Jonathan Chait

Everything Happens For A Porpoise

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In 1998, when conservatives were losing their mind over the Clinton administration's decision to return Elian Gonzales to his family in Cuba, Peggy Noonan wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal arguing that if Ronald Reagan were president, he would have endorsed the hypothesis that Gonzales had been rescued by dolphins acting on orders from God:

Mr. Reagan would not have dismissed the story of the dolphins as Christian kitsch, but seen it as possible evidence of the reasonable assumption that God's creatures had been commanded to protect one of God's children. And most important, the idea that he would fear Mr. Castro, that he would be afraid of a tired old tyrant in faded fatigues, would actually have made him laugh. Mr. Reagan would fear only what kind of country we would be if we took the little boy and threw him over the side, into the rough sea of history.

He would have made a statement laying out the facts and ended it, "The boy stays, the dream endures, the American story continues. And if Mr. Castro doesn't like it, well, I'm afraid that's really too bad."

But then he was a man.

I admit it: I found this about as plausible as the Journal's view that tax cuts cause revenue to rise. But now it appears that porpoises have rescued Dick Van Dyke:

Van Dyke's ordeal began during an ill-fated trip to his local beach. "I woke up out of sight of land," the 84-year-old actor told reporters. "I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought 'I'm dead!'"

Van Dyke was wrong. "They turned out to be porpoises," he said. "And they pushed me all the way to shore." The porpoises were unavailable for comment.

Perhaps I've misjudged supply-side economics as well.

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