Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 12, 2010 - September 5, 2010

Friday, June 12, 2009

The 'Soiled Dove' Theory

It's up to her alone. We know Obama will do his part.

ROCK ON. There's an Ed Morrissey post up at HotAir about Sarah Palin's appearance on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. It correctly acknowledges that she performed well across the board, both on the substance of her response to tough questions about Alaska politics and on the Letterman controversy. But then it sounds a warning.

[H]ad the Letterman controversy not existed, that aspect of her performance [the politics] would have been the headline here. Instead, the three minutes or so in the middle of this 11-minute interview that has nothing to do with governing or policy will be all that the public will remember or want to see.

That could be the overall aim of Palin’s opponents. If David Letterman has to eat some crow every few months for his personal attacks on Palin, does that really matter to him? He has a contract with CBS for the next three years, at which point he’d probably retire anyway. Letterman and his ilk can continue to make all of the coverage about Palin revolve around her daughters, forcing her to respond and to look less serious as a politician, in a way that the media would never do to a man or to a liberal - as Palin said, no one did it to Obama, nor should they.

If enough of them do it, the downside for her attackers will be small, and the upside will be to kneecap Palin before she can threaten Democrats in a future election.

I think this is a dim and short-sighted view of the American political scene. I would have made this comment directly at HotAir, as politely as I will make it here, except that my attempt earlier in the week to sign up as a commenter during the site's 24-hr so-called "Open Registration" did not result in the promised email containing a password. Neither did a polite follow-up request to Ed Morrissey's email address. So. I will make my response here (longer than it would have been there, of course), and any of you who are among the elect few permitted to comment at HotAir can pass it on to Ed.

There's basically a two-pronged political attack underway against Palin from the Republican side. There are the snobs we've written about here before. And there's a new contingent -- those who are personally sympathetic to Palin but believe the left has already succeeded in turning her into Dan Quayle, an instant punchline for jokes that no longer even have to be made. Morrissey's post is redolent of the latter prong. However softly it's delivered, the message is, "Stay away from Palin. She's a walking liability the Republicans can't afford if they're ever going to regain power." Call it the 'Soiled Dove' Theory. Most popular among those who believe that to accuse a woman is to destroy a woman. More 19th century than 21st if you ask me. But clearly no one did. Nonetheless...

I reject that message. And so should you. Nothing has happened that Sarah Palin can't overcome if she's as gifted a politician as she is demonstrably charismatic. To paraphrase the famous Lloyd Bentsen quote, "We've seen Dan Quayle... and Sarah Palin is no Dan Quayle." Quayle may have been a capable guy unjustly ridiculed out of politics, but he never tripled the size of a crowd for a scheduled political event or brought that crowd roaring to its feet in acclaim. Palin has star power. There is something attractive and authentic about her. That's exactly why she inspires such irrational antipathy from both ends of the political spectrum. A lot of the powers that be don't like what's attractive and authentic about her because it reminds them of their darkest fear, that there are millions of people out there who don't accept the clear superiority of constipated policy wonks who know what's better for the common people than the common people do.

People forget. Note how often this is cited as a weakness of the American people. But like everything else, people have the strength of their weaknesses. Maybe what people forget isn't always as important as the intellectuals and other snobs think it is. (IRONY: This from today's National Review Online: "An intellectual is someone who can hear the William Tell Overture and not think of the Lone Ranger.") For example, Hillary Clinton got bulldozed out of the presidential race by something akin  to a perfect storm of political opportunism, but not by the mountain of personal, political, and financial scandals some of her opponents were counting on. Worst of all, she had been cast in the most humiliating role of the biggest sex scandal in American political history, and the only way it figured in to the popular response was as proof that she was a survivor, a tough old broad who could weather anything and keep on keeping on. People admire that kind of grit, long after they have forgotten the details of whatever ordeal was survived.

That's all Palin has to do. Survive. And learn from the premature thermonuclear attack the MSM launched against her. By the time 2012 rolls around, Obama will have a heavy record hung around his neck that he won't be able to skate away from. If the press tries to cover for him by attacking Palin again, the public won't buy it. They've already heard all this shit before. It's BORING, and she's still here, still charismatic, and making more sense than any of the other old DC whores who've been running the country into the ground. And if you in the MSM had spent half as much time investigating our loser president as you did the uterus of Sarah Palin, maybe we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now.

The biggest problem with smart people is that they overestimate how much smarter they are than the people whose stupidity they fear. Both the MSM and its elite Republican critics think the American people don't see the liberal bias in the press and pundit class. Of course they do. Last time, they were rejecting Bush and the Republicans regardless, so the bias didn't especially irk them, at least not to the point of protest. Next time, they may be disposed to reject Obama and all the fools who told them he was something more than an arrogant young pup who thought he knew more than he did. It may well be that Sarah Palin -- if, as I've already stipulated, she really is a politician who can learn, think, and fight -- will be able to point her finger at the MSM in attendance and say, "These are the people who don't want you to listen to me. I have only one thing to ask: Listen to me in spite of them."

If and when that day arrives, everything Sarah Palin has been subjected to will become an advantage with the electorate. Every American knows what bullies are, what snobs are, what unscrupulous bitches are, and what valiant, persevering underdogs are. Ed Morrissey is borrowing trouble way way too soon. But then he's one of the smart guys who see every side of every issue. Which is why he doesn't have quite enough imagination to see the improbable yellow brick road that could lead Sarah Palin through Alaska to the first female presidency in the history of the United States.

