Droning on, &c.


From 2001 to 2008, a lot of us at National Review said, “American liberals won’t really support the War on Terror until they’re in charge. They have to run it. Then they’ll be okay. Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, all that — those things will look better to them, once they’re in charge, as inevitably they will be.”

Sure. I must say, though, that I’m a little surprised at the calm with which liberals have taken drone attacks — particularly attacks on U.S. citizens. They went nuts over waterboarding. But zappin’ ’em dead? No problem.

If Republicans were doing this, oh, man: We’d be called the worst thing since Hitler. (You say that we’re called that anyway? Well, you have a good point.)

I was talking about this with a friend recently: After Election Day, Mitt Romney was perfectly gracious, as you would expect him to be. Barack Obama was peevish, bitchy, partisan.

And the thing is, he had won! And Romney had lost! If Obama is that ungracious in victory — can you imagine him in defeat? (Sadly, we will never get to see that.)

One more thing: You know the old chestnut about how a president is the president of all the people? I’m not sure Obama has ever learned that, or accepted it.

On reading this headline, “Bulgaria links Hezbollah to attack on Israelis,” I had a bitter thought: Will Obama’s secretary of defense concede that Hezbollah is a terrorist group? Or will he cling to his principles, or biases, or ignorance, or whatever it is?

I confess, I can’t recite Hagel’s latest position on Hezbollah. He is a position-shifter. But I do know this: These are parlous times, what with O in the Oval, Kerry at State, and Hagel at DoD.

He’ll be there, almost certainly: because the American people have seen fit to give Democrats a majority in the Senate. That’s interesting, by the way: If the Republicans had the majority, Hagel would probably fail. And he’s a Republican! But he will be confirmed by the majority Democrats, in all likelihood.

Again, interesting, I think.

A word about Kerry: I had many words to say in this piece, published in NR during the presidential year of 2004. We republished it here on NRO in mid-December — by which time it was clear that Kerry would become secretary of state. I read the piece for the first time in all those years. And I must say, I was shocked: shocked at the degree of Kerry’s leftism. I had forgotten most of the things in that piece. He is a genuine, bona fide leftist — no liberal, in any JFK sense. (Kerry’s initials are JFK too. I was talking about the 35th president, as you know.)

Kerry could not quite be president: The American people said no to him, barely. But he is now secretary of state. Last November 6, Election Day, was a hugely important day. It will shape our world for a long time to come, I’m afraid.

The difference between Obama, Biden, Kerry, and Hagel, and Romney, Ryan, Bolton (let’s say), and Portman (let’s say), is a very, very big difference indeed. The American people did a momentous thing.

Speaking of liberals and leftists, I noted something that Andrew Gilligan, of the Telegraph, wrote the other day. He sang a song that I have been singing for a long, long time: “For reasons I can’t quite understand, the Guardian newspaper, ‘the world’s leading liberal voice,’ has appointed itself spokesperson for some of the most illiberal forces in London . . .”

That’s a big reason I rejected “liberalism” a long time ago: the sheer illiberality of the “liberals.” True liberalism was more evident among those called “right-wingers.” So weird.

I noticed that, in defending himself against recent charges, Senator Menendez said those charges were “unsubstantiated.” “Oh, dear,” I thought: “That’s a little like saying, ‘You got nuthin’!’ It’s different from saying, ‘I would never!’” Perhaps the senator hadn’t thought that through, and he is, in fact, innocent.

Which we should all hope.

I remember hearing a veteran Washington reporter say something, long ago. He was miffed. He said that someone had engaged in “ideological editing.” I remember his tone of voice. He said “ideological editing” as though it were a grave failing.

Nothing in the world is easier to do than ideological editing. Every journalist knows this. My question: Are NBC and its offspring making a habit of ideological editing?