Babes left and right, &c.


The New Yorker has gotten pretty good mileage out of something I wrote in August 2007. It was in this here breezy lil’ web column. Some of us National Review types were fresh off a cruise to Alaska. (Through Alaska, I should say.) And, amid my jottings, I wrote,

In Juneau, the governor invited us to the mansion for a reception. She is Sarah Palin, a former beauty-pageant contestant, and a real honey, too. Am I allowed to say that? Probably not, but too bad. She is a honey in multiple ways. It was a pleasure to be with her, and her political career will probably take her beyond Alaska. Dick Morris is only one who thinks so.

In October 2008, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer quoted a slice of that paragraph — the words from “a former beauty-pageant contestant” to “too bad.” Last week, her colleague Hendrik Hertzberg quoted those same words, all 20, and wrote, “Too bad, indeed. The G.O.P.’s relationship with Sarah Palin was a wild crush, not a solid Christian marriage. It was a classic case of adolescent infatuation.”

(Mayer and Hertzberg quoted from several other conservatives too, showing us to have the hots for the gov’nor with the glasses.)

Let me just say, in case anyone cares, that I admired Palin — and despised her foes and defamers — for various reasons. And none of them had to do with her looks. There are plenty of lookers on the left: Susan Sarandon, Cameron Diaz, Jane Fonda, Joan Baez, Natalie Portman, Katrina vanden Heuvel. (Rosa Luxemburg and Bella Abzug, not so much.) I dug that eco-chick, Butterfly, who lived in a tree. Hell, I think Rachel Maddow’s kinda cute, on her less butch days.

But I have never been tempted to support these women politically — at least since I turned about 19. I’ve never been tempted to think like Jane Mayer or Hendrik Hertzberg — i.e., leftly. Again, since about early college.

I’ve written thousands of words about Sarah Palin in the last five years, but The New Yorker seems to quote just the 20. Oh, well. I’d give ’em another quote right now, but I’m not sure it would be perfectly polite. Maybe I can think of something with “cooperate” in it, just to see the umlaut?

Do they still do that?

Hang on, just looked up Rosa Luxemburg — I think I take back what I said about her. Even Bella, when that hat is tilted just right . . .

There was a slight brouhaha when 200 Marines in Afghanistan were disarmed before listening to a speech by Leon Panetta. My worry is: It was a warm-up for an Obama second term. Will Marines and others have to get used to being disarmed? The Democrats aren’t willing to reduce the deficit by cutting out the “stimuli” and reforming entitlements, are they?

Soeren Kern writes about an author named Inan Türkmen. (There’s an umlaut for us!) Türkmen is “a 25-year-old Austrian-Turk” whose message is: We will overwhelm you. You are drowned, finished.

In an essay at the beginning of this year, Türkmen wrote,

. . . you will all be a little Turkish. People mix into cultures and I am planning to contribute something to make this happen. Up until now, all of my girlfriends have been European, not Turkish. In the future, freckles will become an increasingly rare sight in Europe. The point is: The future belongs to Turkey.

A Europe without freckles — what a great vision this poor fellow has conjured up! And I can’t help wondering: Why don’t Turks, or people who feel themselves Turkish, concentrate on making Turkey great? Isn’t there enough to do there?

One could go on . . .

For the longest time, presidential children were supposed to be taboo. You weren’t supposed to talk about them. Those who did — journalists or politicians who did — paid a penalty. But President Obama talks about his kids a lot. In fact, he injects them into political debate.

An Associated Press report, here, tells the story. It’s headlined “Who’s talking about Sasha, Malia? It’s dad, again.”

I was a little sickened by the news that El Salvador’s government is going to give pensions to veterans of the FMLN. Stands to reason, though, because the country’s president, Funes, is an FMLN man (in a way).

For years and years, these Communists fought a democratic government, led by the incredibly brave and valuable José Napoleón Duarte, so as to impose on Salvadorans the kind of life that Cubans have had to endure since 1959.

The article I have linked to says that these “elderly former leftist rebels” are living in poverty, most of them. So is much of the world. I wish the FMLN men no ill, and I’m glad they have accepted democracy, if they have, but I’m very, very glad they didn’t win. That they didn’t get their way in the 1980s.

The triumph of democracy in Central America over violent extremists of Left and Right is an unsung story. And the reason it is unsung, I think, is that, if you sang it, you would have to give Reagan and Reaganites much credit.