Jewish World Review Sept. 26, 2003 / 29 Elul, 5763

Bob Tyrrell

Bob Greene
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Funny Girly-Boy | The nation's pundits are surmising in their whiz-kid way that retired general Wesley Clark's candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination has been instigated by some mysterious stratagem devised by the Clintons. I suppose the thing is possible. Yet a more plausible explanation for this glamorous candidacy is that the telegenic general has been inspired by the California gubernatorial campaign of Arianna Huffington. She is an inspiration to all such luminaries of the Kultursmog. Watch for the General to come down hard on SUVs, as Arianna has, and to sniff at "big money in politics," as Arianna has from her Hollywood redoubt.

When it was discovered a short while back that Arianna had only paid $771 in federal taxes over the past two years, despite having taken her former husband for millions in divorce court, I had expected her to plead that such was the plight of a single-parent mom under kapitalism -- and she did. In his first week as Democratic candidate General Clark has shown himself to be a ham on the same sublime plane as his model Arianna Huffington. Out there in California when Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy Arianna, then already a candidate, wandered dreamily up to him and knocked his microphones over. My guess is that it is only a matter of time before Dr. Howard Dean is similarly accosted by the drop-dead beautiful General Clark. On cable news the other day one of New York magazine's taste potentates confided that one of General Clark's imperishable political assets is that in "small groups" he is "funny." It is an indication of the essential frivolousness of the Kultursmog that its intellectualoids recommend a general who is "funny" for the presidency. Did anyone ever say General Grant was funny, or Ike, who, by the way, was the rare general who proved to be a tolerably good politician.

Donate to JWR

The Kultursmog is the media culture that dominates American politics and tastes except when elections are held. It is polluted by liberal politics and values. It allows for such politically negligible figures as General Clark to become persons of moment. Come to think of it, Arianna's eminence owes much to the Kultursmog.

My guess is that the air is going to go out of the General's candidacy rather soon. Perhaps it will be reported that the handsome general served briefly after his retirement from the army as an underwear model Calvin Klein. Or he will bomb on the Bill Maher television show trying to match his exemplar Arianna's hairstyle.

Seriously, General Clark like most generals has a low opinion of politicians, which he has already demonstrated to the peril of his brief campaign. Generals are usually impatient with the tug and pull of politics and the dissimulations. Clark, who reportedly once voted for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, has had a fleeting friendship with Bill Clinton. Now he seems to think all politicians are liars. He has taken the measure of the Democratic field (which has a large number of liars) and concluded that he can compete with it easily in terms of posturing and mendacity. Within a matter of weeks he has told at least three lies and been caught out every time. Clinton can get by with that kind of a record, but not a retired general.

There was his false claim that the White House importuned on him to link the September 11 terrorists to Iraq. Then he revised his assertion, claiming that it was a Canadian "think tank" that importuned on him. The think tank could not be identified. Then he told supporters that he would have voted for entering the Iraq war. When that upset some of them he reversed himself, saying he "never" would have voted for the war. Finally there is the flap over Karl Rove. Clark claims after September 11 Rove repeatedly failed to return calls to him from the General. Rove has no record of such calls.

What are we to make of the fantasy that is the presidential campaign of General Wesley Clark? My suggestion is that the liberals have finally found their very own General Douglas MacArthur. That "old soldier" who told us that such venerable figures "never die; they just fade away" aroused derision and horror from the liberals in the early 1950s. This one wanted to put massive numbers of troops in Kosovo in the 1990s and to fire on a Russian contingent a decade after the Cold War had ended. Now he tells us we have acted imprudently in liberating Iraq and sobering up the Middle East where terrorists not long ago thought they could attack America with impunity. He would have us act there today as President Bill Clinton acted in the 1990s, setting the stage for more fury against America in the future. He will in time fade away, but his mighty rise in the liberals' esteem demonstrates their desperation.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

