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About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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  • The Difference Between Bulls–t and Lying

    By Kyle | November 3, 2013

    That’s the difference between last week’s Obama and this week’s Obama. More in my Sunday column. (It’s trending!)

    Topics: Barack Obama | 17 Comments »

    Obamacare Fires Up the Hollywood Propaganda Machine

    By Kyle | October 21, 2013

    Look for “subtle” references to the awesomeness of ObamaCare to start turning up on your favorite TV shows. More in my Sunday column.

    Topics: Barack Obama | 1 Comment »

    Liberal Hypocrisy and Obama’s Drones

    By Kyle | June 3, 2013

    In my Sunday column, I ask why liberals give Obama a pass on killing people with drones.

    Topics: Barack Obama | 13 Comments »

    Obama a Socialist, Says…. Obama

    By Kyle | May 20, 2013

    In my Sunday column, a look at what Obama meant when he said (longingly! not puckishly!) that he thinks about “going Bulworth.”

    Topics: Barack Obama | 84 Comments »

    So Long, Richard Windsor

    By Kyle | January 7, 2013

    The resignation of Lisa Jackson, who apparently operated under the nom de plume Richard Windsor, and what it tells us about the much-vaunted transparency of the Obama administration is the subject of my Sunday column.

    Topics: Barack Obama | 4 Comments »

    “Zero Dark Thirty” Vs. the Wets

    By Kyle | December 16, 2012

    In my Sunday column, I explain why “Zero Dark Thirty” is a clear vindication of the Bush Administration’s approach to the war on terror. (Spoiler alert: The good guys win in the end.)

    Topics: Barack Obama, Bin Laden dead, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Finita La Commedia

    By Kyle | November 9, 2012

    I’m not normally given to hyperbole, but it’s all over for the Republican party as we know it and hence all over for the United States of America as we know it. The Reagan period now looks like a blip. Only once has a Republican presidential candidate won the popular vote in 24 years.

    We’ve lost when we were the incumbent party and the economy was perceived to be doing badly; we’ve lost when we were the challenger party when the economy was doing even worse.

    In future, our elections will be like those in Britain or New York. We will be presented with a choice between a statist liberal and an out-there uber-liberal. And with the uber-liberal enjoying the full backing of the media and Hollywood, it’ll by no means be an easy win for the ordinary Mike Bloomberg or David Cameron-style liberal, who will be portrayed as a heartless plutocrat if he happens to come from money, or as a hopeless rube if he happens to come from nowhere.

    Liberalism multiplies and reinforces its own mistakes. As liberalism’s failures pile up, they will inevitably inspire more liberalism as solutions. As Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal points out, blacks have not only suffered in absolute terms under Barack Obama, with unemployment rising and incomes declining, but they have suffered relative to whites, with the gap between white unemployment and black unemployment actually widening. Recognizing all this causes the black voter not to take an interest in the mighty wealth and job-creating abilities of the free market, but to wish even more fervently for more government programs to alleviate the pain. Today 95 percent of blacks, it appears, believe the federal government should provide them with a job if they are otherwise unable to secure one. (At least that’s how I read this NAACP press release, but it’s vague.) Calling for the federal government to serve as the employer of last resort strikes me as a pretty radical idea, but just as yesterday’s luxuries become today’s necessities, yesterday’s radicalism is today’s progressivism is tomorrow’s legislation.

    To take merely one measure of the catastrophe: The Supreme Court is now permanently liberal. Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, a right to have your gay marriage recognized in every state will be discovered in the due process clause, and so on, but these are relatively minor issues. The progressive project can never be satisfied, so the Supreme Court will start behaving like courts in places like New Jersey and New York, where completely routine questions of budgeting and hiring get yanked out of voters’ hands and resolved to the satisfaction of liberal judges. The federal courts will fill up with Harvard Law School-type professors who will pour gasoline on the fire of liberal legislation, but if legislation stalls the bench will simply grant liberal presidents the power to do whatever they want with no input from Congress. If somehow a conservative policy slips through, judges will reverse it. No dispute will ever be over until the left has won. Just as a for instance: After George Zimmerman walks, there will be riots and he will then be railroaded on federal civil rights charges. The school choice movement will be killed off as “draining resources from public education,” which really means it harms a core Democratic interest group, the teachers’ unions. The simple matter of requiring voters to supply I.D. will be forbidden, not because it doesn’t make sense, the voters don’t want it or because it’s unconstitutional, but because it harms Democratic party interests. The two parties will fall all over each other in their efforts to mollify illegal immigrants. The new health-care entitlement will become increasingly onerous and costly, with all discussion limited to how best to “save” it, until one day employers’ efforts to work around it cause a frustrated government to convert it to a full-on single-payer Socialist scheme.

