Many Republicans don’t want Susan Rice to become secretary of state. Her performance after the Benghazi attack was disgraceful, they say. Sure it was. But really: Who cares who’s secretary of state? Barack Obama is the president. The commander-in-chief. The decider. He’s the people’s choice. And whoever is secretary of state, will be his instrument. Moreover, whoever is secretary of state will agree with him — will share his worldview.
So . . .
I have a memory from the 2008 presidential campaign. A TV journalist named Gwen Ifill was scheduled to moderate the vice-presidential debate. And, interestingly enough, she had a book due out on January 20, Inauguration Day: The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Obviously, she had a rooting interest — even a commercial interest — in Obama’s election. So why should she moderate a debate? That’s what a lot of Republicans said.
But others of us said, “Who cares, really? How would Ifill be any different from her colleagues, whether they have an Obama book pending or not? Pick your poison.”
That is my attitude about the secretary of state: Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Noam Chomsky (I exaggerate a little bit) — who cares who gets the nod? It will be an Obama foreign policy, regardless. It will be a foreign policy of the present-day Democratic party regardless.
Harry Truman doesn’t live here, y’all.
Barack Obama is the people’s choice. They made that perfectly clear on November 6. Why he shouldn’t get his choice in the State Department, I’m not sure.
Is that too churlish for you? (Yeah, for me too, probably.)
Thank heaven the modern Democrats exist. How else would America get a black female secretary of state named Rice?
I was interested to read this article on a Korean rapper — not on a Korean wrapper, but about a Korean rapper. This is a rapper who spews hate and lies against the United States. Typical stuff, the kind of thing you’ve heard your whole life. (At least I have.) According to the article, this guy “is slated to perform for President Obama for a Christmas in Washington special.” Sure.
I thought back to a rapper named Common. He sings, or raps, something called “A Song for Assata.” Who’s Assata? She started life as Joyce Chesimard, then changed her name to Assata Shakur. She’s one of those Radical Chic murderers — killed a New Jersey trooper named Werner Foerster. After a prison breakout, she fled to Cuba, where she’s under the protection of the Castros. American radicals — her fellow American radicals — make pilgrimages to her, to sit at her feet. They sing her praises throughout the world.
In Common’s song of praise, he sings, “All this sh** so we could be free, so dig it, y’all.” Yeah, dig it.
Last year, he was invited to perform at the White House. Law-enforcement agencies and other stuffed shirts objected, but who cares about the stuffed shirts? Who cares about Werner Foerster? Common did his thing, and Obama hugged him at the end.
The governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, refuses to call the state Christmas tree a Christmas tree. He insists on calling it a “holiday tree.” This is the new American practice. Actually, it’s getting pretty old.
I thought back to Arnold Schwarzenegger, once governor of California. The governor before him, Gray Davis, changed the name of the state Christmas tree to a holiday tree. There was a measure in the California senate to change the name back to “Christmas tree.” It failed. Schwarzenegger called the Christmas tree a Christmas tree anyway. He took some heat for this, but shrugged.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has many problems, but at least he knows a Christmas tree when he sees one.
That Europe’s character is changing, radically, is undeniable. The people who run the City of Brussels have yanked the traditional Christmas tree in the main square and replaced it with “a politically correct structure of abstract minimalist art.” I have quoted an article by Soeren Kern, here. The tree was replaced in order to appease the city’s Muslims, apparently.
Here is a paragraph from Kern’s article:
Historically, a 20 meter [65 foot] fir tree taken from the forests of the Ardennes has adorned the city’s main square, the Grand-Place. This year, however, it has been replaced with a 25 meter [82 foot] new-age-like structure of lighted boxes . . . Moreover, the traditional Christmas Market in downtown Brussels is no longer being referred to as a “Christmas Market.” Instead, it has been renamed as “Winter Pleasures 2012.”
All of this matters — it may seem superficial, but it matters greatly. This will be much clearer in the coming years.
I love something Mary Landrieu said — she’s a Democratic senator from Louisiana. The Associated Press ran an article on the Keystone pipeline, and the politics surrounding it. Landrieu was quoted as saying, “It’s just a no-brainer. Canada is going to export this oil. It’s either going to come to the U.S. or it’s going to go to Russia or China. Even Democrats that aren’t really excited about oil and gas development generally can figure that out.”
