I’m beginning to get a bad feeling about this.
Call it buyer’s remorse, or fear of the unknown, or simply Pinch Sulzbergeritis, but doesn’t it feel like our nice secure liberal world just left its orbit this week? As Hillary waddled off the stage in defeat Thursday night after the debate, with Barack Obama grinning from ear to ear to ear to ear, I could the sense the Old Guard passing, the end of an era, the moment when old First Ladies never die, they just — aw, let’s just cut to the chase: We’re gonna lose. And we’re gonna lose bad.
I mean, what the hell was the New York Times
thinking, running that half-sourced farrago of a Barbra Streisand hit job on John McCain that snarked and sneered and amounted to… what? That eight years ago a sitting senator spent some time with a lobbyist who bore an uncanny resemblance to his wife… and you just know, deep down, that there was some canoodling going on, don’t you? Come on, admit it. Even though we can’t really prove it.
Every wing nut in America’s been saying for weeks that the Times’s endorsement of John McCain in the New York primary was just a ruse, that the minute he had the nomination secured they’d drop the pose of Best Friend and turn out to be Worst Enemy. Problem is, we’ve all seen that movie a hundred times: For crying out loud, it’s the plot of Phantom Lady, and that movie came out in 1944! Not to mention the Peanuts comic strip, where Lucy yanks the football away from that helpless schlimazel, Charlie Brown, and he lands flat on his tush.
Maybe they thought they could get away with it. After all, intrepid Times reporters have been prancing around these past few years like Mr. Peachum in a road-company version of The Beggar’s Opera, happily receiving stolen goods, exposing national secrets, and making returning vets look as homicidally nutty as Bobby De Niro in Taxi Driver. And Bush, the human punching bag, lets them get away with it, even when they spit right in his eye. Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson would have hanged the editors and burned down the building long ago: Chimpy McDeath just grins and takes it.
But in McCain they might have picked on the wrong guy. Someone who started his day with bamboo shoots up his fingernails every day for five years in Hanoi isn’t likely to be scared by Bill Keller and his minions; and, if you ask me, McCain could win the election simply by promising that on Day One he puts James Risen and Eric Lichtblau in jail and padlocks the Times for treason. Talk about red meat for the Right!