Politics & Policy

There’s Something About that Grin …

Liberal remorse.

I’m beginning to get a bad feeling about this.

Call it buyer’s remorse, or fear of the unknown, or simply Pinch Sulzbergeritis, but doesn’t it feel like our nice secure liberal world just left its orbit this week? As Hillary waddled off the stage in defeat Thursday night after the debate, with Barack Obama grinning from ear to ear to ear to ear, I could the sense the Old Guard passing, the end of an era, the moment when old First Ladies never die, they just — aw, let’s just cut to the chase: We’re gonna lose. And we’re gonna lose bad.

I mean, what the hell was the New York Times thinking, running that half-sourced farrago of a Barbra Streisand hit job on John McCain that snarked and sneered and amounted to… what? That eight years ago a sitting senator spent some time with a lobbyist who bore an uncanny resemblance to his wife… and you just know, deep down, that there was some canoodling going on, don’t you? Come on, admit it. Even though we can’t really prove it.

Every wing nut in America’s been saying for weeks that the Times’s endorsement of John McCain in the New York primary was just a ruse, that the minute he had the nomination secured they’d drop the pose of Best Friend and turn out to be Worst Enemy. Problem is, we’ve all seen that movie a hundred times: For crying out loud, it’s the plot of Phantom Lady, and that movie came out in 1944! Not to mention the Peanuts comic strip, where Lucy yanks the football away from that helpless schlimazel, Charlie Brown, and he lands flat on his tush.

Maybe they thought they could get away with it. After all, intrepid Times reporters have been prancing around these past few years like Mr. Peachum in a road-company version of The Beggar’s Opera, happily receiving stolen goods, exposing national secrets, and making returning vets look as homicidally nutty as Bobby De Niro in Taxi Driver. And Bush, the human punching bag, lets them get away with it, even when they spit right in his eye. Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson would have hanged the editors and burned down the building long ago: Chimpy McDeath just grins and takes it.

But in McCain they might have picked on the wrong guy. Someone who started his day with bamboo shoots up his fingernails every day for five years in Hanoi isn’t likely to be scared by Bill Keller and his minions; and, if you ask me, McCain could win the election simply by promising that on Day One he puts James Risen and Eric Lichtblau in jail and padlocks the Times for treason. Talk about red meat for the Right!

Besides, who are we go get all exercised about sex? We were able to convince half of America that Bill Clinton got impeached for a Monica Lewinsky special, when in fact he got rung up for perjury in front of a federal judge in the Paula Jones case. And the miracle of the 2004 election was that we were able to turn a hapless congressman no one had ever heard of named Mark Foley into the poster boy for sexual predators, when all he did was send a few risqué e-mails to youngish male pages. As opposed to the real-life adventures of Barney Frank and Gerry Studds and, well, you get the idea.

If it feels good, we do it, and defend our right to do so. You don’t — but we know you want to, so we nail you for hypocrisy. Is there a double standard? You bet your booty there is — we’re the good guys!

The other thing that’s bothering me is this Barry Hussein Jr., guy. How long is the Punahou Kid going to be able to skate on The Audacity of Hope and The Hope of Audacity? When you actually look at his voting record — and we sure hope you never do — you notice that basically he’s more or less of a commie, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my best friends are commies, er, “progressives.”

But the whole cool thing about being a far-Left liberal is that we’re like undercover secret agents, who have to shield our real goals and motives from you, the suckers. How far would we get if we actually came out and said that we want to nationalize health care, raise taxes to confiscatory levels on the filthy rich who make more than $75,000 a year, preemptively surrender in Iraq, and flood the country with illegal aliens and then turn them into citizens in a transparent attempt to get votes and keep the Ponzi Scheme solvent?

O.K., so both Hillary and Obama are saying exactly that. But you take my point, which is this: The reason Hillary had to go was, well, to put it kindly — she was a dreadful candidate. That grim Nurse Ratched visage, that hectoring, flat, midwestern drone, the stubby finger-pointing: She was every guy’s first wife and his first mother-in-law rolled into a pantsuit. Sure, a lot of you conservatives have been saying that for years, but the scales finally fell from our eyes when along came B. H. Obama, Buffenblu extraordinaire and the pride of Honolulu, someone in whom we could invest our hopes for change. Someone who could lead us into that brighter future where things change but hope never dies. Someone who could finally liberate David Shuster and Chris Matthews from the tyranny of the Clintons, and let them stand proudly, shoulder to shoulder, in the brave new world of tomorrow.

But now the magic is beginning to wear off. Instead of the second coming of Jesus Christ, some of us are beginning to sense the second coming of Jim Jones. Instead of a new redeemer, we’re looking at an undistinguished first-term senator with no paper trail, a wife with a major-league chip on her shoulder, a politician from the insalubrious precincts of Bathhouse John Coughlin and Hinky Dink Kenna’s old hometown of Chicago.

As another famous Illinoisan once said: You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. And then he suspended habeas corpus and went on to fight and win the Civil War.

Do-over, anybody?

– David Kahane is a nom de cyber for a writer in Hollywood. “David Kahane” is borrowed from a screenwriter character in The Player.

Since February 2007, Michael Walsh has written for National Review both under his own name and the name of David Kahane, a fictional persona described as “a Hollywood liberal who ...


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