Politics & Policy

Barack ’n’ Bill, &c.

So, Obama has said that he probably knows more about Judaism than anyone else who has ever been president. I don’t know: Thomas Jefferson knew a lot about a lot, right?

Obama reminded me of Bill Clinton — who said he was the only one who ever became president who knew something about agriculture. Remember that? Conscious people said, “What about Washington, Jefferson, and Carter, for three?”

Almost everyone brags, and major politicians brag more than most — but there is a way of bragging that is not completely implausible and absurd. Obama and Clinton, in my evaluation, are often implausible and absurd.

One of the great right-wing talking points is, “Obama is much more radical than Bill Clinton, that good ol’ moderate Democrat. Obama is a Bolshevik, and Clinton a regalur Amurrican.”

I dissent from this view, thinking that Barack ’n’ Bill are very much alike. Don’t let the latter’s southern accent fool you . . .

(I will write more about the 42nd and 44th presidents — if you can stand it — later.)

‐This phrase “war on women” gets awfully tiresome, I know. It was tiresome pretty much the first time it was uttered. But if anyone has the right to use the phrase — don’t you think it’s those who oppose “sex-selective abortion” (if I have the term right)? Think of the routine killing of unborn baby girls in China.

Is “war on women” so hyperbolic in that context?

‐When I was growing up, people hated it if you used language like “unborn baby girls.” The going phrase was “meaningless blob of protoplasm.”

I don’t know who came up with that phrase. He or she ought to be rich from royalties.

‐I’ll tell you why political journalism becomes boring — the same issues, the same stories, come up again and again. Nothing changes.

Why, even this point of mine is a repeat! I have made it many times, here in this column. I wouldn’t blame you for dozing off.

An article this week began, “Attorney General Eric Holder told a council of African American church leaders Wednesday that the ‘sacred’ right to vote is under assault nationwide . . .” Yeah, what else is new? Liberal demagogues tell black voters this in every election. I remember 1998 as particularly bad. Janet Reno was all over the place, promising black people that she would protect their right to vote, which white Republicans were bent on snatching away.

In 2006, I wrote a piece called “‘Poll Tax!’ They Cry: The Democratic response — written in stone.” Whenever someone proposes electoral reform, to curb cheating, the Democrats cry “Poll tax!” I imagine they’ll do that forever.

Zzzzzz . . . (yet so important).

‐In a Roger Clegg post, I read about this article from The Hill. It begins, “The Commerce Department is considering naming Arab Americans a socially and economically disadvantaged minority group that is eligible for special business assistance.” It continues, “The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) petitioned Commerce earlier this year . . .”

You know, everyone roots to be a victim. Or so it seems. If you’re designated a victim, you’ve won the lottery or something. “Woo-hoo! We’re victims!” Is this not a tiny bit sick? Is it not, to use an old-fashioned word, and one that smells of McCarthyism, un-American?

When I was growing up in southeastern Michigan, we had the largest Arab community outside the Middle East. At least I always heard this. The Arab Americans were famous for their entrepreneurial skills — for business.

Now they have to be granted a special status as “socially and economically disadvantaged”? Have any of them taken offense? Do any of them feel insulted? Can this country, so soft and stupid, possibly survive?

From the Hill article, I notice that “Asian Indians” are specially designated victims too. You mean, the best motel-owners, pharmacists, engineers, and doctors in the entire country? Victim folk?

Friends, I may be missing something here. Otherwise, we’re in Kafka territory.

‐Speaking of Kafka territory: The U.N. has asked Robert Mugabe to be a special leader for international tourism. Mugabe is a merciless, murderous dictator, of course, who, to boot, is under a travel ban.

In various places around the world, particularly in Europe, I am often asked, “Why don’t Americans have more respect for the U.N.?” I simply recite a few facts — usually related to the “human rights” council.

For an article about Mugabe and tourism, go here.

‐Some bright news: Have you seen this video, from MEMRI.org, of a Saudi woman standing up to the “religious police” in a mall? A treat.

They order her to leave. She says, “I’m not getting out. What are you gonna do about it? I’m not getting out. I’m standing right here. I’m standing right here. For your information, I’m filming it all. Here, smile for the camera.”

The cheek. Unbelievable. She also says, “For your information, the video is on its way to Twitter and Facebook as we speak.” The social media can be overrated. They can be underrated too.

She says, “You are not the boss of me, and you can’t tell me not to wear nail polish. Lipstick on my mouth?! Come look at my mouth. Shame on you! And he pretends to be God-fearing . . .”

Ladies and gentlemen, if I were a woman in Saudi Arabia, I don’t think I’d have half the guts of this particular person. You? I wonder what retaliation she will suffer, if any.

‐As regular readers know, I go on and on about Michael Gove, the British education minister. He is worth going on about. “The Leader of the West,” I call him. He must be my favorite politician, and my favorite officeholder. He was first elected to Parliament in 2005. I wrote an article about him for National Review, here.

I should mention that his career was journalism. He was one of my favorite writers, well before he hit Parliament. Funny, but my favorite writers here in America never run for office! We’re a different kind of country.

Anyway, want to throw a couple of Gove-related links at you — recent ones, I mean. This article explains how Gove “made it possible for teachers to breathe again.” Yet their unions hate him, of course. This is a brief account of the stand he took for press freedom this week — not as common a stand as you might think. Gutsier than you might think.

You have not heard the last of my raves (fair warning).

‐I would like to share with you a piece from the May 14 NR. It’s called “Aren’t They Cute? America and some special criminals.” I discuss Black Panther types who commit murder and mayhem, and then flee abroad. Often — in fact, predictably — they are celebrated in song, poetry, or film. If not celebrated, they are excused, in multiple ways. And who remembers their victims, or even knew about them in the first place?

Anyway, that piece is here.

I would also like to quote a supreme authority — David Horowitz, whose forthcoming book is Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion. In this book, he writes, “What motivated these radicals was not idealism. It was what motivates all violent individuals: a rage welling up from psychic depths, whose causes are not political . . .”

Yes.

‐We have had Fleet Week here in New York. Walking along the river the other day, I came upon a jazz band — a group of sailors, playing brass instruments, blowin’ it hot. They were really, really good. Almost faultless, technically, and musical. I don’t know what they were playing: The piece was in D minor, and do you know how the minor-key pieces, in jazz, can be the hottest?

Anyway, I was thinking, “If we fight as well as we play — we’re going to be fine. Unchallengeable.”

‐Minutes later, I witnessed a nice scene: East Asian tourists — Korean, I think — asking an American sailor to pose with them for a picture. He happily obliged. What made the scene all the nicer, to me, was that the sailor was black.

‐You know how Acme is always the name of the company in cartoons and so on? Well, on the streets of New York, I saw a truck for Acme Linen & Uniform. Amazing. I didn’t know that real companies were named Acme . . .

‐Maybe people have always done this, but I’ve been noticing, more and more, that people use “vanilla” to mean “bland” and “boring.” What a calumny on vanilla! It is one of the greatest flavors in all the world, not to mention most popular. There’s a world of difference between vanilla and plain — as all yogurt-buyers know.

‐In my Tuesday Impromptus, I gave what I consider the top five “Cherokee” names for the Democrats’ favorite Indian, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Readers have since argued for “Liawatha” and “Dances with Socialism.”

The hits keep comin’ . . .

‐They don’t make Indian senators like Ben Nighthorse Campbell anymore.

 

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.

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