Plain mean, &c.


This business of canceling White House tours — it’s just mean. There is a great deal in government that can be trimmed. To cancel White House tours? To keep schoolkids out of what, in a way, is their national home? Mean. Stunt-like. Point-scoring. Small. Mean.

It’s mean in more than one sense: “offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating”; “small-minded or ignoble”; “penurious, stingy, or miserly.”


It used to bother Nixon that he was never given credit, by the liberal establishment, for all the liberal things he did in government — beefing up the welfare state and so on. I thought of that when reading the opening of this news report on Monday: “Few presidents in modern times have been as interested in gun control as Richard Nixon, of all people.” “Of all people”? I don’t think the reporter knows very much about RN (as he often styled himself). (He would leave out the “M.”)

I thought of another thing, when reading the news report: something I heard about “Saturday Night Specials,” long ago. This type of gun is mentioned quite a lot in the report. They were always being slammed for being “cheap.” Indeed, “cheap” was virtually part of their name, as in, “We gotta do something about these cheap Saturday Night Specials.”

When I was in college, I was part of a government-affairs program in Washington, and we were taken to meet a representative of the NRA — to which most of us were hostile, of course. And one of us said, “What about those cheap Saturday Night Specials, huh, huh?”

And the spokesman talked about poor black women in the inner city, who needed to protect themselves against criminals. They had very little money — and those cheap Saturday Night Specials were very important to them. Sure, us Richie Riches could afford upscale guns. But what about them?

I remember thinking, “That’s a good answer.”

On the question of Nixon’s styling himself “RN” — that’s how he titled his memoirs.

The headline over this article reads, “Biden: Victims will be loudest voices on guns.” Fine. But I hope those who have been helped by guns will have their say too — those who have been saved from beatings, rape, and murder, thanks to the possession of firearms. These arms, like swords and other things in life, are two-edged. There is more than one side to the story.

The headline reads, “White House: Obama committed to diverse cabinet.” (Article here.) But don’t get excited: Obama’s not going to have conservatives or non-Obamites in his cabinet. (Why should he?) “Diversity” does not relate to thought or opinion. In America, “diversity” means only skin color or ethnicity.

Isn’t that great?

The following story is illuminating, maddening, outrageous, and understandable:

A newspaper in the northern Mexico border state of Coahuila announced Monday it will no longer cover information related to drug cartels, citing safety concerns. . . .

In a front-page editorial posted on its web site, the newspaper said the decision “is based on our responsibility to watch out for the safety and security of over 1,000 workers, their families and our own.”

Totally understand. How maddening, that it should have come to this. (For the full article, go here.)

In this article, you can read what Fidel Castro has to say about the death of Hugo Chávez — his great sorrow. Castro’s sentiments are basically indistinguishable from those of Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, and other American “liberals.” Sometimes, our “liberals” protest when you say that they are not really liberal: They are part of the international Left. But their words and their actions contradict their protests.

I am reminded of something: that Pierre Trudeau asked Castro and Carter to be pallbearers at his funeral. Why the affinity of democrats for anti-democrats and tyrants? You get the feeling that, if some of our leaders in the democracies got the chance to exercise tyrannical control, they would.

Here is an article about John McCain. And I found these sentences particularly interesting: “McCain’s best buddy, Joe Lieberman, retired from the Senate last year. McCain still talks about how the Democrat-turned-independent might have been his running mate in 2008 if it weren’t for his support for abortion rights that never would have been accepted by the Republican Party.”

A couple of things come to mind. First, a question: Is McCain really anti-abortion? Or has he had to adopt this stance because he is an Arizona Republican, and would not fare well, politically, otherwise?

A truly pro-life presidential nominee: Would he pick a pro-choice running mate? I don’t know. Maybe he would. I guess it depends on how important abortion is to him.

Many people say, “The GOP would win a lot more votes if it were pro-choice.” (There are plenty of pro-choice Republican politicians, but the party on the whole is pro-life.) Could be. I’m not sure. I think that, if you switched your stance on abortion, you would win some voters and lose some voters. What the ratio would be, I don’t know.

I think of something my colleague Kate O’Beirne once said. I will paraphrase: “A lot of people are in the Republican party because they’re pro-life. They may be redistributionists at heart. They’re not in the GOP for the capitalism.”

The old question is, “What are parties for? To win elections or to stand for something, thereby giving voters a choice” (speaking of choice)? I like parties that stand for something. And if they lose, fine — what is right is not always popular, and what is wrong is not always unpopular.

As we all know . . .