Bench Memos

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Big Lies and Bad Manners


In the spirit of James Taranto’s frequent notice of “wannabe pundits,” readers might take note of the musician Leon Fleisher’s op-ed in today’s Washington Post.  Recently honored at the Kennedy Center, Fleisher took all the proffered praise but, after much soul-searching, decided not to show up for a reception at the White House that honorees are allegedly “required to attend.”  The fact that Fleisher sacrificed nothing by this show of bad manners suggests there was no such requirement, of course.  Now, breaking an equally nonexistent “code of silence” with his op-ed in the Post, Fleisher preens himself on his virtuous conscience in the most oleaginous fashion.  If he had the principles he claims, he’d have declined to be honored at the Kennedy Center.  But he has adroitly managed to eat his cake and have it too.

And what drove the poor man to the desperate expedient of snubbing the president of the United States on a purely ceremonial, non-partisan occasion, when all the president wished to do was congratulate him, on behalf of the nation the president represents as head of state, on a distinguished career in music?  Well, according to Leon Fleisher, “Bush administration policies have amounted to a systematic shredding of our nation’s Constitution.”  This has been so endlessly, mindlessly repeated on the left since the commencement of the Iraq war, if not earlier, that there is now no felt necessity on the part of those saying it to support such an idiotic claim with arguments of any kind.  And Fleisher has none, of course–only a litany of bald assertions about an “illegal war,” etc.  He has simply swallowed the Big Lie and regurgitated it to account for a fit of pique and to excuse his inexcusable rudeness.

UPDATE: I see Mona Charen beat me to it at The Corner.


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