Author Archives: Larry Horist

Welcome to OnTheStarboard. I’m one of those “civic activists” — some say a public policy expert (I guess because I have appeared on lots of talk shows.) Obviously, I lean right. I enjoy lecturing on college campuses, including Harvard’s Kennedy School and Northwestern University. I head the Public Policy Caususes, a public interest group. My writings have appeared frequently as guest columns and letters to the editor. OnTheStarboard operates as an information resource for the press, policy wonks and just about anyone who cares about America. OntheStarboard hangs in cyber space like a ripe apple to be plucked by anyone willing to reach for delicious tid bits of politics, public policy and current events. I am never predictable. For some reason the Good Lord gave me a mind that looks at the world a bit differently. My views are mostly conservative, but don’t expect lock step synchronism with the so-called right wing. Hope you enjoy.

My take on gay marriage as published in the Palm Beach Post on June 12, 2015

Palm Beach Post

Letters to the Editor

Friday, June 13, 2015


POINT OF VIEW: Time for GOP to see the light, accept gay marriage

12:00 a.m. Friday, June 12, 2015

As a conservative Republican, I believe it is time for the GOP to stop leading the charge against gay marriage. As an issue among the general public, it is a loser.

Soon, the U.S. Supreme Court justices will decide whether gay marriage is a constitutional right, and I believe that they will decide that it is. That should settle it. Efforts to overturn that decision with a constitutional amendment are a waste of time and resources — and doomed to fail.

I well understand the moral and religious opposition to the gay lifestyle, but that does not change one simple fact: The gay community has already achieved normalization in American culture.

To understand that fact, you need to go back to the days of my youth, when a myriad of laws punished gay intimacy. The suspicion of gayness would cost a person his or her job — even in liberal Hollywood, Calif.

Known gays could not purchase houses, serve in the military or adopt children. Families pretended that the “unmarried uncle” just never found the right girl. Gays could not receive spousal benefits and had no rights of inheritance. They most certainly could never run for public office.

Heterosexuals could not admit to having a gay friend. They could not teach in schools. Their families would reject them. Gays were subjected to harassment and violence with a “what do they expect?” response from society. Movies depicted them as either evil perverts or tragic figures. They had to hide in the shadows.

All of that has changed — and actually reversed. Homosexuality is no longer illegal, and public shunning has largely ceased. They are now highly visible members of society, even to the point of annual parades and public events attended by America’s political leadership — Republican and Democrat.

It seems that even young conservatives within the GOP have no problem with gay rights and gay marriage. Opposition from seniors is fading, as more express love and pride in their gay children and grandchildren (including former Vice President Dick Cheney).

If ever there was any truth in the old adage about “beating a dead horse,” opposition to the normalization of homosexuality in America is a prime example. Outside of a few issues relating to the personal rights of those opposed to the gay lifestyle, the greater issues are no longer influenced by political debate.

The American people have spoken.


Here is my comparsion of Clinton and Rubio announcements as published in the Miami Herald on April 16, 2015

Miami Herald

Letters to the Editor

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rubio is for Real

 On Sunday, Hillary Clinton used a carefully crafted video advertisement to announce her bid for the presidency.

In claiming to get closer to the people, the Clinton campaign used a vehicle that totally insulated her from the public — a sterile television ad. In an effort to “be real,” Clinton was nothing more than a well-scripted actor in a professionally crafted commercial.

By contrast, Marco Rubio took the stage in Miami’s Freedom Tower — a real person in real life.

There was no crew to handle body language and lighting.

There were no retakes. More than 3,000 people came to hear his unedited words. They cheered as he spoke of his vision.

With Rubio, it was like attending a football game, while with Clinton, it was like seeing an ad to buy a ticket to the game.

Larry Horist, Boca Raton

The $20 woman.

No … the headline is not what you think, you naughty minded people.  I am referring to an effort to replace “Old Hickory,” President Andrew Jackson, with a woman on the $20 bill.  Among the prime movers behind the effort is New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen.  This would be the first time a woman graced a United States currency since Martha Washington appeared on the $1 silver certificate way back when.

