 Sep 2014 09:45:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent from Matt K. Lewis from THE WEEKWed, 17 Sep 2014 09:45:00 -0400Why does America get fooled into thinking elite insiders are actually outsiders?<img src="" /></P><p>Chuck Todd, the new host of <em>Meet The Press</em>, seems like a regular guy. He's likable, normal, one of us.</p><p>This has as much to do with perception as reality.</p><p>As <em>The</em> <em>Washington Post's</em> Dana Milbank recently noted, "Todd has been a Washington denizen longer than" many journalists perceived as consummate Beltway insiders, "working as a political reporter here for 22 years."</p><p>It doesn't feel that way. And Todd seems to know it. Here's Milbank on Todd's embrace of his humble roots, which certainly seems to fuel his everyman image, even as he has vaulted to the most elite ranks of the Political Media Industrial...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:45:00 -0400Life advice for my sons<img src="" /></P><p>There's an episode of <em>30 Rock</em> where aging new father Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), fearing he will be "senile or dead for the better part of [his] child's life," decides to record a video for his unborn child. "I must find a way to speak to &mdash; and guide &mdash; my son, even from the grave," he declares. He then goes through the process of recording his thoughts, ending the tape with these words: "In the unlikely event that you find something that is not covered here, find a woman named Liz Lemon, get her advice, and then do the opposite."</p><p>It's funny. But it's also sweet and sad and serious...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Fri, 12 Sep 2014 06:07:00 -0400In defense of the prosperity gospel<img src="" /></P><p>The wife of famed televangelist Joel Osteen said something stupid the other day &mdash; so stupid there's now a YouTube meme about it, featuring Bill Cosby saying, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life."</p><p>In the original clip, Victoria Osteen says, "I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we're not doing it for God &mdash; I mean, that's one way to look at it. We're doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we're happy." Osteen continues, "So I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 03 Sep 2014 06:05:00 -0400The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics<img src="" /></P><p>Like it or not, this truism is very true: Being president in the modern era requires a certain "It Factor."</p><div class="im"><p>You don't need star power to make it to the U.S. Senate, or to rise in its leadership. (Looking at you, Senators Reid and McConnell.) You don't need an almost celebrity-like sexiness to succeed in the House. (Who among us would describe Steny Hoyer or Steve Scalise in such terms?) But when we're talking about the presidency, it's not enough these days to be a highly intelligent lawmaker with a history of policy expertise and success. You've got to have charisma. You've got to have charm...</p></div> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:00:00 -0400The dangers of our passionless American life<img src="" /></P><p>Many of my fellow conservative columnists have lamented in recent weeks that the troubling trend of Western men voyaging to the Middle East to become terrorists has its roots in the stultifying boredom of life in modern capitalistic society.</p><p><em></em>'s Michael Brendan Dougherty's explored the topic in a post called "How the West produces jihadi tourists." <em>The New York Times</em>' Ross Douthat ventured into similar territory in his "Our thoroughly modern enemies." <em>National Review's</em> Charles C.W. Cooke was on board, too, in a post titled "Sadly, totalitarianism is exciting."</p><p>"One reason that liberty...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:07:00 -0400How Ferguson made conservatives lose faith in the police<img src="" /></P><p>As we watch the turmoil in Ferguson &mdash; where protests and police crackdowns raged for a week in the wake of a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager &mdash; many Americans have been forced to reassess their views on the duty and tactics of the police. But we conservatives &mdash; with our dueling affinity for law-and-order institutions like the police and our libertarian-inspired opposition to abuses of government power &mdash; are perhaps the most torn.</p><p>Over at the <em>Federalist</em>, Hans Fiene notes, "For many conservatives, especially those of us living in nice, comfy suburbs, it's hard...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:02:00 -0400The political brilliance of Hillary out-hawking Obama<img src="" /></P><p>Hillary Clinton's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg at <em>The Atlantic </em>&mdash; in which she dinged Obama for "the failure to help build up a credible fighting force" of moderates in Syria, leading to "a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled" &mdash; is leading to a lot of headlines about the former secretary of State sprinting from the failing foreign policy of her former boss.</p><p>This political knifing of Obama is surely not the friendliest thing the Clintons have ever done. And it's obviously hypocritical &mdash; Clinton was secretary of State for four years! Nonetheless, this rhetoric is...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Mon, 11 Aug 2014 10:22:00 -0400What America's Ebola obsession says about us<img src="" /></P><p>Acclaimed medical expert Donald Trump recently went on a Twitter rant about the Ebola outbreak, dropping unassailable wisdom like this:</p><center><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days - now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!</p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2014</blockquote></center><p>Trump was hardly alone in stoking anxiety. Around the same time, a headline on the influential <em>Drudge Report</em> blared: "Dozens From Ebola-Struck Countries Caught Sneaking Into USA."</p><p>The panic surrounding the Ebola epidemic seems tailor-made for the times we live...