by Cockney Robin | Somebody hold me.
Mr. William Kristol is at it again (in an op-ed disturbingly entitled 'Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid'). He is striking fear into my guileless British heart by his claim to have been frightened into an attack of moroseness. As the world now knows, nothing is more dangerous then a frightened, morose neocon. Think of Dick Cheney and you'll see what I mean. They're even scarier than the cheery, clueless types (George Bush) who spout neocon policy---getting every other word wrong---as if it's been drilled into them, or the jeering, strutting types like Karl Rove.
When Mr. Kristol is in a good mood, I enjoy his airy flights of fantasy. For example, last year he wrote a piece explaining how Bush would be a success, and the conclusion hung from a series of glittering premises, all of which would need to become true in order for the conclusion to stand. It was a better satire than I or anyone here could ever write, even though I was later told he meant every word.
But now people are scaring him by being for Obama instead of McCain. They are being passionate about their support, and Mr. Kristol evidently doesn't remember the angry Republican mobs standing outside Florida election centers in 2000 protesting the recounts; but I do. I saw it on the television. You couldn't miss it.
Anyway, he is afraid and thinks his readers should be as well.
First, Mr. Kristol was depressed by a swoony pro Obama article in the German press.
The article’s premise was that an Obama victory is a foregone conclusion: “Anyone who saw Barack Obama at Berlin’s Siegessäule on Thursday could recognize that this man will become the 44th president of the United States.” (NYT)
I can see where this might get a neocon down. After all, it can't be too cheery to wake up every single morning knowing that you've been so very wrong. But...there is one reason why this shouldn't bother him.
To give him due credit, he spotted it fairly soon: German Obama supporters can't vote. So, he says, he cheered right up again!
Which is good: as I said, no one likes a surly neocon. They believe in preemptive strikes.
Sadly, the pro-Obama article was only the first unnerving shot across his bow. Next he was terrified---or rather depressed into moroseness--- by two bumper stickers.
But the next morning, as I drove around the Washington suburbs, I saw not one but two cars — rather nice cars, as it happens — festooned with the Obama campaign bumper sticker “got hope?”.... Got hope? (NYT)
That is a bit embarrassing, I admit---that people should base political slogans on 'cheesy' (his little joke) ads for milk. I'd have called it innocuous. It wouldn't cause me to have a panic attack or anything.
But then he said:
Are my own neighbors’ lives so bleak that they place their hopes in Barack Obama? (NYT)
Blimey. Coming from a Bush advocate, that is bloody frightening. If Barack Obama is worse than Bush, there is no hope. But can we really trust Mr. Kristol's judgement? I would argue that we cannot. To support this conclusion, I humbly offer this exhibit.
So stunned was he by these two bumper stickers that his fine, incisive brain became temporarily paralysed and he asked:
And what is it the bumper-sticker affixers are trying to say? Do they really believe their fellow citizens who happen to prefer McCain are hopeless? (NYT)
I can help him out with this one: 'Yes.'
Later, he was terrified to learn that Democrats would like to win not only the presidency, but a majority of both houses of Congress.
He is afraid of an 'unchecked Democratic majority,' he says---doubtless based on his having seen and fully realized what a lamentable balls up the Republicans made during their years of Congressional dominance.
I don't mean to cavil, but I prefer Cheney's and Rove's saltier ways of expressing anger and consternation---it's more consistent with the rage in the belly one associates with neocons. Mr. Kristol is apparently the Eddie Haskell of neocons. In my book, that makes him more dangerous. He comes into your home with his infectious grin, and his whimsical idioms, and before you know it, you're joining him and Mr. McCain in a chorus of 'Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.'
Another looming fear: Mr. Kristol read some flyer or other in which Democrats expressed the wish to elect a Democratic president and get control of both houses of Congress.
So Mr. Kristol was further terrorized by the prospect of one party having unchecked power--- if the unchecked party consists of Democrats. ( I presume he isn't equally worried---or surely, we'd have heard about this repeatedly--- about Bush having claimed powers greater than those claimed by King George. And---correct me if I'm wrong---did he quake with fear prior to the 2006 elections? Didn't the Republicans have control both of Congress and the White House?)
Even so---resilient bloke, this Kristol---he was able to cheer himself up yet again by contemplating 'the unpopularity of the current Democratic Congress.'
Sadly, this temporary palliative to his despair is unlikely to last when the penny drops and he realizes that the Dems have had a clear majority only in the House of Representatives and the barest of bare majorities in the Senate (even counting Joe Lieberman who is practically a Republican). Even a simple Brit like me has seen how this has played out.
Does he really not know this? Even I know this. Though I agree that your Congressional Democrats seem rather spineless.
He thinks the fear of unchecked Democratic power (see: spineless) will move voters to McCain---the successor in that case, to Bush's unchecked Republican power.
And so I drifted off into a pleasant daydream. It’s election night, and a victorious John McCain is waving around the Spiegel article, “No. 44 Has Spoken” — just as Harry Truman, 60 years ago, triumphantly held aloft the early edition of the Nov. 3, 1948, Chicago Tribune, with its banner headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman.”(NYT)
Phew. Well done, Mr. Kristol.
I'm glad he finally drifted off into the land of Nod because a sleeping neocon is way less dangerous to America and the world than one who is awake and 'reasoning.' For God's sake, don't wake him up by telling him his nightmares might well come true. Don't poke the neocon, whatever you do.