- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dream candidates

“Al Gore’s Oscar was as predictable as the thunderous ovations he received at the Academy Awards. … But it was also a reminder that there is nothing Democrats love more than a politician who isn’t actually running for President.

“Ever since liberals began mythologizing JFK, the party’s nominees invariably fail to measure up. It’s as if any politician who has the guts to enter the arena and dirty his hands immediately loses ‘purity,’ and faces a cynical column from Joe Klein. As a result, come primary season, the Democratic chattering class always falls in love with a hypothetical candidate: Mario Cuomo, John F. Kennedy Jr., Colin Powell, [Josiah Bartlet.]

“This is the real meaning behind last week’s Hillary-Obama feud. Hillary is the most successful fundraiser in the party’s history. Her name is known to 100 percent of voters. Yet no one should be surprised, now that she is in reach of becoming the party’s nominee, that the same political and financial backers who cheered her during her White House days are racing to tear her down.”

— Daniel Casse, writing on “Al Gore’s Hypothetical Candidacy,” Monday in Contentions at www.commentarymagazine.com/contentions


“Islam is as fissile as any other religion (as Iraq reminds us). — [C]onsiderable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes seeking asylum and to build a better life.

“A young Afghan man, murdered in the assault on the London subway system in July 2005, had fled to England from the Taliban, which had murdered most of his family. Muslim women often demand the protection of the authorities against forced marriage and other cruelties. These are all points of difference, and also of possible resistance to [Euro-Shariah].

“The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from ‘the struggle,’ now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the ‘authentic’ one. Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s ‘real’ spokesmen.”

— Christopher Hitchens, writing on “Facing the Islamist Menace,” in the winter issue of City Journal

Tossed back

“Among the most pitiful of the recent Britney stories has been the Daily Mail scoop that Spears, whose funds have reportedly been cut off by her family, attempted to rent a room at [a Los Angeles hotel] armed only with a scrap of paper with half a credit card number scrawled on it. When denied, she reportedly bayed, ‘Nobody wants me anymore.’

…”Some people have speculated that all this was cooked up by a team of publicists eager to gin up interest in Spears before the release of her new album. But you just can’t fake the kind of bilious unhappiness that drips from Spears in almost every photo taken of her in the past six months.

“Neither can you fake the hot-burning classism implicit in Spears’ Faulknerian rise and fall: She was a little girl plucked out of Louisiana, dressed in school uniforms and told to swing her hips and pout; she was a success as the … poster child of the ‘90s, but when she came of age and we were done with her, she was unceremoniously tossed back to the trailer park.”

— Rebecca Traister, writing on “Enough Britney bashing already,” Feb. 23 in Salon at www.salon.com

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