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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Wow, what a week! I was out of the office Tuesday, addressing a meeting of the American Reactionary Society in Poughkeepsie, but when I came in to Buckley Towers Wednesday morning I could see that something extraordinary had been going on.
The office was all decked out in bunting. There were empty bottles and noisemakers all over the place, and I had to step over a couple of editors passed out on the floor — no names, no pack drill. Up in Jonah's suite on 96, the jacuzzi vents in the grotto were all clogged with paper streamers. I sure hope they locked the copy machine away before Jonah got to it.
Mandy, Candy, and Brandy came in late, looking distinctly disheveled I thought, with some story about being up all night reading the wire service reports. And what the heck is this metal pole doing in the employee lounge?
Well, let's see what all the excitement was about.
This was a really great week for us conservatives. We don't get much to smile and laugh about from the national political scene. The Left has been utterly triumphant the past couple of electoral cycles. Before that we were supposed to smile through clenched teeth at George W. Bush's stupid "compassionate conservatism" — basically a sort of low-tar liberalism, giving a teeny weeny tax cut with one hand while pushing a vast new spending bill through Congress with the other, smacking jihadis around in the front yard but leaving the back door open.
American politics has been a rotten deal for conservatives altogether this past few years. The media are Left, the schools are Left, even the darn military is Left, with General Casey telling us after the Fort Hood shooting that diversity is much more important than the lives of soldiers, and, quote from Reuters: "Top Pentagon officials are calling for an end to the U.S. military's historical ban on allowing women to serve in submarines." Oh, that'll work out well.
Yeah, it's no fun being a conservative. We shell out a fortune to send our kids to college, only to find out they're being taught to hate their ancestors by people like Ward Churchill and Cornell West. We donate to our churches, only to find out that the bishops are writing up petitions to amnesty immigration scofflaws. Our healthcare costs rise so that ambulance-chasing trial lawyers can get rich enough to buy themselves a batch of congressmen. Private enterprise stagnates while the government sector swells; and when public-sector unions say "jump," half our elected officials yell back "how high?"
I tell you, there's precious little fun to be had here on the political right. So I think we can be forgiven a spell of euphoria after all this week's good news.
That good news begins, of course, with Scott Brown's victory over the forces of darkness in Massachusetts.
Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
We can all read the subtext there. The land of Mordor was Massachusetts, the Dark Lord was Teddy Kennedy, his dark throne was the Senate seat he held for 47 years.
Forty-seven years! Readers of that phenomenal bestseller We Are Doomed will recall that Senate panjandrums like Kennedy and Robert Byrd have a much firmer grip on power than Third World presidents-for-life like Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, in power a mere 40 years and 30 years respectively.
And then along comes Scott Brown, with his pickup truck and his National Guard commission, and walks away with the Dark Lord's power ring. What a coup!
Now sure, Brown doesn't actually sound all that conservative. Good conservatives, by which of course I mean chronic pessimists, are already grumbling that he's a RINO, that he'll go native in DC, that he'll sign on to whichever law-school lefty Obama nominates to the Supreme Court, and so on.
Well, maybe, maybe, and maybe. I'll worry about all that down the road a way. Sufficient unto the day the joyfulness thereof. This is Massachusetts, and, mirabile dictu this was Ted Kennedy's seat! If this isn't an excuse to party, I don't know what is.
And the icing on the cake is that Martha Coakley (or Marcia Coakley to her friends in the Kennedy family) was, like the horrible Janet Reno, a key player in the child-abuse hysteria of 20 years ago, in which innocent people were jailed for decades on preposterous charges dreamed up by family-hating radical psychologists.
Good riddance to her, welcome to Scott Brown, a one-finger gesture to the Kennedys, and as Winston Churchill said on V-E Day, we may allow ourselves a brief period of jubilation.
04 — Obama gone?. Meanwhile pundits are pronouncing the death of the Obama administration.
Reihan Salam, co-author of the book Grand New Party, says voters are fed up with Obama's big-government agenda. Poll numbers are in the tank, heading down into the bowl, with Obama's approval rating now below 50 percent.
Foreign observers, who a year ago were swooning over Obama as the harbinger of a kinder, gentler U.S.A., are sunk in despair. "The World Bids Farewell to Obama," opined Germany's Der Spiegel newsmagazine. "It is the end of hope."
Even the kids are turning against Obama, according to Time magazine, shucking off all that careful indoctrination they got at school. Perhaps we can get them singing "Mm mm mm, Scott Brown from Massachusetts, mm mm mm …"
The healthcare bill is holed below the waterline, likewise cap and trade, likewise amnesty for illegals. Democratic congresscritters are wandering around pale and glassy-eyed, bumping into the furniture. Obama shills in the media are cooking up explanations so convoluted they make St Anselm's proof of the existence of God look like the instructions on a shampoo bottle.
