Monday, July 26, 2004

No time to post, but I am fascinated that the Kerry campaign--in the week that we are supposed to get introduced to John Kerry again--is running nonstop commercials featuring...John Edwards talking about Kerry.

Kerry is so utterly unappealing a personality that his party would rather not let us see and hear him.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Things I've learned from a week's worth of the Kerry/Edwards ticket:

1. Bush is bad. Bad bad bad bad. BAD.

2. John Kerry was in Vietnam. He was.

3. Bush is bad. Really, he is. Bad. Bad bad.

4. John Edwards's daddy worked in a meal. But not a happy meal, apparently. As Sidney Blumenthal breathlessly informs us: "John Edwards carries his log cabin with him. The son of a mill worker in Robbins, North Carolina, he bears the memory of his father taking the family to a local restaurant after church only to leave when he realised he could not afford anything on the menu." The full quote from Edwards is even more impassioned:

"Our family went to a fancy restaurant one Sunday after church. I was still looking at the menu, when my father announced that we had to leave. Everything cost too much. At the time, I was young and embarrassed. But it shaped the way I look at the world. Why does somebody who works in a mill 40 hours a week get less respect than someone who was born into a rich family? That's an outrage. And it's a lot of what drove me after that. Growing up, whenever I felt in over my head, which I felt a lot, being from a small town, I would think, 'Wait a minute. We can compete with anybody, if we just get the chance.' "

This stirring little story has been duly Fisked by Mark Steyn: Really? Robbins was a town of just over 1,000 people, so presumably it was, if not the only restaurant, one of only two or three. In small towns, folks generally know what the local eateries charge. And, while the Edwards family was poor by comparison with John Kerry, dad was in fact the mill's production manager (though the son tends to leave that bit out). So, in a mill town, at a restaurant presumably priced to cater for mill workers, the management of the mill couldn't afford to eat?

Steyn's point rings true. My grandfather lived in roughly the same area of the Carolinas that Edwards grew up in, along with all his children save my father. These people weren't wealthy, but in the North Carolina of the fifties and sixties, you didn't have to be. The idea that a mill manager--whose wife worked in the Post Office, let us not forget--couldn't afford one Sunday meal out really beggars credulity.


Sunday, July 11, 2004

Long time since my last update, and I have a few jumbled things to say here...

I spent the last weekend in June at the Origins show in Columbus, Ohio, as usual, working at the Clash of Arms booth. One of the people I saw there was Jack, an old friend from Showcase Comics. He said hello and we walked around the show. The odd thing was, during the walk three different people stopped him for autographs. It turned out that he wasn't just my friend Jack anymore, he's Jack Emmert, lead designer of the City of Heroes online roleplaying game that I'd only heard a little about. It was just an odd experience.

One of the people I saw at Origins was a Howard Dean volunteer who told me a story from Iowa of Kerry workers calling voters up at 3 A.M., identifying themselves as Dean volunteers and asking for their support.

Teresa Heinz Kerry's "let them eat cake" remarks that she made on Larry King the other night are worth repeating. She is talking about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the USA:

HEINZ KERRY: I don't know. I think most Americans subconsciously believe something's going to happen. It's a matter of when, and it's a matter of how.

KING: Strange way to live, though.

HEINZ KERRY: Yes, but, you know, Europeans have lived that way, and other people around the world have lived that way. Americans have been very safe, at least as a nation.

I found this more than a little revealing because it goes to the heart of several different kinds of contempt that inform wealthy leftists like Heinz Kerry: The contempt of sophisticated, nuanced European points of view towards Americans in general. More specifically, it's the contempt of people who live in gated communities, who don't have to take the bus, who don't fly commercial, towards the plebians. It's easy to say that you have to live with an acceptable amount of terrorism when you are insulated from any danger.

There's a quote from Francois Fenelon that goes:

The more perfect we are, the more gentle and quiet we become of the defects of others.

Fenelon, a genteel Catholic writer from the early eighteenth century, could have pointed out that the converse is equally true: The more f'd-up we are, the louder and crueler we are at pointing out the defects of others. People like this are superficially entertaining, but there is always a pathology behind it, a horrible, corrosive pathology.

The recent indictment of Enron's Ken Lay reminds me of another reason I hated the recent round of Clinton book interviews: Not one interviewer asked Clinton about the stock market scandals that came to light in early 2002. It's easy to see why: In the official media point of view, these scandals are the responsibility of the Bush administration and none other. Now, this point of view requires us to believe that, absurdly, in January 2001, the CEOs of a half dozen major corporations suddenly started defrauding their stockholders until their indiscretions were discovered at the end of the year. Certainly, none of them had been doing this since the mid-90s. That's crazy talk.

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