Ha! I kind of doubt it. The issue is not necessarily “What is sensible energy policy?” The issue may be “What conforms to the green religion?”
Here’s a headline: “Serbia’s NATO ambassador leaps to death.” Apparently, it was a suicide. In former times, the guy was often pushed.
(Sorry, that was a little blunt. But true.)
My favorite line out of the entire Bob Costas affair came from Rush Limbaugh, the incomparable. Costas preached a little anti-gun sermon on air, as you recall. This was more widely described as a “rant.” Later, Costas expressed remorse, of a kind. Rush was entirely understanding. “I don’t blame Bob Costas. I blame the microphone.”
If all those who hate Rush Limbaugh, or think they do, would simply consider the possibility of enjoying him, they would be happier, I think.
I have a particular admiration of the Czech Republic — for the Czechs’ defense of liberty and Western civilization; for their perseverance under Communism; for their near unique support of the Cuban people; for their willingness to stand alone, or virtually so; for many things.
In the U.N. the other day, the Czechs were the only European nation — the only one — to stand with Israel, as the Palestinians were again seeking their state without negotiating with Israel, as the Oslo Accords demand.
There is something in the water there, in the Czech Republic. I wish other nations would drink it.
(Once, John Bolton and I were talking about which Canadian provinces should be American states. John said — jokingly, or half so — “Yes, and I’d gladly take the Czechs.”)
I noticed an item in Musical America. It was about a raucous night at La Scala, in which patrons booed Cecilia Bartoli — whose partisans shouted back at the booers. That’s the way it goes at La Scala, and in other Italian opera houses. It has been that way for generations.
What was the Musical America headline? “Old White Guys Boo Bartoli at La Scala.” “White guys”? What does race have to do with the story? Nothing, absolutely nothing — except that Americans wrote the headline, and Americans are absolutely drunk on race. Everything is racial, for an American. Race is the god we worship, with ethnicity a close second.
If Nigerian fans, for example, booed a soccer player or some other performer they didn’t like — would an American headline read “Old Black Guys Boo . . .”?
You’ve got to be crazy. America is one cracked country, as we see day after day.
A little language? I was reading an article about an American court case involving the government of Argentina. Let me quote a tiny bit:
If Argentina pays the plaintiffs, then lawyers representing other holders of defaulted debt, totaling more than $11 billion, are expected to demand immediate payment as well.
If it refuses, the judge said the Bank of New York Mellon must stop payment on the quotas Argentina has religiously honored to a much bigger group of bondholders . . .
“Religiously”? What interesting usage, particularly in a wire-service story.
A little more language? I have a story that illustrates one reason I find immigrants refreshing — they are free, for the moment, of our political correctness. Our Left hasn’t squeezed the life out of them yet.
I was in a new eatery called El Mitote. I said to this delightful girl behind the counter — she looked about 16 — “What does ‘el mitote’ mean?” She said, “You know how when ladies get together and talk about nothing?” She made hen-session motions with her hands. “Like that.”
America hasn’t gotten to her yet. It will. She’ll learn she can’t talk like that — “sexism” and all. But she hasn’t learned yet, and I love her for it.
A little music? For my “New York Chronicle,” in the current New Criterion, go here.
Some podcasting? For the latest with the great Mona Charen and me, go here. Our guest is Jonathan V. Last, of The Weekly Standard. Years ago, I said to him — inevitably, I’m sure — “The first shall be Last, and the Last first.” I certainly stand by those words.
Our topics are immigration, singles, marriage, family. There is much talk of marriage and family — the great joy and satisfaction those things provide. I thought I would add a note here. Nothing you don’t know, but maybe something worth restating.
God has any number of ways of supplying joy and satisfaction. (Can you talk about God in a column? I mean, in a positive way? I think so. I await the next Supreme Court ruling.) Marriage and family, magnificent as those are, aren’t the be-all, end-all of human happiness or fulfillment. You remember a Gershwin song: “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” (It is on just this subject.) And if you can’t? The world is wide, and its possibilities great.
For statements of the obvious, come to me anytime.
This is not so obvious: I was walking in Central Park the other day. Along a bridle path, where people walk, jog, ride horses (of course), and so on. A man was walking with a birdcage — in which a bird was perched. I don’t believe the man was taking his bird anywhere. He was just out for a walk, with his bird, nicely caged.
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.