"Stick a fork in him, he's done!" crowed a Republican neighbor of mine. Well, I wouldn't bet on it. Here are some counter points.
Point One: Barack Obama is a formidable political athlete. Everyone's saying, "Oh, he'll have to steer to the center now, like Clinton did after '94." That's how it looks to me too. I'm a political couch potato, though; I wouldn't get elected to my local school board. If there's an escape trapdoor here, preserving some of his socialist nation-wrecking program while recovering some voter support, Obama will find it and leap nimbly through it.
I disagree with everything Obama stands for, and I can't say I've ever warmed to him as a person, but take it from me after 50 years of watching politics: This guy will take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.
Point Two: As a British Prime Minister once observed, a week is a long time in politics. From here to the midterms is 40 of those weeks. That's not just a long time, it's a geological epoch. Plenty of time to recover. Come November, we may be looking back at the Scott Brown victory and muttering: "We peaked too soon!"
Point Three: Remember 1994? Yeah, sure; but don't forget 1995. I love my Republican friends and colleagues, but I fear we are still the Stupid Party.
05 — SCOTUS on campaign finance. Just when we got through whooping and hollering about the Scott Brown victory, along came the U.S. Supreme Court to blow a hole in the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. Unconstitutional, they said. Political speech is protected by the First Amendment, they said.
Who knew? This was too much for the lefty bedwetters. It was way too much for Keith Olbermann, who delivered an eleven-and-a-half-minute rant that has to be watched to be believed. You can find it on www.msnbc.msn.com, search "Olbermann," with two n's.
The basic idea was that this decision is the equivalent of Dred Scott, except that this one will enslave us all to the evil power of what Olbermann called "the corporations." Olbermann repeated that term, or some close cognate like "corporate beings," 28 times, an average of once per 25 seconds.
The gist of the harangue was that the corporations are now free to enslave us. Why the corporations didn't take the opportunity to do this prior to 2002, Olbermann did not explain. Nor did he tell us whether the corporation that pays his own fat salary, MSNBC, is on board with the project to turn us into, quote, "the United Corporate States of America." We got a mention of Halliburton, Wal-Mart, and the Chubb Group, but no MSNBC. Funny.
Listener, you really have to watch this thing. Msnbc.msn.com, search for Olbermann, two n's. It's the best eleven and a half minutes of entertainment you'll have in a long season.
As splendid as this week has been for conservatives, it has been wormwood and gall for the lefties, and they're having trouble controlling themselves. Olbermann's always been out at the glittery-eyed twitching end of the lefty spectrum, but he's really lost it this week. [Clip: "This mortal blow …"]
See, the corporations will just buy themselves politicians, and then swamp the media with ads for their purchases. The U.S. public, who are just gullible gap-toothed hillbilles — every lefty knows that! — will swallow it all and troop off to the polls to elect the prostitutes. You know, just like they did before McCain and Feingold came along to put a stop to it. (How did McCain and Feingold get elected, then? Shut up and listen.)
What previous Supreme Court ruling does this one remind lefties of? See if you can guess. [Clip: "Dark ages … Our Dred Scott …"] Yes, this is the return of slavery. Also the Black Death, the Sack of Rome, the plagues of Egypt, the Fall of Constantinople, and Nuclear Winter. And don't think the flames will spare us conservatives. No, Sir. [Clip: "Glen Beck, Bill O'Reilly to get throats cut …"]
This is a gem, folks, this is for the ages.
Now and then Olbermann offers up his choice for Worst Person in the World. I am proud to say that I have won that award at least once, and been runner-up a couple of times. Watching this rant, I feel more honored than ever. I'm going to try harder to get myself in Keith Olbermann's bad books again, where I'll be keeping company with Chief Justice John Roberts — who, according to Olbermann, is the Roger B. Taney of our age.
06 — Mumia appeal bounces. The good news just won't stop. When you're on a roll, the aces keep coming.
I'm almost ready to believe in astrology. Really, the stars have to be in some kind of alignment for conservatives this week.
Remember Mumia Abu-Jamal, formerly Wesley Cook of Philadelphia? He was pulled over by traffic cop Daniel Faulkner back in December 1981. Mumia shot the officer dead. The evidence against him was overwhelming; Officer Faulkner got off a shot at him, and Mumia was lying there wounded at the scene when police arrived. Mumia was sentenced to death in 1982.
Then the do-gooders and race hustlers and anti-police agitators got to work filing appeals, and they've managed to keep Mumia alive on death row for 28 years, to the utter disgrace of our so-called criminal justice system.