Improbable, I repeat. But the odds depend far more on her and what her real capabilities are than they do on the continued graceless conduct of the mainstream media. Or stuffy conservative naysayers. Can a Steel Dove fly? I'm waiting to see.

UPDATE. This post led to a flurry of emails with Ed Morrissey. He disavows the 'Soiled Dove' theory and has also already corrected the mistake that prevented yours truly from having commenting rights at Hotair. I am happy to report what he said about Palin:

You're wrong about my intent.  I'm hoping we have Palin sticking to the political battles, and I'm writing about how tough it will be for her to do so with a hostile media, not as a warning to "stay away from Palin".

That's good and as it should be. Don't listen to the naysayers, any of you. And my thanks to Ed, who is, if old-fashioned enough to speculate about the 'Soiled Dove' theory, also old-fashioned enough to be an honest-to-God gentleman. Which ends this dark week on a high note.

UPDATE 2. This addendum has been added to Ed Morrissey's Palin post since our exchange of emails:

Update: Just to make clear, I’m not suggesting at all that Republicans distance themselves from Palin. At some point, we will need to let the Letterman-like provocations go and have her focus on national politics, where she has clearly improved. Promoting Palin as a victim (although entirely justified) won’t make her a compelling force in politics.

We approve. Rock on.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Ten Best:
The Antidote:
Hard Rock

It's time. Balls to the wall.

SNEAK #1. As with many of you probably, ennui crept up on me. I once vowed that I would never stop watching MTV. Until they stopped playing music and thought it was better programming to feature sluts and thugs boring us with their nonstop boring vuilgarity. The pioneering FM rock radio station I grew up with became a 'classic rock' station staffed by deejays older than me and locked in some time warp that still regarded the Beatles White Album as news. Rock and roll itself went away, replaced by whimpering New Age mama's boys who twanged their guitars in a state of continual miserable self-pity. I stopped listening altogether. I didn't realize the whole show was designed to put us to sleep so that we wouldn't notice we were being gelded by a pop culture that once proclaimed our vitality and now accompanies our slow transformation to sitzenpissers.

Think about it. Do you watch American Idol? Do you feel sorry for the runner-up whose sweet voice got lost in the gossip about his boy-meets-boy sex life? Yeah, well, I feel sorry for him too, but I'm getting tired of the fact that every pop star has some whining grievance against somebody that plays in the background of every performance and recording. Kanye West is unhappy about something? Do tell. Rihanna is back with her beater boyfriend? Green Day has another new album that sounds exactly like all their previous self-absorbed bleats? Usher is HOT and just possibly maybe heterosexual??  Michael Jackson is taking time out from recording his creepy new album ("Peter Pan was Racially Ambiguous too") to get his collapsing face sucked out through his pedophile ass and reinstalled with a Saudi-Arabian power washer. TMI. Some other Billboard chart topper is just out of rehab and singing about how his dread of uncontrolled carbon dioxide has mysteriously changed his sexual orientation to inflatable chickens made of genetically altered bamboo, one of which he is marrying in a $3 million ceremony in Jamaica. And Melissa Etheridge is doing boff-o business at county fairs all over the country behind her new double album about cunnilingus. [APPLAUSE.]

We've been had, ladies and gentlemen. They convinced us to stop listening to music. We lost the beat, the fire, the instinctive urge to leap off the couch and make that air guitar wail. The soap opera, the mediocrity, the tedium, the soporific mosquito-izing of the soundtrack of our lives (unless we committed the equally egregious sin of bunkering inside iPod ear buds that sealed us off from one another) withered our gonads away.

We need them now. The government is coming for us. They want to tell us what to do. About everything. And we're letting them do it. It's gotta stop.

The time has come for a hard rock revival. Yes, it's too much to hope that today's growling millennial nancy-boys will jump-start the music trend we need.  But we have a secret weapon. YouTube and full-stereo computers. We can fight back. And if we fight long enough and loud enough at all hours of the day and night, it's just possible the teenage boys in high school will remember that ordinary citizens don't have to ask the government (or even snarky teenage girls) for permission to have testicles.

Yes. I know exactly what I'm saying. For the first time since the sixties, music can be politically meaningful again. Not with respect to issues. But with respect to 
F  R  E  E  D  O  M  !  !  !

Without further ado, the top ten hard rock videos of all time. (Yeah, go ahead and fight me about it. That's the whole point.) (And, yes, it's true I could have filled the whole list with one band. But I didn't) (Did you know I invented the double parenthetical?) (And now I've invented the quadruple parenthetical. Rock on!)

10. The Stones: "Out of Control"

Sorry. They have to be on the list. They're the Alpha and Omega of rock.

9.  Pat Benatar: "Hit Me with your Best Shot."

She had that attitude. We need that attitude.

8.  The Clash:  "Straight to Hell"

Anger. We BETTER have it. Here's the studio version. It throbs with rage.

7.  Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: "I Love Rock'n'Roll."

Is this really consistent with Obama's Rodney King message? No.

6.  Patti Smith:  "Because the Night"

Don't even start with me. There are "hetero" molls. Patti's one.

5.  Aerosmith:  "Dream On."

Mostly, "live" means "less." Exceptions: Mick and Stevie. And, yeah,
we wanted "Walk This Way," but it was blocked. Can you dream on?

