EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Dear Reader (and non-readers who can prove they never read this e-mail “news”letter by letting Lois Lerner “save” it),
It’s been a very busy time. It’s been something of a study in contrasts. A week ago today, I was still in London, having attended a fantastic conference hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies (you know it’s classy because of the way they misspell “Centre.”). Speakers included Nobel Prize winner V. S. Naipaul, General David Petraeus, Polish foreign minister (and former National Review correspondent) Radek Sikorski, economists Deirdre McCloskey and Luigi Zingales, philosopher Roger Scruton, historian Niall Ferguson, U.K. education minister Michael Gove, former Australian prime minister John Howard and, well, me. It’s like an egghead version of the placemat game: “What’s wrong with this picture?”
Then, on Tuesday, I flew to another cosmopolitan hotspot: Cleveland. I’ve long wanted to flee to the Cleve. Alas, things didn’t work out as I’d hoped. I would give you all the highlights of my trip to Cleveland, but there were none. Oh the speech went fine and the crowd hosted by the Buckeye Institute, the Ashbrook Center, and the folks at NRI was great. But my flight was like visiting a proctologist who accidentally brought his carpentry toolbox to work by accident. Suffice it to say the flight was five hours late. But United in its wisdom felt that the passengers couldn’t handle a five-hour delay all at once, so the delays were parceled out in small increments so as to drag out hope and frustration for as long as possible. During that time I had been sent back and forth to different gates at different terminals at Dulles. And when I got to Cleveland, there was a huge accident on the 480 due to an overturned UPS truck. Packages were strewn about everywhere (I hope no one in Ohio is expecting a crystal candelabra from grandma anytime soon). My cabdriver, Samir, couldn’t have been more obvious about the fact that he was pissed about my destination. The cabs work on a fixed rate on airport runs and because of the traffic it was going to be an hour or more for what should have been a 20-minute trip.
And then I told Samir I would be taking off my pants.
Sweating like a fat man at an all-you-can-eat pasta bar, I had to change into my suit en route to the venue. So, yeah, I can scratch “getting undressed in a Cleveland cab with a guy named Samir” off my bucket list. My biggest worry while disrobing was that he’d look back at me in the rearview mirror and shriek “My eyes! My eyes!” and veer into an embankment. My second-biggest worry was that his eyes would linger longingly in the rear view mirror until he said, hopefully, “I will pull over.” Either way, I couldn’t help but think: “I bet this kind of thing never happens to George Will.”
Then again, George Will shall never have what Samir and I have.
Have you noticed that basically the only way this White House can get out from under one scandal or controversy is by getting crushed by another? The White House was reeling from the VA scandal, which is why they rolled out the Bergdahl news. They didn’t expect that the Bergdahl story would become so controversial; fortunately they were rescued by the June 6 news of thousands of immigrant children showing up at the border. Hey, quick question: I can’t get my kid out of an airport without her getting messy. Isn’t it strange that all of these kids seem to show up, after a 1,000-mile journey looking so spiffy? Anyway, the immigrant-kid story was pretty brutal for the White House; fortunately they were rescued three days later by the news that ISIS had taken Mosul. The “Who Lost Iraq?” narrative isn’t great for the White House either, which is why it might have been a relief when the IRS announced on June 13 that they lost Lois Lerner’s e-mails.
Elizabeth Warren: A Clarification
So the other night before Special Report Charles Krauthammer sang “Rapper’s Delight” perfectly. He did say that while he loves the old-school hip hop, his real passion is for GWAR. But none of that is important right now, and besides, what happens in the green room stays in the green room.
That same night, I went on a bit of a rant about Hillary Clinton and how she’s a pretty awful politician. I then concluded by saying something I wish I could re-phrase. I said: “And if I were Elizabeth Warren, I would jump in the race today because she is an authentic, truth-telling kind of politician and it would cause utter panic in the Clinton camp.”
In response to this my Twitter feed exploded. At the Cleveland talk, the last question was a dyspeptic inquiry into why on earth I would compliment someone like Warren. Michael Graham drove all night from Boston just so he could set fire to a bag of Tom Friedman columns on China (if you know what I mean) on my doorstep.
So look. Here’s the deal. I stand by what I said, but I wish I’d said it better. Yes, Liz Warren speaks with a forked tongue about her noble Indian heritage. Yes, I have huge problems with her. But my point is that she would create more problems for Hillary — and that would be awesome. Indeed, that’s what my Friday column is about.