Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey likes to say, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little overweight.” In case you haven’t noticed, Mitt Romney is rich. President Obama and his campaign are very keen for you to know this. They are practicing what politicians, and other people, have practiced from the beginning of time: the politics of envy.
The truth is, both Romney and Obama are rich, by the standards of ordinary people: Romney is a millionaire; Obama is a millionaire. Romney has many more millions, but they both have more money than most people will ever see, or possibly dream of.
In my view, Romney should be utterly unapologetic: “Sure, I’m rich, and he’s rich too. We’ve both been successful. The difference is, I want to help create the conditions in which you can be as successful as possible too. He’s holding you back, and the whole country back.
“No matter who wins — President Obama or me — he and I will live very well. We have plenty of money. But the country at large — that’s another story.”
Now, when you’re unapologetic, you don’t have to be obnoxious. Romney is good at that: being unapologetic without being obnoxious. May he continue, through to November.
If Romney is able to keep the focus on Obama’s record — whether he has been a good president or not — he should be all right. That is, he should win. And that is what an election contest involving an incumbent president should be about: Do you want to rehire the guy for another four years or fire him?
I believe the country will ultimately decide to fire Obama — especially when they see that they can place the presidency in safe, capable hands.
But if Obama is able to make the election about Mormonism, Bain Capital, and race — he has a chance, damn it.
Again, I’m for a Romney who is absolutely unapologetic — about his religion, his business career, his views. Unapologetic while being unobnoxious. That is a beautiful condition.
Years ago, I was sitting in the Senate gallery, for a reason I can’t remember now. Arlen Specter was speaking. George Mitchell wheeled on him, snapping, “You already said that!” Specter replied, cool as a cucumber, “Sometimes we indulge in a little repetition in this body.”
Well, sometimes I indulge in a little repetition in this column. Last week, I talked about the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and his revelations to Edward Klein, the former editor of The New York Times Magazine who has authored a book on President Obama.
Wright says that a close friend of Obama’s, Eric Whitaker, offered him what amounted to a bribe: $150,000 if he would keep his mouth shut until after the 2008 election.
I ask you again: What if a minister in a Republican president’s past had said this? Wouldn’t the mainstream media be devoting full time to this story? Wouldn’t every cover of Time and Newsweek be about it? Every hour of 60 Minutes, every Sunday until as long as it took? Planes would stop flying, birds would stop chirping, the earth would stop spinning around the sun until the story were nailed down.
But the interest of the mainstream media in Obama and Wright is zilch. From these media outlets, silence.
Conservatives are often accused of making too much of media bias. Maybe we do, sometimes. But maybe, sometimes, we make too little of it. Complaints about media bias are supposed to be uncouth. But media bias itself — that is worse.
I’ll make the world a deal: Reduce the bias, and I’ll complain less. Until then, I will point out that there is indeed a gross imbalance.
Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a jihad about wind power — wind turbines and the like. I am sick of their blighting the land. I am sick of the claims made about the energy they produce. I am sick of the sanctification of wind power by people whose religion is environmentalism and whose devil is oil.
I have come to see, as never before, that wind is a crock.
Okay, I’m going somewhere with this, besides letting off crankiness. When I was growing up, there was pretty much nothing in the natural world more sacred than the bald eagle. Our national symbol was threatened with extinction, we were told, and we needed a national crusade to save it. If you disturbed an eagle’s nest, the penalty was something like death.
In fact, I heard pro-life people talk about the penalties for destroying an eagle’s egg. This was part of their argument about unborn life: “In some areas, we recognize that unborn life is life, or life-to-be, you know?”
The other day, I read these words from the Heritage Foundation:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, is considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources.
You’ve. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. Are you trying to deprive me of sleep for the next several months?
There are four versions of Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream. In Art: A New History, Paul Johnson calls it “the most often-reproduced and influential single image of the twentieth century.” Earlier this month, one version of The Scream sold at auction for $120 million. The seller said that the painting “serves as a warning about climate change.”
Ladies and gentlemen, is it just me, or has the world gone stark-raving mad, where the climate is concerned? I mean, just bonkers.
“He who controls the language controls the political situation.” That has been said a hundred different ways, since the beginning of time. I have thought about it when hearing President Obama talk about gay marriage. He says some version of this:
“This country is for everyone, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name, no matter who you love.” (He should say “whom,” but don’t expect too much.)
A neat trick, isn’t it? The implication is that those who oppose gay marriage want to prevent you from loving whom you love.
That is not as neat a trick as “pro-choice,” however. This term, to describe a position in favor of legal abortion, is a piece of evil genius. It is the most diabolical political-lexical triumph in world history.
Years ago, I noticed something about liberals, and it is quite rude to point out: Often, their views seem to be those of children. Views we all once had, but that some of us outgrew. “Take from the rich and give to the poor.” “If you’re nice to dictators, they will be nice to you.” “Crime is a response to injustice.” “Because guns hurt people, people shouldn’t have guns.” “Drilling for oil is mean to the earth.” Etc., etc.
It has sometimes seemed to me that becoming a conservative is simply a matter of growing up. There is scarcely any view in the Democratic national platform that I did not hold until I turned about 19. A great deal of liberalism strikes me as not just mistaken but immature.
Well, I was reading a Roger Kimball column in which he quotes another, and similar, Roger: Roger Scruton. Scruton talks about “the repudiation of inheritance and home” by left-wing malcontents, ingrates, and innocents. It is a stage, he says, “through which the adolescent mind normally passes. But it is a stage in which intellectuals tend to become arrested. As George Orwell pointed out, intellectuals on the Left are especially prone to it . . .”
Here is something related — not the same, but related: Into my inbox last week came a bulletin from Musical America, which featured a quotation from Ned Rorem (the American composer). “Arguably, no artist grows up,” he said. “If he sheds the perceptions of childhood, he ceases being an artist.”
You’re well aware of the distinction between childlike qualities and childish ones. The former qualities can be priceless and indispensable; the latter ones exist to be shed.
Well, I’ll turn to a little childishness myself (not being fully grown up, I guess). In my Thursday column, I wrote about Elizabeth Warren, the soi-disant Cherokee. I dropped a couple of nicknames. Readers responded with some coinages and favorites of their own. I would like to list what I regard as the top five nicknames — and this list, please, is subject to change:
5) Little White Dove
4) Spreading Bull
3) Dishonest Injun
1) Lying Sac(agawea)
Want another name? A reader from Seattle sends me this article, about the Northwest Wine Summit — which “has been run since its inception by Parks Redwine. Redwine (yes, that’s his real name) is a wine lover, collector, importer and writer.”
Over the weekend, I was back home in southeastern Michigan, to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of a wonderful couple. An Indian-American couple. Their son delivered a memorable toast.
He was speaking to people who had come from all over the country. Almost all of these people were fellow Indian Americans — immigrants and their children and grandchildren. Though they now live from coast to coast, they started their American lives in Michigan, or spent a key part of those lives in Michigan.
The man giving the toast said that this was why he and his sister decided on Michigan as the venue for the party. “This is our Plymouth Rock,” he said.
I loved — even thrilled to — this affirmation that the American idea continues.
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.