- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2004

Arnold’s sequel

“Why were so many people throughout America, and around the globe, so thoroughly absorbed in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign and victory in California?

“If we consider that most U.S. gubernatorial elections are generally of little interest to people in the other 49 states, never mind the Chinese or the Dutch or the Brazilians, then we have an idea of the intensity of the national and international interest in this anomalous ballot vote. This fascination is not just with Arnold the celebrity, but with what the election says about American culture at this odd moment in history. …

“Becoming governor was, in a sense, a proper sequel in a series of cinematic cultural gestures Arnold has made for over 30 years.”

Michael Blitz and Louise Krasniewicz, from their new book, “Why Arnold Matters”

Moral terrorists

“In foreign-policy debates, you call it the ‘blame America first’ syndrome. When you’re talking about homosexual ‘marriage’ these days, you more and more bump into the same kind of argument. …

“Someone exclaims how awful al Qaeda is and how Osama bin Laden needs to be captured or even wiped off the face of the earth. But then someone else pipes up to remind us that America has its own serious problems and shortcomings — and who are we, after all, to be telling the rest of the world how to conduct their affairs? …

“Indeed, the marriage mess is so bad that Lionel Tiger, an anthropologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, says that if marriage were a product available for sale, it would have to be banned as ‘too flawed for public consumption.’ … Similar comments have flooded the media in recent weeks.

“But in both cases, whether we’re talking about foreign policy or marriage, let’s be honest. What’s going on here, very simply, is that someone doesn’t like the way the discussion is going — and wants desperately to change the subject.

“There is, to be sure, a time and a place for talking about America’s failures and weaknesses. But that occasion is not when America is under direct attack by terrorists.

“There is also a time and place to talk about the weaknesses and failures of traditional marriage. But that occasion is not when marriage itself is being assaulted by moral terrorists.”

Joel Belz, writing on “Crocodile tears,” in the March 27 issue of World

Tone deaf

“When the Democrats narrowly lost the House and Senate in 2002, party activists launched a blame game. … Liberal congressmen and left-leaning journalists blamed big money, voter apathy, and a corporate media that never called Bush on his nefarious lies.

“But for record executive Danny Goldberg, the problem was simpler: Democrats didn’t know jack about hip-hop. … Goldberg relates with astonishment that in 2000, when the rapper was becoming the biggest star in music, Sen. Chuck Schumer [New York Democrat] had never heard of Eminem. As shocking, ‘one of New York’s most progressive congressmen’ was unfamiliar with Russell Simmons, the wildly successful Def Jam mogul who recently spearheaded Musicians United to Win Without War.

“To Goldberg, such ignorance was a disgrace. ‘Political activists don’t always respect or understand artists,’ he writes. ‘And the resulting failure to communicate has haunted progressive American politics since the ‘60s.’”

David Weigel, writing on “Talkin’ ‘Bout Regeneration,” in the March issue of Reason

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