I'll be keeping my Thursday date with Hugh Hewitt this afternoon, live coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific. If I understand things correctly, that means, Republican candidate-wise, I'll be in the intermission between the kids'-table debate and the main event. So who knows how things will stand by then. But, if my analysis proves useless, I'll take another crack at it tomorrow, Friday, with Sean Hannity on Fox News.
~I will say this, however: If you were to vaporize Donald Trump, what's left would be a disturbingly inadequate frontrunner. As readers know, I'm not a fan of Jeb Bush's candidacy. As I wrote a year and a half ago:
I've nothing against Jeb Bush. I happen to disagree with him on "immigration reform", but he was a competent executive of Florida and he's a thoughtful and (on his game) gifted speaker. But there are over 300 million people in this country, and, granted that 57 per cent or whatever it's up to by now are fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community, what is it about the Bush family that makes them so indispensable to the Republic as to supply three presidential candidates within a quarter-century?
I'd like to take that back - not the bit about three of the last five presidents being Bushes (that's still ridiculous and unbecoming to a republic), but the bit about Jeb being a thoughtful and gifted speaker. He's a total stinkeroo this time round. He was wooden and ill-prepared at that New Hampshire forum the other night, and he keeps walking into stupid unnecessary errors. Here he is relaunching singlehandedly the Republicans' war on women:
"I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues," Mr. Bush said at a Southern Baptist Convention event in Nashville.
For perspective, the federal government spends about $1 trillion a year on health care.
Amid a storm of Democratic mockery, Mr. Bush backtracked within a few hours, saying he had misspoken.
But don't forget, Trump's the clown and all his celebrity-buffoon candidacy will do is drive all sensible, prudent persons to rally round Jeb as the sane, moderate, don't-frighten-the-horses Mister Electable candidate.
Yeah, right. Speaking of "misspeaking", what normal person speaks like that? As I said to Neil Cavuto on Friday:
Steyn also argued that Trump's handling of some of his misstatements is "actually a lesson for other candidates, too. You know, the strangulated, constipated artificiality in which the candidates talk about things - where they say something mildly infelicitous, and then some spokesperson comes out and regrets that they 'misspoke'."
No real person says he "misspoke". That's one of the things that makes politicians so creepy.
~Have you noticed that all the high-priced wisdom from the permanent consulting class has been totally wrong about Trump so far? The Mexican rapist line was supposed to finish him. Instead, it made him the frontrunner. The slight to John McCain's amour propre was supposed to finish him. Instead, it widened his lead.
Ah, but don't worry, the consultants told us. Trump has high negatives: 57 per cent of people won't vote for him under any circumstance. And, after a month of Trump "misspeaking", all those high negatives have fallen by half.
He may screw the whole thing up this evening, but my advice if he's asked to rule out a third-party run would be to reply: I'm the Republican frontrunner with twice as much support as the next guy. Why not ask Governor Stumblebum the third-party question? Or anyone but the presumptive nominee.
~One of the depressing aspects of my too long career is that my throwaway lines keep getting taken up in real life. I started using that shtick about "fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community" maybe 15 years ago, and then one day Harry Reid stood up on the Senate floor and used it for real. Recently, I've been using "transgendered bathrooms" as a cheap all-purpose shorthand for fin de civilisation western myopic narcissistic self-indulgence. For example:
We'll be talking about transgendered bathrooms when the mullahs nuke us.
But yet again my throwaway line has turned real. The mullahs are planning to nuke us - and Congress is talking about transgendered bathrooms:
This section amends The Civil Rights Act of 1964, a policy enforced by the Attorney General of the United States. The section 301 (a) amendment will prevent any publicly accessible restroom from discriminating by "sex, sexual orientation, or by gender identity". In other words, the boys/ girls & men/women signs come down.
Because America's been crying out for a federal bathroom regime enforced by the Department of Justice.
As Neil Cavuto and I also discussed the other day, when Rand Paul says "Washington is broken", he's mouthing the hollow slogans of the brain-dead. For liberals, Washington isn't broken: it's always pushing, pushing, pushing on to the next front, to deliver the world Democrats want to live in. Whereas in a Congress "controlled" by Tweedlejohn and Tweedlemitch, all Republicans do is explain why nothing conservatives want can even be attempted.
~I wouldn't want the week to end without noting the death of the once-famous Mullah Omar. The one-eyed mullah actually died two years ago, but the Taliban managed to keep it quiet until a few days ago. He was an evil man who helped facilitate the murder not only of those trapped within his prison state but of 3,000 people on the other side of the planet. And he should have died 14 years ago. As I wrote in the November 3rd 2001 issue of The Spectator:
With hindsight, the turning point was the first night of the bombing raids, when (according to the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh) an unmanned CIA Predator reconnaissance aircraft identified Mullah Omar's car fleeing Kabul. Lacking the authority to 'push the button', the agency relayed the news back to central command in Florida, where General Tommy R. Franks, the head man, replied, 'My JAG doesn't like this, so we're not going to fire.' A JAG is a Judge Advocate-General — i.e., a military lawyer — and the only reason I know that is because there's a show on CBS called JAG. It says something about our times that the only military adventure series on American network TV is about an army lawyer. So, rather than offing the mad mullah and worrying about ass-covering later, the asscovering took precedence and the mullah got away.
No wonder Don Rumsfeld is reported, on hearing the news, to have kicked in a couple of doors. Had Mullah Omar been killed on the first night of bombing, what a message that would have sent! Wanna play host to guys who massacre US civilians? Fine, but you're in the last month of your life, pal; don't start any long books. It would have been an important psychological victory, leading to political upheaval and defections and disintegration, in the light of which much of the indeterminate bombing of subsequent weeks would have been unnecessary.
Not to mention the indeterminate 14-year pseudo-occupation. A war led by JAGs is unlikely to end in anything so old-fashioned as "victory".
Mullah Omar banned music in Afghanistan. Yet, when US troops seized his abandoned compound in Kandahar, they found in his private quarters a bunch of Rod Stewart cassettes - not the easy-listening Rod Slays The Great American Songbook stuff, but the full-strength "If you want my body and you think I'm sexy" big-hair'n'codpiece classics. So the one-eyed mullah was forced into exile, and twelve additional years of life he should never have enjoyed ...but without his double-cassette of Rod Stewart's Greatest Hits. I suppose we should be grateful for such modest victories as that.
~Re that ban on music in Afghanistan, a bigtime Taliban cleric clarified their position a few years ago: In Islam you're not forbidden to listen to music, you're just forbidden to enjoy it. So my new CD is fully Taliban-compliant.
I also have a new book out - which, from the climate mullahs' viewpoint, is totally non-compliant.
~I'll be in Copenhagen next month for the tenth anniversary of the Mohammed cartoons. If you're thinking of swinging by to catch me on stage, I hope you find this opening sentence of Conference & Meetings World's report reassuring:
A controversial conference on cartoons and satire will be held in the Danish Parliament next month, because no other venues in the city are considered safe enough.
More details on the event here.