Politics & Policy

Bellyaching, &c.

(Michael Ramirez)

Oh, do people hate conservative bellyaching about media bias. But, oh, is there a lot to bellyache about. Media bias does not mean everything. And it can be overcome. But it means a lot.

Every Romney error is magnified; every Obama error is diminished. There are even some Romney errors that are not quite errors: such as his recent performance abroad, and his comment on our embassy in Cairo.

If you got your information from the mainstream media — I wish there were a better term — you would never know Romney is an impressive man. You would never know he has been successful in most everything he has ever done. You would never know he was bright, experienced, or capable. Or warm, decent, and charitable.

You would think he was a moron. And a jerk, to boot.

In my observation, conservatives make either too much or too little of media bias. I’m not 100 percent sure that making too much of it is the more common error.

Every race a Republican runs, he runs with a weight tied to his ankle — and that weight, that handicap, is media bias.

‐You remember those “ordinary people” at the Republican convention who told about the extraordinary acts of charity Mitt Romney has performed? If Obama had performed those acts, they would be famous. They would be legends, they would have entered the national lore. Schoolchildren would be instructed to sing about them.

‐The other night, I was with some solid conservative citizens at a function, and they were saying that people were lying to pollsters — that’s why Obama is ahead. I thought, “Uh-oh: When we start saying people are lying to pollsters, we’re cooked.” I think I first heard the lying-to-pollsters line and hope in ’92.

Another remark I heard the other night: “Who even has land lines anymore?!” My heart sank again. I imagine pollsters account for phone situations . . .

Regardless, five weeks is a long time in politics, ladies and gents. Pedal to the metal (and chins very high).

‐Funny how conventional wisdom can turn very, very quickly. A Republican pundit of my acquaintance was saying, “The Republican convention stank. The Democratic convention was very good. It helped them a lot, and we got no help at all out of our convention.”

Two seconds ago, it seems, the Democratic convention was a joke. They had taken God and Jerusalem out of the platform. They had to railroad God and Jerusalem back in — and people booed.

Some Democratic politicians even refused to attend the convention, lest they be tainted by Obama!

Whatever the current wisdom is, I enjoyed the Republican convention a lot, and thought it was excellent. I thought the “ordinary people,” testifying about Romney, were wonderful. I thought Mrs. Romney was fantastic. I thought Chris Christie was formidable. I thought Condi Rice was great. Paul Ryan’s speech was master-crafted. Marco Rubio was well-nigh brilliant. Clint Eastwood was weird as hell, but effective in the end, I think. And I thought Romney was very good. I might have preferred a more red-meaty speech. But I’m a partisan nut.

Anyway, that’s my view of the Republican convention (Reader’s Digest version). It’s important to keep your view, if you think it’s true, no matter the consensus. Not sure what the consensus would say about that . . .

‐I promise I don’t hate everything about Obama — I could think of something I don’t — but when he announced a “new economic patriotism,” I thought I would spit blood. The term “economic patriotism” strikes me as un-American. Have I been McCarthyite enough for you? Frankly, I think the term has a fascist smell: “Agree with me on this, or you’re a traitor.” In addition, “new economic patriotism” has the same initials as Lenin’s program, the NEP — the New Economic Plan.

While I’m letting it all hang out: I’ve never liked “homeland,” as in “Department of Homeland Security.” When it came into vogue after 9/11, I thought “homeland” wasn’t very American at all. I’m kind of proud to say that the late Gen. Vernon Walters agreed with me. We discussed it on a National Review cruise, very soon after 9/11.

By the way, are you coming in November? Check it out here.

One more thing: If a Republican labeled his policies “economic patriotism,” the media-academia-entertainment establishment would go absolutely bonkers.

‐I have not seen Dinesh D’Souza’s new Obama movie, 2016. Most conservatives I know roll their eyes about it. They haven’t seen it either. The conservatives I know who have seen it, have liked it a lot. Maybe it’s a self-selecting deal? Those who are prone to like it, go?

I’ll tell you who had positive things to say about the movie: Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York. He is campaigning for Obama, particularly in Florida, particularly among Jewish former New Yorkers. In his review, he said, “This political documentary, co-directed by Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan, is extremely well-made and powerful in terms of its attacks on President Barack Obama.” His concluding sentence was, “Supporters of President Obama will not change their view as a result of seeing this interesting film.” Those last three words were quite interesting.

