A couple of thoughts on the passing scene:
~Roy Moore beats Luther Strange in Alabama. There were certain local factors in play: Mr Strange and the corrupt former governor Bentley had enjoyed a mutually beneficially relationship whereby then Attorney-General Strange called on the legislature to suspend impeachment proceedings against the Governor, and Governor Bentley then appointed Strange to the Senate. Whether a creature from the Alabama swamp is best suited to drain the Washington swamp is a reasonable question for voters to ponder.
Whereas, whatever one feels about Roy Moore, he's principled enough to be willing to lose his job over the Ten Commandments and same-sex marriage. That's unusual in American politics.
But in a certain sense this election was a primary between the industrial-strength Bannonite MAGAlicious Donald J Trump (as represented by Moore) and the house-trained semi-neutered General Kellyfied McMasterized Donald J Trump (as represented by Strange). And the house-trained Trump lost. There's a lesson in that: The man who said he could shoot a guy on Fifth Avenue and his base would stick with him was essentially told by the base that, when he wanders too far down the GOP establishment end of things, they're just as happy to shoot him.
Or to put it another way: Mitch McConnell figured he could use Trump as a vessel to drag Luther Strange across the finish line. And the base said, "Get lost, creep. Trump's our vessel."
~This morning I started the day with Justice & Drew on 1130 Twin Cities News Talk. The focus was mainly on the ongoing NFL anthem controversy - and, more importantly, what it says and where it leads. You can listen to the full discussion here.
I was also there to promote my first appearance in three years in Minneapolis. It's this coming Monday, October 2nd, an evening with the Center of the American Experiment, live on stage at the Guthrie Theatre. You can find more details here. If you're in the Minnesota area and would like to attend, please click here and enjoy a $25 discount on the ticket price by entering the promo code steynclub.
~Our Song of the Week this week was a medley, half of which was "At Last". Texan reader Ken Brady sent this very touching letter, which is well worth your time:
Thank you for the column on one of my favorite songs. I was a professional trumpet player for many years. I wish to tell you a fairly brief story about 'At Last'.
In 2005 I was called out of Texas because my father was passing away back in my home of Ohio—Lorain, on Lake Erie. By the time I got there he was in hospice, which was very tragic for me, of course. He was not conscious. My brother had brought in a boom box, and they were playing a CD of Andrea Bocelli, on a loop.
Now I think you will agree that there is probably no better music for hospice than Bocelli, whatever that says about it. But it was left playing on the loop even when we were gone. My Dad was a World War Two veteran, in the Army (in which I also served) and he had been a machinist at BF Goodrich. There was no reason on earth or evidence that he was an admirer of Bocelli. In fact I became convinced that he was probably getting more and more pissed off deep down in his comatose state, because he couldn't turn it off. I mentioned it to everyone else, and my brother took note of it, and the next day he came in with a CD of Glenn Miller's Greatest Hits, which my Dad had loved.
Some of the tunes were pretty jumpin'. It turned the morbid death watch into something much different. One of the songs was 'At Last', which my mother said had been his favorite song, and that he had sung it to her on their wedding day. He was not much of a singer. She married him anyway.
Well, Dad held on another day and a half, and the big band music played on the whole time. Other old-timers in the hospice enjoyed it as well. There came a moment, however, when his breathing changed dramatically, and we knew the time had about come. He was failing fast. 'At Last' was playing on the stereo. We stood about his bed. There was a loud catch in his breath, and he stiffened, just as the pretty little coda played at the end, between the woodwinds and the trombones. My brother said goodbye, and said, 'Say hi to Grandpa for us!' Then Dad breathed out deeply and was gone. The song ended. The stereo clicked off and we stood in silence.
I'll never know why the boom-box stopped looping and clicked off at just moment. My brother has his theories. But whenever I hear the song now I get pretty emotional, and I'm a 59 year old man who served in the Army ten years.
PS Sometimes I think I like your obits and columns about old showtunes and movies the best. I miss the year of Sinatra, and go back and visit them sometime.
Thanks for that, Ken. Quite a story. This week's Song of the Week is one of our live-performance editions, and of an Italian (though non-Sinatra) bent.
~Programming note: Later today I'll be back on air north of the border with the great John Oakley live across my hometown on Toronto's AM640.The fun starts at 5pm Eastern.
Speaking of fun, we have quite a bit of it in The Mark Steyn Club, with radio serials, video poems, a quarterly newsletter, live planet-wide Q&As, and much more. I appreciate the Club is not to everyone's taste, but, if you're minded to give it a go, either for a full year or a three-month experimental period, you'll find more details here - and, if you've a loved one who'd like something a little different for a birthday or anniversary, don't forget our new gift membership.