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Jewish World Review
March 10, 2008
/ 3 Adar II 5768
Torn between 2 white liberal guilts
Well, we will have Hillary Clinton to kick around some more, at least for another few weeks. The Mummy (as my radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls her) kicked open the sarcophagus door and, despite the rotting bandages dating back to Iowa, began staggering around, terrorizing folks all over again.
"She is a monster," Barack Obama adviser Samantha Power told a reporter from The Scotsman and not a monster in a cute Loch Ness blurry, long-distance kind of way. "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh,'" continued Ms. Power, who subsequently resigned from the campaign.
The New York Times took a different line. The monster is you yes, you, the American people. Surveying the Hillary-Barack death match, Maureen Dowd wrote: "People will have to choose which of America's sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?"
Do even Democrats really talk like this? Apparently so. As Ali Gallagher, a white female (sorry, this identity-politics labeling is contagious) from Texas, told the Washington Post: "A friend of mine, a black man, said to me, 'My ancestors came to this country in chains; I'm voting for Barack.' I told him, 'Well, my sisters came here in chains and on their periods; I'm voting for Hillary.'"
When everybody's a victim, nobody's a victim. Poor Ms. Gallagher can't appreciate the distinction between purely metaphorical chains and real ones, or even how offensive it might be to assume blithely that there's no difference whatsoever.
On the other hand, Barack's ancestors didn't come here in chains, either: His mother was a white Kansan, so was presumably undergoing menstrual hell with the Gallagher gals, and his dad was a black man a long way away in colonial Kenya. Indeed, Obama would be the first son of a British subject to serve as president since those slaveholding types elected in the early days of the republic. As some aggrieved black activist sniffed snootily on TV, Barack isn't really an "African American" unless by "African American," you mean somebody whose parentage is half-American and half-African, and let's face it, no one would come up with so cockamamie a definition as that.
As for victims, you have to feel sorry for John Edwards. He was born in a mill. He weighed 1.6 pounds and what did his dad get? Another day older and deeper in debt. John spent most of the 19th century as a spindly 7-year-old sweep with rickets, cleaning chimneys in Dickensian London until Fagin spotted him and trained him up as a trial lawyer. And it worked swell in the 2004 primary but it counted for nothing this time round because, even with all that soot on his face, he's still a white boy.
Bill Richardson was the first Hispanic candidate but nobody needs a Hispanic called "Bill Richardson." Hillary assumed she'd be the last identity-politician standing in a field of bouffant poseurs like Joe Biden, only to discover that by the time she got to the final round the Democratic primary process had descended to near-parody or, as The New York Times headline put it, a "Duel Of Historical Guilts."
That's one "historical guilt" too many. If it's Historical Guilt vs. Joe Biden and John Edwards, bet on Historical Guilt, and the Democratic base uniting around Hillary and baying "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar." Instead, it's "I Am Woman, Hear Me Whine About The Unfairness Of It All," as the Clintonites go nuclear and accuse Obama, the ultimate cool black dude, of "imitating Ken Starr," the ultimate uptight squaresville honky.
Which may be a marginally less ineffective line of attack than Gloria Steinem complaining to the New York Observer that way too many Americans want "redemption for racism" but not enough want "redemption for the gynocide." Which may, in turn, be a marginally less fatal shot in the foot than former Carter administration honcho Andrew Young's perplexing boast that Bill Clinton has slept with more black women than Obama.
The Democratic primary season seems to have dwindled down into a psycho remake of "Driving Miss Daisy." The fading matriarch Mizz Hill'ry (Jessica Tandy) doesn't want to give up the keys to the Democratic Party vehicle but the dignified black chauffeur Hokey (Morgan Freeman) insists it'll be a much smoother ride with him in the driver's seat. Yet, just as he thinks the old biddy's resigned to a nomination as Best Supporting Actress, the backseat driver plunges her hat pin into his spine, wrests the wheel away and lurches across the median.
Is the Democratic presidential process a Karl Rove plot? Right now, neither Mizz Hill'ry nor Hokey can win without the votes of the superdelegates, whose disposition is apparently in flux. The gay superdelegates are apparently sticking to Hillary like the "Hello, Dolly!" waiters to Carol Channing. But others are said to be moving Barackwards.
Are they jumping to a stalled bandwagon? One Historical Guilt gives upscale white liberals a chance to demonstrate their progressive bona fides in unison. Two Historical Guilts shrivels from transformative feel-good fluffiness into sour tribalism. Like Hillary's "I Am Woman" routine, Obama's cult of narcissism "We are the change we have been waiting for" would have been a shoo-in against Biden, Dodd and Edwards. But the gaseous platitudes wafting up to Cloud Nine are suddenly very earthbound. "Yes, we can!" is an effective pitch if you're the new messiah, not so much when you're pulling in a very humdrum fortysomething percent against a divisive and strikingly inept campaigner.
Go back to that Maureen Dowd line: "People will have to choose which of America's sins are greater."
"People won't, Democrats will," the blogger Orrin Judd responded. "People will elect John McCain in November, demonstrating that we don't share their guilt."
Maybe. But a Democrat nominating process that's a self-torturing satire of upscale liberal guilt confusions will at least give us a laugh along the way.
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Mark Steyn Archives
"America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It"
It's the end of the world as we know itÖ
Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a muezzin. Europeans already are.
And liberals will still tell you that "diversity is our strength"while Talibanic enforcers cruise Greenwich Village burning books and barber shops, the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn't violate the "separation of church and state," and the Hollywood Left decides to give up on gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.
If you think this can't happen, you haven't been paying attention, as the hilarious, provocative, and brilliant Mark Steynthe most popular conservative columnist in the English-speaking worldshows to devastating effect in this, his first and eagerly awaited new book on American and global politics.
The future, as Steyn shows, belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the Westwedded to a multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self-indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivionis looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.
Europe, laments Steyn, is almost certainly a goner. The future, if the West has one, belongs to America alonewith maybe its cousins in brave Australia. But America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world's last best hope.
Steyn argues that, contra the liberal cultural relativists, America should proclaim the obvious: we do have a better government, religion, and culture than our enemies, and we should spread America's influence around the worldfor our own sake as well as theirs.
Mark Steyn's America Alone is laugh-out-loud funnybut it will also change the way you look at the world. It is sure to be the most talked-about book of the year.
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© 2008, Mark Steyn