Since the move is being pushed by liberals, the recommended list of potential women to be so honored is almost exclusively made up of …  well … liberal icons.  Make no mistake.  They are women of significance who have made notable historic contributions to America, but there is one who is by far most deserving.

A liberal group called Women on 20s polled their followers and came up with four finalists.  As one would expect, Eleanor Roosevelt topped the list, followed by abolitionist Harriet Tubman, civil rights activist Rosa Parks and Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller.  If you think the selection of Chief Mankiller is a bit out of the league with the others, I agree.  I honestly think she got on the list because the feminists just loved the name so much.

Senator Shaheen would added the first woman Cabinet member, Frances Perkins and Abigail Adams.

The bias of the promoters of the idea is seen in that they skipped over the first female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor — although being still alive can be a barrier.

I like the idea, but I think there is one candidate who stands out above all the rest, and that is Susan B. Anthony.  The constitutional amendment that gave women the vote was known as the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment” at the time.  It was singularly the most important accomplishment for women in American history.  Every woman who has since broken through one glass ceiling or another, owes her accomplishment to Anthony.

I know Anthony is on that obscure $1 coin, but that is almost a dubious honor.  It was never popular with the public and was actually mocked.  Noting that the size of the silver dollar was reduced and the standing of the U.S. dollar against world currencies was diminished at the time, it was said a woman was put on the coin because the dollar was “smaller and weaker.”

My support of the idea is not entirely unbiased.  I would be very happy to see that white supremacist Democrat, Andrew Jackson, replaced with the Republican abolitionist Susan B. Anthony.  Is that so wrong?

Here is my take on Hillary’s media tour as published in the Palm Beach Post on April 17, 2015

This has been edited down a bit, but you get the idea.  In the name of meeting the public, Hillary is merely setting up a bunch of advertising shoots with people brought in to play the foils.  No Questions.  Wouldn’t you like to hear what she would do about the mass murdering of Christians in the Middle East, or her opinion on the Iran negotiations, or the advances of ISIS into Afghanistan?  And look how easy it is for her to sucker in the press.

Palm Beach Post

Friday, April 17, 2015

 Communication for Clinton is one-way

Hillary Clinton did a presidential candidacy announcement, to be followed up by a series of small conversations as a way to get closer to “the people.”

This — and the road trip to Iowa via one-on-one meetings with carefully selected “average citizens” — does not get her closer to public scrutiny. It insulates her from it. It enables her to create a series of carefully crafted commercials, with little opportunity for the press or the public to ask questions. For Clinton, communication is a one-way street. It is the reason she used private email servers — to avoid having her public communications open to review under the Freedom of Information Act.

This high degree of “message control” by political leaders is dangerous to a free society where a high level of transparency and candor is necessary to an informed voting public.


Congress is finally working again … and Hillary may be missing the wave.

When the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate voted 19 to 0 to block President Obama from his go-it-alone strategy in dealing with Iran, it showed the difference between the Harry Reid controlled Senate and the re-emergence of democracy and bipartisanship under Republican leadership.  It is easy to understand that the GOP congressional leadership is finally passing legislation that was blocked by Reid, and Reid alone.  But what brought the Democrats around?

I can think of no other reason than the election shellacking the Democrats took in 2014.  Virtually every Democrat senator who played lap dog to Reid and Obama were booted out of office.  Clinging to the anchor of Obama’s sinking ship proved to be a disaster of monumental proportions.  Not only did Democrats lose the Senate and seats in the House, but they lost thousands of offices in states and cities across the nation.  Though generally under reported by the news media, the GOP victory was one of the most lopsided in American history.

As Republicans can now put forward legislation popular with the people, we will see a lot more bipartisanship.  Will congressional democrats stand in opposition to the upcoming GOP reforms of the IRS? Will they risk further erosion from minority voters by opposing choice in education?  I think not — especially those Democrat legislators up for re-election in 2016.

The number one Democrat  with the biggest problem is Hillary Clinton.  She will not have a chance to cover her past’s bad record with new votes or policy positions.  She must either follow the lead of the congressional Democrats by breaking with Obama, or try to wallpaper over her past with empty rhetoric delivered in expensive commercials.

