Rick Perry is obviously very conservative, but I didn't realize that he'd be soliciting policy advice from a certifiable lunatic like Andrew McCarthy. I want to be clear about this. I use synonyms for "crazy" pretty often, which I find to be necessary in a world in which one of the two major parties holds to such beliefs as global warming is a hoax and tax cuts increase revenue.
I've written before about Journolist, a liberal email list that conservatives have claimed was the center of a liberal media conspiracy but in reality was anything but. The Daily Caller, a conservative website, has a new story claiming to have obtained evidence that Journolist was everything conservatives feared: the epicenter of a deep liberal plot to control media discourse. "It's everything you may have suspected," comments an excited Sarah Palin.
Recently, several conservatives have been lashing out at a favorite new target: Kevin Jennings, the Obama administration's openly gay "safe schools czar." Both Sean Hannity and Republican Congressman Steve King have called for Jennings to be fired or to resign. Their main beef? That Jennings didn't contact authorities when, as a high school teacher in Massachusetts in the 1980s, a male student confided in him about a sexual encounter with an older man.
Throughout history, political movements have often developed informal social headquarters alongside their official central commands. The eighteenth- century London Tories had a pub called Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. The 1930s French rightists had the Cafe de Flore. George W. Bush’s polo-shirted young Republicans had Smith Point, a preppy bar in Georgetown.
In the spring of 2007, long before Sarah Palin became a feminist icon, before Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers reared their unreconstructed heads, before Hillary Clinton ever questioned his readiness to be president, Barack Obama's greatest nemesis was a 29-year-old paralegal named Joe Anthony. Anthony had attracted tens of thousands of fans to a MySpace page he'd set up for Obama—a testament to the legions of new voters the candidate was inspiring. But, back in Chicago, all Anthony's site inspired was indigestion.
The president-elect has not forgiven Bill Ayers his sins. This is not for mortals to do. It is for the great rabbi in the skies. Or perhaps Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg, acting jointly as a court of justice from on high.But David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, which judges just how far nice liberals can stray from common sense and a decent respect for the truth, has forgiven him. Ayers seemed curiously calm and cheerful about the way he had been made an issue in the campaign.
On my way to Denver for what is being billed as the political speech of my lifetime, I am doing my best to open up a lotus-like space inside my head in which I can enjoy the pleasurable sensation that comes to lucky Ivy League meritocrats of a certain age, when friends from college and graduate school are on the verge of really running things in America. On any given Sunday, you stand a better-than-even chance of knowing Barack Obama's speechwriters, his economic advisers, the New York Times correspondent covering his campaign, or someone who played basketball last Tuesday with the candidate.
"My campaign is about getting this economy back on track" is a quintessentially anodyne, standard thing for a politician to say. Why did it sound so terribly jarring when McCain said it? Because he had just spiraled off of an extended riff of complaint about John Lewis's "outrageous" comments, about Bill Ayers, about Obama's negative advertising during a Dallas vs. Arizona football game he watched, etc., etc. McCain's focus couldn't have seemed farther from the economy right then.
Paul Berman always commands attention and respect. He has published here many times. And his measured Daily Beast posting on Bill Ayers is definitive: just, textured, and in the end unrelenting. Ayers was a wannabe muderer and not just a criminal type. If you want to find a comparison to other idealogically motivated killers of the same generation you can just repair to the gangsters who slaughtered Emmet Till, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and the three little girls who died in the burning church that Condi Rice later attended.