- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2001

Unhappy history
"The history of liberalism in our times is not, for liberals, a happy one.
"Franklin Roosevelt, frustrated over the connivance of Southern Democrats with Republicans in defeating New Deal measures, expressed the desire that party alignments might more precisely follow liberal/conservative lines. He assumed that an arrangement that consistently matched liberal Democrats against conservative Republicans would result in perpetual Democratic supremacy.
"Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964 appeared to mark the fulfillment of FDR's dream, but just a few years later the Great Society, riven with conflict over the Vietnam war and racial unrest, self-destructed virtually overnight. Liberalism has never recovered from that debacle."
—James Nuechterlein, writing on "The Last Liberal," in the August/September issue of First Things

The price of love
"The basic social problem with contemporary American society, Jennifer Roback Morse proposes in her new book 'Love & Economics,' is that we have forgotten what love is. Television, movies and popular music blare at us 24 hours a day about 'love,' and still most of us have no idea what it is. We think 'love' is about what we feel inside, instead of about what we do.
"This confusion, Morse argues, arises from the infusion of 'laissez-faire' thinking into family life since the 1960s, a process that has been unstoppable because the ideology appeals to influential lobbies on both sides of the political spectrum. An unlikely coalition of conservative-leaning libertarians and 'lifestyle liberals' have progressively convinced a broader and broader section of the American public to apply the 'contractual mentality' to family issues. Once the magic words 'choice' and 'freedom' began to cast their spell on the baby boom generation, the divorce rate was bound to soar.
"Love, according to Morse's definition, demands a true leap of faith. 'To love is to will and do the good of another' — without conditions. And it is expensive, asking of us both the time it takes to really get to know someone, and the money necessary to support a family. Perhaps we notoriously cynical post-Boomers are also, in the end, penny pinchers, as unable to believe in the possibility of love as we are unwilling to pay for it.
"But we are paying a great price by refusing to try. 'What's in it for me?' too many of us are inclined to ask, whether thinking about marriage or something as simple as picking up the tab on a date."
—Sean McMeekin, writing on "Why Love Is So Expensive," Wednesday in Boundless at www.boundless.com

Powerful flirts
"At dinner with Kay Graham and some friends a few months ago, I told Mrs. Graham that C-SPAN radio, which has been broadcasting Lyndon Johnson's phone tapes from the Oval Office on Saturdays, had just played the one where LBJ flirted with her.
"The most powerful man in Washington was trying to get the most powerful woman in Washington to denounce his congressional enemies in her newspaper, The Washington Post. And he was dripping Southern honey.
"'Hello, my sweetheart, how are you?' the Texas rancher drawled to the Widow Graham. 'You know the only one thing I dislike about this job is that I'm married and I can't ever get to see you. I just hear that sweet voice and I'd like to break out of here and be like one of these young animals down on my ranch. Jump a fence.'
"She laughed. He laughed. 'Now that's going to set me up for the month, Mr. President,' she said, her proper lockjaw accent sounding positively saucy."
—Maureen Dowd, writing on "Kay's Amazing Grace," Wednesday in the New York Times

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