Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Friday Follies

It's a kind of dancing, isn't it?

TGIF. Yeah, I know it's still Thursday, but it'll be Friday soon enough, and who doesn't want this insipid week to be over?

I'm not going to apologize for not having posted much lately. There was turkey to see to, and stuffing, and gravy, and three kinds of pie. One has to have priorities in this life. Besides, there was this advisory from Michael Kinsley (once a charter member of William F. Buckley's Bum of the Month Club on Firing Line):

Surfing aimlessly, I stumbled upon a Web page that describes itself as "The definitive site for finding out 'What is Doug Doing?' " Doug himself writes: "So I know what you all are thinking . . . Doug never updates this!" Doug seems genuinely apologetic about not keeping us up to date on the minutiae of his life. For myself, I'm worried sick that the grad course and two music history courses Doug is taking this semester, which he says are driving him "a little crazy," may not leave him enough time to keep the page totally current.

So, if you're not an important journalist like, say, Michael Kinsley, there's absolutely no responsibility to weigh in on the hot topics of the day on a regular, or even irregular, basis. It takes a mighty powerful intellect to come up with sage commentary about the incredibly complex doings of our nation and the world. Us pygmies should just leave it alone, and let the experts handle it.

For example, I know I'm just being simple-minded when I look at all the hot news stories of the past week or so and am reminded chiefly of the politically incorrect sport of boxing. Pretty pitiful, huh?

There was the new heavyweight champion of the Congress, Nancy "Dreadnought" Pelosi, immediately putting her title on the line in a bid to make John "The Absc(H)ammer" Murtha House Majority Leader. I should have analyzed it in the subtle terms of chess, or poker, but instead I had this flash of Nancy surprised by a wicked right cross that knocked her to the canvas in the first round. Would she get up? Of course. Champions have to. But she was still wobbly on her feet and survived the first round only by backpedalling as fast as she could, much to the disappointment of cutman Alcee "Impeachy" Hastings.

If I were smarter, I could come up with important predictions about the next few months based on the events of the past week or two, but I'm not. Everywhere I look, all I see is first round sparring, the dull and indeterminate feeling-out process professional fighters employ to take the measure of their opponents. And in boxing, at least, you can't tell that much about how the fight's going to go from the careful bobbing and weaving that generally occurs in the first three minutes. It's a time when even sluggers sometimes act like boxers (Nancy's unexpected knockdown notwithstanding) and jab and feint while they study up on the likeliest opportunities to land a paralyzing left hook later on. After all the pre-fight posturing and polemics of the election campaign, this first round stuff is pretty boring and hardly indicative of what's to come.

Last Sunday, Chris Wallace had three members of the Democratic congressional leadership as his guests -- Charlie "The Taxman" Rangel, John "The Investigator" Dingell, and Barney "Sissyman" FifeFrank. Anyone who'd listened to the blood and thunder these gents offered up during the campaign would have expected them to lay out a legislative agenda along the lines of Rome's post-war policy with Carthage, but they just floated like butterflies and pretended they had no appetite to sting. No, Rangel wasn't going to raise taxes. No, Dingell wasn't going to commence a long march toward impeachment. And, no, Barney wasn't going to lose control and lisp any of the Dems' secret tactics to the opposition. Yawn. There's just no point in commenting on piffle like this.

It's the same with everything else in the wake of the election. George Bush is dancing like a gold-glover, making nice with Nancy and the Baker Commission, landing only a long-distance jab or two from overseas about his commitment to "victory in Iraq," whatever that is these days. The 2008 presidential candidates are dancing -- solipsistic little solos -- to tunes only they can hear about how much the voters are going to love them 23 months from now. Most of them won't last more than a few rounds when the fighting gets underway for real, but they're impressing themselves with their own footwork for the moment. John McCain doesn't know he's a sitting duck for a big right hand. John Kerry doesn't know that the only reason he's still on his feet is because Hillary plans to carry him for a round or two to make sure the fans get their money's worth. Al Gore doesn't know that his so-called charisma is the pure kitsch that may earn big but contemptuous bucks for Rocky VI. Only Bill Frisch was smart enough to throw in the towel before the first punch. There's no point in taking a beating if you never had the spine in the first place.

The mass media are dancing a retro waltz, distracting us all with the brightly repolished Aladdin's lamp called "Realpolitik," which will solve all our foreign policy nightmares by conjuring up an artificial reality in which it's more sensible to believe the lies of our enemies than to fight for what we believe in. I'm old enough to remember that there were a few old sportswriters who thought Sonny Liston would destroy Cassius Clay in their rematch. Most of us knew, though, that all the supposed strengths Liston possessed were irrelevant in the new boxing universe Clay represented. It wasn't the first time the old dogs got it wrong. Max Schmeling knocked out Joe Louis the first time they fought. The Germans thought he could do it again. Here's what happened:

What happens when you know what victory is and have the guts to pursue it.

Now the Dems, the MSM, and a great many American citizens have convinced themselves that a negotiation strategy which had some successes in a world of two superpowers with much to lose will also work in a world where the most vicious enemies of the one superpower have nothing to lose and are (literally) dying to lose it. They tell us to our faces that they hate us, that they intend the extermination of the Jews, and that they are prepared to train their children to die killing us for generations. And we somehow think that they'll change their tune if we ask for their cooperation and assistance.

What they will do is laugh. In our faces. As it happens, there's a boxing analogy that's relevant to this situation as well. It's a story about another old dog who'd had his day and was prepared for everything but being laughed at:

Not pretty to watch, is it?

Of course, "no mas" is actually a pretty fair summary of the Democrat view of the War on Terror. But there's one important respect in which life is not like boxing. There's no saving by the bell. When you quit in the real real world, that's when your opponents come after you in earnest, convinced they can destroy you utterly because you don't have the courage to defend yourself.

It's still possible the Democrats know this and will lift their gloves again by and by. But there's no way to tell for sure. It's a first round thing. Anyone who tells you he knows what's going to happen later on is lying or delusional. We just have to wait and see. When the dancing stops and the slugging begins in the middle of the ring.

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