For many months, Hillary has been considered the pre-emptive Democrat nominee for President.  That has largely been for lack of competition.  She is good at beating no one, but what happens when she comes up against a serious challenge?  She will certainly do so in the general elections.  That is why a lot of Democrats are hoping for a serious challenger to oppose Hillary in the primaries.  If she is a paper tigress rather than a dragon lady, they would like to find out before the main event.

My take on Charter Schools … as published in the Palm Beach Post, March 5, 2015

Let freedom to start charter ring

State Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, is proposing legislation that would prevent the establishment of charter schools in districts if the proposed school does not clearly demonstrate that it would meet needs the district does not or cannot provide. This would make it a political decision, to be made by the same local authorities who have a vested interest in keeping charter schools out.

This is another example of government assuming the decision-making authority over the will of the people — especially the parents of school-age kids. Rather than make charter schools better, this is nothing less than legislation designed to keep charter schools from being established.

The only true test for the need of an alternative educational opportunity is, and should be, the parents, whose opinions are readily observed — look at the number of charter-school applicants. It should be up to parents to determine if they are satisfied with their traditional public schools.



Things never to call Hillary … my op ed published in the Florida Sun Sentinel, March 31, 2015

When publishing this letter, the Sun Sentinel did not publish my last paragraph.  I added as an addendum.

Clinton backers seek limits on criticism

Just when you think the far left has reached the nadir of idiocy, along comes something even nuttier. One of Hillary Clinton’s support groups, HRC Super Volunteers, has admonished the media to not use 13 “sexist” terms to describe Hillary. They are: polarizing, calculating, disingenuous,   insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled, over-confident, secretive, will do anything to win, represents the past, out of touch and tone deaf.

No, I am not making this up. Of course, none of these descriptions are sexist. What Super Volunteers is doing is signaling to their friends in the media not to use words that are critical of Hillary.

The logic of the group is a bridge too far. In fact, many believe that every one of these terms is descriptive of Hillary.

In proposing this list, Super Volunteers is exposing the left’s authoritarian tendency to curb free speech when it comes to criticizing their icons.

Larry Horist

Boca Raton


“This got me to thinking, however.  What would be 13 truly sexist terms that should be avoided in describing Hillary?  I propose banning: sweet, feminine, cute, well-dressed, motherly, nurturing, shrinking violet, demur, fashionable, smarter than men, charming, better half, and seductive.  And as a bonus, we could always add the most obvious one, sexy.”

The Savage-ing of America

Yesterday’s news carried a report that ABC/Disney is offering a show to Dan Savage. I was hoping it was an April Fool Day prank.

If you are not familiar with Savage, he is a rabid, hateful and exceedingly vulgar gay rights activist.  My lack of respect for him has nothing to do with his being gay or promoting the gay agenda.  Since I lean to the libertarian side, I have more or less a live and let live attitude on that issue.

I disrespect Savage because he is a hater.  He represents and encourages the worst elements of the gay community.

The well named Savage has made his reputation by writing advice columns so peppered with vulgarities that they are unfit to print in any mainstream publication.  He expresses his atheism through an unbridled hatred the religious community.  He uses the vilest language to spew his verbal venom at the Bible and its believers.  Anyone who takes exception to his version of gay rights is subjected to the crudest available language.

Savage has won his fame on his vulgarity, not his intellect.  He seems incapable of expressing a thought without a proliferation of pornographic prose — a form of what I call “liberal Tourettes.” He appeals to low IQ types who, in their retarded maturity, find dirty words to be funny, or worse, empowering.

Apart from the targets of his ignorant and sophomoric attacks, Savage is an embarrassment to the gay community.  To prop him up as a leader is to invite derision from the general population and the many good and intelligent gays – just as Al Sharpton’s racist rants undermines the cause of racial harmony and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s extremist rhetoric discredits the reputation of Islam.

Those who lead by provocation and outrageous rhetoric are not intent on bringing about intellectual understanding or social harmony, but thrive and prosper on creating hostility and division.

The fact that ABC/Disney would engage with Savage is blight on the once wholesome Disney brand and evidence that political correctness only applies to criticism of the left.

