Before I turn to our national challenges, I’d like to say a personal goodbye to an old car that is moving on from my life.
About 10 years ago, I went to a car dealership to find a pickup to replace my 30-year-old Silverado. My wife went along for the ride, and when the dealership didn’t have a suitable truck, I noticed a used, sleek, black BMW Z4 roadster on the lot. I joke that that looked like a fine mid-life crisis car to me.
According to the universal law of wifely duties, my better half was supposed to follow the script, and mock me for my foolishness, and substitute her wisdom for my own whimsy, and steer me off the lot.
Instead, she suggested that I take a test drive.
I was raised by great parents who were children during the Great Depression, plus I chose a profession that was never likely to bring a princely salary. So I know better than to buy a new car, and have always opted to buy at least a 2-3 year old car and let the original owner take the butt-kicking on the depreciation.
(I trust that my economic mentors Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman and Christopher Silber would approve.)
But this car was 10 years old, and affordable, so I bought it.
I’ve had a lot of fun with it over the last 9 years, and this week I took it out for a top-down ride around town with Cassie riding shotgun. There are few things in life more fun than tooling around in a convertible on a sunny day, with a Wonder Dog holding her head into the wind with that blissful look dogs get during a ride.
As we arrived back home, my wife was getting the mail, and she told me to stop so she could get a picture of one happy canine.
The next day, a very expensive part broke (insert your own BMW joke here), and I just got the post-mortem from my mechanic: it doesn’t make financial sense to fix her, so I’m selling her to someone who wants a project.
If I had known that that last ride in that car was going to be my LAST ride in that car, I couldn’t have picked a better one. I’ve posted the pic my wife took on my page at Martinsimpsonwriting.com, if you’d like to share that bittersweet moment with me…
Speaking of bittersweet, watching two bits of tv in the last week provided a sobering experience.
First up was Biden’s brief press availability, after which he repeated the gaffe that he can’t seem to stop making: he called on someone, saying, “They tell me I’m supposed to call on him first.” I’d find it less worrisome if he were listening to the voices in his head, rather than taking orders from some nameless flunky, like the slowest trainee on his first day behind the cash register!
But then it got worse, when an off-camera female voice started telling everyone the conference was over, and ushered the reporters toward the exits, with a passive-aggressive, “Thank you… thank you…”
Would any competent, in-control leader allow that? For a subordinate to just decide that you’re done talking, and announce that you’re finished, and clear the room? Would a husband or wife allow their spouse to announce, mid-story, that the dinner party is over, and your guests all have to beat it?
Biden’s reaction was terrifying, considering his office: he looked vaguely disoriented, then plastered an empty grin on the front of his empty head, and just stared around the room at nothing until the feed was cut.
That evening, as I was clearing some programs from the DVR, I caught a repeat segment of 60 Minutes about Tony Bennett’s final concert, with Lady Gaga, last summer.
It turns out Bennett has advanced Alzheimers, which is always sad. But it was fascinating how he came back to himself when the music started playing. His near-catatonia and minimally responsive reactions disappeared, and he started singing along with the piano, ripping through a dozen songs without a mistake. The concert itself was also moving, and for the same reason: when the band started playing, the old Bennett came back.
I couldn’t help but think of watching Biden’s performance. He’s got exactly the kind of diminished function – the flat affect, the stiff, minimal verbal ability — that Bennett has. Except that Bennett has, buried within him, a real talent, and one that practically resurrects itself when the moment calls for it.
But Biden has no talent. At the height of his powers – I know, there’s no way to read that phrase without it being sarcastic! – he was a vapid, backslapping political hack.
Bennett has a kind of musical muscle-memory that is still there. The only muscle memory Biden has is that of a peevish, thin-skinned jerk. When he gets an even mildly pointed question, his vitriolic, inner bully resurfaces, and he calls the questioner fat, or an SOB, or challenges him to a fight or a pushup contest.
If Jill really loved him, she should have put a stop to this two years ago, when he was flailing in the primaries, insulting voters, and fantasizing about Corn Pop, his own non-existent job as a truck driver, or the marching at Selma that he never did.
Now we’re stuck with him, and one man’s diminished denouement has become a great nation’s tragic burden.
Another mistake of Biden’s – his ham-fisted declaration that his SC nomination will be an affirmative action pick – provoked an unintentionally revealing analysis from a Slate writer named Christina Cauterucci.
