Healthy Skepticism; Seminary Student Pushes Back; Aging Boomers

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, an eventful date in U.S. history. On the 19th day of August in 1814, British warships docked at the Maryland town of Benedict, on the shores of the Patuxent River, and prepared to invade Washington. Although the British eventually left, that visit didn’t turn out well for the fledgling nation’s new capital city, which was put to the torch.

On Aug. 19, 1953, the Central Intelligence Agency helped facilitate a coup in Iran, replacing the fiercely nationalist Premier Mohammad Mosaddeq and reinstating Reza Pahlavi as shah.

Widely seen as a foreign policy victory for the United States at the time, it turned out to be misguided scheme that planted toxic seeds Americans are reaping to this day.

It was on Aug. 19, 1976, when Ronald Reagan gave an evocative and impromptu speech at the Republican National Convention, which solidified his place in the GOP while foreshadowing the nuclear arms race de-escalation that became a defining achievement of Reagan’s presidency.

And on this date that in 1946, an Arkansan named Virginia Cassidy Blythe gave birth to a son. She named him William Jefferson Blythe III, after her husband, who had died in an auto accident before the child was born. The boy grew up being called Billy Blythe, although by the time he went into politics, he was known as Bill Clinton. Yes, that’s right, the “Comeback Kid” turns 75 today. He is no kid anymore. Neither is George W. Bush, also born in the summer of 1946, nor Donald Trump, who arrived in mid-June that year.

All three of these U.S. presidents were in the first crop of the baby boom generation. Hillary Clinton, who turns 74 in October, was a little more than a year behind them. This quartet, all born while Harry Truman was in the White House, made their arrival, sequentially, in New York City; New Haven, Conn.; Hope, Ark., and Chicago, Ill. One more historical footnote: All four of these boomers are younger than the current occupant of the Oval Office.

With that thought, I’d point you to our front page, which aggregates, as it does each day, columns and stories spanning the political spectrum. Today’s edition includes David Axelrod (CNN), Jeff McCausland (NBC), and Miranda Devine (New York Post) — all writing about Afghanistan; Aida Chavez on the Democrats’ eviction moratorium (The Nation); and Jean Guerrero on the California recall (Los Angeles Times). We also offer a complement of original material from RCP reporters and contributors, including the following:

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Distrust and Verify. Bruce Abramson prescribes an extra-strength dose of skepticism when considering the pronouncements of so-called experts, on issues ranging from Afghanistan to the pandemic. 

Inflationary $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan Would Hurt Poor, Elderly, Minorities. Carrie Sheffield details the loss of purchasing power that would stem from the administration’s spending plan. 

To Confront America’s Crime Crisis, Get Back to Basics. Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Erich Prince offer this road map to safer cities. 

Student Fought “Anti-Racist” Princeton Seminary, and Won. At RealClearInvestigations, Stuart Taylor Jr. reports on a divinity student who pushed back against what he called woke “indoctrination.”  

Teacher Codes of Conduct Offer Alternative to CRT Bans. At RealClearPolicy, Robert Pondiscio and Tracey Schirra applaud an approach that recommits teachers to allowing free classroom discussion, with many points of view represented.  

An Essential Return to Great Literature. At RealClearEducation, Bainard Cowan argues that lessons about the noble, the just, and the merciful are best conveyed through books that have stood the test of time. 

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Carl M. Cannon 
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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