It says something great–certainly distinctive–about George W. Bush that he has refused to go before the NAACP. Also that he has refused to meet Yasser Arafat. I think the two are related, somehow. Bush is a realist; he is a shunner and exploder of illusions; and he knows that words and gestures have meaning.
As I have written too many times to count, the NAACP has become more or less a hate group, all but portraying Bush as the lyncher of James Byrd (to cite just one of the more publicized outrages). Why should the president dignify the group with his presence? You don’t have to go before the NAACP to speak to black America. You don’t have to truck with them to speak to all America.
As for Arafat . . . well, it must be a shock for the most frequent visitor to the White House during the years 1993-2001 to be kept out of it altogether, from Jan. 20, 2001, to now. Bush is often called a “neocon” and other not-quite-friendly things, but he is supremely realistic, certainly about the Middle East, certainly about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, certainly about Arafat.
Reagan withdrew from UNESCO (in 1984). No one quite realizes how important that was, symbolically and otherwise. I mean, you just couldn’t do that. It was impossible. And yet he did–because UNESCO had wasted billions and become a cesspool of anti-Americanism (and anti-Western nonsense generally).
You can’t just not meet with the NAACP, and you can’t just not receive Arafat . . . and yet.
Oh, there is a difference in this election, folks. Is there a difference. Anyone who tells you that the parties and their leading men are Tweedledum and Tweedledee is smoking something (and inhaling).
‐I said to a lady the other day that my favorite U.S. senator had been Lauch Faircloth, and she was surprised (not to say taken aback). Faircloth, recall, was the North Carolina hog farmer who was elected in 1992–then beaten in 1998 by John Edwards (and beaten barely).
Why was Faircloth my favorite? Maybe because he was the only one up there who seemed really to care about Washington, D.C., and particularly its poor blacks (the bulk of the city). He drew the unfortunate assignment of being head of the D.C. subcommittee. Most senators dread and avoid this sort of thing, considering it thankless (which it is). But Faircloth took the work seriously, wanting the District to have a decent administration, and wanting poor black kids, in particular, to have an out from failing and–worse–violent schools.
For his trouble, he was tagged as a racist, and black left-wing activists went down to North Carolina to harass and campaign against him. He lost. But if he lost because of that–he lost most, most honorably.
‐I said that Faircloth was my favorite senator. But how could I say that when there is Phil Gramm to consider?
“One of,” I should have said.
‐I don’t know if there are awards given for individual columns, but if there are, James K. Glassman should win one for this, a report, with commentary, on the disgusting AIDS conference in Thailand. Glassman writes with knowledge, moral insight, and necessary indignation.
The United States is the number-one (national) fighter against AIDS in the world; the rest of the world, until it manages to do an ounce as much, should zip it.
‐And have you read Bill Kristol’s editorial in The Weekly Standard? It is on the Democrats and their unseriousness concerning the war–or worse than unseriousness, actually, because there is an aggressive wrongness in their views (as I see it).
Kristol quotes Kerry: “What American would not trade the economy we had in the 1990s, the fact that we were not at war and young Americans were not deployed?” The Democrats–and much of the nation–pretend that 9/11 never occurred. Alas, it did–something Bush and his people have in mind, strangely.
‐About the fence–I mean, The Fence–I and others have said so much, I’m afraid my fingers can’t type. Let me just confine myself to the cheeky, and probably sophomoric, remark that if the “International Court of Justice”–revolting name–is foursquare against it, it must be right.
Also, let me quote the heroically sane response of Ehud Olmert, deputy prime minister of Israel: “The fence is unpleasant, but, believe me, being attacked by a homicide bomber is much less pleasant. The fence may not be convenient, but it doesn’t kill people.”
Moreover, as someone pointed out–I can’t remember who, perhaps Olmert himself–the fence is reversible, whereas the dead . . . stay dead.
‐I have been a bit gloomy about the Bush campaign, so perhaps I should sound a positive note by saying: Good for Bush-Cheney for doing the Laci Peterson ad. Kerry voted against the bill treating an unborn child as a separate victim in a violent crime–and the Bush people knocked him for it.
High time. Perhaps they could do a partial-birth ad, too. Most Americans–even those broadly “pro-choice”–are repulsed by that practice. Kerry and Edwards would go to their death to defend it.
Why not point this out, and let the people decide? And if you lose, you lose. That’s what a campaign should be, in my estimation.
We will concede that the Democratic ticket has “better hair.” How do you stand on “issues of life,” hombres?
‐Speaking of honesty and forthrightness in campaigning: In a previous Impromptus, I noted a Jonathan Rauch article saying that Kerry should take a page from JFK–I mean, the original, the one from 1960–and run as a hardliner on national security. I said, No, no, no: Kerry should run as himself, and everyone else should, too, in order to give people a fair look, letting the chips fall where they may.
Well, Mr. Rauch has provided a link to that column–here–so that readers can take in the fullness of his views (as well they should).
I still say: Kerry has no more business running as a hawk than I do as a socialist (or a scratch golfer, or something).