4.  Billy Idol:  "Rebel Yell."

Original video blocked. Check out this and this.
If you suspected it, you're right. Johnny Dodge.

3. AC/DC:  "Highway to Hell"

Scottish trash. We love'em.

2.  Guns 'n' Roses: Sweet Child O' Mine

Slash Trash. If you can't get off the couch for this one, you're dead.

1.  Stones: "Satisfaction" (1969)

I warned you. The Alpha and Omega. And I am NOT satisfied.

Have at it, kids. Welcome back to the fight for life. Who does Obama listen to? Not these guys. That's one for our side.

We'll close with a few that aren't on the list only because they're "blocked by request." You Got to Fight for your Right to Parteee. Plus this one. (Call them blogger earmarks. Yeah, that's the ticket.)

Do it, my children. Jump off the couch. Fight. Rock. Out. Bruce isn't the only one who was Born in the USA and is now spitting mad. He doesn't have a monopoly on rage.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Coming Attractions

HINT. So we're working on something that's taking up a lot of the time we'd normally spend blogging. It's a joint effort -- on our part here and on the part of three major television networks.

You're going to love it. We promise. Until the big premiere, though, blogging may be a little lighter than usual. Feel free to guess about the groundbreaking project underway.

UPDATE 6/17:  Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link. If you're confused about the nature of the project announced in this post, it's a comic book treatment (like we did here and here -- look for Malkin in a cameo) of a show that could be titled "The Apprentice Goes to Alaska," starring Donald Trump, would-be network TV news stars, and Sarah Palin. Letterman isn't her only MSM victim. It's almost ready for posting, so check back in a day or two...


The Party of Death

Don't ever forget. They think we're all freaks.

GIGGLING. Everyone's so concerned about the state of the Republican Party. Republicans, of course. Meaning all the fat, sleek professional politicians who had their chance to act on principle and ran like hell into the briar patch of giant government boondoggles. And Democrats. How touching. How many hundreds of thousands of words have they lavished on advice to a party they pronounce dead and yet seem to care for, as if it were a reprobate uncle staring unconfessed into the face of a divine but cranky union-local chairman. Color me unconvinced. I'm in a more black-and-white frame of mind right now.

I'm not concerned about the state of the Republican Party. Surprised? Even though I freely admit we're freaks. Get a load of who's supposedly on our side.

Colin Powell, who would really rather be normal, er, Democrat.

Lindsey Graham, member of the 'Gang of 14' and McCain buttboy.

David Frum, who thinks Republicans should become Democrats.

Peggy Noonan. Poor thing. No arms or legs. B.O. smiled at her once.

Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader. Right.
But it's valiant the way he keeps talking to Reid...

Christopher Buckley, who loves everything he hates.

Ace of Spades. The King of the Right-Wing Bloggers.
I know he means well, but with friends like these...

Kathleen Parker. Who's absolutely f___ing appalled
 by the grotesque company she's keeping. Life sucks.

Laughing? You betcha. We're a ridiculous old gang of fools. Here's the thing, though. Of course conservatives and Republicans are freaks. We look ugly and awful to you -- what are you calling yourselves these days? -- progressives? You think you have a vision of Utopia? And exactly how many of your precious Hollywood movies has that not worked out in?

The way I see it, you're the ones who have a party identity problem, not us. What's everybody's favorite political metaphor? uh, the Big Tent. Here's a picture.

Very pretty. Makes you think of peanuts and cotton candy and popcorn, doesn't it? Until you remember all the freaks inside. So how are the proprietors of the Big Tent going to keep the tent full? The politicians would have you believe that the answer is to expand the tent so that it covers more people. Which is as ridiculous as all government solutions. Truth is, people walk into, and out of, tents like this every day. There is no such thing as a permanent or static "tent population." Holding everything constant is a standard Democrat folly. For example, you think you can raise raise revenues by raising taxes on the people whose surplus monies fund new enterprises; never mind that when you raise taxes you also change people's incentives, meaning you're always acting in a changing environment. (A funny story from graduate business school: I had a distinguished professor of accounting who pooh-poohed the effect of confiscatory tax rates by holding up a dollar in a student amphitheatre and asking, "If I told you you could keep only ten cents of this dollar, would you refuse to take it?" An older, smarter student than I responded, "No. But ten cents is no longer worth me walking down there to take it from you." Static model vs. dynamic model. PhD. equals 'retard.' Excuse me: 'freak'. Oops. I meant 'progressive.')

Regardless of what all the solicitous Democrat pundits say, it doesn't matter at all if a bunch of moderate (unprincipled) Republicans leave the "Big Tent."  Why? Well, what's the show they're staging in the competing tent? It doesn't matter if there's nothing "new and incredibly New Age" going on under your Big Tent if their tent is on fire. If it is, your prosaic old tent will suddenly attract a glut of people who find they prefer old-fashioned trapeze acts, clown cars, and sideshows to this:

Guess what. The party that needs to be rethinking who and what it is is the Democrat Party. I'm every bit as sincere in my advice about this as the Democrats who have been trying to help Republicans become more Stalinist for the sake of their future.

