Been reading a lot lately about how Mitt Romney is unexciting. Exciting is in the eye, mind, and heart of the beholder, I guess. But I’m not sure we want or need a candidate who’s all that exciting. Bieber Fever is for pop music, you know?
There was a lot of excitement surrounding Barack Obama in 2008 — the Messiah, the One. People regularly fainted at his rallies. Remember?
I think the public might be ready for a solid, honorable, sensible man who can tackle some of the country’s formidable problems. The president doesn’t have to be a cult figure. In fact, it’s preferable that he not be. Let the president do a good job, and the rest of us get on with life.
#ad#‐You know who’s exciting? Newt Gingrich. As I said in an earlier column, he’s pretty much the only candidate who can thrill you. What he said in one of the last debates about Catholic adoption agencies? The discrimination against them, and how no one in the mainstream media cares? Thrilling.
What he said several weeks ago about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the place of the judiciary in American life, and some other issues? Thrilling. When he is on, he is nonpareil. I remember a speech he gave in the mid-1990s. This was in Washington. I attended. Thrilling.
But then there are some other aspects of Newt, and they are, as we have seen, dismaying.
‐Lots of conservatives have been pushing the claim that Romney is not a conservative. They are loud and relentless in this. I’m not sure the public — the conservative public — is buying. I’m not sure they should, either, though Romney’s record is definitely mixed.
If the guy’s not a conservative, then, in the last several months, he’s been the biggest liar that ever was. Pathological. He has also been a hell of an actor. (Is there a difference between lying and acting? I’m sure there is . . .)
‐Romney’s critics and enemies on the right say two things about him: a) he’s a squishy, big-government RINO; b) he’s a heartless, ruthless, dog-eat-dog capitalist.
Maybe these guys can sit down and coordinate a plausible Romney attack?
‐I see that Bill Daley has left the position of White House chief of staff, and that Jack Lew is in. Time for Reverend Wright to reprise his line from 2009: “Them Jews ain’t gonna let him talk to me.”
‐Did you catch Hugo Chávez the other day, joking with Ahmadinejad about an A-bomb? (For a news article, go here.) I thought, once more, of what our president has called Chávez: “mi amigo,” his friend. Great, great.
Can a Republican get to be president soon?
‐The chairman of Mercedes-Benz, Dieter Zetsche, announced a new initiative under a huge portrait of Che Guevara. Someone had put a Mercedes symbol on Guevara’s beret. (To see this repulsive spectacle, go here.)
Has Mercedes ever buddied with totalitarian killers before? I can’t remember . . .
‐There is a congressman from Wisconsin named Jim Sensenbrenner, and I used to know him for one thing: The guy won the lottery — the D.C. lottery — back in the ’90s, I swear. Huge amount of money.
Now I know him for another thing: Sensenbrenner, a Republican, was talking about Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign. And he said, “And look at her big butt.”
That was a horse’s-ass thing to say, and, rightly, he apologized. There’s a lot wrong with Michelle Obama — she’s a Bolshie, basically. Would have us all in camps. But I also think our First Lady is a total, ripped, smokin’ babe.
You can’t take that away from her. And, as far as I know, she’s older than thirty. Should be lookin’ like Grandma Moses anytime . . .
‐I saw a headline: “ABC News president: We’re going for relevance.” The article said, “ABC News’ new advertising slogan is ‘see the whole picture,’ and division President Ben Sherwood said Monday that reflects an effort to broaden his journalists’ definition of what they do.”
Oh, dear — how about report the news? Not good enough anymore? Too boring? No market for it?
I doubt it.
‐As you can read here, Harry Belafonte has been lambasting Obama, another expression of disappointment from the Left. It makes me feel slightly better about Obama — whom I’ll take over that nasty, Castro-loving, handsome old Red any day.
#page#‐Here’s a report out of Phnom Penh: “The Khmer Rouge’s second-in-command says the regime focused its revolution in the countryside because people there were poor and easily indoctrinated.”
Conservatives of long memory, and resentment in their soul — hey, why is everybody looking at me?! — will recall a line from the Washington Post: “Their followers are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.” These were the fans of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
Nixon used to say, “Let’s flick the scab off that wound.”
#ad#‐We see here, “Prominent Muslim clerics in India are asking the government to bar author Salman Rushdie from visiting the country to attend a literary festival . . .”
But, when he’s in your midst, isn’t it easier to murder him? Or have they changed their mind on that one? Say what you will about Rushdie, he has worked under more pressure than most of us will.
‐In a column last month, I said that the “Occupy” movement had a familiar odor: an odor as old as the Communists, and their forerunners. Some people didn’t take that very well. I was quite interested to learn something in a piece by James Kirchick: “In Washington, DC, occupiers have named the sidewalks surrounding their encampment in McPherson Square Che Guevara Avenue and Angela Davis Avenue . . .”
That entire piece, by the way, is first-rate.
‐I realize that, when we’re talking Occupy and odor, we’re usually talking in literal terms.
‐So, I click on this ad, which has Gary Bauer knocking Ron Paul for his kooky and dangerous views. At the beginning, when Bauer is talking about his days in the Reagan administration and whatnot, there’s happy, tinkly music. And then when he talks about Paul, there is . . . the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, known to the world as “the Moonlight.”
How could they do that to Beethoven and this piece? How?! (That’s the second time I have used a question mark and an exclamation point together in this column. As far as I know, whole years go by without my doing that.)
‐The wickedest comment of the entire campaign so far was uttered by my colleague Rick Brookhiser: “If we nominate Santorum, how do we carry Pennsylvania?”
‐I would like to see Rick Santorum back in the Senate — or in the Oval Office, if he’s the Republican nominee. A good, valuable man.
‐A reader writes, “If Obama replaces Biden with the governor of New York, and the governor of Texas is the VP nominee, then, in the fall, we will get the Perry-Cuomo debate.”
‐I was in Gaffney, S.C., whose water tower is a perfect, beautiful peach. I give you Google images.
‐Before I got there, I was in the Charlotte, N.C., airport. In the men’s room, I was very surprised to see an attendant: who had mints, insisted on handing you (paper) towels, had a tip basket, and so on. Just like at a men’s club or posh restaurant or something.
People have to work. People need jobs. But isn’t this a little much? I went to a sink far down from the attendant, thinking that I could hurry up and get out of there. (I don’t think I had a dollar bill on me. Plus, I was in the mood to protest the whole thing. Had a chip on my shoulder, for some reason.) The young man hurried down to hand me a towel, before I could dry my hands.
What’re you gonna do?
‐There is a Confederate monument in downtown Gaffney, put up by the UDC in 1922: “Though men deserve, they may not win success. The brave will honor the brave vanquished none the less.” I think all Americans can understand this, even if we can’t endorse it.
‐Some years ago, I wrote y’all about the Vend-a-Moo: This was a vending machine for milk. You put your money in, and you got your milk, ’round the clock. So cool (in more than one sense). I was sad to learn that the Vend-a-Moo is no longer in operation: because thieves were ruining it for everyone (as thieves do).
It still stands, however, and I snapped a picture: here.
‐When I first visited Gaffney, many years ago, a friend and I went to a golf range, where there was no attendant. You just took a bucket of balls and dropped your money in a box. I don’t know whether that still exists. I doubt it. Was near a fish camp.
‐I was walking around the ballfields of Limestone College, in Gaffney, as an American flag waved stoutly in the wind. Nearby, church bells played the “Ode to Joy” theme. Very nice.