The G-File

The Undoing of Storybook Man

Dear Reader (including those of you getting woozy from the high altitude or distracted by the demands of your office or who are otherwise off their feed because you feel you are above reading this “news”letter),

Well, it seems all of those long days punching a side of beef in that slaughterhouse paid off for Mitt Romney. Maybe if David Axelrod could see past his buffalo-chicken-wing sauce soaked mustache long enough to pay attention he would have realized that his man wasn’t ready to get in the ring.

Of course, this brilliant analogy (“Well, it’s an analogy anyway” – The Couch) has its problems. Barack Obama is black and so was Apollo Creed so obviously that means I’m raaaaacist.

But more importantly, the debate was just a round in a fight for the title, not the fight itself. Oh, and Rocky lost the first fight on points if you recall.

Obama is still winning. All that has really changed is that for the first time in months Romney has the wind at his back, and for all we know today’s totally honest and accurate jobs numbers will cut the force of that wind from a gale to a breeze. (It’s funny how a reversion to the unemployment rate Obama inherited from George W. Bush is now considered an economic marvel.)

Still, it feels good. Really good.

It’s difficult to exaggerate the despair in many corners of Rightworld over the Romney campaign in the weeks leading up to the debate.

Okay, technically, it’s really easy to exaggerate it.

For instance: Bill Kristol ended every workday by drinking a fifth of Drambuie and playing Russian roulette. Rich Lowry was rushed to the ER on several occasions because he kept drinking the toner fluid from the office copy machine. After hearing the 47 percent comment, George Will jumped on his riding mower and crashed it through the plate-glass window of the local pet store, then freed all of the animals, screaming, “It doesn’t matter! Be free my beasties, feast on the flesh of the damned for there is no hope!” The bunnies simply twitched their noses at the American Tory qua Tory. When a kitten jumped on a piece of string, George watched for a moment, cackled heavenward and then grabbed a heavy dog leash from near a register and started swinging it wildly to keep the police at bay. I myself spent my days by a campfire in my backyard sharpening a screwdriver tip to a fine point with the intent of shiv-ing Stew Stevens at the Dunkin’ Donuts outside Romney HQ. My wife was upstairs packing bottled water and salt pills for her planned trek to Alaska. One day, after my daughter warned the neighbors that “something was happening to her Mommy and Daddy,” my neighbor came by and said to me, “Son, all that hate’s gonna burn you up.” As I scraped the screw-driver tip against a paving stone, I replied, “It keeps me warm.”

So things weren’t that bad, but they weren’t good. I won’t run through all of the causes of our collective dyspepsia; I’ve done quite enough of that in recent weeks. And, if Romney loses, well then I will petition to be recording secretary on the “This Must Never Happen Again” commission. But it’s important to keep in mind that, contrary to a lot of Republican activists, this despair was not purely a confabulation of the nattering nabobs of negativism residing in the conservative Beltway establishment. I’ve done a fair bit of travelling in the last few weeks and months, and whether they wanted to admit it or not (and most admitted it), our people were moping like big dogs whose food bowls had been moved.

Now, the despair has given way to an outsized giddiness. That’s not only fine, it’s good. Let those who fainted like they had St. Vitus’s Dance at the mere sight of Obama in 2008 tell us how enthusiasm is a bad thing.

And while the Right’s reaction is a bit excessive, it doesn’t compare to the Left’s. Personally, I love Chris Matthews’s conviction that Obama’s problems stem from, in effect, not watching enough MSNBC. This is like a hooker telling a tramp she can solve all her problems by watching more porn. No wait, that’s not right. It’s like the head of Myspace telling Mark Zuckerberg he needs to follow his lead. Grrr. How about: It’s like a convicted serial killer telling a thug that the way to get on the straight and narrow is to read the collected works of Charles Manson. (“You’re getting colder,” – the Couch). It’s like a basset hound telling a narcoleptic badger to get more sleep? Crap, this just isn’t going to work. Well, as someone liked to say, a morning without coffee is like something else without something else. And Chris Matthews saying that the most left-wing and glib president in half a century can beat Mitt Romney in a debate by watching a 24-hour White House video press release is like something else.

The Undoing of Storybook Man

My column today is on a related note. I often tell people, “If I catch you getting off an airport escalator and then standing still causing a pedestrian back-up like this ever again, I will eat your pancreas. Have a wonderful Christmas, ma’am.” But that’s not important right now. I also tell people that the key to writing a good column is whether something gets your blood up or not. I can write a bad column in seven hours or a good one in 45 minutes (“Well, less bad” – The Couch). I wrote this one under the gun yesterday in about an hour. Make of that what you will.

The point of the column is a familiar one to folks around here. Obama’s a wildly overrated politician. I think one reason so many on the left are flipping out is that they are suddenly realizing it and when you get played for a sucker, your rage at yourself gets directed outward. A lot of people were played for suckers. I half expected Jim Lehrer to shout ”Behold, a god who bleeds!” about midway through the debate. And then Obama could turn to the camera and yell: “I. Am. KieeerackObama!”

Reference backgrounder here, people.