Democrats need to be asking themselves some hard questions. Are you really comfortable with yourselves as the party of eternal apology to the rest of the world? Do you believe the American people will respond to your conviction that clitoris-amputating muslims have legitimate grievances against a nation that has sent troops to die for their religious freedom in Kossovo? Do you really think you speak for the common man the party of Andrew Jackson  presumes to champion by taxing small businesses into ruin and setting in place a bureaucracy of 'czars" unapproved by Congress that will rule the economy, healthcare, trade, pay grades, automobile designs (forget those Monster Trucks, amigo), cigarettes, food, media, the internet, and  the pride we're allowed to feel about the nation of our birth?

When you think about it, there is no life and death issue on which the Democrat Party sides with life. They favor abortion. They favor providing the full constitutional rights of U.S. citizens to alien enemies who want us dead. They oppose choice when it comes to school voucher systems that might provide the disadvantaged with opportunities for life-saving educational alternatives. They prefer taxing the dead to tolerating the entrepreneurial prospects of the living. They would rather see youngsters gunned down in 'gun-free zones' than concede that there is a place for a responsible man or woman with a gun empowered to prevent a slaughter. They value the well being of a planet that doesn't care if we live or die but will continue regardless over the quality of life of millions of American citizens and billions of third world peoples who could eat the corn they legislate into ethanol and just maybe survive if they were allowed to use fossil fuels and nuclear technology to obtain their first ever electrification -- you know, the juice that powers stoves, sterilized water, smoke-free hovels, and the lights after dark that enable poor people the luxury of learning to read and write.

The platform of the Democrat Party is death. Death of innocents in the U.S.  Death of the disadvantaged abroad. Death (monstrously so) of Israel and the Jews. And death of the human race in general. It actually makes them feel virtuous, rooting for Mother Earth against all the forces of human civilization.

So I have a question for Democrats. Where do you get off even pretending that you care for common folk?

You DON'T. You hate them. You hate us. All of us. If we're a horror show, you're a worse one. But at least we're individuals. Here's what your platform looks like.

By contrast, ours looks pretty damn good. When they begin to sense the murderous fire smoldering in your tent, even the freaks you've conveniently deciided to tolerate for the moment will be back. All you offer is death. Zombie time. Here's how that always ends.

Republicans will be fine if they stay the course. If Democrats stay the course, they'll end their lives in prison. Not because Republicans put them there. Because their own will put them there. Something to think about.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Recession Over!!!???

Wait for it. One minute in. Happy Days are here again.

WHY DO WE KEEP THINKING ABOUT 'DATE NIGHT'?. Well, gee. That was easy. And to think we've been worried all this time. All we had to do was wait for God to wave his wand. You didn't know Obama was God? Well, here you go (h/t Hotair).

As a religious moment, we'd put it right up there with learning that Tiger is Jesus.

If we had to guess, though, we'd pick Tiger as the one who doesn't take such comparisons seriously. And by 'seriously' we mean dead-seriously.

Is anybody else out there scared absolutely to death? Yes. There's a guy at Big Hollywood who's talking about Greek tragedy, especially hubris and the spiritual crime it represented to the ancients:

The next element of tragedy is hubris. The hero feels entitled, that his abilities will allow him to overcome fate and to violate moral law without consequence. Mr. Obama, also like Oedipus, is afflicted by the sin of hubris. In Ancient Greece that overwhelming sense of pride and entitlement was considered not only a character flaw but was a crime. The Greeks felt that pride often led to poor judgment and unnecessary acts of violence against ones enemies. Acts of hubris were often hypocritical and would, in Greek drama, eventually lead to the protagonist’s downfall. We see this in Mr. Obama recent “date night” in New York City.

During the months prior, the President had been critical of corporate executives excesses, especially for their flying around in private jets. He mentioned it several times during the lead up to the bailouts and when auto industry executives came to Washington. Yet he sees no problem or hypocrisy in his taking three jets on personal business to New York. It might be interesting to note that the Greek word for actor was “hypocrites,” which is the etymological root for the English word “hypocrite.”

That is where our drama stands after almost five months. The stage is set and we are at intermission. So what comes next? While President Obama dabbles in auto manufacturing, health care and giving speeches in Egypt, he doesn’t see or hear that the chorus is singing a song of warning. He is distracted by his false nemesis; be it talk radio hosts, corporate executives or whatever boogie man is convenient at the moment.

In classical tragedy the next element is catastrophe, the event that leads to a complete reversal of fortune. What will that event be? For Obama, it is hard to say – but there’s no doubt that in his mind it will not have been his fault.

Biggest problem? Obama's catastrophe will also be ours. Sleep tight.

P.S. My voice is deeper, but the tone of this is utterly consistent with my own perspective -- and rage:

Mark Levin on Colin Powell and Newt Gingrich.

What's going on is making me physically ill. You can't yell all the time without losing your voice. But I'm yelling in my mind every minute of every day. My country is dying. While some of you are waxing irate about WWII octogenarians, your protectiveness about arrogant star turns by the first family, and the case to be made for murdering our moral opponents. Yeccch.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Thoughts on the
D-Day Ceremonies

THE PRESENT MATTERS TOO. I watched the D-Day proceedings in Normandy live yesterday, and I was divided about whether to comment on them or not. The occasion itself was moving, of course, as it cannot help but be, and it was sad that the usual ten year cycle of major commemorations was truncated this time because the surviving veterans of the battle are leaving us at such a rapid rate. It should be sufficient to watch and think one's own thoughts, including the irreverent ones that might be thought of as impertinent, even if they're not about the subject of the proceedings but the undeniably political supporting players.