    I didn’t expect this would ever happen to my country, and certainly not so fast, but we are now a decadent European social welfare state, sure to be accompanied by European levels of economic stagnation, taxation, welfare rolls, unemployment and perpetually misallocated resources such as subsidies to favored companies. Military irrelevance will soon follow as the staggering costs of the cradle-to-grave socialist state grow exponentially. Iran will soon have nuclear capability, to be followed in short order by its Middle Eastern neighbors, folllowed shortly by widespread proliferation of nuclear arms to terrorist groups.

    I do not think Americans fully educated by the media on the pros and cons would have voted to turn into declinist Britain (where even working class people pay 40 percent income tax and where thanks in part to hidden value-added taxes everything costs double what it does here, except gasoline which costs triple). But Americans have chosen to allow themselves to be fooled by irrelevant chatter about caring or birth control or the DREAM act or gay marriage or “investing in our children” or whatever shibboleths were necessary to cover up the fact that we’re taking in $2.5 trillion while spending $3.6 trillion, with millions of Baby Boomers set to retire and all forms of entitlement spending set to skyrocket. The president has said repeatedly that middle class taxes won’t have to go up to pay for all this government, but even at the level of government we have today, this is a gigantic lie. And today’s government is tiny compared to what it’ll be in a decade.

    There is no good news. Yesterday was a dark day in American history. As dark as I’ve ever seen.

    UPDATE: Do not despair, says Jonah Goldberg. I say no, go ahead. Though I do agree that we must “work in despair,” in accordance with the Burkean injunction. Meaning: anti-Obama books are going to continue to sell. Maybe I’ll do one myself.

    UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg is taking another look, and thinks despair isn’t such a bad option after all. He says, “I proceeded to write this column on the Europeanizing tide in America that Obama rode to victory. It’s upbeat in the same way Schindler’s List was a feel-good romp of a comedy.”

    Topics: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Politics | 113 Comments »

    The Mud-Slinger vs. The Optimist

    By Kyle | November 4, 2012

    In my final thought on Campaign 2012 (I hope), I contrast the character assassination of one side vs. the sober sunniness of the other. More in my Sunday column.
    Come on, Mitt. Win this thing.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney | 5 Comments »

    What Second-Term Agenda?

    By Kyle | October 28, 2012

    In my Sunday column, I take a bite out of the nothing sandwich that is Obama’s second-term agenda. Thanks to Sarah Hoyt and the indispensable Instapundit for the link.

    Topics: Barack Obama | 14 Comments »

    It’s On Like Donkey Kong!

    By Kyle | October 26, 2012

    Yankeefan (pictured above shortly after disposing of Qaddafi) wants to know if I’m willing to bet on this election. When last we wagered, it was over the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare: He predicted it would be upheld (6-3); I said it would be rejected (5-4). Basically it was a push. But I was happy to treat him to a luxurious bottle of Rioja and concede defeat like a gentleman.

    Now Yankeefan, who has professional ties to a company that says Romney is winning this election by five points, stares into the abyss once more, and laughs like Howard Roark. I am happy to seize the moment and celebrate his upcoming plunge into despair. I accept the honor of an honorable bet and wager that, indeed, the better man will be elected president of these United States on Nov. 6 or I’m buying the next evening of drinks. And yes: The better man in every way is Willard Mitt Romney. I foresee the American voters returning to their senses. And if not I am going to need some good long drinks anyway.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney | 1 Comment »

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