November 03, 2004,
At the time of writing 1:45 A.M. Wednesday morning George W. Bush needs just one Electoral College vote to get him over the top. I'm going to take this as a done deal, and start gloating.
Now, gloating is of course bad coarse, heartless, insensitive, and ill-mannered. Magnanimity in victory, that's the thing. Humility, grace, gentlemanly forbearance, there but for the grace of God...
Sorry, sorry. I was saying... Yes, gloating. Definitely uncouth, undoubtedly bad manners. Still, the fact that the good Lord gave us the capacity for bad manners suggest to me that He meant us to use that capacity in a properly measured and carefully targeted way, of course. So let's talk about targeted gloating, precision gloating. There are, I mean to say, people who deserve to be gloated at, and people who don't.
John Kerry is in the latter category. He wasn't my guy, and I think he would have been a lousy president. What he did back in '71 was disgraceful and inexcusable. He's a pompous, stuck up, do-you-know-who-I-am? walking entitlement catalog. Still, he campaigned with energy and determination, and mainly with good manners. Nice try, John. No gloating at you.
No gloating at John Edwards, either. He trod lightly on the electoral earth, not even delivering his own state for Kerry. I feel his name and face slipping from my mental inventory already. John who? Not worth a gloat.
I'm not even much inclined to gloat at the media shills who, under the cloak of high-minded, objective journalistic professionalism, did all they could to help Kerry get elected. Sure, they are dishonest. It's the kind of dishonesty that mostly consists of deceiving yourself, though. These aren't fundamentally bad people. I'll even allow that they are patriotic, by their own lights. And, they are pitiful in a way the way the dinosaurs were pitiful when the sharp-witted little mammals who would eventually inherit the earth were scampering around between their feet, no doubt annoying the heck out of them. Watching the bloggers bring down Dan Rather was of course royal fun, but it was also a spectacle tinged with melancholy.
In fact, I can't even summon up much of a gloat for the Hollywood lefties. They are too stupid, their opinions too vaporous. Who really cares about them? "Vagabonds and strumpets," was the old English view of the acting profession, and I think this is one we got right back then.
That still leaves us plenty of gloat-worthy targets, though. I am going to have no compunction about gloating at Michael Moore, who has done more to boost anti-Americanism world-wide than Farrah Fawcett did for big hair. I was talking to some young English people the other day. They didn't know much about U.S. politics, and half of what they knew came from watching Fahrenheit 911. They knew there was something fishy about that movie, and giggled in a slightly embarrassed way as they played back the opinions they had picked up from it; but those were in fact their opinions faute de mieux, and some of them will stick. In cultures yet further removed from our own in China, in Latin America, in India, in the Muslim Middle East Moore's poisonous brew is swallowed without a hiccup, and has become the stuff that "everybody knows..."
Nor do I have any reservations about gloating at George Soros, who has squandered stupendous sums of money in a lost cause.
Then there's the foreigners: the Guardian and Independent newspapers and the BBC in England, the French and the Greeks, Kofi Annan and Mohammed El Baradei...and of course that Friendly Giant to the North. How incredible it must seem to them, to these self-styled sophisticates, that a crude, swaggering boor like George W. Bush should retain the affections of his countrymen after all his crimes and blunders! Well, deal. You're stuck with an honest to God (literally) American conservative and a conservative America for another four years. Get used to it.
The big gloat, though, must be directed at our enemies. How they wanted Kerry to win! How they must be sunk in gloom in their caves and hideouts and seedy rented rooms! They knew that, for all his podium salutes and tough talk, Kerry would be another Jimmy Carter, another groveller, another guilt-addled cringing apologizer for America's sins, past and present. Now, instead of a boneless wonder, they are faced with a resolute and determined opponent, a commander-in-chief who actually inspires his troops, and who knows that, as Winston Churchill usefully noted, you can't win wars without fighting.
O.K., Iowa looks good. We're home and dry. There might be some lawyering in our future, but I don't believe the country will stand for much of it and look at the popular vote. We've won; we're over the top. Let the gloating begin!