The meaning of ‘Forward,’ &c.


What’s Rubio ever done? He was in the state legislature. He got himself elected to the U.S. Senate (which was wonderful). But what’s he ever done, really? What commends him?

He gives a great speech, of course — very important in politics. I don’t denigrate this ability. Quite the contrary. But mainly, I think, he has skin that is ever so slightly brown. And this makes him golden.

This is what I dislike about America: our fixation on race and ethnicity. As I have said many times, especially this year, we bow down and worship race and ethnicity — especially race — as a god. It will be very nice to transcend this, if we ever can.

The best thing about Marco Rubio: his ideas. But other people, including other senators, have those ideas too. His special gift: the gift of communication. And if this takes him to the top, in Obama-like fashion, fine.

I acknowledge, too, that if you can’t win — if you can’t win elections — you can’t govern. The people have not given you a chance.

I wish they had given Romney and Ryan a chance. Have I said that before? I can’t remember.

Anyway, Rubio may well have opportunities in the future to do great things. That he will speak effectively, all the while, is sure.

Note the opening sentence of this wire-service report: “The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says he has no evidence that international sanctions against Iran have had any impact on its nuclear program.” The sanctions have hurt Iran’s economy, to be sure. But the nuclear program is a separate matter.

If a nation is determined to have nuclear weapons, and is not stopped by other nations (or internal opposition), it will get those weapons. Or so it seems.

I remember a description of the Soviet Union: “Upper Volta with nukes.” The Soviet Union was desperately poor and backward, but so what? That is, so what where geopolitics was concerned? The “with nukes” was the more important part of “Upper Volta with nukes.”

So it is with Iran.

I smiled at this headline: “Bahrain lawmaker burns Israeli flag in parliament.” (Story here.) Yes, but could he burn a Bahraini flag? What would happen then?

I thought of an old joke, a joke that Reagan liked, and told. An American and a Russian were arguing about freedom in their respective countries. The American said, “I can march outside the White House and say, ‘Down with Reagan!’” The Russian says, “Big deal. I can march outside the Kremlin and say, ‘Down with Reagan!’”

This from another news article: “Cambodian strongman Hun Sen was driven to tears Tuesday as he declared how proud his small country was to host the region’s main summit meeting, and said he was too exhausted to take any questions from journalists.”

I smiled a bit: a strongman who cries! And who is too exhausted to take questions from journalists!

This was not so smile-making:

Authorities in Puerto Rico have charged a 20-year-old woman with killing her baby immediately after giving birth.

Police Capt. Diana Crispin says Teresa Peraza Maldonado had been hiding her pregnancy and gave birth in the bathroom of her apartment in the northern town of Trujillo Alto. She says Peraza’s husband and mother in law called police after seeing Peraza walk out of the bathroom with the baby’s body wrapped in a shower curtain on Oct. 14.

Crispin said Tuesday that an autopsy indicated that the baby’s head had hit the floor several times.

Nice. And if the woman had done this deed a little earlier — would that have been a “choice”? An honorable choice? A right, even? Something to be celebrated, rather than something to prosecute?

An NFL quarterback named Alex Smith seems to me too good to be true. Too self-abnegating to be true. Have a look: “Alex Smith is supportive of Colin Kaepernick’s success, even if the second-year pro takes Smith’s starting job as 49ers quarterback.” Smith said, “If you can’t be happy for your teammate’s success, you’re playing the wrong sport. Go play tennis or golf or something.”

Funny. And remarkable. (For the story, go here.)

Speaking of funny: Want to end with a joke? In a recent “Cruise Journal,” I mentioned tenders, those boats that take cruisers from a moored ship over to shore. A reader wrote in with what he described as an old joke:

A termite walks into a bar and asks, “Where’s the bar tender?”

See you!

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.