For example, I found myself wondering: Why did Fox News Channel's Wendell Goiler refer TWICE to "work camps" at Buchenwald visited by President Obama rather than the "death camps" they were; is this a new inside-the-beltway locution the MSM will be using from now on (though Goler did tear up at the end of the ceremonies, bless his heart)? What's with the half yard of showy fruit salad on Prince Charles's civilian suitcoat? I know he was in the navy, but I don't remember him winning the battle of Midway single-handed... And with respect to Stephen Harper's speech: Why is it that Canadian French is so remarkably ugly, or is it just that it seems worse -- something like a Michigan high school French student's -- when you hear it in France? And about Gordon Brown's speech..."Obama Beach"? And Obama's speech...? Yes, I was immensely relieved that our president didn't apologize to the French for invading their country in 1944, but, uh, ahem... Well, maybe it's better to say nothing and leave the day to the people in whose honor it was celebrated.

So I didn't rush to the computer after the stirring rendition of Taps mantled the graves of the fallen with the usual mystical hypersilence. I felt it myself. I was going to let it be. (Is a trumpet as correct as a bugle for that valediction now? Stop It, IP.) Until I got a comment on what I'd intended as my compleat D-Day 2009 post. In it I'd referenced the book I'd read about D-Day as an eight or nine-year-old boy with an entreaty to today's parents to let their own children read it. The comment, from a man who calls himself Billy Oblivion, said this:

I'm sitting here in Baghdad, and one of my Co-workers is a former Army Ranger/101st Airborne type. He was here in 2003 and 2007 with the Army. He was talking today about being back in the states and having to listen to people whining "not having slept well last night", or some other pissant complaint while he still can't go to barbecues because every time he smells the cooking meat he can hear the guy on top of a burning APC crying for his mother as he burned to death and no one could get close enough to help because of the heat.

Or having to burn his BDUs because the blood on them wasn't his.

Or the time he had to carry his buddy legs back so that they could get all of him in the body bag.

I really don't understand what was so great about "The Greatest Generation" anyway. Was D-Day all that much worse than the trench warfare in WWI? Was it any any more stressful than doing daily combat patrols in Fallujah or Mosul--especially with the all seeing eye of the Moslem Propaganda machine waiting for the *slightest* thing that could be spun as a misstep?

I'm not trying to take away from what those men--and boys--did 65 years ago, but I think to put them up on such a pedestal somewhat belittles the sacrifices and efforts of today's soldiers.

Which really is even more why you shouldn't shield your children from what adults sometimes have to do. They may have to step up themselves some day, or sleep next to someone who did and who will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night sweaty and crying. [boldface mine]

I understand his bewilderment, his sense, however moderated by tact, of being offended. I asked myself what in yesterday's ceremonies would have ameliorated or exacerbated his prickliness about the subject. Some of both, I decided. Enough worth digging just a bit below the gloss of ritual into the subtleties that both refute and confirm the justice of Billy Oblivion's discontent.

The ceremonies and speeches yesterday did highlight what was so great about "The Greatest Generation." I suppose one could dismiss it as an accident of history, but it was really no accident. It was an unmistakable proof, something very rare in history, of the altruism of an entire nation. The circumstances that make it a proof in no way belittle the altruism displayed in other battles, other historical contexts. It's just that this is one which is absolutely, incontrovertibly undeniable to its beneficiaries. American armies, navies, airmen, and marines raised largely through the draft nevertheless had the courage, the extraordinary valor, to give up their lives in order to procure the liberation of peoples they knew almost nothing about before being sent to war on their behalf. The American military has done this countless times, of course, but this was the largest such engagement ever, and the one whose consequences simply couldn't be denied by the nations it helped.

If you're looking for grievances, many other members of the Greatest Generation could be offended by the disproportionate attention given to D-Day. Iwo Jima is not honored like this. Nor is the U.S. Eighth Army Air Corps, which experienced some of the highest U.S. casualties of the war. Russia is omitted from all such ceremonies, though its 8-million WWII dead dwarfed those of all the other nations allied against Germany combined. Much to its dismay, I'm sure, the U.S. Navy is ceremonially remembered more for its losses at Pearl Harbor than its astonishing string of victories in the Atlantic and the South Pacific. The horrifying losses of U.S. troops, over a hundred thousand in a half year of combat in WWI, have never been honored, not even in the United States, let alone in Europe, where everyone clings to the fantasy that they, not the Americans, won the Great War. Historical context matters.

What does this mean if you're in Baghdad now? It means you should listen to the obligatory components of the political speeches delivered more than half a century after the fact, because these are acknowledgments of moral debts that cannot be repaid, have never been repaid, and are not receiving even incremental payments of any kind in the current political environment. I admit I found Sarkoszy's speech moving, the only one that brought a tear to my eye all day. The French who live in Normandy are continuously grateful, which they prove by the meticulous condition of American graves. But France as a whole is an ungrateful bitch of a nation, and the poetry of a grateful speech intoned by that narcissist nation's leader cannot do anything but emphasize the ingratitide of the nation that will send only a handful of cooks to Afghanistan, no troops to Iraq, and might accept one prisoner from a Guantamo facility they pretend is akin to the concentration camps their collaborationist WWII government sent Jews to by the thousands.

