Never have public displays of gaucheness been more left-leaning. But the evidence allows no other conclusion. It’s not like us to be McCarthyistic, but do we have another alternative?
For instance, there’s John Edwards, the pup who would be president. After a disastrous performance on a Sunday “Meet the Press” show last spring — people are comparing it to Ted Kennedy’s collapse a few decades ago under soft questioning by Roger Mudd — Edwards was given new life by designated Democrat George Stephanopoulos last Sunday on “This Week.” The idea was to make Edwards sound reasonable, deep and mature. Soon enough the questioning touched on Edwards reading habits, his favorite philosopher and so on. After a pause or two, his quick mind clicked: Why, he just admires the heck out of I.F. Stone’s book on Socrates. Huh? Why not just come straight out with and say he’s an avid reader Stalin’s collected works, or those of Nikolai Lenin (as Ronald Reagan had once pegged the waxed fixture of Red Square)?
At worst, as Robert Novak has reported, I.F. Stone was a Soviet spy, signed, sealed, and delivered. At best, as Stone’s many years of writing proudly proclaimed, he was a defiant fellow traveler always happy to take the anti-American side in any Cold War dispute. As for his take on Socrates, it reminds you of the old Soviet condemnation of any purge victim as an “enemy of the people.” And this Stone is someone John Edwards admires? Maybe it’s who his wife told him to mention: she’s the English major in the family. Or maybe trial lawyers really are modern Bolsheviks.
Then we have the grossness of a different sort: Sen. Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton’s senior if forgotten half, caught Pickering his nose. He just won’t leave the matter alone, and even threatens to turn it into a full-time pursuit in a filibuster, heretofore a form of Senate work not thought to be a danger to hygiene.
In kinky Oxford, UK, an effort was launched to have Bill Clinton appointed chancellor of the university he attended as a Rhodes operative. There is currently an opening, not to be confused with the freedom provided by the gowns commonly worn by Oxford personnel. There is also, however, a small matter involving a language barrier. On his installment a new chancellor is expected to deliver his remarks in Latin. The closest former Razorback Clinton would come to meeting that requirement is pig latin. Oxford may not yet be ready for such genuine diversity.
In Jolly Ol’ everything is moving the right way. As a favor to Mr. Clinton’s successor, prime minister Tony Blair is suggesting putting off the disposal of Saddam Hussein until next fall. Come next fall one can expect the attack on Iraq to be pushed back another half year or so. The idea is to guarantee Mr. Bush a re-election run while the dog still wags. Democrats may be furious — at the rate they’re going some may even defect to the Iraqi side before we’re through — because again Mr. Bush will have toyed with them. A Pulitzer will go to any journalist who can prove Karl Rove has been on the phone to Blair.
But who set Andrew Motion in motion? Mrs. Edwards? The late I.F. Stone? Andrew is allegedly the British poet laureate, so shouldn’t he be lying somewhere in a corner at Westminster Abbey instead of penning hateful attacks on our prince of a president in English passages provided him by translators at Al Jazeerah? True, he may be auditioning to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Patty Murray has had her first tiff with secret boyfriend Osama bin Laden. Yesterday she came out of the closet to discuss her close relationship with the charismatic caveman. But as if giving in to rightist expectations, she also said some uncalled for things about the presumably dead if nonetheless hyperactive outlaw. She called him “an evil terrorist,” maybe because he hasn’t been returning her calls. But doesn’t she know he’s been busy trying to put the pieces of his life and body back together?
To Ms. Murray’s credit, she remains a senator, which is more than can be said of our next candidate, who once spent all her husband’s money just in the hope that she could become a senator’s wife. When that $30 million expenditure did not pay off, she divorced the guy, hoping to make it on her own and whatever money he had left to hand over. During the last presidential conventions she hosted counter conventions that starred such mild mannered folk as neo-Maoist Paul Wellstone and a messianic Gary Hart. Her deep politics were regularly on display on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect.” Now comes her latest hit and run cause, which is to separate Americans from the cars they find safe to drive. SUV owners, she insists in a manic ad campaign, underwrote the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Again she’s trading down, tooling around Brentwood and Hollywood in a Yugo or tricycle. Henceforth she can do so with evident pride, knowing her activism has earned her — Ms. Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington — an Enemy of the Week citation. It may not add to her personal wealth, but it beats deportation proceedings.