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Signs of Desperation

By From the September 2012 issue

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I see no reason not to reconfirm that Mr. Obama is going to lose on November 6. The best that can be said about him is that he’s cornered the market on electrons, such is the negativity emanating from his campaign and his media. It’s come to the point that all his opponent need do is sneeze, and next thing we know Mitt Romney has been wrestled to the ground and beaten within an inch of his political life. Even before his mid-summer foreign trip, the attackers questioned Mr. Romney’s right to travel overseas at all. He was lucky his passport wasn’t confiscated. Then once overseas he dared open his mouth and offer a few opinions. Such brazen abuse of free speech and class privilege was deemed simply unacceptable. In fact, the devil in Ms. Maureen Dowd scorned Romney for repeating the name of the late Pope John Paul II while in Poland.Imagine what she might have said had he done so in Israel.Unless, of course, it had met with Palestinian approval.

Last hurrahs sure can turn ugly. I’m speaking not just of Ms. Dowd, but other aging scribes and newsies who seem to be leading the relentless assaults on Mr. Romney—such critters as Mark Shields, Richard Cohen, Bob Schieffer, and Eugene Robinson come to mind—desperate as they are to hold on to the old order, knowing full well that if Obama loses they lose, irreparably. What professionalism the soft-spoken Mr. Schieffer once had has given way to his insisting to Charlie Rose that it’s up to Mr. Romney to prove that he’s not a wimp. Yes, Democrat opinion is divided on whether Mr. Romney is a simpering wimp or a crazed warmonger.

Once in a while, though, they let something interesting slip in, such as Ms. Dowd’s observation that “Romney was in the forefront of a revolution in American finance,” which she regards as one aspect of his life “he doesn’t want to talk about.” Gee, I wonder why. Isn’t that part of the criminality in his Bain background? If Ms. Dowd were half the journalist she’s pretended to be, she would have written the story of Romney’s business brilliance and acumen.Luckily, we have George Gilder this month covering that story instead. In “Romney, Bain, and Me” (p. 22), he opens a window to Romney at his most imposing—albeit still guarded—and provides genuine insight into the real promise of a Romney presidency. When’s the last time you saw an article do that? We may yet rediscover that “capitalism begins with giving.”

When Mr. Gilder published those famous words more than three decades ago, the spirited contributors to this month’s special symposium weren’t even a gleam in their parents’ eyes. But look at them now, and how much they’ve intuited and mastered.What are their main generational concerns? The economic burden imposed on them by Obamacare (p. 43), student loans (p. 34), Social Security’s insolvency (p. 37)— all this in a stagnant, jobless economy. Mr. Gilder’s famous book of 30 years ago was entitled Wealth and Poverty. It’s now out in a new edition for the 21st century. One hope of our Millennial manifesters is that when the third edition of the book comes out 30 years from now, it won’t end up retitled Welfare and Poverty.

Something tells me that if they retain the cheek and verve displayed by their confrère Helen Rittelmeyer (p. 40), they won’t have anything to worry about.

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About the Author
Wlady Pleszczynski is editorial director of The American Spectator and the editor of AmSpec Online.