Programming note: I'm back on dry land and tonight, Monday, I'll be returning to "Tucker Carlson Tonight", live at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, with a rerun at midnight Eastern. If you're in the presence of the receiving apparatus, we hope you'll dial us up.
~I am reluctant to compare myself, an impoverished Canadian showtune queen, to a billionaire president of the United States, but I will confess that, late in the Kavanaugh shenanigans, it all began to ring a vague bell with me. A decade ago, when my battles with the "human rights" commissions got going up north, I was told by wise old birds to stay calm, let the process play itself out, don't rock the boat, etc. There was one lone dissenter who told me, no, no, if you do that, you're going to lose - and, indeed, I subsequently heard that, when the subject came up in Cabinet, the view of the Canadian Government was that I was doomed to go down.
So instead Ezra Levant and I went bananas, went nuclear on the commissions - or, as I took to formulating it, we went Magna Carta on their medieval ass. And the wise old birds then said Canadians wouldn't put up with a couple of berserk loons trashing their beloved "human rights" commissions. But they did - to the point where we got the law repealed. I concluded early on that it was, in fact, necessary for us to go nuclear in order to shore up public opinion and thus enable all the "nice" "moderate" people to move just a smidgeonette toward sanity.
Something similar just happened with President Trump and the Kavanaugh confirmation. When he mocked Christine Blasey Ford's testimony at that rally the other night - she can't tell you the location of the party, the year of the party, how she got to the party, who was at the party, etc - received opinion, including from many "conservatives", huffed and puffed and deplored the President's remarks. But it was necessary for the same reason my own alleged excesses were necessary a decade ago - in order to shore up the base and thus ensure all the "nice" "moderate" people like Jeff Flake and Susan Collins would move just a smidgeonette toward sanity.
Ms Ford was not a "credible" witness. Rather the opposite, in fact. Read the report by Rachel Mitchell, the Deputy County Attorney brought in to question the accuser so that the GOP members of the Judiciary Committee wouldn't look all mean and white and old and Republican. Unlike Trump, Ms Mitchell is benign, pleasant and unthreatening, but her conclusions are devastating to Ms Ford:
In the legal context, here is my bottom line: a 'he said, she said' case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that.
It goes on from there. Ms Mitchell seems very nice and reasonable, and, for that very reason, she's already forgotten and not one in a hundred thousand Americans has read her report. To defer to Ms Ford's frankly incredible "credibility" is to do what Republicans always do - play defense, on terms framed by their opponents, and on the tiny cramped bit of turf permitted by the media. The President understands instinctively that that's a recipe for losing.
Not all "conservatives" grasp that. I wrote for The Spectator in London for many years and loved it, and I have also enjoyed its recent Australian edition. But its new American branch office is a more fitful and unsatisfactory affair. Their take on Kavanaugh:
Kavanaugh is almost through — but at what cost to the Republicans?
The rage that is percolating in America will be exploited by the Democrats as they point to Kavanaugh's presence on the court as a permanent blot on the judiciary.
Hmm. This blogger, meanwhile, is having some sport with those NeverTrumpers who turned a favorite line of the President's supporters ("But he fights!") into a sneer. I regret to find my old National Review comrade Jonah Goldberg is among them. I understand there are those who like what Trump does but deplore his personal style - but the personal style is essential. What the Democrats did this last month was outrageous, and to be polite and house-trained about it is to ensure it will happen again and again, and worse and worse.
As I said, a lot of this rang familiar from my northern battles a decade ago. Writing about Kathy Shaidle, a guest on last week's Mark Steyn Club Cruise and quite brilliant on our free-speech special, the Canadian blogger Deborah Gyapong put it this way:
You know why I want to defend Kathy Shaidle? Because she helps keep me honest about whether my civility really is a choice and not a blind or fearful conformity to the pressures of political correctness. She helps me to think about where I might be influenced by group think and the progressive air we breathe in Ottawa. She reminds me of where the line is between kindness and weakness.
All that applies to Trump too.
~Speaking of the sold-out Steyn cruise, we had a grand old time and we will be announcing a second one for next year. So do let us know if you have any preferred destinations. If you like the after-hours glimpse above, I'll post a few more pictures from the cruise as I get them, but I thank Michele, Tal and our other guests for providing all the charm and ease of social interaction I'm so woefully inept at.
Amid the jollity, we also confronted some of the grimmer and uglier aspects of our world. Katie, one of our Pennsylvania Club members, writes over at Ricochet:
I'm on the Mark Steyn cruise, somewhere between Quebec City and Prince Edward Island. We've just finished watching a screening of Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer. Since I live not far from Gosnell's clinic, I feel a little like one of those 1945 German villagers forced by American soldiers to walk through a concentration camp. Part of me wants to issue a general protest that I didn't know. But another part, a deeper-down part, understands that it's not okay that I didn't know. I'm not innocent. There's no excuse for my indifference and my inaction.
Now it seems like the very least I can do is try to make this movie better known, to urge everyone to see it.
So do I. As I always say, you can't have conservative government in a liberal culture, so it's vital to make inroads into that culture - including at the multiplex. If your local fleapit hasn't booked Gosnell, call 'em up and say you want 'em to.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline starting with the thrilling finale to The Mark Steyn Club's latest audio adventure - my serialization of John Buchan's classic and highly pertinent tale of great-power maneuvering and Islamic insurrection, Greenmantle. Click to hear me read the concluding episode here - or, if you were too busy on our sell-out Steyn cruise for our nightly cliffhangers twenty minutes before you lower your lamp, you can settle in for a good old binge-listen all the way from Part One here. I thank you so much for all your kind comments about perhaps our most ambitious literary undertaking. Mark DeBiasi, a first-month Founding Member of the Steyn Club, enthuses:
Thank you, Mark. Our new radio yarn starts later this month. Our Saturday movie date previewed this week's big-screen release of the above-mentioned film that two of our cruise guests, Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, have made about the serial killer who couldn't make the papers - Gosnell. And our Sunday song selection mourned the passing of the great French troubadour Charles Aznavour with a medley of his biggest American hit and his biggest British hit. If you were too busy raising champagne flutes to Susan Collins and Jeff Flake this weekend, we hope you'll want to check out one or two of the foregoing as a new week begins.