NEWS TO MUSE: Being Bibi; using polls to influence; the Chevy Chase presidency and political correctness v. the Constitution

Bibi beats Obama

Make no mistake about it.  President Obama’s people were behind a major effort to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Obama’s own doubletalk was designed to scare Israeli voters into believing that Netanyahu’s re-election would hurt the Israeli-American alliance.  Operatives, clearly aligned to Obama, and paid for by Obama’s financial backers, such as George Soros, were on the ground working against Netanyahu.  (This may result in a congressional investigation).  The Obama anti-Netanyahu sentiment was reflected in the post election comments by the President’s personal Rasputin, David Axelod.  When exit polls suggested a win by Bibi, Axelrod ranted, “Tightness of exits in Israel suggests Bibi’s shameful 11th hour demagoguery may have swayed enough votes to save him. But at what cost?

Polling  or wishful thinking

Speaking of the polls.  Was the failure of the polls to predict the Israeli election outcome yet another example of polls leaning to the left only to be upset by the reality of the voting booth?  We see this often in American elections.  It was also evident internationally during the Reagan administrations when the American left was rooting for a Daniel Ortega Sandinista victory in Nicaragua.   In a remarkable similar situation to the Israeli election, the polls showed an easy victory for Ortega.  Left wing organizations were also on the ground working for the Communist leader against Reagan’s policy.  Ortega was buried in a “surprise” election landslide.  I do know that some polls are corrupt enough to be rigged, but I think most liberal pollsters have a tendency to include too many left wingers in the polling samples.  They then save face by alleging a “last minute shift” or “surge.” That is a bogus excuse.  Within the last month of an election, most voters a locked in.  They do not change their vote.  Even the so-called independents are pretty much decided before Election Day.

The Obama’s channeling the Griswolds

In a 2008 pre-presidency interview, candidate Barack Obama promised the American people of workaholic president.  He said “The bargain that any president strikes with is, you give me this office and in turn my, fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone, I am giving myself to you.”  He added “that people should only run for president if they’re willing to make that sacrifice.”

Is this yet another example of a man who will say anything and mean none of it?

Obama and family have given new meaning to the term, “imperial presidency.”  The President seems to enjoy the trappings of the office more than the responsibilities.  The Obamas have logged a record breaking 38 vacation trips (exceeded only by the seemingly endless sequels of Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon vacation movies).  That averages to more than 6 vacations per year, not counting the many official business trips with time for play.

The extent of the Obama’s sense of privilege was evident when the President and Michelle left from the same location at approximately the same time for the same destination and they travelled in two different White House jumbo jets.

Your and my vacations have one thing in common with the Obama’s – we pay for all of them.  No need to budget when rich Uncle Sam is footing the bill.  So far, these pleasure trips have cost you and me officially more than $40 million.  I say “officially” since there are untold additional millions that are not charged as vacation expenses.

This does not include his 219 days on the golf course.  That comes to 10 percent of each year on top of vacations.  The president is also known to be off the deck during a lot of major events.  When as his whereabouts at moments of crisis, Obama engages the press in a White House version of “where’s Waldo”

The Lincoln-style rocking chair was the icon piece of White House furniture during the Kennedy presidency.  For Roosevelt it was the wheelchair.  In that spirit, I propose the Lazy-Boy lounge chair as the most appropriate symbol of the Obama presidency.

Liberal gulag politics.

This is really scary.  The hard core left in American politics it in full assault on free speech – among the most sacred of our Constitutional liberties.  We have long believed in a quote attributed, correctly or wrongly, to Voltaire “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  Over the years, the Supreme Court has protected virtually all speech – even speech offensive to the sensibility of the general public.

Under liberal oppression and political correctness, however, that concept is being declared null and void.

Not long ago, New York Governor Cuomo said that conservatives have no business in New York.  Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. stated that those who question global warming should be jailed.  More recently Al Gore said that people who question global warming need to suffer severe consequences.

People who violate the rules of liberal political correctness are to be subjected to criminal punishment, or at least committed to re-education (so-called diversity) programs.  Obama & Company attack critics as racists, malcontents, enemies of the state and even terrorists.  The very agencies of the American government, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice, are all corrupted to oppress opinion.