A friend and I were saying, “Maybe we should go see it, here in Manhattan.” We said it would be like going to a porn theater in the old days, when you looked around furtively, to see if anyone noticed you entering . . .

Hang on, wasn’t there a scandal recently involving an actor and a porn theater? I didn’t know porn theaters were still in existence, what with the stuff on your cellphone and all that.

‐Writing about the special prosecutor’s recently concluded investigation into CIA conduct, Bret Stephens quoted Ray Donovan, the Reagan-era labor secretary: “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

In 2008, George W. Bush’s last attorney general, Michael Mukasey, appointed John Durham to look into something: allegations that the CIA had destroyed videotapes it had made of interrogations. When Eric Holder came in, he expanded Durham’s mandate. He told him to investigate allegations that the CIA had abused, tortured, or killed as many as 101 detainees.

Well, now the investigation is over. Nothing to prosecute. Have you heard about it? If not, I’m not too surprised.

I remember something Nixon said — not my hero, but this is worth quoting (and, forgive me, I’m going from memory): The allegation appears on the front page, above the fold. The exoneration appears on page D46, amid the boat ads.

‐Ahmadinejad talked with journalists in New York. Somebody asked him about Salman Rushdie. Ahmadinejad said, “If he is in the U.S., you should not broadcast it for his own safety.” (Story here.) That tells you a little something about the man, and the regime. In my view — sorry to be Joe Alarmist — the American people have no clue what we’re up against, with Iran, despite experience with this regime since 1979.

Wasn’t there something about a “hostage crisis”?

‐I saw a headline: “Army ‘stand down’ focuses day on suicide training.” For a split second, I was confused: Training people to commit suicide? (Story here.)

‐Another headline: “Army secretary injured in bike accident.” I don’t mean to make light of this. An injury’s an injury. But the Army secretary in a bike accident? Do you know what I mean? Am I being evil? (Story here — not about my being evil, but about the accident.)

‐Some people will want an analysis from me of the Ryder Cup (in which the Americans collapsed spectacularly). Here goes: Golf is weird — weird in its emotional delicacy. Sports is weird.

Okay, that’s my analysis. (And, yes, I use “sports” in the singular. It happens in our language — as it did to such words as “news” and “politics,” long ago.)

‐Cheering when the other side misses a putt — sickening.

‐One final golf note: Noticed there was a movie called Looper. Thought it might be about a caddy. No such luck.

‐Went to an event at the New York Yacht Club last week. Some people are replicating Shackleton’s journey — that amazing trans-Antarctic expedition of a hundred years ago. Do you know about Sir Ernest Shackleton? If you don’t, you’ll want to. My friend Margot Morrell was one of the speakers at the event. She is the author of Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer. Her latest book is about a fellow we know quite well: the Gipper. It’s called Reagan’s Journey: Lessons from a Remarkable Career.

Another speaker at the Yacht Club referred to “our increasingly fragile environment” — meaning, natural environment. Global warming and all that. I smiled inwardly, remembering Thomas Sowell.

I was interviewing him a year or two ago, and he talked about the misuse of terms. Intolerable clichés. One of those clichés was “fragile environment.” He said — and I paraphrase — “‘The fragile environment’? I should be so fragile! I’ll be out in some wilderness or other natural setting and think, ‘This has been here for thousands of years, surviving earthquakes, storms, and any number of other events. “Fragile environment”! It will go on and on, long after terms like “fragile environment” have been forgotten.’”

Like “increasingly complex world,” “increasingly fragile environment” is to be watched. These things grow in our mouths, and minds, like weeds. (I remember Bill Bennett once advising a student to watch the phrase “increasingly complex world.” Sometimes, the world simplifies.)

‐I offer a book review: my review of Mark Mazower’s Governing the World in Standpoint magazine. The book is a history of internationalism. Mazower is a Brit who teaches in America: at Columbia University, here in New York. The history department is stocked with people like Mazower: brilliant leftists. What a shame. (About the leftism, not about the brilliance.)

‐I offer an American story — a very, very American story. See if you agree: “Ga. jeweler: Buy a diamond, get free hunting rifle.”

Happy First Debate Week!


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.


The Latest