Again, our national god, &c.


Almost all of them were Obama supporters, no doubt. A woman said to her husband (or someone), “I like him, but this is very inconvenient.” She said this somewhat uncomfortably. Even tentatively. I had the feeling she had never uttered a critical word about Obama — even on the subject of drones.

One young woman shouted — playfully, perhaps drunkenly — “Revolution! Are we serfs? Do we have to wait for the king?”

At about 7:05, Obama came through. I had been waiting 25 minutes. I don’t know how long others had been waiting. The crowd cheered. A man tried to get a chant of “Four More Years” going, but it was just him. We had to wait another six minutes: At 7:11, we were allowed to proceed.

A question: Were the people cheering their president, the American president, no matter who he was? Or were they cheering their O, specifically? I think the latter. If it had been George W. Bush causing such a wait, such an inconvenience, I think the crowd would have been quite ugly.

I understand all about presidential security, believe me. I think of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy. I think of the shots at Ford, Reagan, others. I do not take presidential security lightly.

But what happened yesterday, it seemed to me, was ridiculous — ridiculous and unfair. My Mark Steyn juices started to flow. Were we citizens — free-born citizens — or not? I understood having to wait. But for so long? For more than a half-hour? How about ten or fifteen minutes? Did Obama realize he was making people wait, and making them late?

Certainly making me late? I thought of the coming election, and I thought of an old movie slogan (I think): “This time it’s personal.”

I have a memory, from sometime during the GWB administration. I was doing a story on Rumsfeld, and traveling with him a little. We were at the Broadmoor, in Colorado, where a conference of NATO defense ministers, I believe, was taking place. Sometime in the morning, we left in a little motorcade for the airport. It was all very quiet, very orderly. All traffic laws were obeyed, etc. Just placid.

A Rumsfeld aide said to me, “You should have seen some of the defense ministers, leaving earlier. They left as in a big show: sirens blaring. They wanted to be as conspicuous as possible.”

I wonder: Does security sometimes depend on quietness, rather than “Hey, everybody, I’m coming!” I’m no expert, believe me.

Hugh Hewitt has done something very useful: The Brief Against Obama. You know Hugh: lawyer extraordinaire, writer extraordinaire, radio host extraordinaire. One of our MVPs. Now he has put, between hard covers — well, the brief against Obama. The case against the 44th president and his reelection.

The book is divided into three parts: “Domestic Policy Failures,” “Foreign Policy Failures,” and “Leadership Failures.” There is a lot of failing to detail, when you’re writing the brief against Obama. Hugh has done it with skill and verve.

Often in life, it’s nice to have something to brandish. Something you can wave around, and hand out. “Here!” you can say. “Take a look at this, it’s all there!” And it’s nice to have something that you yourself can consult, whenever you wish. “Why do I think what I think? Ah, here’s the reminder . . .”

As he does pretty much every day, my friend Hugh has performed a public service.

Not long ago, I was walking in Riverside Park (along the Hudson River), near Grant’s Tomb — yes, that Grant’s Tomb, object of the famous joke. I noticed a sign that said “General Grant National Memorial.”

And that word “General” was interesting to me. How about Eisenhower? “General Eisenhower” or “President Eisenhower”? Well, both, I suppose. But I think his presidency — that two-term presidency — eclipses his generalship.

I had a friend, a writer, who insisted on writing “General Sharon,” when Ariel Sharon was prime minister of Israel (2001 to 2006). Sharon had been a general, yes. But he had been a political figure for more than 30 years. He was one of the founders of the Likud party, for heaven’s sake. He was at the center of Israeli politics for decades.

Then he founded another party, Kadima! How many people found two parties in life? How much more political can you get?

But from my friend’s pen, and others’, “General Sharon.” Why? Respect for the man’s military past? Not at all: They wanted to make him seem more war-like, not quite legitimate as a democratic leader.

Back to Ulysses Grant: Ought he to be known to us — to posterity — as “General Grant,” rather than “President Grant”? Well, I can see that: It is for his generalship that he is most renowned.

I think that’s enough for one day. Be hollerin’ at you soon, hurricane in Tampa or not . . .

To order Jay Nordlinger’s new book, Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.