- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Da Governor?

Several weeks ago, this column ventured beyond the all-political blogs to a Yahoo Sports football blog post on what might have been if former Chicago Bearscoach Mike Ditka had agreed to be drafted to replace a scandal-plagued Republican in the 2004 Illinois U.S. Senate race against a little-known Chicago Democrat named Barack Obama.

Now many in Illinois expect another scandal-affected election. And Matthew J. Darnell of Shutdown Corner is back - Ditka for governor.

“There’s a movement out there to try to get Mike Ditka in the Illinois governor’s office in place of current enterprising governor Rod Blagojevich. Ditka’s qualifications, of course, are many. He’s got a career record of 121-95 as a head coach in the NFL. He seems like a fair-minded guy. … He’s got a fantastic mustache. From what I can tell, he’s fluent in two languages, English and Emmitt. And if it came to it, he could probably afford to buy the spot. I heard that happens sometimes in Illinois,” Mr. Darnell wrote before linking to a Draft Ditka Web site that had this message:

“We da people of Illinois are sick and tired of scumbag politicians who think dat it’s their job to lie, cheat and steal. No more! We deserve somebody in charge who we can trust. Somebody who we can depend on. Somebody who we know understands the difference between right and wrong and won’t be afraid to kick corruption in the [rear] harder than da ‘85 Bears beat down da Patriots in da Super Bowl!”

Mr. Darnell dryly notes that the Bears’ ex-coach has expressed no interest in the job and the site is hawking “Ditka for Governor” merchandise.

Gloves off

Israel’s attacks on Gaza, starting Saturday, drew strong support from conservative blogs, which were much more willing than the mainstream media to note the context of the attacks - weeks of repeated rocket attacks by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

“Hamas made it clear last week that they wanted war. They announced the end of the so-called truce, although … Hamas and other affiliated groups had never stopped attacking Israel. They want to provoke a wider war and hope to get Egypt involved,” wrote Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

“The world should step aside and quit interfering in the war Hamas so desperately wants and will desperately lose if left to their own devices. As long as Hamas controls Gaza, a state of war exists, and cease-fires do nothing to advance peace, as this year has proven yet again. Tiresome calls for ‘restraint’ don’t work when one side is determined to have war. … Hamas insists on a war of annihilation and won’t accept any other solution. Let them have it.”

Donald Douglas at American Power summed up the response on liberal and leftist blogs as “we see pretty much the postmodern consensus on the crisis in the Middle East: That the U.S. and Israel bear the brunt of responsibility for the crisis, and there will be no peace until Israel relents in authorizing its self-destruction.”

At his New Republic blog the Spine Martin Peretz was even more bellicose and even vulgar, saying the message of the attack was not to do with the Jews something that should only be done with one’s spouse.

“Frankly,” he added, “I am up to my gullet with this reflex criticism of Israel as going beyond proportionality in its responses to war waged against its population with the undisguised intention of putting an end to the political expression of the Jewish nation. … What would be proportionate, oh, so so proportionate apparently, are those tried-and-true half measures to contain Hamas that have never worked.” He concluded by saying Israel should promise future responses will be “very disproportionate.”

Mr. Peretz’s post gave Glenn Greenwald at Salon the vapors. Mr. Greenwald called them “uniquely despicable” and “the words of a psychopath” whom he denounces as “this super-tough-guy warrior - whose prime accomplishment in life was marrying an heiress and then using her family’s money to buy himself the New Republic.”

Conservative parody I

In the holiday spirit, Minnesotans for Global Warming released a video that made the rounds of conservative sites last week: “The 12 Days of Global Warming,” only instead of “my true love,” the gifts, or booby prizes actually, come from former Vice President Al Gore.

The four-minute clip, also available at Youtube.com, illustrates the song with a battery of still photos that change with every verse. Some of the lyrics don’t quite match the syllable and stress patterns, but the singers find ways to make them work.

The first four gifts are: “Four dollar gas / Three failed automakers / Two melting ice caps / and a fear-mongering documentary.”

Conservative parody II

After giving due “apologies to Clement [Clarke] Moore,” the author of “Account of a Visit From St. Nicholas,” Dan Riehl of the Riehl World View used his poem, better known as “The Night Before Christmas,” as the skeleton for an account of the series of Washington bailouts.

RTWT (“read the whole thing” in Webspeak), but here’s how it begins:

“Twas the night before bailout in the House and the Senate / Not a dollar existed, Bush had already spent it / The gavels were set by their podiums with care / In hopes that Obama would soon be there / Taxpayers were restless, they clung to their wallets / While visions of tax hikes formed gas in their gullets; / And mamma in her work clothes and I on my blog / were just settling in for a harsh winter’s slog.”

Conservative parody III

Liberal sites have been all over the revelation that Chip Saltsman, a candidate for Republican National Committee chairman, sent RNC members a 41-track CD of Rush Limbaugh parody songs, one of which is called “Barack the Magic Negro.”

Typical was a post by Dee Perez Scott at her Daily Kos diary, heavy with exclamation points and all-capital-letter words, in which she writes:

“The Excuse the Racist Limbaugh, Saltsman and the RNC provide are, ‘Oh we were just kidding! It was just a Parody!’ One thing is very Clear! Limbaugh and the RNC recipients who laughed at this deplorable excuse for humor are, without a doubt, Racist for doing this! This would be similar to sending out a CD with ‘Nazi Ovens were Fun!’ or ‘Japanese Internment Camps provide Enjoyable Summers!’ or ‘The Trail of Tears is good Camping!’ More Fun Parodies! The Republican National Committee Just Does Not Get It!! They have Yet to Refute Limbaugh for his Racist Tactics!!

The Huffington Post trotted out Peter Yarrow, who co-wrote the song “Puff, the Magic Dragon” to call the parody of his song by conservative humorist Paul Shanklin “not only offensive” but “shocking and saddening in the extreme. It flies in the face of America’s deeply held hope for a new era in which common ground and mutual respect characterize the exchanges between our national leaders.”

The Economist blog Democracy in America said the flap means that “the Republican chairmanship race pits two black candidates against a guy who once belonged to a whites-only country club and a guy who laughs at songs about ‘magic negroes.’ Oh, and two other white guys.”

Still, in a separate post, Democracy in America noted the irony in the whole flap was that the parody was not ridiculing Mr. Obama, but “a black, gay liberal writer named David Ehrenstein.

“More than a year ago he informed readers of the Los Angeles Times that Mr. Obama was the latest ‘magic negro’ that promised them some kind of racial get-out-of-jail-free card, or one of those disinfecting showers you take after handling radioactive material. ‘If he were real,’ wrote Mr Ehrenstein, ‘white America couldn’t project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.’ That’s Paul Shanklin was making with his parody. (On his site, the song is titled ‘David Ehrenstein’s Barack the Magic Negro.’)”

• E-mail Victor Morton.