Dog Days(Reprinted from the issue of August 10, 2006)
August is here for sure, with temperatures over 100 in our nations capital leaving us limp and stupid, asking ourselves whether Al Gore is right about global warming after all. Haunting question! Gore has long advocated reinventing government, which seems to mean making it far bigger and more intrusive than ever in order to save the planet from the human race, the internal combustion engine, and every remaining trace of unregulated liberty.
Im too weak and exhausted to argue. Hes worn me down. The combination of this weather and his dogged propaganda has taken all the fight out of me. Why does it only seem to invigorate him and other prophets of doom?
The latest war in the Mideast has taken all the fun out of a summer that wasnt too much fun to begin with. Condoleezza Rice has made a short and pointless trip to the region, hoping to stop the violence but not the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Just what did she and her boss have in mind?
Congress joined the administration in blessing the Israeli action and sending a new shipment of the latest American weapons to help the cause. The rest of the world, already anti-American and anti-Israel, withheld its applause at U.S. peacekeeping efforts after an Israeli strike killed dozens of Lebanese, mostly children. Yet nothing seemed to deter Hezbollah from continuing its own assaults, and it has been holding its own against the mighty Israeli army while winning more support from even Christian Lebanese. All sides are ignoring the Popes pleas for peace.
Meanwhile, Democrats in this country are preparing to recapture Congress this fall. Curiously, the first political casualty may well be a Democrat, Connecticuts Joe Lieberman, who has enraged the partys rank-and-file voters by supporting the Iraq war, which even Republicans have lost their stomach for.
If he loses to his anti-war opponent, Ned Lamont, in the imminent primary, he promises to run as an independent, but the war will have become a wedge issue dividing the parties and, given President Bushs unpopularity, which extends to the rest of the GOP, probably signaling a congressional realignment in November.
The Republicans are having their own problems with their base. Pollsters keep finding that the Republicans morale is as low as the Democrats is high. Voters of both parties are angry at their leaders, but especially at Bush, which means that turnout will be crucial in November, with Democrats much more likely to bother voting. Republican strategists and tacticians have their work cut out for them.
Karl Roves plan to win by accusing Democrats of wanting to cut and run in Iraq no longer looks like the way to rouse voters. On the contrary, the whole country is sick of the war and worried about the spread of the terrorism it was supposed to vanquish. The Republicans are paying for their embrace of neoconservatism and their abandonment of the older conservatism of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater.
After six years of Bush, the federal government is bigger than ever. And more futile.
In nearly half a century, during which he has outlasted nine American presidents and the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro seems to have found the elusive secret of stable government: murderous tyranny. It also helps if your country is an island, from which escape is difficult and which foreign influence can hardly penetrate.
Miamis Cuban exiles exulted in the news that ill health has forced the old dictator, going on 80, to surrender power to his kid brother Raul, 75, at least for the time being. Is the end finally near?
Unfortunately, Raul is no sweeter than Fidel. Hes a ruthless Communist who earned his status not by mere kinship but through desert, by merit raised to that bad eminence. He supervised the bloody executions in the early days of the Revolution, and time hasnt mellowed him.
If Fidel dies, he will leave a worthy successor, ready to do whatever it takes to preserve Communism.
Yet Fidels death, whenever it comes, is bound to bring some pressure for change. He is the great symbol and embodiment of a nationalistic brand of Communism, a corrupt, moribund, and evil system. How long can it survive without him? American sanctions have probably had the reverse of their intended effect, feeding the anti-Americanism that Communism thrives on, even as anti-American feeling has become global and horror of Communism has faded.
The Castro brothers also have a generous new ally in Venezuelas Hugo Chavez, who subsidizes them with oil money.
ABC News reports an odd twist in the story: Many aging Cuban exiles are already having second thoughts about going home. Even if the hated regime perishes, it seems, they could lose the Medicare payments they enjoy in this country! Cuban Communism may be bad, but American socialism, it seems, is indispensable.
How could Mel Gibson have made Abe Foxman any happier? After being accused of anti-Semitism by Foxman (and countless others) for filming the Gospel account of The Passion of the Christ, Gibson got himself arrested for drunk driving (at twice the speed limit) and treated the polite cop (Jewish, as it happens) to an obscene rant about how the [expletive deleted] Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world, et cetera.
After sobering up, Gibson was contrite about his despicable outburst, but by then Foxman (and countless others) had already weighed in with entirely predictable claims that the incident merely proved in vino veritas, you know that Gibson was the bigot theyd always said he was. His attempts at reconciliation were flatly rejected.
Under the circumstances, his mortified admirers could hardly deny the charge. It was incredible; by which I mean, alas, all too credible. You could hardly blame his worst enemies for making the most of their opportunity.
I could think of neither an excuse nor an explanation, but a wise priest of my acquaintance, speaking with some personal knowledge and insight, suggests that Gibson is in a very fragile spiritual condition and needs our prayers. His behavior is so self-destructive that we may suspect that he has been singled out for special diabolical attention. After all, he has produced the only explicitly anti-diabolical film in recent memory.
Yes, Regime Change Begins at Home a new selection of my Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian is just off the presses! And well send you a free copy if you subscribe to SOBRANS for one year (at $44.95) or two ($85.00). Call 800-513-5053 to order by credit card or check, or send payment to P.O. Box 1383, Vienna, VA 22183. If you have not seen my monthly newsletter yet, give my office a call and request a free sample. More details can be found at the Subscription page of my website.
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|Copyright © 2006 by The Wanderer,
the National Catholic Weekly founded in 1867
Reprinted with permission
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