Kissing Cousins

by Jay Nordlinger

Our editorial today deals with President Obama and what he calls “economic patriotism.” This put me in mind of “economic nationalism” — which is a Patrick J. Buchanan cause. It was also Richard Gephardt’s shtick in the 1988 Democratic primaries. (Just what you needed tonight, right? Gephardt trivia.)

“Economic patriotism,” “economic nationalism”? They are kissing cousins. I borrow this term from Ronald Reagan, who once used it in a letter to Gene Autry. I came across the letter when I was researching the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the general concept of peace. Reagan spoke of the “peaceniks” of the day, or what MacArthur used to call “peace cranks.” “They are kissing cousins,” said the Gipper.

And don’t forget the rule: If you’re on the left, you can question the patriotism of anyone on the right. But the reverse is verboten. Thus, for example, can Howard Dean say, “John Ashcroft is not a patriot,” and everything’s cool.

P.S. What do Obama and his people call a Republican economic program? “Economic treason”? (Tailgunner Joe, wherever he is, must be wondering why he got so much grief.)

P.P.S. I realize that what the Corner-reading masses want is, not politics, but ballet and more ballet. Happy to oblige: At The New Criterion, I have a post on a Bolshoi performance of Khachaturian’s Spartacus. Go here. The Communists have long claimed Spartacus as one of their own. But he led a slave revolt — and a slave revolt is the thing that Communists most fear, and work to suppress.

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