- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2013

On bookshelves Tuesday: “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” Sarah Palin’s unapologetic book that seeks to preserve the faith in a holiday that has been homogenized, commercialized and stripped of its authentic and meaningful appeal. “It’s not about one holiday at all. It’s about that little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes who arrived long before hope and change became political manipulations,” the author says.

The Christmas wars persist. The Wausau, Wis., school district, for example, has planned seasonal entertainment for youngsters “in a manner that satisfies legal and educational requirements,” the local office says. Student choirs must sing “seasonal and Christmas selections that do not involve the celebration of the religious holiday of Christmas.”

Christmas programs in local elementary schools were canceled anyway; and an outside lawyer has been called in to conduct an inquiry into “the emotional and political uproar regarding the performance of sacred music,” says the Wausau Daily Herald. The former Alaska governor, meanwhile, has embarked on a 15-city book tour, beginning in appropriately named Bethlehem, Pa. She’ll be in Wausau on Thursday, in fact.

“We’ve all — at times — lost sight of the true meaning of the season,” Mrs. Palin writes in her new book. “But there are many people who haven’t merely lost, misplaced, or forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, they’re trying to actively target it to destroy it. And these true Scrooges have a frightening amount of power.”

HIGHER EDUCATION

“Yale’s Sexual Literacy Forum — a student-run course that aims to ‘create an open and respectful environment for discussion of boundaries, desires, identities, and experiences’ in sex — will be hosting a lecture entitled ‘Why do we watch porn?’” points out Alec Torres, a journalism fellow with the National Review Institute.

“The event features a speech by Nica Noelle an ‘award-winning writer, producer, and director of adult films,’ as a promotional e-mail describes her. Noelle is also a pornographic actress and sex columnist for Hustler,” Mr. Torres says. “Snacks will be provided at the event.”

Keep in mind that the yearly tuition at Yale is $42,300. This does not include snacks, room or board, books or personal expenses.

THE CHRISTIE COMBO

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could be an amalgamation of several presidents. “In an era of wrenching economic and social change, voters bet their hopes on a little-tested leader who a) echoed their disillusionment, b) pledged to end polarization, c) defied his party’s extremists, d) embraced the task of tackling big problems, and e) seemed authentic,” observes Ron Fournier, editorial director of the National Journal.

“And so it happened in 1992, 2000 and 2008 that Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama became president,” continues Mr. Fournier, suggesting that Mr. Christie may hope to package himself as a similar “perfect candidate” in troubled times.

“Voters crave — and the nation needs — a transformational president to lead America into the post-industrial era, just as Theodore Roosevelt reset U.S. political and social institutions for the post-agricultural era. But after three less-than-promised presidencies, voters may not be inclined to buy the hype,” Mr. Fournier predicts.

And Mr. Christie?

“Staunch conservatives will try to stop him, his shadowy background may not stand the glare of a national campaign, and his blunt style may not wear well on voters. In many ways, the New Jersey governor is the closest thing we’ve got to Clinton, Bush and Obama — a packaged-for-the-times candidate, Version 4.0, glitches included,” Mr. Fournier says.

THE NEW YORK TIMES COMBO

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