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Norm got a free ride from the press. St. Paul is a small town and anybody who hangs around the St. Paul Grill knows about Norm’s habits. Everyone knows that his family situation is, shall we say, very interesting, but nobody bothered to ask about it, least of all the religious people in the Republican Party.br> Stung by the reactions, Keillor published his reply to critics a week later, getting even more bile off his stomach in “Minnesota’s Shame.” Had he gone over the top with the first essay, in the second, he went even further, saying, among a great many other things, “Thus the use of Iraq as an election ploy, openly, brazenly, from the president and Karl Rove all the way down to Norman Coleman, who came within an inch of accusing [opponent Paul] Wellstone of being an agent of al-Qaida.” That was just plain false, as anyone willing to dig through the newspaper files could find out — and did.
Keillor’s latest, another ad hominem attack on Republicans, appeared in the Baltimore Sun June 8, titled, “With ineptitude on full display, the party’s over for Republicans.” In it, Keillor focuses on one Republican stratagem, of calling attention to Nancy Pelosi as a “San Francisco Democrat.”
“‘San Francisco’ is a code word for ‘g-a-y,’ and after assembling a record of government lies, incompetence and disaster, the party in power hopes that the fear of g-a-y-s will pull it through in November,” Keillor writes. Later, he calls, Republicans “Sturmbannfuhrers.” Granted that the use of Nancy Pelosi is what litterateurs call “antonomasia,” the name stands for a great deal more in San Francisco politics than a gay population: gun control, pet guardianship, crime on the streets, bums sleeping and excreting wherever they wish, City Council resolutions condemning Israel and the war in Iraq, and so much more.
It is telling that the column appeared in a second-rank newspaper. Two or three years ago, he could have had his choice: Washington Post, New York Times, anywhere. Not anymore.
Keillor isn’t the only one to fall victim to the political poison, of course. Laura Ingraham has devoted a book, Shut Up and Sing, to the all-too-many artists who presume to political wisdom. And I’d like to give Keillor the benefit of the doubt. Now, at age 60, with 30 years of writing a two-hour radio show behind him, perhaps he’s just tired. I hope that’s all it is. “A Prairie Home Companion” hasn’t been very funny for quite a long time. Maybe it’s just time to quit.
Lawrence Henry writes every week from North Andover, Massachusetts.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?