Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hope He Dies

In 1994 a journalist named Julianne Malveaux distinguished herself by admitting that she hoped Clarence Thomas would develop heart disease and die. More recently Bill Maher lamented that an assassination plot against Dick Cheney during a visit to Afghanistan had been foiled. During the Bush years a a novel was written that fantasized his assassination. Now an alleged comedienne named Wanda Sykes not only calls Rush Limbaugh a traitor and a terrorist, which trivializes both, but adds that she wishes he'd suffer kidney failure.

The remark was despicable enough, but did our president and the audience have to laugh at it? What kind of people are these that they find talk of the death of their political opponents so hilarious?

I know I ask this question a lot, but this video clip just demands that I ask it again. Can you imagine the press reaction had a conservative said something this vicious, this stupid, this cruel about a Democrat? Have you ever seen a Republican president laugh when someone says in his presence that he hopes some Democrat suffers a fatal illness? Come to think of it have you ever heard a conservative say anything like this? Me neither. It's not that conservatives have so much class, it's that liberals, are at least too many of them, have so little.

For more on this see Kathryn Lopez at NRO.


Power of the Happy Man

Jason sent us a link to an essay by Peggy Noonan on the late Jack Kemp. Like much of what Noonan writes it is graceful and touching. Kemp was a political role model, one who is emulated too infrequently but whose example, if followed, could have a powerful impact on an electorate that seems to be wearying of the politics of humorless viciousness.

Kemp was driven by two things: the power of ideas and a genuine concern for the poor. He believed that the way to help the poor was not just by giving them stuff, which never works, but by giving others the incentive to offer opportunities for the poor to work their way out of their poverty.

Here are a couple of paragraphs:

Kemp was the kind of person politics wants more of, the kind who remind us that it is a great profession, that at its best it is a calling, an actual vocation. We all know politicians who are cynical, and whose interaction with the public leaves them convinced of their superiority. Kemp was the opposite. As his son Jimmy said this week, "My father didn't think people were the problem but the solution." He believed people had talent, dynamism, brilliance and hunger, and a good government was one that did not thwart but helped them, through sound policy, to become what God built them to be.

Jack knew how to lead. He spoke of ideas with affability and authenticity. He wasn't angry and dark and simmering, didn't glower. He had the power of the happy man. "Sometimes now the cost of admission into politics is bitterness, bile and guile," said the pollster Kellyanne Conway. He was old-style, and humane. Ms. Conway got her first job in politics as an intern in Kemp's office. "Who are you?" he once said. "I'm just an intern here," she said. "No one is just an intern here," he replied. He saw politics as a team sport, assigned, delegated and promoted from within. In all the years Ms. Conway knew him, she never heard him ask what the polls were saying. When he ran as Bob Dole's vice presidential nominee in 1996, he flopped as a hatchet man. It wasn't in his DNA.

I hope you'll read the rest of Noonan's column. It paints an image of a man we might wish all our political leaders would pattern themselves after.