Partisan though she is, Cauterucci has to acknowledge that Biden’s roll-out was botched, in a brutal title and sub-title: “How Biden’s Vow to Name a Black Woman to the SC Backfired – A campaign promise has needlessly tokenized future nominees.”
She begins by pointing out that around ¾ of Americans (including an astonishing 54% of Dems!) reacted negatively to Biden’s statement that he had a racial and gender litmus test for his nominee. That’s a heartening reaction, and while I’m a little surprised by it, I’m grateful.
But she can’t consider the simple virtue of that position; her ideology is too steeped in racial poison, so she has to explain away obvious implications, and distort the reality of the situation, while (of course) smearing conservatives.
She starts by reciting lefty shibboleths about the proper kind of racial discrimination: judges’ skin color should reflect the population’s, turnabout against white guys is fair play, etc. She even quotes the least-bright current justice: “As Sonia Sotomayor once said, in a line that was ghoulishly twisted by the right, life as a woman of color offers a ‘richness of … experiences’ that brings great value to judicial decision-making.”
Of course, that line wasn’t “ghoulishly twisted” by the right – it was accurately quoted.
Unfortunately for the hard left, most people want judges to interpret the law, rather than following the standard m.o. of Sotomayor and activist leftist jurists, and re-making it according to their own political/ideological preferences.
Cauterucci stumbled on, trying to excuse Biden’s gaffe. She faulted his pledge only for being “overly candid,” and pre-emptively blamed conservatives, who she says will “tarnish” the nominee “as lesser,” simply because, “they will assume that anyone chosen in part for her gender and race will not be the best candidate on the merits.”
YES! Of course they will. But they won’t need to assume it; it will be the self-evident reality. Because any time you favor or eliminate any candidate because of genitalia or skin tone, you are by definition not seeking the best-qualified candidate.
You may still end up with a very qualified person, but there will always be some doubt about her merit – that’s one of the terrible but unavoidable consequences of racial preferences.
But Cauterucci really gives the game away when she plaintively asks why Biden couldn’t have just kept his mouth shut. (We feel your pain, Christina!) Why couldn’t he have just picked a black woman “without the premature, identity-specific fanfare?” Why did he have to position his nominee as “only best[ing] other black women for the role, rather than the entire pool of possible nominees?”
And then, in the ultimate self-own: “Wouldn’t she have been better served by the perception that Biden had also considered white men for the slot, and found them wanting in comparison?”
Ah, yes: the perception!
She isn’t arguing that Biden should not have established a blatantly discriminatory racial quota for his pick – only that he shouldn’t have been HONEST about doing so.
And there’s one of the left’s biggest liabilities, in a nutshell: to achieve their goals, they have to lie.
If they admitted that they want open borders and welfare benefits for illegals in exchange for their votes in perpetuity, they’d be rejected.
If they admitted that they want to confiscate the guns of law-abiding citizens, they’d be rejected.
If they admitted that they want high taxes, and high energy costs, and CRT in schools, and forced lock-downs and masking forever, they’d be rejected.
Far be it from me to contradict Uncle Jesus, when He said that, “The Truth will set you free.”
But for the hard left – anywhere outside the deep blue cities like SF, LA, NYC, Minneapolis, the bad Portland, etc. — the truth will cost them elections.
Hence their frustration with Biden, who committed the political version of a gaffe: he inadvertently told the truth.
And Slate can’t have that!
Finally, in yet another tragic story, Michael Avenatti has been convicted of yet another crime; this time, it was stealing from his client, Stormy Daniels.
But don’t lose heart, CO nation! I, for one, am not giving up on his prospects of rising to the top of his party’s ticket. It’s not like terribly sleazy and dishonest behavior has kept past Dems from succeeding in politics.
And sure, Avenatti could get sentenced to as long as 20 years. But if he gets a typical leftist prosecutor and judge, the DA will likely ask for 3 years, and the judge will sentence him to 18 months and a $10 fine. He’ll be back on the streets – tan, fit and rested – in time for the primaries, where he’ll face Que Mala, Grandma Squanto, and a stage full of extremist deplorables.
My money is still on the Creepy Porn Lawyer! (Hat tip to Tucker.)
Avenatti/ Any Female Minority Person with a Pulse, 2024