The same goes for the U.K. and Canada. Sixty-five years ago, they may have been lions whose avowals of friendship meant something.  Today, their rhetoric, where it isn't banal, is nonetheless utterly empty. If your friends are cowards and selfish rationalizers, they aren't friends at all. They're sweet-breathed vipers. The U.K. simply walked away from Iraq when their participation became too costly in the polls for the ruling Labour government. Canadians died heorically on D-Day, but their nation is wringing enormously outsized praise for the contributions of the 500 troops they've committed to combat in Afghanistan. Eternal friendship? Comrades in arms? Hardly. Parasites. Every word they utter at an occasion like yesterday's is an indictment of the crumbled character of their nations.

BUT. And I remind you, the question is, what's so great about the Greatest Generation? France, the U.K. and Canada still had to make their hypocritical speeches yesterday. Because the debt is so huge and obvious they have to run the risk of making themselves look like corrupt, empty parodies of their own past. Which is what they are. D-Day is an anchor in time they can't jerk loose from, however much they may want to. History has few powers of authority. This is one of them.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that if you're in Baghdad now, the D-Day vets are one of the very few ways of holding all the traitors' feet to the fire. They owe you the same way they owe the D-Day vets. For many of the same reasons. Don't disdain history. Count on it to rectify today's wrongs tomorrow through the passage of time.

And thus to our president's speech. The part of yesterday's proceedings that would make me even hotter than Billy Oblivion seems to be. I was grateful Obama didn't begin with all his family references to World War II. It was a becoming and highly unusual departure from his customary practice of beginning all public utterances with flattering references to himself. But he did still have to wedge it in. Still, there was plenty to object to in what he said and didn't say. Here's a full transcript, just to be fair. I've highlighted the passages I'll fisk. But fisk them I will.

June 6, 2009
Obama’s D-Day 65th Anniversary Remarks

Good afternoon.  Thank you, President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Brown, Prime Minister Harper, and Prince Charles for being here today.  Thank you to our Secretary of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki, for making the trip out here to join us.  Thanks also to Susan Eisenhower, whose grandfather began this mission 65 years ago with a simple charge: "Ok, let's go."  And to a World War II veteran who returned home from this war to serve a proud and distinguished career as a United States Senator and a national leader:  Bob Dole.  (Applause.)

I'm not the first American President to come and mark this anniversary, and I likely will not be the last.  This is an event that has long brought to this coast both heads of state and grateful citizens; veterans and their loved ones; the liberated and their liberators.  It's been written about and spoken of and depicted in countless books and films and speeches.  And long after our time on this Earth has passed, one word will still bring forth the pride and awe of men and women who will never meet the heroes who sit before us:  D-Day. 

Why is this?  Of all the battles in all the wars across the span of human history, why does this day hold such a revered place in our memory?  What is it about the struggle that took place on the sands a few short steps from here that brings us back to remember year after year after year?

TRANSLATION: Damned if I know. Never cared much about it myself. So I did some research at Wikipedia. Here's the short course for everyone who hates history as much as I do. (It's okay. It's all written at a seventh grade level.)

Part of it, I think, is the size of the odds that weighed against success.  For three centuries, no invader had ever been able to cross the English Channel into Normandy.  And it had never been more difficult than in 1944.

That was the year that Hitler ordered his top field marshal to fortify the Atlantic Wall against a seaborne invasion.  From the tip of Norway to southern France, the Nazis lined steep cliffs with machine guns and artillery.  Low-lying areas were flooded to block passage.  Sharpened poles awaited paratroopers.  Mines were laid on the beaches and beneath the water.  And by the time of the invasion, half a million Germans waited for the Allies along the coast between Holland and northern France.

At dawn on June 6th, the Allies came.  The best chance for victory had been for the British Royal Air Corps to take out the guns on the cliffs while airborne divisions parachuted behind enemy lines.  But all did not go according to plan.  Paratroopers landed miles from their mark, while the fog and clouds prevented Allied planes from destroying the guns on the cliffs.  So when the ships landed here at Omaha, an unimaginable hell rained down on the men inside.  Many never made it out of the boats.

And yet, despite all of this, one by one, the Allied forces made their way to shore -- here, and at Utah and Juno; Gold and Sword.  They were American, British, and Canadian.  Soon, the paratroopers found each other and fought their way back.  The Rangers scaled the cliffs.  And by the end of the day, against all odds, the ground on which we stand was free once more.

COMMENT:  "One by one"? "By the end of the day... free once more"? Movie imagery anyone? Well, not even good movie imagey. Even one viewing of "Saving Private Ryan" might have edited these comments out of the script. How about "hundred by hundred" and "clinging perilously to a foothold on the edge of a continent"?

The sheer improbability of this victory is part of what makes D-Day so memorable.  It also arises from the clarity of purpose with which this war was waged.

We live in a world of competing beliefs and claims about what is true.  It's a world of varied religions and cultures and forms of government.  In such a world, it's all too rare for a struggle to emerge that speaks to something universal about humanity.

COMMENT:  Yes, rare. Perhaps rare enough that we should be alert to it when it happens again.

The Second World War did that.  No man who shed blood or lost a brother would say that war is good.  But all know that this war was essential.  For what we faced in Nazi totalitarianism was not just a battle of competing interests.  It was a competing vision of humanity.  Nazi ideology sought to subjugate and humiliate and exterminate.  It perpetrated murder on a massive scale, fueled by a hatred of those who were deemed different and therefore inferior.  It was evil.

