Bible-thumpin’, &c.

by Jay Nordlinger

Last week, I was reminded of the special exemption that Democrats enjoy when it comes to religion. Mark Pryor, the Democratic senator from Arkansas, is facing an uphill fight for reelection against the Republican congressman Tom Cotton. So Pryor made an ad about the Bible. He said,

“I’m not ashamed to say that I believe in God, and I believe in His Word. The Bible teaches us no one has all the answers. Only God does. And neither political party is always right. This is my compass. My North Star. It gives me comfort and guidance to do what’s best for Arkansas.”

Fine — but if a Republican said something like this, the world would go stark-raving nuts. There would be cries of “Theocracy!” and worse.

You may recall Jesse Jackson’s speech at the 1992 Democratic convention. He said that Mary, the mother of Jesus, “had family values. It was Herod — the Quayle of his day — who put no value on the family.”

I submit to you, if a Republican leader equated a Democratic president or vice president with Herod — at a national convention, no less — he would not be able to continue in public life. (And, of course, Dan Quayle could not be more unlike Herod. In contrast with Jackson and the Democratic party at large, he is pro-life.)

And how about Bill Clinton? When he was in trouble over one of his interns, he took to going to church: the Foundry United Methodist Church, in D.C. He would wave a big, fat, floppy Bible at the cameras. If George W. Bush had done that . . .?

I think, too, of Elizabeth Warren, a darling of the Left. At last year’s Democratic convention, she quoted the Bible: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Then she said, with what seemed to me some smugness and pride, “Matthew 25:40.”

I imagine the media thought this was cool. But if a Republican had done it? Look, I think the double standard that exists in our politics is borderline shocking.

The worst part about American politics, of course, is race: the constant, mindless, devious, nasty use of race. Many Democrats are now saying that Republicans like me oppose Obamacare because the president is black.

We opposed Clintoncare, of course, or Hillarycare, as it was also called. We have opposed the health-care (and other) policies of Al Gore, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Joe Biden — you name ’em. But we are against the new health law because the incumbent president is black? We would consider it fine if he were white?

That is nuts, absolutely nuts. I wonder how the Democrats get away with it. And I think I know. They get away with it because the news media and other cultural powers-that-be allow them to do so.

The Left has a great deal invested in the idea that Republicans are racist, and motivated by racism. They also have a great deal invested in the idea that they, the Democrats, are the friends of black Americans, while Republicans are their foes.

Nothing must be allowed to disturb this conceit, this lie. The Democrats’ very peace, I sometimes think, rests on it.

I have been mentioning Bill Clinton and Clinton World in this column, and let me continue with it: I saw a headline recently, “Victims want more money in Pellicano wiretap payout.” (Article here.) Ah, yes, Anthony Pellicano — “Clinton’s dick,” as I referred to him for many years. He was the detective, or one of them, doing the Clintons’ dirty work.

Association with Pellicano would have badly hurt a Republican president. But Clinton and spouse? They sail on, regardless. Is this whining? It certainly is. Is it true? Again, it certainly is.

The Soviets were great airbrushers. Say a Party official fell out of favor. His name would have to be scrubbed from all literature, and his face from all pictures. They were simply “airbrushed” away. (An early form of photoshopping, ideological division.)

This practice continues in the Communist world, and perhaps in other worlds, or sub-worlds, as well. An article tells us, “North Korea airbrushes Kim Jong-un’s ‘purged’ uncle out of documentary.”

One minute “Bob’s your uncle” — I believe this is a British expression — and the next minute he’s not.

The other day, some of us righties were discussing IRS auditing: A number of Obama critics have found themselves audited. Now, maybe their criticisms of Obama have nothing to do with their being audited. Maybe they would have been audited regardless. But knowing what we know about the abuse of the IRS by this administration — how can people be sure? Don’t they have a right to their suspicions?

This makes me think of affirmative action, a.k.a. race preferences. In our country, we hire by race, admit by race, and award contracts by race. (By “admit,” I mean admit students to universities.) There are arguments for and against these practices.

Now, it could very well be that you would have been hired, admitted, or awarded regardless — regardless of race. But knowing what you know, how can you be sure? How can you help being suspicious? How can others help it?

This, of course, is one of the rotten effects of affirmative action.

I would like to recommend an article by Lou Cannon, a friend of mine, and one of the finest journalists in America. (Also a fine historian, as he has shown in many books.) The article is about FDR, Reagan, and speechmaking. Each president had a knack for editing speeches, to the betterment of those speeches.

Lou gives this example (among others, of course): Reagan was given a draft that said, “My fellow Americans, I am coming before you tonight about a matter that continues to weigh heavily on our minds — the attack last week by the Soviet Union against 269 innocent men, women and children aboard an unarmed Korean passenger plane. This is a crime against humanity we can never forget.”

He changed it to, “My fellow Americans, I am coming before you tonight about the Korean airline massacre — the attack by the Soviet Union against 269 innocent men, women and children aboard an unarmed Korean passenger plane. This crime against humanity must never be forgotten, here or throughout the world.”

To read this interesting and unusual article, go here.

Care for some music? My “New York Chronicle,” in the December New Criterion, is here. For a review of a recent Rosenkavalier at the Metropolitan Opera, go here. And for some remarks on a New York Philharmonic concert, go here.

That ought to hold you, for now . . .

Care for some language? At my local Subway sandwich shop, I ask for “vinegar and oil.” And the nice Bangladeshi girls repeat back, almost always, “oil and vinegar.” I don’t know if they are conscious of doing it. But they do. To them, “oil and vinegar” sounds natural, and “vinegar and oil” must not. For whatever reason, “vinegar and oil” is what comes to my mind, or off my tongue.

Pairings are an interesting subject. Almost everyone says “mom and dad,” not “dad and mom.” The very phrase “dad and mom” sounds odd. “Uncle and aunt” sounds odd too. People say “aunt and uncle.” “Jelly and peanut butter” sounds very odd. We say “peanut butter and jelly.”

Ah, language! An amusing and enriching subject, in a hundred ways (at least). I could go on all day, as you well know. Instead, I’ll knock off, saying, have a good one.