In the radical liberal world, you can be profane, pornographic, sacrilegious, and obscene.  Political correctness does not apply to attacks on Republicans, conservatives, southerners and those who “cling to their guns and bibles.” Liberalism, like all authoritarian beliefs, views disagreement as a form of philosophic apostasy.

All this smacks of the old Stalin/Mao approach, where disagreement with the powers that be is viewed either as criminal or mental illness.

NEWS TO MUSE: Happy days, Billy did it, a one horse race and getting old in America

“I am happy to report …

Almost all past surveys have shown that conservatives are much happier people than liberals – and they have given a lot of reasons for that.  Weeeeell … liberals could not stand for that, so they produced a new study with a different methodology, of course.

In the old studies, the subjects were asked to evaluate their feeling according to some established criteria. The “new methodology” uses the judgment of shrinks to determine the subjects happiness based on some arbitrary evaluation of social media posting.  They decided that liberals were happier because they were honest about their sad feelings, and the conservatives were hiding there true feelings – lying, if you will.

Just another example of how liberals ALWAYS know better about you and me than we do ourselves.  It is the foundation of their entire philosophy.

FOOTNOTE:  I have my own theory on the happiness issue.  I think the liberal population is composed of a lot of people in fear of just about everything – and they want to blame their fears on external forces beyond their responsibility and control.  Ergo, they want external agencies, especially government, to make them feel safer – protect them for their own phobias.  They need a “big brother” to save them from their constant fear of modified foods, motorcycles, any businesses serving the public, second-hand cigarette smoke, hard liquor, patriotism, tap water, pipelines, rich people, atomic annihilation, white policemen, guns, testosterone, religious people, raw beef, corporations, tea parties, Oreo cookies, warm weather, 42 oz. colas, salt, atomic energy, states’ rights, cell phones, school choice, artificial sweeteners, gas production, free speech,  super sized anything, NASCAR races, and the possibility of the sky falling.  Above all, they are afraid of the risks of personal freedom.  Pretty difficult to be happy with the burden of all those worries resting on one’s left shoulder.

The “jumping in the lake” excuse

When my mother admonished me not to do something that was wrong, and I point out that Billy did it, she would say: “If Billy jumped in the lake would you do it too?”

It appears Hillary Clinton’s defenders never met my mother.  In response to Lady Hillary’s clearly wrong, and maybe illegal, concealment of her official State Department emails, the main Democratic talking point is “that’s what Colin Powell did … or Jeb Bush.”  Setting aside for the moment why even the comparisons are not valid, the whole excuse is bogus.  I could hardly get away with robbing a bank by saying that Bonnie and Clyde did it, too.

Methinks, Mrs. Clinton’s actions must be judged on her own conduct, and that is exactly why the captives of the left are changing the subject.

Hillary to win, place and show

Every time some Hillary promoter brags how far ahead she is in the presidential race, I wonder if they noticed that no one else is in the race.  I am sure she can be no one, but what happens if some other Democrat gets in the race?

They also say that she is ahead of all the GOP candidates.  As the only Democrat currently running, and with her high name recognition thanks to those many scandals, of course she is ahead of the 26 Republicans who may or may not run.  At this stage of the game, her lead means nothing.  Once the GOP field gets narrowed, I predict her early lead in the polls will vanish like her alleged private emails and the Rose Law Firm records.  I further predict that by Election Day, she will be behind in the only poll that matters – the vote booth.  That, of course, is if she IS the Democratic candidate.  I am not totally convinced.

Live longer through Social Security

Social Security is a perfect government program.  They should be proud of extending the life expectancy of Americans.  Yes, indeed.  According to Social Security records, more than 6 million of our fellow citizens have passed the age of 112 – compared to fewer than 40 (and that is not millions) in the rest of the world.  The oldest American, according to the folks running the Social Security program is 146 years old – a world record.  A small number of them must be in pretty good health because they are still using credit cards.  A few are still getting checks.

I am not sure about you, but I am suspicious that there may be an error in the Social Security computers.  A government agency that has been in the business of doling out retirement benefits of 80 years appears to have no effective system for knowing when beneficiaries have moved on to the great perhaps.  Makes me wonder how many billions of taxpayer dollars have gone to the dearly departed – or at least the person who still gets their mail.