Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The Superior Conservative
OLD GUARD. One of the biggest fallacies in politics is that only the liberals-slash-progressives exhibit the above-it-all superiority of those who are to the manor born. Indeed, the haughtiness of power-elite liberals pales in comparison to the educated class who have never been taken in by such fads as Marxism, atheism, post-modernism, or even Reaganism. Such people are so aloof they tend to be invisible to pollsters and political campaigns of every stripe. If Hillary is to be prevented from capturing the White House, this community of the not-interested-enough-to-be-involved conservatives must be persuaded to vote in the next presidential election. I essayed a conversation with one of them not long ago. The results are not particularly promising. Here's a transcript.
Is there any particular Republican candidate who appeals to you? Refresh my memory. Who's running?
Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and John McCain. Oh, right.
What do you think of them? I didn't much care for George Romney. Too much slicked back salt-and-pepper hair. But at least he wasn't named after a baseball glove. I suppose that's called having a common touch. Just how common are politicans expected to be these days?
Giuliani? Thompson? McCain? It's said that persistence is a virtue, but I've always found persistence more tedious than inspiring. Oh well. Giuliani. He's a mayor, isn't he? Why would anyone think a mayor is qualified to be president? Don't they spend most of their time making deals with labor unions? Rather low, don't you think? I've heard of the McCain fellow. Didn't he break under torture in Vietnam? Regrettable. One might think he'd be content to go home and stay there without seeking to excite any more attention. Under the circumstances, that would seem to be the tactful thing to do.
They say Thompson is somewhat reminiscent of Reagan. I never much cared for Reagan. His hair was rather peculiarly orange. He also signed gigantic budgets. And his funeral was -- how shall I put it? -- overdone.
Don't you care at all? What about the issues? What about the possibility that Hillary Clinton might be elected President? She probably will be. It might be amusing. The Clintons are so hilariously, vulgarly corrupt they remind me of old-time big city mayors like LaGuardia, Curley, and Daley. Didn't you say a mayor was running against her? Should be fun. But her ankles are unfortunately thick. Not much breastage, either. Sad. The presidency will probably serve as some species of consolation for her.
Have you even heard of the Iraq War? Certainly. What a bungle. That Bush lad had the right idea, though it's never been a wise move to trust Andover boys with serious decisions. They're not up to it. Too bad he never learned to speak in public. But thumping Iraq was a creditable notion. Best thing to do with those Arabs is shoot them all. They won't stop annoying everyone until we do that. But I never had any use for that Rumsfeld fellow. It's fine to economize on some things. Like Congress. If we made them all drive Fords, do you think they'd spend so much money on pure nonsense? But you can't economize on wars. When you send troops out to do a job, you send as many as you can find and you keep at it until the enemy is dead or begging for mercy. Low-budget wars are bad business. Pardon my candor.
Do you have an opinion about abortion? Yes. It's not done. But some women do it anyway. The law isn't going to change that. But people seem to like wrangling about it. I prefer raising coneflowers. And foxgloves. Poison is better when it's pretty.
Is God an issue with you? No. When he's had enough, he'll do what he has to do. I'll probably be dead by then. He's pretty patient in my experience. Too damned patient, in fact. Ask all my dead Celtic ancestors about that. They might have a bone to pick with God. Or two.
Aren't you afraid of socialism, Islamic fascism, rampant political corruption, Global Warming, and the increasing saber-rattling of Russia and China? Afraid? No. Life is a mess and if you're afraid of it, go ahead and kill yourself. If you don't want to commit suicide, you adjust to it. Even to Democrats. They've been socialists since FDR. Thankfully, he died eventually. The usual fate of stupid do-gooders. Fascism is too crude to succeed. It has its moments in the early going, as a rule, like improved efficiency for mass transportation, but when people learn what else is involved they tend to object, strenuously. In the end, fascism flunks at everything but gaudy uniforms. Political corruption is something that's bound to happen when people who used to be mayors and senators and other ladies of the night get elected to high office and discover there's money to be had by selling their favors to the right people. I can't speak to the Global Warming thing. I never trusted scientists any more than I trusted politicians. As far as I'm concerned, summers have been more or less hot all my life. When winters get hot enough to require a gin and tonic before five o'clock, I'll let you know.
Russia? China? Now you're becoming a bore. Name a time when Russia and China weren't being childishly obnoxious about practically everything. Their whole idea of foreign policy is being infantile. If they step over the line the way they've been threatening continuously for the last five hundred years or so, we'll have to smack the presumption out of them. That's what they really want, anyway. It'll do them good. It's what children want. Counterintuitive? Yes. Counterproductive? No.
Do you make any attempt to keep up with what's going on in politics, like the stuff that's made a big deal of in The New York Times and on the network news? No. The lower classes -- especially journalists -- do have to amuse themselves as best they can. There's no point in obstructing their enthusiasms. Being well bred means not losing your temper just because the loudest among us insist on being silly.
So you don't even pay attention to the war? Not really. I know the journalists want us to lose it, so I don't read or watch their reports. If the politicians let us win it, we will. Now that the Princeton boy is out of the picture, I feel mostly more optimistic. I do feel bad for the families of soldiers and marines who died. Every generation of my family has had losses like that, so I -- what's the word? -- empathize. Beyond that, I just wait for them to kick the Arabs back to the seventh century. Nobody beats us when we're there to win. That part of it is bone simple. Or am I missing something? Don't mention the Democrats. I'm being ironic. It's my privilege as an old fart.
Are you going to vote? Yes. Of course.
For whom? Some Republican, I expect. Only most of them are crazy.
One last question: Did you do anything to prevent FDR from subverting the American Dream during the Great Depression? Of course not. I played tennis with him at Groton. Or my father did. Franklin thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'd have hated to burst his bubble. He was paralyzed. Syphilis is a bitch.
Do you feel better? I know I don't.