WHO Asked Ya? 1) Colin Powell. Okay, so this is easy; despite personal responsibility for sinking his country's military, tossing, in the process, several trillions of its then-valued currency into a bottomless pit, and lying it into a war--which if nothing else (and there was plenty else) violated the principles of the Doctrine which bore his name--all because his supposed sense of "loyalty" and "duty" involved making excuses for George W. Bush and Donald F. Rumsfeld, and then, after it predictably turned to shit, trying to blame everyone else, the fact remains that a) he's booked on the Sundays, and b) there's been actual space in actual newspapers devoted to his impending possible endorsement of Barack Obama, as though there's anything he could say now which might influence a sentient being. In a just world the man would be speaking to us via satellite from a country with no extradition treaty with the US, or the civilized world. Or not at all. 2) Chris Buckley. Who can possibly care? Who is it who's supposed to care about the goings on at The National Review who doesn't already read The National Review? Who familiar with that sorry vegetable cart of over-ripe juveniles can even propose a suitable scale for measuring the wits of its nits? Who even knew, or cared, that he wrote for the thing? Well, the last brave Bush stenographer from the once-bustling pool at the Times, for one, and the inexplicably gainfully employed Kathleen Parker, for the other. With any luck, that's it.
In either case, attention is paid here to someone merely for being publicly identified as a Republican; were their "fame" the result of genial afternoon chat-show hosting or the ability to lip-sync and pelvis-thrust, they would be readily acknowledged as, respectively, a) the washed-up former C-lister most famous for getting drunk at the 1978 Oscars and calling Jimmy Stewart "a fucking cunt" on air, and b) Nancy Sinatra. And this is treated as news, not because endorsing Obama, or rejecting John McCain, is remarkable, but because Republicans aren't supposed to do that sort of thing. This, in turn, the reader is supposed to accept as a commonplace, as something he was supposed to have learned in kindergarten, as it were, and move on to the juicy details. As though the hum of Republicanism's dynamo was so powerful one could never imagine The Enlightened separating themselves from it. As though, in a political season and climate screaming recognition of Republicanism as a failed, duplicitous, and, baldly criminal enterprise whose sorry stock of rabble-rousing catchphrases is now depleted, it could still be treated as such outside a psychiatric ward.
This is the depth of our problem. There is, apparently, nothing Republicanism can do which would cause it to be publicly acknowledged in polite, mass-market society, as the scabrous den of thieves, pickpockets, cauponizers, and molesters of young boys it plainly is. The public trust has been sold for a few shekels, and not as an isolated incident, but repeatedly, and as an integral part of the operation directly traceable to its very highest levels (and hell, for that matter, not even hidden). The foundations of the republic, let alone its laws, its reputation, and its recourse to the grammar of ethical behavior, have been treated as wisps of smoke. The "news" should not be staring, slack-jawed and toothless, at the spectacle of a shelf-brand Republican coming to the only available solution which even approaches sanity; the news should be that there still exist, like pre-contact Stone Age tribesmen, or deep-sea creatures thought long extinct, people who willingly identify themselves as Republican, and who profess shock that one of their number has decided to crawl out of the wreckage and seek help.
Which brings us back to Ms Parker, whose employment by the Post of Washington we cannot begin to fathom without intimations of clandestine Polaroids stashed in a safe-deposit box or lawyer's safe. Just as millions of Americans who cannot be bothered to have their personal biases tested by harsh realities, or who choose despite all contrary evidence to imagine unchecked capitalism as a Panglossian Pax Romana have recently learned the extent to which expertise is pretended at the highest levels, so too do we have to wonder, now, that there is someone at one of the ranking newspapers in the country whose job is to increase, or at least consider, paid circulation, who nevertheless grants prime space to a woman whose single idea is a wrong one, and that one poorly expressed. It seems plainly obvious to us that the world cannot possibly care about Kathleen Parker's take on some internecine squabbling at a charity-operation Royalist magazine any more than it cares what she breakfasted on, or in which house. Opinions vary; we'd be happy to accept this as news if the Post felt that revelations of the sort of blind hatred, racism, and clinically-diagnostic psychopathology that spews from the place on a daily basis was also of interest to the general reader.