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:06:00 -0400The best way for conservatives to derail Obama is to shut up and stay out of the news<img src="" /></P><p>I'm sensing a trend. Last October, the House GOP's ill-conceived government shutdown diverted America's attention from President Obama's massively botched rollout of</p><p>A year earlier, in the immediate aftermath of the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Mitt Romney inserted himself into the debate, harshly criticizing the Obama administration. Absent Romney's remarks, the media scrutiny surely would have focused on Obama's potential failings in Libya; after Romney's comments, the scrutiny shifted to him, and the consensus was that he had rushed to judgment for political...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Tue, 05 Aug 2014 06:07:00 -0400Hey, GOP: American exceptionalism demands compassion at the border<img src="" /></P><p>If a child showed up at your doorstep, begging for help, what would you do?</p><p>Most Americans, I suspect, would offer help, even if that meant simply calling the police, who would, hopefully, ascertain whether the child was really in danger. But a lot of Americans who would respond to such a scenario with compassion also believe that America should simply shut its door to desperate refugees.</p><p>I would suggest that a moral nation has an obligation to come to the aid of children who are fleeing grave danger. A nation as blessed as America ought to be a force for good in the world. "<em>For unto whomsoever...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:50:00 -0400Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016<img src="" /></P><p>Perhaps it says something about us that our most interesting presidential candidates swear they won't run for president. This is true of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and it's increasingly true of Mitt Romney.</p><p>As regular readers of this column know, I've never been much of a Romney booster. I've also expressed skepticism about the notion he would run again. But let's not let "a foolish consistency" cloud our judgment. There is reason to believe that a third try wouldn't be an absurd venture.</p><p>First, in the intervening years since 2012 &mdash; and on a range of issues, not the least of which is Russia...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 31 Jul 2014 06:18:00 -0400The danger of the Democrats' lack of desperation<img src="" /></P><p>Necessity is the mother of invention &mdash; especially for a political party in need of a comeback.</p><p>It was, after all, a desperate Democratic Party, having lost three consecutive presidential elections, that finally nominated a relatively centrist southern governor named Bill Clinton in 1992. It worked. Eight years later, it was desperation that led the very people who disdained George "<em>Read my lips!</em>" Bush to fall in line behind his son, in an attempt to wrest control of the White House from the Clintonistas.</p><p>In both cases, a sort of <em>Mut der Verzweiflung</em> &mdash; a courage born out of desperation...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:05:00 -0400The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush<img src="" /></P><p>President Obama surely has more than 99 problems &mdash; but here's one: He doesn't feel the need to even <em>look</em> like he gives a damn, even as parts of the world all but crumble on his watch.</p><p>Obama is obviously smart and emotionally evolved &mdash; and maybe that's why he's embraced the "no drama" ethos so tightly. He never looks worried. His face never evinces concern. His voice never quivers. His body language doesn't change. At all. He walks at the same languid pace regardless of the situation.</p><p>You might think this evenness is a good thing. Sometimes it is. But if there's a pressing geopolitical...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:10:00 -0400How to become a cable news pundit<img src="" /></P><p>"I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television," Gore Vidal once declared. This is terrific advice. Of course, not everyone has the chance &mdash; particularly with the latter endeavor. So let me help shed a little light on the secret society of TV pundits &mdash; and how to get into it.</p><p>Let's say you're an aspiring journalist or strategist and want to make a name for yourself. How do you do it? Of course, the most obvious way &mdash; still! &mdash; is to get on TV. There is something magical about TV. The medium itself bestows upon the pundit a sense of expertise, earned or not. God...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 16 Jul 2014 06:11:00 -0400New urbanism isn't just for liberals -- conservatives should embrace it too<img src="" /></P><p>Conservatism has somehow become associated in the popular imagination with sterile suburbia, obnoxiously large McMansions, and gas-guzzling SUVs, while liberalism evokes images of city living in close quarters, with public transportation or bicycle commutes from high-rise lofts to open-floor workspaces.</p><p>Never mind the fact that conservative icon William F. Buckley rode a scooter, or that conservative icon Russell Kirk refused to drive a car, warning that automobiles would increase rootlessness in America. No, these days America seems to assume that conservatives, if they must live near a city...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:05:00 -0400The Supreme Court: The last bastion of American leadership?<img src="" /></P><p>Washington is broken. Congress can't seem to reach <em>any</em> decisions, much less achieve consensus on the big challenges facing our country. And over in the executive branch, President Obama has accomplished next to nothing in his second term. America has noticed, with approval ratings for both Obama and Congress in the cellar.</p><p>But there's one branch of government that's still doing stuff, whether you like it or not. Yes, the Supreme Court actually issues <em>decisions</em> &mdash; and, what's more, about two thirds of decisions in this recently concluded term were unanimous (including striking down President...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Tue, 08 Jul 2014 06:07:00 -0400