Tuesday, August 31, 2004

LAST-MINUTE SURGE. The race for stupidest RNC commentary is extremely tight. At National Review Online, there are multiple contenders. But David Brooks really stole a march with today's column, in which he posited McCain, Giuliani, and -- get this --Arnold Schwarzenegger as avatars of "courage":
First, they are clear and self-confident in their beliefs... Second, they know their own minds... Third, they are obsessed with character. When they talk about problems, they talk about selfishness and dishonor... There is something chivalric and archaic about this form of political courage. Churchill and Thatcher had it, so did T.R. But today it is disdained in schools, where gentler virtues are held dear. And the movement-dominated organizations that now dominate our politics hate it...
First, "clear and self-confident in [his] beliefs," "know[s] [his]own mind," and "obsessed with character" could as easily describe Norman Bates as these guys.

Second, there is always something comic about a bespectacled, manicured academic like Brooks complaining that we're all turning into wimps, and gushing over Republican tough guys.

Third and Finally, other than party affiliation, what does Brooks' trio of objective correlatives have in common? McCain I grant is courageous, and his quiet dignity last night is the way courageous people actually comport themselves. But Giuliani? I appreciate that on September 11 he did not hide under his desk and crap his pants, but what possible Mayor of New York would have? (Seriously, think about it.)

Outside that brief period, Giuliani has uniformly devoted his life to bullying the weak and sucking up to the strong, with the occasional break for extra-marital affairs. (Oh, and this isn't the first time he has tried to leverage 9/11 to increase his own power and prestige. He actually tried to get the 2001 mayoral election delayed and keep himself in office past his term for a "indeterminate" amount of time. Fortunately, Freddy Ferrer told him to go fuck himself and we had the election on schedule. No disaster ensued except Bloomberg.)

As for Schwarzenegger, "chivalric"? Come fucking on.

While Andrea Peyser draws breath, Brooks will still have to run for it, but I expect to see him in the semifinals at least.

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