Martin Peretz

A Rotten Poem
February 25, 2008

I don't who Elinor Lipman is. But I was reading the Boston Globe this morning only to find her snotty little column, "Get me to the ranch on time," on the op-ed page. Lipman is distraught because Jenna Bush and her intended are not having their wedding at the White House but at the ranch in Crawford, Texas. I actually think it's a sign of moral restraint that she and her beau, Henry Hager, decided not to have a big splash at the executive mansion at a moment when so many people in the country are being squeezed financially.

The Commies Are Coming Back
February 25, 2008

Well, not quite. But they have been making strides. Their instrument is the successor to the Communist Party of the German Democratic Republic, now expired for fully 18 years.

Poor Tony Blair
February 25, 2008

I respect Tony Blair, and one of the reasons I do is that he grasps the historic essence of the British-American bond. This is not a piece of metaphysics. It is about civilization, law and liberty.But his vanity has gotten in his way. Not, mind you, as grotesquely as with the out-of-office Bill Clinton.  First, they put him in charge of the long brewing Palestinian-Israeli dispute, a dispute less important than most people think.  But it is intractable, and anyone who goes near it will have his hands singed. Singed, at least, and maybe even burned.

Serbian Belligerence
February 25, 2008

Serbia has so much blood on its hands that it is only natural that Russia is its biggest and best protector. Almost nobody (but me, I hasten to add self-servingly) has explained what I believe is a cardinal thread in this alliance: both countries and their peoples are anchored in the Christian Orthodox faith and in the Christian Orthodox Church. Kosovo, moreover, is a Muslim country, although its present leadership pledges not to allow it to become a Shari'a state. I believe them.

Hamas Can't Do Peaceful Protests
February 25, 2008

For days and days, Hamas had been threatening to hold a peaceful demonstration on the Gaza frontier with Israel. What's more, it had warned the Israelis that maybe 50,000 unarmed Gaza Palestinians, maybe even 200,000 of them would cross the international boundary to protest...Well, to protest exactly what? That Israel had stopped supplying gasoline and diesel fuel to an entity that, day-in, day-out, was rocketing its towns, villages and kibbutzim?

Hillary As Rosie The Riveter?
February 24, 2008

Soon after the United States entered the World War in December 1941, Rosie the Riveter appeared in the culture. Millions of women went to work in crucial industrial positions vacated by men who had gone to fight. Hence the legend based in  fact. There was a popular song about Rosie in 1942 and a Norman Rockwell (no, not Rockwell Kent) painting of her on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May of 1943.Now, in Ohio, a poster has been produced with Hillary wearing a a red-and-white polka dot kerchief and a blue work shirt out of which her muscles protrude.

The Vindication Of Al Gore
February 24, 2008

 The most trying experience for me, a Gore loyalist, after the Supreme Court gave George Bush the election in 2000 (and for years thereafter) was to sit and listen to the autopsies of the oh, so smart people who knew just how Al had screwed up. So what did the wise people say?  "He should have used Bill Clinton more."The fact is that I have never discussed, post-election, this particular matter with Gore. And neither did I discuss it with him during the campaign. But I was sure then that it was wisdom.

Borowitz On Nader
February 24, 2008

Ralph Nader is a chiliast, and he imagines -- instead of Jesus Christ -- himself to be the instrument of the millennium. Like other other such inspired people, he is also a crack-pot. In fact, way back in the good old days he was also a crack-pot. Does anybody remember that he wanted the automobile companies to make heavier cars?  What about the dangers posed by the fuels that would run them? One time way back, he came to a picnic in our backyard. We were having hot dogs which, of course, he wouldn't eat. Finally, my wife brought him some blueberries, the growers of which we didn't know.

His Mother's Son
February 22, 2008

He actually brought tears to my eyes. "I was born to a teen-aged mother," said Barack Obama, thereby locating his origins in poverty, which is true and also relevant. He told the nation that in the Austin debate, as he had told his listeners in many appearances during the campaign. He did not say, however, "to a white teen-aged mother," unspoken and unnecessary.  After all, everybody knows that fact, and the fact is symptomatic of our whole society.  Teen-aged motherhood is not just an attribute of black girls.

It's Not Over
February 22, 2008

All last night on the television set one word was heard most of all, and it was "valedictory." How did this come about? Well, I gather, one from the multiutde of commentators on CNN or Fox or MSNBC must have uttered it -- with all its mortuary and academic purport -- and suddenly everone chimed in: Mrs. Clinton was bidding her farewells.  I, too, thought, prayed for her valedictory.  Maybe Hillary had realized that she was kaput.  Her inevitable triumph had been snatched away from her by the youngish man whom she patronized in her last moments by comparing him to a Xerox machine.  What!

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