COMMENT:  Excuse me. I'm struggling here. Are you saying this was something unique about World War II? Something we haven't seen since? Like not in the Cold War or the War on Islamic Jihadists? Really? Could you repeat your description please? Pleeeease. "[N]ot just a battle of competing interests.  It was a competing vision of humanity.  Nazi ideology sought to subjugate and humiliate and exterminate.  It perpetrated murder on a massive scale, fueled by a hatred of those who were deemed different and therefore inferior.  It was evil." Oh, I get it. "Nazi" is different from, say, the Jew-hating middle eastern states who were allied with the Nazis in WWII and are still pursuing their selfsame genocidal aims? And adding all of us in as targets into the bargain? I get it. More targets translates to "interests" rather than "competing visions of humanity." Got it. It's no longer "evil" if you want to kill half the world. It's more like a referendum.

TRANSLATION: It's easy to hate Nazis. Look at those armbands. So conducive to misunderstandings. It's a lot harder now to jump to conclusions. Just because they tell you straight to your face that they hate you and want to kill you doesn't mean that you should take them at their word. My one big historical regret about this period is that no one gave Neville Chamberlain a chance to prevent the war through further negotiation.

The nations that joined together to defeat Hitler's Reich were not perfect.  They had made their share of mistakes, had not always agreed with one another on every issue.  But whatever God we prayed to, whatever our differences, we knew that the evil we faced had to be stopped.  Citizens of all faiths and of no faith came to believe that we could not remain as bystanders to the savage perpetration of death and destruction.  And so we joined and sent our sons to fight and often die so that men and women they never met might know what it is to be free.

COMMENT: A missed photo-op here. I for one would have been entranced by the on-camera recognition of the leader of the "Citizens of No Faith Opposed to Hitler" community action organization. It would have made my day.

In America, it was an endeavor that inspired a nation to action.  A President who asked his country to pray on D-Day also asked its citizens to serve and sacrifice to make the invasion possible.  On farms and in factories, millions of men and women worked three shifts a day, month after month, year after year.  Trucks and tanks came from plants in Michigan and Indiana, New York and Illinois.  Bombers and fighter planes rolled off assembly lines in Ohio and Kansas, where my grandmother did her part as an inspector.  Shipyards on both coasts produced the largest fleet in history, including the landing craft from New Orleans that eventually made it here to Omaha.

TRANSLATION: All my voting constituencies were just as important as the redneck killers who stormed the beaches. Don't I remind you of FDR? How about when I turn this way? And I can take credit, too, for, you know, some of the actual work. Because even my racist grandmother helped out. BFD.

But despite all the years of planning and preparation, despite the inspiration of our leaders, the skill of our generals, the strength of our firepower and the unyielding support from our home front, the outcome of the entire struggle would ultimately rest on the success of one day in June. 

Lyndon Johnson once said that there are certain moments when "history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom."

TRANSLATION: That's my cue. When any quote mentions "history," "fate," and ends with "at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point," it's a sign that we're talking about me, Barack Obama, a.k.a. "the One."

D-Day was such a moment.  One newspaper noted that "we have come to the hour for which we were born." 

TRANSLATION: Does this remind you of anything? "We are the Change we've been waiting for"? "I'm the Hope you were born to Change for"? "I'm the Hour into which you were born"? I've got a million of'em.

Had the Allies failed here, Hitler's occupation of this continent might have continued indefinitely.  Instead, victory here secured a foothold in France.  It opened a path to Berlin.  It made possible the achievements that followed the liberation of Europe:  the Marshall Plan, the NATO alliance, the shared prosperity and security that flowed from each.

It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only six miles long and two miles wide.

COMMENT: I've never seen a slice of beach two miles wide. Cool. Well, he did it all without a teleprompter. Maybe he should get the "Legion d'Honneur."

TRANSLATION: D-Day made the world safe for government. You know. The stimulus spending of the Marshall Plan. The negotiated impotency of Nato. The shared prosperity that made Europe rich because American rednecks were paying for all the defense Europeans were too virtuous to admit they relied on.

More particularly, it came down to the men who landed here -- those who now rest in this place for eternity, and those who are with us here today.  Perhaps more than any other reason, you, the veterans of that landing, are why we still remember what happened on D-Day.  You're why we keep coming back.

TRANSLATION: I won't have to do this in my second term. Allah be praised.

For you remind us that in the end, human destiny is not determined by forces beyond our control.  You remind us that our future is not shaped by mere chance or circumstance.  Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man and woman.  It has always been up to us. 

You could have done what Hitler believed you would do when you arrived here.  In the face of a merciless assault from these cliffs, you could have idled the boats offshore.  Amid a barrage of tracer bullets that lit the night sky, you could have stayed in those planes.  You could have hid in the hedgerows or waited behind the seawall.  You could have done only what was necessary to ensure your own survival.

TRANSLATION: You stupid rednecks.

But that's not what you did.  That's not the story you told on D-Day.  Your story was written by men like Zane Schlemmer of the 82nd Airborne, who parachuted into a dark marsh, far from his objective and his men.  Lost and alone, he still managed to fight his way through the gunfire and help liberate the town in which he landed -- a town where a street now bears his name.  

