CORRECTION

Last night, I wrote that “both the New York Times and the Washington Post do their best to bury and downplay the news [ about economic growth].” I was going by the web editions in the early morning. Both actual papers do front the news big today in the print editions. I withdraw the comment.

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EMAIL OF THE DAY

“I just got back from the memorial service. This soldier had served 18 years in the Army, most of that in Special Forces. He did all the hard jobs, and spent years in desolate miserable places, helping people he didnt’ know, try to improve their lives. He was a father of two young boys, a husband, and clearly a friend of many. He did more to alleviate suffering in this world than was his burden to do, more, I’d dare venture, than all of the people put together who wrote to the Democratic Underground to call for the death of more soldiers like him in Iraq. I fly up to DC tonight to be with my wife and children. We are stationed apart, she is a doctor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and I am a simple soldier in the Third Army, “Patton’s Own”. My kids will likely fall asleep in their Haloween costumes so that I can see them all dressed up, since I won’t be there until sometime after 11:00 pm. I pray every day that they understand that what their Mother and I do for work is not just a hardship on them, but a way to protect them, and others, for many years to come. Others will have to make this same sacrifice in the future, but it’s a burden I and others share right now. I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia, and I’ve seen what Islamic fundamentalism can do to personal freedom. I will gladly fight to keep that away from my children. And I will work to keep those who think like the writers to the Democratic Underground out of power. My promise on that is as good as my 20 year promise to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I will never forget.”

“LESS IMMINENT”

Here’s the new phrase for critics of Bush’s Iraq policy:

They argue that the threat from Hussein was “less imminent than the administration claimed and that the United States should have done much more to win international backing and better prepare for postwar reconstruction.”

Well, it’s an improvement. But it makes as much sense as “less pregnant.” The general argument E.J. lays out, though, is a good one for the Dems. If I were running as a Democrat this year (ha ha ha), here’s what I’d say: “President Bush, thank you for taking the first bold steps in the war on terror. But you have become too polarizing a figure at home, and especially abroad, to win the battle we now wage for the hearts and minds of the world, especially the young Arab world. We intend to make even more of an effort to bring Iraq into the normal ranks of nations, but we also want to mend fences with our friends in Europe, and move the country forward. You have made too many tactical mistakes, even though we do not question your good will and courage. To pay for the Iraq project, we are going to rescind the tax cuts for the very richest Americans. Blah blah blah.” See what I mean? This would have been the perfect Clark argument. But he had to pander to the base and so destroyed his centrist credibility. Alas, that also applies to almost everyone else. And the likeliest nominee, Howard Dean, would be able to make this case with the least persuasiveness. Bush-hatred, far from wounding the president, has, I think, deeply wounded the Democrats. Just as Clinton-hatred (I plead guilty, in part) wounded Republicans. We never learn, do we?

KRUGMAN SQUIRMS

Even he has to concede the economic tidings are basically good. Money quote:

My purpose is not to denigrate the impressive estimated 7.2 percent growth rate for the third quarter of 2003. It is, rather, to stress the obvious: we’ve had our hopes dashed in the past, and it remains to be seen whether this is just another one-hit wonder.

Meeoooowwww!! Still, both the New York Times and the Washington Post do their best to bury and downplay the news.

GEORGE ON GEORGE

Stephanopoulos predicts a likely Bush win in 2004.

COLEMAN REPUBLICANS: Another term for Jewish “eagles,” I’d say. Interesting and long overdue development.

THE U.N. DELUSION: The current position of many Democrats is that the U.S. should leave Iraq to the auspices of the United Nations. Yet the U.N. is leaving at the slightest whiff of danger. Shouldn’t the press ask the Democrats what they’d do now? Or are they just flailing as usual?

THE O’REILLY/LUSKIN SYNDROME: Fox News nearly sued Fox TV over the Simpsons! Or so says Matt Groening.

NPR ON ISRAEL: More flagrant BBC-style bias.

BURSTING MY BUBBLE: Damn you, Virginia.

EMAIL OF THE DAY: “I submitted my nonfiction prose to Gender Genie. I was told I was male and when I submitted my true gender, I was described as some “butch chick.” Imagine my surprise.
As a 52 year old, delightfully married for 29+ years, mother of four,(two of whom were adopted), born-again Christian, politically liberal to moderate except concerning abortion, female, I have decided that perhaps their methodology needs a bit more tweaking.” – more feedback on the liveliest Letters Page on the web.

THE DEMOCRATS’ DELUSION: A belated but heart-felt link to my boss’s latest TRB column on the Democrats and the war. It’s devastating and right. Is this the time to congratulate him on his marriage as well? Mazel Tov, Peter, on both counts.

THE LEFT DEBATES

On the Democratic Underground site, various far- lefties debate whether it’s legitimate for Baathists to kill and attack American soldiers. Many think it is. My favorite comment from the centrists:

regardless of right or wrong.
we dont want to be associated with supporting the killing of our own troops.
that would be political suicide… we dont want to be associated with “supporting” Iraqi resistance.
something like that would make us (dems, libs, progs, whoever) look terrible and just give the opposition fuel.

Good to see their consciences at work.

DERBYSHIRE BANNED?: Or so he says. So a word of support from this quarter. I think even writers like Derbyshire should be free to talk at whatever college they wish to on any matter at hand. His views deserve an airing. Views like this:

Jewishness, open and proud, is a subversive force x97 subversive, that is, of any institution in which it becomes entrenched… There is no reason why an individual Jew might not be a good and honorable person, any more than there is any reason why an individual gentile might not be a liar and a thief. In matters social and organizational, though, the sum is often greater than the parts, and it is not the one we should focus on, but the many. This, unfortunately, is a very difficult thing to get people to do in a highly individualistic culture like ours. “What about Joe? He’s Jewish, but a finer human being you could never wish to meet.” Sure, we all know Joe; but his case tells us nothing about the probable behavior of an organization whose higher levels are 30, or 50, or 60 percent Jewish… Long-time readers of National Review may recall Robert Conquest’s three laws of politics, of which the second was: “Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.” (Conquest actually offered the Church of England as an example of this law in action.) I should like to hypothesize a fourth law, which I am going to call Derbyshire’s Law. Any organization that admits frank and open Jews into its higher levels will sooner or later abandon its original purpose and give itself over to propagating and celebrating the Jewish ethos, and to excluding gentiles and denigrating Christianity.

Now do you think that someone who had written this would still be writing for national publications? But substitute gay references for Jewish ones and you have exactly a piece written by Derbyshire for National Review (I substituted the two terms). The anti-semitic and anti-gay tropes in this instance are interchangeable: the secrecy of Jews/gays, their capacity to exclude others, their ulterior motives, their clannishness, their alleged persecution of those outside the fold, their infiltration and take-over of previously upright institutions, and on and on. And the point of his argument is to defend discriminating against individual gays, regardless of their merits, solely on the basis of their homosexuality. Derbyshire then argues in defense of his right to speak at a college:

Curious to explore the meaning of the word “extreme” as it is understood in the minds of tenured academics at U.S. universities, I asked my intermediary for the names of some speakers who had been welcomed at that campus without incident. He named, among others, Angela Davis. Are you getting this? Derb x97 extreme. Angela Davis x97 mainstream.

The truth is that Derbyshire is no more extreme than Davis. But he is no less extreme either. Both indulge in the politics of hatred – she of the far left, he of the far right. And both deserve free speech.

LUSKIN OVER-REACHES

He’s threatening to sue a blogger. Puh-lease. Lay off.