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September 2004

At long last there's help for people who don't understand the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. Allow Roland Merullo, novelist, and exquisitely sensitive and intelligent Liberal to explain it to you:

At their essence, conservatives are on guard, bristling, armed with a righteous anger, prone to mockery of their enemies, sure of themselves, unwilling to criticize America, especially by comparing it to anyplace else. The attacks of Sept. 11 only confirmed their world view: We are constantly at risk.

Liberals are mannered, sensitive, armed with intellectual cynicism, self-critical, eager to learn from other cultures, wanting there to be no pain in the world. The attacks made them sad and angry, too, but their reflex was more pensive than vengeful.

(Please check the link. I did not--could not--make this up.)

Bigwig at Silflay Hraka writes about something I had also been thinking about (honest!). Now that lots of people are watching the Iowa Electronic Market and Tradesports, people with some money to burn and the will to mischief could be tempted to manipulate them. The post also features a brief e-mail from Koleman Strumpf at UNC-CH who is writing a paper on the topic.

Such attempted manipulation might explain this strange event noted by Econopundit Steve Antler.

(Of course, you can forget the markets and the polls, because there is a much better indicator of who's going to win. Link via Michael Stastny.)

P.J. O'Rourke has a column about American foreign policy. It's more dyspeptic than typical for P. J. But he gets in a few good shots:

Former one-term senator and erstwhile ambassador to New Zealand Carol Moseley Braun said, "I believe women have a contribution to make... we are clever enough to defeat terror without destroying our own liberty... we can provide for long-term security by making peace everybody's business". Elect me because women are clever busybodies. This is the "Lucy and Ethel Get an Idea" foreign policy.
Massachusetts's thinner, more sober senator, John Kerry, said that he voted for threatening to use force on Saddam Hussein, but that actually using force was wrong. This is what's known, in the language of diplomacy, as bullshit.

Michael Kelly was an extraordinary journalist who died this year covering the war in Iraq. He seemed to be respected and admired by virtually everyone who knew him. One of his most notable characteristics was his ferocious intolerance for lying, especially in politics and journalism. One wonders what he would have had to say about Dan Rather.

Here is the last paragraph of one of his pieces on Bill Clinton, "A Pathetic Speech--and Untrue":

This man will never stop lying. To borrow a hyperbolic description of another of the century's historic prevaricators, every word he utters is a lie, including "and" and "the." He will lie until the last dog dies. (Things Worth Fighting For, p. 236)

And here is a link to the full text of his powerful piece, "I Believe."

For all the people fretting over the "influence" possibly wielded on young George W. Bush's behalf, William F. Buckley, Jr. tartly replies

Anybody who believes that influence isn't a factor in life was never asked to write a letter to a Congressman asking him kindly to endorse the application of Joey from next door to enter West Point. That's how much of life works. Influence is not to be confused with corruption. Influence can get you to the head of the line to get your driver's license; corruption is when you fail the test, but get the license anyway.