1. My favorite overseas editorialist is Kevin Myers of the Irish Times. He has to be overseas — imagine if anyone wrote this in America:
THE quadrennial invitation from the US embassy arrived yesterday: it is for me to enjoy American ambassadorial hospitality while watching television coverage of the presidential election. . .
. . . virtually all the Irish guests will be supporting Barack Obama, because he’s a Democrat, which indeed he is, and also because he’s “black”, which he isn’t: though even if he were, to elect someone because of his race is as stupid as rejecting him on the same grounds. . .
Now, it goes without saying that all US presidential elections are contests between two certifiable lunatics, who freely want to embitter their declining years with the Middle East, and Afghanistan, and North Korea and that outdoor madhouse, the EU.
And of course, their running mates are two slightly lesser lunatics, though with this slightly sinister dimension to their ambitions: both probably — if only deep in their sub-conscious — dream of a certain Texas school book depository moment, followed by a dramatic swearing-in and a state funeral wherein their heroic, steely-eyed modesty is probably sufficient to win the next election. (Psychiatrist, anyone?)
However, we need such lunatics, just as we need other lunatics to push their wrists through u-bends in lavatories in late December, as we need other lunatics to clean outside windows 20 storeys up on windy midwinter days, and other lunatics to wander over minefields with metal detectors. And so on.
But that said, there’s something pretty disturbing about politicians’ desires to rule other people’s lives, with their apparent addiction to the degrading ignominies of the electoral process.
Which is why I’d vote for any politician that says he wants to do less for me, and meanwhile, he’ll be as invisible and as silent as possible: hence my instinctive support for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
I also like their honesty: they’re both openly religious men.
I’m not sure whose religion is more absurd, the one that believes that a lost tribe of Israel ended up in the US around 400 AD, and that the new Eden’s going to be in Missouri — sorry, chaps, I’ve been to Missouri, even Louth is more likely — or the one that maintains that the body and blood of Jesus are eaten every time one takes communion.
Yet funnily enough, liberal critics of Republicans’ religious beliefs never mention Mr Obama’s.
It’s not that media bias is debatable in the United States: it is so vast that one needs to be separated by an ocean to detect the edges. You can read the rest here. Myers hasn’t weighed in since the election. But here is his ‘Equality’ is the Feminist Right to Whinge for while you’re waiting:
Why do so many women claim to seek what they do not really want, namely, equality? They don’t want the equality to become steeplejacks or coalminers or lumberjacks or deep-sea welders half a mile under a North Sea oil rig. They want equality in banking and in medicine, but only provided that they don’t have to keep anti-social hours . . .
Have you ever heard of anything being “offensive to men”? Of course not . . . is it actually possible to be a militant feminist and a caring nurse? . . .in universities, feminists have turned petulance into an academic discipline and sulking into scholarship. So the simple fact that women haven’t risen to the top of everything is not related to the lack of those hormones that make men into billionaire bankers, commandoes, racing-drivers, mountain-rescuers, lifeboat men, murderers, muggers, football mobs and rapists, but to that transparent but impenetrable silicate horizontality, the Glass Ceiling . . . [women] generally don’t do chess or portraiture, or higher maths or aligned parking or astronomy, and they invent almost nothing, even feminine-hygiene things. . . Ah, here come the sisters, with their gelding shears, and no, they didn’t even invent those either.
If we all talked this way, we’d probably get along better in the long run. But to give an indication of where we’re heading instead, Myers recently found himself charged with “Breach of Principles” for another editorial he wrote:
Ombudsman John Horgan found the article was in breach of Principle 2 (Distinguishing Fact and Comment) and Principle 8 (Prejudice) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines . . . The Ombudsman found the newspaper had failed to “distinguish adequately between fact and comment”, and the breaches were “capable of causing grave offence”. A number of other complaints relating to truth and accuracy were not upheld.
2. I keep waiting for American conservatives to adopt Peter Hitchens, as liberals did his brother. He can be choleric and not always in an interesting way, but he understands American conservatism far better than many of its native spokespeople. Immunity to political correctness seems to be thriving everywhere but here despite the lack, elsewhere, of the speech protections we enjoy. Why is that?
Here is Hitchens on our election:
A Louse versus a Flea. Who really cares about the US Presidential Election?
You can decide which is which. It’s about the only thing in doubt. My interest in US politics has been fading ever since I lived there, and saw it at first hand. But it sank to near-zero during the last Presidential election, when the Obama campaign became a showbusiness frenzy, devoid of reason and much more like the early, screaming years of the Beatles than like a bid for office. Yes, we can what, exactly?
I actually felt slightly sorry for Mr Obama. I had first heard of him during the previous election, in 2004, while on a visit to the pleasant town of Normal, Illinois. There was some talk, in the Illinois media, of him as a possible future star.
He had sounded modest and humorous, acknowledging that, in the age of Osama bin Laden, the name ‘Barack Obama’ might be a handicap. I thought of getting in touch with him, as one sometimes does, but put the idea to one side and never did anything about it. I doubt if anyone would have been much interested. . .
[J]ust over four years ago, I went to Chicago and, with some useful help from American-based colleagues, set out to find out a bit about Barack Obama. It wasn’t devastating. I failed to uncover the full truth about Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, being more interested in his apparent friendship with William Ayers, the former ‘Weatherman’ . I found that Obama was very much part of the unlovely Daly machine in Chicago, that his voting record in the Illinois State Senate was far from courageous, and basically that we wasn’t a very distinguished or experienced person.
It was pointless. The marketing men, and the machine men had got hold of him by then, offered him all the kingdoms of the world and swept him up into the world of bright TV lights where ( as so many otherwise unqualified people do) he glowed with a sort of electronic virtue. I think he is an intelligent person with some self-knowledge, and I do sometimes wonder if he ever regrets allowing himself to be turned into a brand and a star. But if so, it is too late. How can anyone, transformed in this way ever come back to the status of ordinary husband, father, colleague and friend? They go off as human beings to the nominating convention, or wherever the key moment is, and they never come back again.
But by then there was no audience for critical stuff. John McCain was obviously a loser, and himself not that attractive. I wouldn’t have minded if it had just been a rational decision to go for the younger, more modern guy. I wished that skin colour didn’t matter. But as the election approached I found I just didn’t care very much if he won or not. I just knew, when he did so, that his victory was a victory for multiculturalism and its allies, but so what? This only confirmed the direction the Republic had taken under Clinton, and which George W. Bush had done nothing to reverse, while he busied himself with idiotic foreign wars.
For a proper conservative, American national politics is a desert. You can choose between declared liberals and neo-conservatives who are liberal on all important issues. And that’s it. Or there’s dear old Ron Paul, who is another sort of liberal, really. But he’s not important anyway. There’s nobody who is really socially conservative, above all nobody who will act (it’s decades too late anyway) to end the lax immigration politics which have revolutionised the country and will render it unrecognisable within 30 years. There’s nobody who will rescue the married family, or protect and recreate manufacturing industry so that ordinary people have proper honest work to do again, or reform the schools, or devise a foreign policy that actually makes the country safer.
What absolutely amazes me about this election is the way that leftish commentators try to build up Mitt Romney as some kind of conservative monster. If only he were. But his own record shows otherwise (and I might add, his running mate, whose name I can never remember, is a keen student of Miss Ayn Rand, another liberal) . . . the ‘Romney is a raging conservative’ claim must be an effort to make a dull contest between two mediocrities, for an over-rated office that isn’t really all that powerful, appear more interesting than it is.
I shan’t be waiting up for the results. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
If that’s not enough for you, click here.