It's a story written by men like Anthony Ruggiero, an Army Ranger who saw half the men on his landing craft drown when it was hit by shellfire just a thousand yards off this beach.  He spent three hours in freezing water, and was one of only 90 Rangers to survive out of the 225 who were sent to scale the cliffs.

And it's a story written by so many who are no longer with us, like Carlton Barrett.  Private Barrett was only supposed to serve as a guide for the 1st Infantry Division, but he instead became one of its heroes.  After wading ashore in neck-deep water, he returned to the water again and again and again to save his wounded and drowning comrades.  And under the heaviest possible enemy fire, he carried them to safety.  He carried them in his own arms.

TRANSLATION: You know, I'm a better orator than Ronald Reagan ever thought of being. I am absolutely going to jump me some Rahm Emmanuel ass when I get back to DC and put an end to this crap of pretending that presidents care what individual proles did on this or that date under whatever misbegotten understanding they had of the political impacts of their stupid individual decisions. If I had a teleprompter instead of a script I could just smile here, acknowledge some ho fainting in the audience at the sight of me, and wait for the next big oratorical generality. Take a note: fire everyone on the speechwriting staff who's ever even heard of Peggy Noonan. And no, I am NOT reutrning her calls. Ever.

This is the story of the Allied victory.  It's the legend of units like Easy Company and the All-American 82nd.  It's the tale of the British people, whose courage during the Blitz forced Hitler to call off the invasion of England; the Canadians, who came even though they were never attacked; the Russians, who sustained some of the war's heaviest casualties on the Eastern front; and all those French men and women who would rather have died resisting tyranny than lived within its grasp.

It is the memories that have been passed on to so many of us about the service or sacrifice of a friend or relative.  For me, it is my grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who arrived on this beach six weeks after D-Day and marched across Europe in Patton's Army.  And it is my great uncle who was part of the first American division to reach and liberate a Nazi concentration camp.  His name is Charles Payne, and I'm so proud that he's with us here today.

TRANSLATION: Whew. Almost two paragraphs without a personal pronoun. Don't they know who I am? uh, who is Charles Payne again?

I know this trip doesn't get any easier as the years pass, but for those of you who make it, there's nothing that could keep you away.  One such veteran, a man named Jim Norene, was a member of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Division of the 101st Airborne.  Last night, after visiting this cemetery for one last time, he passed away in his sleep.  Jim was gravely ill when he left his home, and he knew that he might not return.  But just as he did 65 years ago, he came anyway.  May he now rest in peace with the boys he once bled with, and may his family always find solace in the heroism he showed here.

In the end, Jim Norene came back to Normandy for the same reason we all come back.  He came for the reason articulated by Howard Huebner, another former paratrooper who is here with us today.  When asked why he made the trip, Howard said, "It's important that we tell our stories.  It doesn't have to be something big -- just a little story about what happened -- so people don't forget."

So people don't forget.

TRANSLATION:  That better be a medium closeup. If I'm not going to cry for some uncle I never met. I'm not gonna cry for any of these other old relics. I DO NOT CRY ON CAMERA. (Hasn't anybody noticed? Yet? I'm the Iceman.) ) But the guy who ever proves it is fired. Besides, I'm getting ready for the big oratorical blockbuster close:

Friends and veterans, we cannot forget.  What we must not forget is that D-Day was a time and a place where the bravery and the selflessness of a few was able to change the course of an entire century.  At an hour of maximum danger, amid the bleakest of circumstances, men who thought themselves ordinary found within themselves the ability to do something extraordinary.  They fought for their moms and sweethearts back home, for the fellow warriors they came to know as brothers.  And they fought out of a simple sense of duty -- a duty sustained by the same ideals for which their countrymen had once fought and bled for over two centuries.

That is the story of Normandy -- but also the story of America; of the Minutemen who gathered on a green in Lexington; of the Union boys from Maine who repelled a charge at Gettysburg; of the men who gave their last full measure of devotion at Inchon and Khe San **********; of all the young men and women whose valor and goodness still carry forward this legacy of service and sacrifice.  It's a story that has never come easy, but one that always gives us hope.  For as we face down the hardships and struggles of our time, and arrive at that hour for which we were born, we cannot help but draw strength from those moments in history when the best among us were somehow able to swallow their fears and secure a beachhead on an unforgiving shore. [boldface mine]

COMMENT: Yeah. I added the row of asterisks. How about "the men who gave their last full measure of devotion" at Tora Bora and Fallujah? They didn't do it as part of a war against "a competing vision of humanity"? A vision of humanity that involves not only killing every single Jew on earth, but also executing homosexuals, disfiguring women, enslaving them, and sexually maiming them as part of their plan to hurl the civilized world back to the darkness of pre-Christian unconsciousness. That would be a mere political  "interest" smart post-Christians can negotiate with.

To those men who achieved that victory 65 years ago, we thank you for your service.  May God bless you, and may God bless the memory of all those who rest here.

uh, do they rest? Is this what they fought for?

Don't resent the D-Day vets, Billy. My guess is, they're every bit as pissed off in their graves as your friends are in Baghdad.

They are part of your army, the authoritative legacy of history. They were great. So are you. But they didn't have such a lonely fight, so unappreciated, so cast in shadow. That's not their fault. Use the light of the remembered ones to burn the darkness of your detractors, not cremate the tombs of your fathers.

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