I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND the mysterious mechanics of the universe—not like an Albert Einstein, or a Richard Feynman, or a Steven Hawking, or a Neils Bohr. I cannot see the world through the eyes of Leonardo or Michelangelo or Pollock or O’Keefe. I lack the business acumen of Jobs; the global vision of Musk; the profound mysticism of Gurdjieff. I am an ordinary man, possessed of ordinary attributes, and in the failure to reach the high places, I am, like most of us, entirely innocent.
AN UNUSUALLY GOOD PIECE from a columnist whose opinions I normally find wanting. Klobuchar's behavior is irrefutable evidence of poor character and questionable integrity. This is precisely the antithesis of what the country needs now. I say this as an extremely disappointed citizen who has heretofore respected her performance in the Senate, which has been generally exemplary. Unfortunately, it turns out that the price of that performance is way, WAY too high, particularly when there are so many other excellent, and it turns out, superior, alternatives. It's fine to be demanding, but if you can't treat people with dignity, you deserve public office of no kind. So thanks for stepping up, Amy. Next.
THERE ARE TWO THINGS to be mentioned about the shuttering of the Weekly Standard. The first, and by far the most important, is that it is long overdue, richly deserved, and best regarded with a healthy dose of schadenfreude.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST to bring you an important news bulletin. Contrary to popular expectations, Mitch McConnell isn’t dead yet.
I’VE SEEN A CERTAIN Mesmeric Revelation several times in the last couple of days — from Mystification McConnell, of course, and Ron Paul’s Lovely Blonde Wife, and Genius Christian Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the Lovely Blonde Laura Ingraham, and Tom Cotton, The Raven-haired Bobble-Throated Slapdick from the state of Alabama, and three or four others (Including The Business Man) whose collective IQs do not warrant inclusion even among these offensive Oval Portraits. I confess it caused A Loss of Breath. Among other things.
LINDSAY GRAHAM WAS ONCE a respectable human being. We know this because we all were, at one time, innocent with wide-eyed wonder, unblemished by a capricious world, and uninjured by the waking slumber of the giants in our midst. Then we grew into adulthood and became part of the problem; inured to inner search, captive to convenience, and impoverished of genuine wisdom. The best among us—but by no means everyone—have recognized this in themselves and in others, and labor in ways both large and small to ease the suffering in the world. The political class was once an honorable domain for such folk called to work in this way. No longer. Today, it is the domain of Lindsay Graham.
“I LOVE KAVANAUGH’S TONE.”
This is perhaps the most telling tweet of yesterday’s sordid Senate Judiciary Committee circus. It comes to us from one of the most tone-deaf twaddlers on the national stage, Donald Trump, Jr., whose tempestuous teeth and tongue are graced with hot flatulent bile at a frequency exceeded only by his Dear Old Dad and that pathetic wretch mouthing unmentionables for the NRA. Tone, not content, is what the Trump presidency* is all about, and Brett Kavanagh chose to dispense with the pretense of judicial temperament and fall flat on his forked tongue right into the partisan Trumpian fold. Don, Jr. loved it. The American Bar Association did not.
THE PAPER OF RECORD stepped somewhat outside it's rarefied editorial standards yesterday to publish an inarguably important but unenlightening op-end from an anonymous source inside the White House. I read it three times, not because it was edifying, but because it was edifying for all the wrong reasons. It did not tell us anything that we did not already know about either the president* or the hapless sycophants who support him. It fully confirmed the pre-publication excerpts from Bob Woodward's forthcoming jeremiad. It was entirely consistent with less formal pronouncements from the rapidly-growing list of former administration officials both on and off the record. And it comports with both widespread public observation and common sense. What it did offer, however, is unequivocal confirmation that the people in this administration, and this person in particular, are utterly spineless.
JOHN MCCAIN IS DEAD, and the nation mourns. The mediasphere has been replete with accolades and remembrances, while the naysayers have been mercifully mum-although it is in our nature that remonstrations will surely follow. This is perhaps as it should be for a public figure; none among us fully righteous, nor fully blameless, and like all of us, McCain's imperfections are what defined his character. But as a public figure, McCain demonstrated the capacity—and the willingness—to sometimes rise above his imperfections. This is why, above everything else, he has earned, and is entitled to, our respect and our admiration.
I THINK WE NEED to be somewhat less careless about the momentary come-hither of the Jeff Sessions embouchure. Remember that Sessions is unquestionably racist, dull, and thoroughly cruel, as he has been throughout his public life. He is architect of the zero-tolerance policy for immigrant families, which is arguably the the ugliest, stupidest, and most fundamentally un-American policy of any kind since Japanese interment, and he deserves to be banished to the nether regions for that reason alone.
I HAVE WRITTEN at some length about this business of supporting Donald Trump - most of it satirical, and none of it kind - and there probably isn't much more to add at this point that hasn't been said repeatedly by better writers and thinkers than I. But I remain mystified as to the mindset that could possibly facilitate anything beyond revulsion at this regime.
DEAR PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU:
Those of us who have children know how difficult it can be to deal with temper tantrums and bad behavior and ignorance in the ways of the adult world. Some days are difficult, to be sure. What you must remember, however, is that when you deal with Donald Trump, you are not dealing with a child. You’re dealing with a dog. A somewhat different set of behaviors are required.
TEMPERAMENT IS A HUMAN ATTRIBUTE that we each possess, and that we continuously assess in one-another. It informs our character, which in turn informs other higher human attributes such as integrity, compassion, and self-awareness. Appropriate temperament is vital to success in almost any human endeavor, and is so important that we instinctively regard it as indispensable in assessing someone’s suitability for almost anything: a relationship, a job, a responsibility—an elective office. This is perfectly ordinary, and people will naturally gravitate toward an enterprise that suits them temperamentally. As a society, however, “appropriate” temperament is not intrinsic, and it is not accidental; it is a choice about what we want to see in ourselves, in our communities, and in our leadership.
WITHIN THE PANTHEON of brilliant, important, and admirable human beings, you will, if you look closely, find Dinesh D’Souza nowhere.
SO MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN about the Trump administration now that it seems pointless to spend time and energy to deepen the ocean of outrage already in evidence. But I will do so, if only to organize my thoughts, and perhaps assist others in organizing theirs. Words have power, and increasingly, they are the only power left to ordinary citizens, who are slowly being deprived of their civic strength, their economic means, and the once and future country of their youth.
I am an alumnus of Grove City College. This is not something that I ordinarily advertise, but recent events there compel my engagement, and in this particular matter, I speak from extensive personal experience.
Ladies and gentlemen, The First Rule of Thumb for a responsible public figure is AVOID GESTICULATION. In so much of the political class, histrionics are frequently unconscious, and this has the subtle effect of diminishing the power of words, rather than of reinforcing them. Careless gestures are open to cultural interpretation in ways that ordinary words are not, particularly if the words and the gestures do not appear to jibe. Far better to sit on those soft little hands and try to speak simply.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Inauguration Day is here! Thanks for showing up for what promises to be a star-studded, spectacular show. We’re just hours away from making America great again, and I know you’re all as excited as we are to take this country back from the ivory towers and the deserving poor. But first, a little housekeeping is in order. We all want things to move along without resistance, and so we’re asking each of you to help us out by sorting yourselves into like-minded gaggles so that we can fine-tune our fake news with a little finesse. You’ve all heard of The Great Sorting? Well, here it is! Welcome!
“It’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things.”
Well then. Methinks this business of locker room talk, as Mr. Trump dismisses it, bears some additional scrutiny.