09/18/03: Send Arafat to Paris!
09/15/03: The soi-disant party of Latinos comes down hard on a successful Latino
09/05/03: Placating the carpers
08/29/03: A melange of one-issue enthusiasts will win?
08/07/03: Angry partisans
07/31/03: Why no ‘holy cities ’ in America?
07/25/03: They underestimate not only the president, but the American people
07/18/03: The irascible, bigoted Harry Truman was a product of his times
07/11/03: A grand affair of hot colors and surprisingly sedate audience participation
07/04/03: In search of anti-Americanism and the perfect bullfight
06/26/03: Calling on London
06/20/03: Too upsetting for the evening news?
06/12/03: Rain(es)ing Clintoon myths
06/05/03: Hillary-ous is pathetic
05/29/03: Shakedown
05/22/03: End of the last great persecution of the 20th century?
05/15/03 :‘Grey’ turns to grim at Times
05/08/03: The only intellectual force in Western history to gain moral superiority by being wrong
05/01/03: Dinning with Tom Wolfe: More lessons in nusual aspects of American life, hitherto ignored
04/28/03: Ambuscade at scholarly frontier
04/21/03: Stars in search of a galaxy
04/10/03: Baghdad Bob and Tom Daschle
03/31/03: When the media itself becomes the story
03/20/03: Revealed! Estrada is a gifted linguist -- a Japanese-American fluent in Spanish
03/14/03: Genuinely in charge
03/10/03: Stalin and Saddam
03/05/03: They just cannot stomach a protracted alliance with the Bushies
02/25/03: Identity gridlock
02/18/03: People calling Dean a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy
02/13/03: The new political establishment
01/30/03: The time is now
01/27/03: Witnessing self-love by people completely incapable of self-criticism
01/21/03: Of course our kiddies are depressed
01/13/03: Why is it that Official Washington still believes that a tax reduction means a revenue reduction?
01/02/03: Missing Moi
12/27/02: The grizzled and menacing-looking senator in Confederate drag is a Dem
12/24/02: Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land
12/20/02: Under fire, Lott showed an ignobleness that is embarrassing
11/26/02: Bartley's enemies have been routed
11/14/02: Clarence Thomas and the segregationist Mississippi sheriff
11/07/02: I muffed up
10/31/02: Is the American university turning its back on change, on progress?
10/24/02: So why aren't the Dems buoyant?
10/17/02: Mourning the loss of the "yellow-belly"
10/10/02: American politics at its most ignominious
10/03/02: A man above the law, a bully
09/26/02: Is Bob Greene a victim of an anti-Clinton backlash?
09/19/02: I knew Mafiosi and
09/12/02: Chickens and poseurs
09/05/02: Sympathizing with the Europols
08/29/02: 9-11 did not change us forever
08/22/02: Public persons frivoling with serious matters
08/15/02: Beachcombing among the fat of the land
08/08/02: They pave the way for corruption, not personal responsibility
08/01/02: Believing the unbelievable
07/25/02: The congressional posse comitatus
07/18/02: Cosmopolitan Arab fashion
07/11/02: What the prez actually knows
07/04/02: The vindication of a truly original thinker
06/27/02: The perfect book for Hillary
06/20/02: To say that they were ordinary is not to slight them
06/13/02: Daschle must begin to act like an adult
06/06/02: Lack of "intelligence" --- and sheer stupidity
05/30/02: Revealing a carefully guarded media secret
05/23/02: In these times, thank Heaven for Clinton!
05/16/02: Fast Times at the Church of the Nativity
05/09/02: "Name the Prettiest Suicide Bomber"
05/02/02: Vindication for the Boy Scouts
04/25/02: A topic almost no other columnist will touch
04/18/02: 'Conventional Wisdom' --- and those who defy it
04/11/02: Let the Sun shine in
04/05/02: Hooded men of color in sheets
04/01/02: A McCain-Feingold Act for Hollywood
03/21/02: Yakkin' on Yates
03/15/02: No role for Paul Volcker in Enron: the movie
03/07/02: My membership in the Communist Party U.S.A.
02/27/02: This award is bestowed by 'contrarians'
02/21/02: Mike Tyson: Made for Washington?
02/14/02: Enron as underdog?
02/07/02: Freed from the presence of money -- hard or soft -- most politicians would be just as bad
01/31/02: Needed: Bush to make a preemptive strike against his enemies . Ones who'd like to see him fail even during war
01/24/02: Hucksters will move on to make their next marks
01/17/02: Debonair prez should begin to do the High Life
01/10/02: Move over Twinkies --- "the acne medicine made him do it!"
01/03/02: Leaving the Nazis looking comparatively humane
12/27/01: A "self-made journalist"
12/20/01: Calamities and unanticipated benefits
12/13/01: America's grief ought not to give comfort to those who caused it
12/06/01: Leahy, the strict civil libertarian!? A short-term exploiter of the Constitution is more like it
11/29/01: Welcome to Afghan, Maryland?
11/26/01: So, why don't more folks hate us?
11/15/01: America's quagmire and other certainties
11/09/01: No longer the smug statists, the prodigal Keynesians?
11/01/01: The New Seriousness
10/25/01: Bright lights and the Taliban
10/18/01: Is bin-Laden propaganda from Western intelligence?
10/12/01: No yellow ribbons
10/05/01: Bubba's back --- again!
09/28/01: Exposing peacetime's frauds
09/21/01: So protected, we're vulnerable
09/14/01: At Barbara Olson's home
09/11/01: Duh! All conservatives are racists
08/31/01: Arafat's terrorists have created their own hell
08/24/01: Time for some political prophecy
08/16/01: They claim to be doing so much good
08/10/01: Visiting the source of the White House braintrust
08/03/01: Morality and reality
07/31/01: Blinded by success?
07/24/01: The latest Kennedy capitulation in Massachusetts
07/13/01: Talk about tawdry
07/06/01: Delighting in the Dictator
06/29/01: The G-dphobes
06/21/01: Fashionable Washington is sempiternally in a stew
06/15/01: The limits of hypocrisy
06/08/01: Flagging our general apathy

© 2001, Creators Syndicate