I bet you thought I’d use this as an excuse to make a fake-Indian joke about Elizabeth Warren. Well, frankly, as a fake Indian myself I find that offensive. She’s giving all of us fake Indians a terrible name, and I for one will not give her more publicity, particularly not when my application for a casino is still pending.

Well, It’s a Reason

I’ve always believed it is a little ludicrous to tell people what is or isn’t a legitimate issue in politics. Voters will decide that for themselves. Of course, on the other hand, it’s a perfectly valid thing to argue about. I guess what offends me is the eagerness of elites to tell the hoi polloi what issues they should care about. Of course, the Left suffers from this compulsion more than the Right. Writers like Thomas Frank insist that anyone who votes against their economic interests is a fool – and he gets to decide what their economic interests are.

Now, why am I ruminating on this? Well, because I think this crystalizes the issues at stake here nicely. Snoop Lion (neé Snoop Dogg a.k.a. Uncle Snoop a.k.a DJ Snoopadelic a.k.a. Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.) is not voting for Mitt Romney because “he’s a Mormon but ain’t got no hoes” and, of course, because, “Bitch got a dancing horse.”

Ain’t democracy grand.

Ask Not

Joe Biden said yesterday that he and Barack Obama “are going to ask, yes we’re going to ask, the wealthy to pay more.”

This is a personal peeve of mine. Oh, I don’t mean the policy thing about raising taxes, though I am the author of “Raising Taxes Ain’t My Bag, Baby.” I mean the word “ask.” Look, I often get exhausted with the anarcho-libertarian argument about how all government action boils down to force. But that doesn’t mean it’s not, you know, true. Ask means “to request” but liberals use it to mean “force” or “compel with violence.” I am okay with the fact that the government has a monopoly on violence (das Monopol legitimen physischen Zwanges, as Max Weber put it in his original formulation). What offends me is when people deny it. Liberals are so desperate to turn government into a national company picnic you can never leave, they refuse to admit that every time they ban, compel, subsidize, and tax they are using violence to do so. If they understood this more, they might be a bit more humble in their ambitions. Here’s a relevant excerpt from The Tyranny of Clichés on the subject which, you know, you could still buy. Every time you do an angel gets its wings a Klingon teen gets his bat’leth.

In other words, to say violence can’t solve anything is to say that thelaw cannot solve anything. Without the ultimate threat of force, law becomes simply a wish expressed with legalistic formality. I am for laws against child rape. To be for laws against child rape means also being in favor of police with guns stopping, apprehending, or securing for punishment men who rape children. To be for the former but against the latter is to be against child rape in principle but for it in practice. 

While the libertarian is offended by the reality of law, the liberal is in denial about it. It is a common device of liberal rhetoric to replace “tell” with “ask.” It’s “only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share,” President Obama says about his burning desire to raise taxes on the wealthy (somewhat unfulfilled as of this writing). The New York Times followed suit in a front page headline “Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires.” But Obama’s plan is not to “ask” more of millionaires, it is to tellmillionaires to pay more. After all, taxes are not voluntary.  

Now it’s true that we use the word “ask” in funny ways. Football coaches “ask” more of their players, which is a polite way of saying that they demand more. But the state is different. If you defy you football coach, you’re off the team or don’t get to start in the big game. If you defy the government, eventually men with guns will come to your home and force you to either pay up or go to jail. If you resist, it’s likely they will hit you or shoot you.

Still, since I believe that some amount of taxation is necessary I believe that a necessary amount of law enforcement is necessary as well. Hence I believe that violence solves the problem of people not paying their taxes. I could run through all the steps again, but suffice it to say you can’t solve the problem of tax cheats and delinquents without guns or Billy clubs.

Various & Sundry

I have a brutal, brutal, schedule for the last few weeks before the election. But I will try to keep the G-Files coming.

On a whim, I’m taking my daughter to visit grandma in her vast right-wing batcave this weekend. An added bonus, with a babysitter I get to take the Fair Jessica out to dinner in NYC this Saturday. The downside, it’s way too late for a dinner reservation at anyplace too famous. But if anybody out there has some good recommendations of Hernando’s Hideaway-type place in the Big Apple that we can get into on short notice, let me know please.

Please check out the AEI freedom-video contest finalists. I get brownie points for every click thru. Oh, and freedom is good.

Lord knows I have my differences with David Frum these days, but I thought this was very moving. I knew Cobber and he was a noble fellow. Cosmo respected him.

Speaking of dogs, did you hear that Jesus had one?

Meanwhile more proof that shelter dogs – like Cosmo – are awesome.

The other day on Twitter, I said that Romney should walk out on the debate stage wearing a national-debt clock Flava Flav style. A Twitter follower provided this artist’s rendition of what it would look like.

Behold the Obama “uh” counter.

Some homework for Biden in advance of his debate with Paul Ryan.

A serious look at Battlestar Galactica style aircraft carriers in space.

Somebody’s been watching too much Deadwood. Man eaten by hogs at state fair.

Subcontinental shark attack.

The stories of bad-album-cover victims.


Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

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