The Corner

Dinner for one, please, James

Hail Victor Davis Hanson, the last conservative pundit not angling for a seat at the table:

On CNN this evening both David Gergen and Ed Rollins echoed the current mantra that the “old” noble McCain is gone, and a “new” nastier one has emerged, largely because of his attacks on Ayers, perhaps his planned future ads on Wright, and a few unhinged people shouting at his campaign stops. Recently Christopher Buckley endorsed Obama, likewise lamenting the loss of the old noble McCain. NY Times columnist David Brooks dubbed Palin a “cancer,” and he suggested that Obama’s instant recall of Niehbuhr sent a tingle up his leg as Obama once did to Chris Matthews as well…

With Obama now with an 6-8 point lead, some in the DC/NY corridor these last three weeks figure it’s time now to jump on, or at least sort of jump, since the train they think is leaving the station and there might be still be some space at the dinner table on the caboose. They also believe as intellectuals that the similarly astute Obamians may on occasion inspire, or admire them as the like-minded who cultivate the life of the mind–in contrast to the “cancer” Sarah Palin, who, with her husband Todd, could hardly discuss Proust with them or could offer little if any sophisticated table-talk other than the chokes on shotguns or optimum RPMs on snow-machines… Should I write a column praising Obama’s wit, taste in books, and metrosexuality  I would be dubbed principled rather than cynical, ‘even-handed’ rather than self-serving, and a maverick rather than toadish.

The “cancer” crack was extremely un-gallant of the supposed soul of moderation.

As for the “old” vs the “new” McCain, I’ve had little use for either, as NR subscribers who read my cover story on him from eight-and-a-half years ago might dimly recall. I support him faute de mieux, and that’s it. Clearly, he’s found it difficult (to put it mildly) to make the transition from running against his party to running for it. There’s a lesson there: “Maverick” is an attitude, not a coherent worldview, which is why McCain has been unable to make maverickiness (maverectomy?) into a viable electoral platform. Of course, “hope” and “change” are attitudes, too, but so fluffy as to float free of the constraints of reality.

But, if the combination of gazillions of dollars in illegal foreign donations, Acorn’s Dig-Up-The-Vote operation, a doting media that would embarrass Kim Jong-Il and the Republican nominee’s inability even to speak up on issues where he was right all along (like Fannie Mae), if all that is now unstoppable, I will be proud to have lost with Sarah Palin, who (unlike Brooks and Buckley) runs a state bigger than most European Union nations, has fought an honorable campaign, and has been responsible for such energy and enthusiasm as the ticket can muster.

Given that neither of us are likely to be in the club-car caboose with Brooks et al come January, if she’s ever in New Hampshire, I’ll be happy to thank her and buy her dinner at the state’s least worst restaurant. Which should set me back all of 12 bucks, but it’s the thought that counts.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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