The Herminator, &c.


I was reading the news over the weekend about Herman Cain’s winning the straw poll. And I thought, “The Left has been telling you all your life that the Republican party is racist. The Left has been telling you all your life that conservatives are racist. The Left has been telling you for the last two and a half years that the Tea Party is racist.” Cain is, of course, a Tea Party favorite. This blogpost from Kate Trinko shows a picture of Cain signing a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag for a man dressed in Tea Party garb.

(I guess you can write on that flag. Old Glory, not so much.)

You may remember something I put in my “Salzburg Journal” last month: I overheard a big liberal from New York telling two European ladies that the central fact about the Tea Party was racism. They nodded solemnly.

Have you ever had the feeling, as I have, that the Left has lied to you, about some pretty important things, your entire life?

And it will never stop. To them, the Republican party and the Tea Party and evangelicals and conservatives at large will always be racist — because that’s the way they want it to be, no matter what is.

President Obama was raised by his white grandparents in Hawaii. Cain grew up in Georgia with parents who earned their living cleaning. To our mainstream media, which candidate is likely to be the more “authentically black”?

This is a screwed up country, ladies and gentlemen, and not just fiscally.

My Impromptus on Friday was about the Republican debate in Orlando. It did not suffer from too few items. Yet I want to add one here. To one question, Ron Paul gave a short and complete answer. The questioner — I think it was Chris Wallace — said, “Don’t you want to fill your time?” (I’m paraphrasing.) So Paul went on. He should have resisted.

Sometimes less is more, you know? (But let’s not be too pat: Sometimes more is more. It all depends.)

After I published my column, I got several e-mails from readers who said, “Everyone disagrees with you! You’re out of step with the conservative blogosphere!” Uh-oh. What’s the penalty for that? Is it, like, more Singaporean or more Saudi?

My readers were referring to my view that Rick Perry did a little better than he had in his first two debates; and that Mitt Romney did a little worse than he had in those debates.

Perhaps I committed “the soft bigotry of low expectations” against Perry. As I saw it, he did everything but drool in the first debate. He was frighteningly shaky. I thought he was a little better in the second debate. And a little better yet in the third. I’m surprised that everyone reacted with horror to his performance in Orlando. After the first two debates, what were they expecting from him? Ciceronian smoothness? Oxford Union finesse?

True, he was at sea in his Pakistan answer, as I wrote. I said, “Perry fumbled woefully . . . Needs coaching bad.” (The question on Pakistan was very poorly framed, by the way.) And, yes, he flubbed his shtick on Romney — the “before and after” thing. (“Botched it hideously,” I wrote.)

But I was expecting those flubbings from Perry. They were the chaff. There was wheat, too. There were some very good and sound answers. And I like the way he stood his ground, on the children of illegals, for example. “But didn’t you hear the people booing?!” someone wrote to me. Yeah, so what? America is bigger than one auditorium in Florida. Plus, politics is full of “pander bears” — and Perry strikes me as less of one than most.

Standing his ground, he looked like a dignified hoss, as others were yapping at him. Yapping petulantly and furiously. Perry looked like a man amid querulous boys.

Take Rick Santorum, one of my senatorial heroes. He was yapping at Perry about the realities of Texas. Like he knows more? And his claim that Perry is “weak on national sovereignty” — ay, caramba. Perry is a right-wing governor of Texas. Come on, Senator Rick. JFK once said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.” Sometimes campaigning does, too.

The charge that Rick Perry is weak on national sovereignty is a joke, and beneath Santorum.

Romney, too, was graceless in his criticisms — what’s new? He is much better when he is positive. Also, I’ll repeat what I said last week: If I were Romney, I’d avoid attacking others on grounds of inconsistency or “flip-flopping.” Pot and kettle and all.

Finally, can we give the vaccine thing a rest, at long last? How long have we been talking about that, and making a melodrama out of it? Thirty years? It was a relatively minor event in an eventful ten-year governorship. Perry has said he screwed up and would do it differently, if he could. Enough already. Grow up, candidates, get a life.

Are we going to have one more debate devoted to Rick Perry’s obvious hatred of “twelve-year-old little girls”?

I found Perry just about the most likable person onstage Thursday night, along with the Herminator. The more the others piled on him, the more I liked him. The more sympathetic he grew, to me.

You know, Rick Santorum may not become president. But, by gum, he’s let the American people know that Rick Perry is weak on national sovereignty! Must feel real good. What a way to pass one’s days.

Let’s take a break for language. Paul Tsongas, the late senator from Massachusetts, coined the term “pander bear,” to describe Bill Clinton. They were competing against each other in the 1992 Democratic primaries. But, in most of the country, Tsongas’s jest backfired on him. You see, he pronounced “panda” “pander”; and he pronounced “pander” “panda.” A real New Englander. So, when he said “pander bear,” it sounded to people like “panda bear,” not “pander bear.”

Bill Clinton is a panda bear? they were asking. What does Tsongas mean by that?


Tsongas very much wanted people to understand. He’d keep trying. He’d say — and here I’ll write phonetically — “Governor Clinton is a panda bear, not a pander bear. Don’t you see?”