‐I am reminded of one of Roger Kimball’s favorite quotes, which comes from Dorothy Parker: “And I am Marie of Roumania.”
‐From Roger Kimball to the New York Post’s Page Six, what a transition! Page Six says, “Teresa Heinz Kerry surprised and worried some of the 1,000 guests at Friday morning’s Women for Kerry breakfast when she looked out at the crowd and said, ‘We had better get you women some birth control, there are so many of you here!’”
Uh-huh, uh-huh. A theme of mine–since the primaries–has been that the mainstream press will protect Teresa, the Martha Mitchell of our age. Impromptus, for example, has noted many of her stunners; but the mainstream press has not–and so the nation is unstunned (if stunned it is capable of being).
‐Second her husband announces for president, she is not “Teresa Heinz” but “Teresa Heinz Kerry.” Second her husband announced for president, Hillary Rodham was Clinton.
See what I mean about honesty in campaigning? Frustrating! Why can’t everyone be himself–or herself–and let the (friggin’) people decide? E.g., if you don’t bake cookies–and don’t like to, and don’t want to–don’t pretend to!
‐Do you remember dear George Herbert Walker Bush? He said he didn’t like broccoli, and now that he was president, by golly, he wasn’t going to eat broccoli. What’s the point of being president if you have to eat a vegetable you don’t like?
His wife, Barbara, pronounced her love for broccoli, and even had a make-up session with broccoli growers, I believe.
Gosh, I enjoyed that couple, most of the time.
‐A Massachusetts state senator named Dianne Wilkerson introduced John Kerry the other day. She described Bush’s education policy as “No Black Child Learns Under Bush.”
Ladies and gentlemen, they are poisonous, that party. Poisonous.
As though black children have been learning under Democratic/NEA control.
‐More poison–this time from Donald Trump, the “fired” guy. About the Iraq war, he says, “To lose all of those thousands and thousands of people, on our side and their side . . . I mean, you have Iraqi kids, not only our soldiers, walking around with no legs, no arms, no faces. All for no reason.”
Uh-huh. One of the reasons: No more mass graves, no more torture chambers, no more “rape rooms,” no more children’s prisons (really), no more cutting out of tongues for dissent, no more putting men into plastic shredders, feet first, so that the killers could hear more screaming, no more . . .
Continues Trump, “No matter how much you hate Saddam Hussein, and obviously he was a horror show, he kept terrorists out of Iraq.”
Oh? I recall that he sheltered Abu Abbas, the Achille Lauro terror master. And Abu Nidal (does he need an introduction?). And “a host of others,” as they say in golf commentary (trust me).
The Dallas Morning News went on to report that Trump complained about the war’s effect on his projects, which involve the erection of large buildings: “You can’t get concrete” and “you can’t get steel,” because “it’s going to Iraq, because we’re rebuilding Iraq.”
Good: Better a rebuilt Iraq–and a world free from Saddam Hussein’s threats and actions–than one more Trump Tower.
‐Did I say something earlier about winning an award (Jim Glassman)? If there’s an award for a single editorial, it should be given to that of the Wall Street Journal yesterday, concerning Kerry and Edwards and the taxes they pay, and don’t pay. Mr. Edwards, for example, has gone far, far out of his way to avoid sharing his earnings–or should I say “earnings”?–with the government. And he blasts the rest of us for being miserly and mean.
Only the Wall Street Journal could come up with something like this: factual, timely, devastating (and largely ignored, I’m afraid).
‐Speaking of awards, and the Journal: That paper’s brilliant and indispensable Claudia Rosett–who is also an NRO contributor–has won the Chan’s Journalism and Culture Foundation in the USA Award. According to a press release, the award is given in the hope that it will “encourage other journalists to use their talents to work for freedom and democracy in China.”
(For a speech I gave to this group, please go here.)
‐Shall we break for a little language? The Sun–the one in New York, not the one in London, with the nudies–had a headline: “Elizabeth Edwards Could Turn Out To Be An Added Bonus for the Kerry Campaign.”
Do we like “added bonus”? I guess that’s all right–in the way that “free gift” is.
‐Another headline from the Sun: “USS Cole Attack Trial Opens.” I shuddered when I read that headline: because it reminded me of the world we may go back to if Kerry and Edwards are elected. The terrorists hit us, we file suit.
‐At Renaissance Weekend recently, I was talking to a (liberal) law professor, and she said that the students were much more conservative than they used to be. “Oh?” I asked. “In what way are they conservative?” “Well, for one thing,” replied my friend, “they don’t show up stoned.”
I loved that.
Also, “They roll their eyes when I go into one of my liberal spiels: ‘There she goes again,’ they seem to be saying.”
I loved that, too!
‐In response to my Lincoln column of two days ago, many asked where they could get more information on this president, and, “What are we doing about him?” The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission–Michael F. Bishop, executive director–is doing something about him. Check it out.
And I’d say Happy Bastille Day, dear hearts–if I believed that Bastille Day were something to be happy about, given that the French Revolution, arguably, led to Lenin and that horrible 20th century, and . . .
But then I’m off on a very long rant.