- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2006

Katharine the great

“Starting out in the theater, [Katharine Hepburn] had persevered through many setbacks — being fired by managers, waiting in the wings for opportunities that never arose — always convinced that stardom was her due. She was proved correct when she scored a smash in her first picture, ‘A Bill of Divorcement’ (1932). …

“But fame hadn’t turned out as she had imagined. A young woman of moderate privilege with a strong sense of entitlement, Hepburn had been accustomed to living quite freely, with no real inkling of what stardom would entail. …

“She had never taken criticism well. She would even pretend reviews didn’t bother her. … But deep down she despised those monsters with their poison pens. She hated to be called less than great.”

—William J. Mann, writing on “Too Hepburn for Hollywood,” in the October issue of Vanity Fair

Doom vs. data

“Out of the stagflation and malaise of the 1970s emerged a new and improved American economic system — less regulated and unionized, more globalized and entrepreneurial than the old triumvirate of Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor that preceded it. And ever since, a considerable portion of the political left’s intellectual energy has been spent in poor-mouthing the ensuing prosperity.

“Complaints about increasing inequality and a supposedly declining middle class have formed a familiar litany since the days of Ronald Reagan. …

“No matter how the doom-and-gloomers torture the data, the fact is that Americans have made huge strides in material welfare over the past generation. And with greater wealth, as well as improved access to consumer credit and home equity loans, they are much better prepared to deal with the downside of increased economic dynamism.”

—Brink Lindsey, writing on “Poor-Mouthing Prosperity,” Thursday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

Truman’s war

“FDR thought he could keep the Soviet Union satisfied through spheres of influence and his personal style of diplomacy. So FDR was willing to legitimate the Kremlin in a way that Truman never allowed. Even before he became president, Truman understood that the combination of the Soviet communist regime and its totalitarian practices was a global threat. …

“Different tactical decisions could have been made in the Korean War, for sure, but Truman made the right decision in 1950 to defend South Korea. Truman’s weakest point was China. His instincts were good in 1942, when he wrote to his wife Bess that the United States would have to deal with the problems of Russia and China after World War II. But China was a country in a region that Truman knew less about than Europe or the Middle East. As president, he initially listened to George Marshall, when the general led the U.S. mission to China after World War II and when he was secretary of state. With Marshall out of the administration in early 1949, Truman’s instincts recovered. By mid-November 1949 — too late to change things for China in the short run — Truman said that America would settle matters in China, ‘and not as a Communist State.’ Although he always showed more patience with respect to China than the Soviet Union, Truman was staunchly opposed to recognition of the [communist regime in China].”

—Elizabeth Edwards Spalding, author of “The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment, And the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism,” interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez in the September issue of National Review Online



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