Sunday, October 31, 2004

All Quiet

Let's all be thankful for the quiet lack of news today. Not much going on. No "surprises", no terrorist attacks. A foretaste of having this election over? A couple of good items, though. First, we have, via The Corner a good quote from Tocqueville that rings as true today (I hope!) as it did more than 150 years ago.
Roger Kimball: "Modern readers who first encounter Democracy in America are almost always amazed by Tocqueville’s contemporaneity, his relevance to America now. One example: although the stability of American democracy means that elections present 'no real danger,' Tocqueville notes that one 'can still consider the election of the president as a period of national crisis.'

"'Long before the appointed moment arrives, the election becomes the greatest and so to speak sole business preoccupying minds. The factions at that time redouble their ardor; in that moment all the factitious passion that the imagination can create in a happy and tranquil country become agitated in broad daylight. . . . The entire nation falls into a feverish state; the election is then the daily text of the public papers, the subject of particular conversations, the goal of all reasoning, the object of all thoughts, the sole interest of the present.'

"And then? 'As soon as fortune has pronounced . . . this ardor is dissipated, everything becomes calm, and the river, one moment overflowed, returns peacefully to its bed.'"
Next we have a Mark Steyn column.


Reading the media "endorsements" of John Kerry is like having lunch with a woman who wants to tell you about her great new boyfriend. She spends seven-eighths of the time bitching about the old boyfriend -- cocky, hot-headed, insensitive, never wants to listen, never gonna change -- and in the remaining few minutes tries to come up with the new guy's good points:

"Mr. Kerry himself is not a compelling candidate. But this year he offers a --"


"-- a respite, a pause for reappraisal."

That's The Economist, pining for a quiet night in.

"What the Republicans tar as waffling strikes us as --"

Hmm. What is le mot juste?

"-- flexibility."

That's my Sun-Times colleagues, looking for a man they -- or, at any rate, Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan -- can mold.

"According to the Almanac of American Politics, Kerry is 'more respectful of economic free markets' and more inclined to an expansionist foreign policy than --"

Than Ronald Reagan?

"-- than other liberal Democrats."

Oh, well. That's the Des Moines Register, arguing that he doesn't seem like a wimp and a loser if you put him in a room full of even bigger wimps and losers.


"Mr. Kerry's description of the war as a 'diversion' does not inspire confidence in his determination to see it through. But Mr. Kerry has repeatedly pledged not to cut and run from Iraq --"

You're right, says the Washington Post, he has a commitment problem, but we'll work that out after the wedding.


It's only a day or so now till the chad-dangling round of Campaign 2004 begins but, when the lawsuits are over and the bloodletting begins, serious Democrats need to confront the intellectual emptiness of their party, which Kerry's campaign embodies all too well. The Dems got a full tank from FDR, a top-up in the Civil Rights era, and they've been running on fumes for 30 years. Their last star, Bill Clinton, has no legacy because, deft as he was, his Democratic Party had no purpose other than as a vehicle for promoting his own indispensability. When he left, the Democrats became a party running on personality with no personalities to run. Hence, the Kerry candidacy. Despite the best efforts of American editorialists, there's no there there.

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