The agitators have pretty much given up on arguing that Mumia didn't get a fair trial — let alone that he is innocent: even they don't believes that — so the latest motion was to declare the sentencing procedure invalid.
Two years ago the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia agreed with them and asked for a new sentencing, rescinding the death sentence. Well, the U.S. Supreme Court just scotched that. No, they said to the Circuit Court, the sentencing was just fine, please reconsider.
I don't imagine the Mumia fans will give up. He has a huge international following. He's written books, given radio adresses and commencement speeches, been given prizes and honorary degrees, and had a street in Paris named after him. Everything but a damn reality TV show.
With that kind of prominence, and a shill for radical activists running the Justice Department, I'm guessing Mumia will be with us for a while yet. Maybe he'll run for Congress, I don't know.
Officer Faulkner? Oh, he's still dead.
07 — Air America crashes and burns. And still the good news keeps coming. Air America, liberalism's answer to conservative talk radio, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday after six years on the air, whining pitifully that, quote:
The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business. This past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally …
Translation: "Even the pathetic few housebound loners who did listen to us are now getting all the leftist propaganda they want from Obama press conferences, so we may as well give up."
Air America won't quite vanish without a trace. It left us one very big trace, the loathsome Al Franken, now junior U.S. Senator from the unfortunate state of Minnesota. Franken got that seat by 200 votes, and as minuscule as Air America's listener base was, it is entirely possible that there were 200 of them in the gopher state, pushing him over the top.
Not to worry, though: According to Keith Olbermann, within ten years Franken will have been replaced by a prostitute. Which could only be an improvement.
08 — Google to leave China (cont.). Ah, those evil corporations. How about Google? Does that count as an evil corporation, Keith? I haven't heard anybody say so yet, though there are some rumors of cynicism over there in Google corporate headquarters.
I'm going to retail these rumors, but please bear in mind that rumors is what they are. If anyone has good evidence to confirm or refute them, send it to me at National Review World Headquarters, email address on johnderbyshire.com, and I'll put it out there.
Rumor One: Google has been co-operating with the U.S. government's security agencies in monitoring terrorist sites and individuals. They've long since developed software for the purpose, or helped our security agencies to develop it. The ChiComs wanted some of that expertise and some of that code, but Google wouldn't give it to them, so the ChiComs developed their own, or hacked it somewhow from Google U.S.A.
Google was ticked off by this, and so was Uncle Sam, hence the recent debacle.
Rumor Two, this one from blogger Siva Vaidhyanathan, who's writing a book titled The Googlization of Everything: It's all a distraction, quote: "Google clearly does not want people to focus on the insecurity of their systems."
I dunno about that. Giving up all those billions in China revenues just so people won't worry about holes in Google's code doesn't seem like the kind of thing a firm would do on any rational basis.
Rumor Three: Google just couldn't make headway against Baidu, which enjoys the favor of the ChiCom government. Since this one's being put about by Baidu itself, I'm deeply suspicious.
Temperamentally, as a fan of George Orwell's observation that, quote, "A humanitarian is always a hypocrite," when I hear Google execs boasting that their motto is "Do No Evil," I reach for my cynicism. I can't make it work for me here, though.
Even after hearing all the rumors, even after sneering at that loopy slogan, even after hearing Hillary Clinton's gassy speech on Thursday, where she mixed the whole matter of internet freedom up with dubious stuff about "outreach to Muslim youth," which, knowing Hillary, you've got to suspect has a "hate speech" law lurking behind it somewhere — even after all the negatives, I'm still inclined to give Google the benefit of the doubt on this one.
If they really do pull out of China on principle, I'll applaud them. And if they want a prostitute to front for them in the U.S. Congress, I'm available.
09 — Signoff. Out of time here, ladies and gents, no time for our closing miscellany this week. In fact, there's been so much good news, I'm going to hold some of it over till next week.
Truly, our cup overfloweth. There is, for example, the delicious story about über-creep John Edwards acknowledging paternity of the child he conceived with a staffer while his wife was fighting cancer. The National Enquirer broke that story, which Edwards at the time dismissed as, quote, "tabloid trash." Now the Enquirer say they'll enter their original story for a Pulitzer Prize. Oh, a joyful week!
Now, that's all very nice, but this is the pessimism network, and if you were thinking of buying We Are Doomed but are about to change your mind on account of all the lefty totem poles falling down all around us, let me just point out that the good news can't possibly last. We are poor fallen creatures and this world is a vale of tears. Please keep that in mind. Here's Noël Coward to drive the point home.
[Music clip: Beryl Korman, Julia Meadows & Jennifer Partridge, "There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner."]