National Security & Defense

Harry Reid as victim, &c.

I’m somewhat ashamed of it, but I kind of like it when liberals are tarred as racists. Such an experience gives them a taste of their own medicine. And it might teach them empathy.

The Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, has been tarred as a racist. Why? He has endorsed a Maryland congressman to succeed Barbara Mikulski in the Senate. And the congressman is white. There are black options. (To read about this, go here.)

The Clintons got a taste of their own medicine in 2008 when they had the audacity to run against Barack Obama: The One. Bill Clinton has played the race card his entire career. And he was especially peeved to be tagged as a racist. Heh.

In my presence, Rich Lowry said to a major Clintonista, “Now you know what it feels like to be a Republican.” The major Clintonista said, readily, “You’re right.”

Um, maybe if Reid persuaded the Maryland congressman to speak in what he, Reid, calls “Negro dialect”?

‐For 15 years, I’ve thought, “Are there any limits to the hatred directed at George W. Bush?” The answer is no: There are none.

I see here that a “civil rights leader” refused to participate in a commemorative march in Selma, Ala., because Bush was going to march.

A few years ago, I was at the Oslo Freedom Forum, and I overheard a conversation between an expert on North Korea and a friend of mine. My friend asked, “Do you know Kang Chol-hwan?” Kang is an escapee from the North Korean gulag who wrote a book called “The Aquariums of Pyongyang.” The expert said, “I used to like him before he met with George W. Bush.”

No U.S. leader has ever been more concerned about human rights than Bush. He is a hero to dissidents all over the world. When I heard what the expert said, I had almost a physical reaction. It was one of the most sickening statements I have ever heard.

Last week, I was at an event on the right. For an hour, the name “Bush” was bandied about as an epithet — whether the name referred to W., 41, or Jeb. The name “Marx” would have been uttered with more respect.

Is it too much to ask of the Left and Right that they be sane on the subject of the Bush family? I’m afraid it is.

The Bushes, being human, are not perfect. But they have done more good for the country and world than most of their enemies put together.

‐Every once in a while, Fortune hands you a news story that makes you smile. I very much enjoyed reading about Rajendra Pachauri’s resignation letter.

Who’s he? Until just the other day, he was the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N. global-warming authority. I got to know Pachauri when writing my history of the Nobel Peace Prize. I never met him. But I learned about him, and what I learned did not make me an admirer.

In 2007, the IPCC shared the peace prize with Al Gore. Pachauri accepted the award on behalf of his organization.

Now he has been forced out because of sexual-harassment charges. In his resignation letter, he said this: “For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

You know how conservatives are always saying that, for the extreme greens, environmentalism is a religion? Well, there was an admission. Refreshing.

Speaking of religion and environmentalism — and the IPCC: The secretary of the organization is Dr. Renate Christ. Really.

‐Mike Allen of Politico conducted an “exit interview” with Eric Holder, as he left the attorney generalship. It seemed to be the interviewer’s purpose to get Holder to say that criticism of him is racist, and that criticism of President Obama is racist.

Readers can judge for themselves, of course: The interview is here. And Allen must be commended for his enviable access.

He pointed out to Holder that he (Holder) had felt “disrespected” on Capitol Hill. “How much of that do you think relates to race?” Allen asked. Holder said, “It’s hard to say.” Persisting, Allen said, “But were there times when you thought that was a piece of it?” Holder said, “Yeah, there have been times when I thought that’s at least a piece of it.” But “I think that the primary motivator has probably been political in nature.”

Good for Holder. And by the way, did anyone ever ask Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, or Albert Gonzalez whether he felt “disrespected,” and cry with him?

‐So it has come to this: “Rabbis learn how to disarm knife attackers and survive being stabbed at gathering in Prague in response to growing anti-Semitism in Europe.” I could say a lot more, but maybe the headline says enough.

Several weeks ago, Jimmy Carter was laughing his behind off at the idea that some Jews thought it wise to leave Europe for Israel. I have a feeling those Jews know better than Carter.

‐In the first year of Obama’s first term, I said there were some things I liked about the new president: He played golf; he swatted a fly, killing it (though he was pretty arrogant about having done so); and he called Kanye West a “jacka**,” after the rap star had indeed behaved like one.

I now read that Obama and West are phone buddies. Ah, well.

‐I told this story on Twitter, but would like to tell it here as well. The other night, I was covering a Joshua Bell recital at Alice Tully Hall in New York. Bell is a famous violinist.

Near the end of the recital, an altercation broke out between a couple of patrons. It got pretty heated. There were F-bombs and everything. The two almost came to blows.

At least twice, one of the men said, “Don’t be a rube at the symphony!” I just loved that. This was a violin recital, remember. There’s nothing like the rubish accusing other people of being rubes.

‐Did I say “Twitter”? Yes, I started on Friday. My handle (if that’s the word) is @jaynordlinger.

A few years ago, Dana Perino said to me, “You know, you were the original tweeter.” What did she mean? She meant that impromptus were sort of like tweets. (This column began in March 2001.)

I began my tweeting with a couple of limericks. The second of them went like this:

Jotting tweets is seductive.

Of life, it can be destructive.

Will I ever write books,

Like that small-capped bell hooks?

Already I’m unproductive.

Rick Brookhiser offered some words, to describe Twitter: “a funnel vast in circumference, prodigious in depth, and whose perfectly smooth sides might have been mistaken for ebony, but for the bewildering rapidity with which they spun around …”

Those words come from Edgar Allan Poe’s story “A Descent into the Maelström.”

After I began tweeting, Ian Tuttle came into my office, sort of shaking his head and saying, “Et tu?” He made me feel a little ashamed. It’s sort of interesting to look up to a guy, as I do Ian, who’s about twelve. Honestly, I looked up to him when he was a mere college intern. A golden person.

‐Speaking of golden people: The Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, “is now devoting time to the one glaring weakness in his incomparable career — ice cream.”

That story is here. It continues, “The Schwan Food Company in Minnesota is teaming up with the 18-time major champion to create Jack Nicklaus premium ice cream.” Proceeds will go to charity.

“Nicklaus says it’s no secret that he loves ice cream and he loves this project. He says he’s never had so much fun in research and development.”

Look, my admiration of Nicklaus was already off the charts. It bordered on idolatry, or man-crush. And now this? If I don’t have a golf game in common with Nicklaus, at least I have the love of ice cream.

I am such a Nicklaus nut, I almost don’t mind that his staff ignores my requests for interviews.

On that whining note — I’ll check you later.


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