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Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2003 / 3 Tishrei, 5764

James Lileks

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Ah-nold & Clark may be on different sides of the aisles, but their supporters are cut from the same cloth | Hello, it's the man on a horse. One poll has Wesley Clark tied with President Bush, if the election were held today. But barring a ruling by the 9th Circuit, it won't be held for a year.

Who knows what damage Gen. Clark and Howard Dean will do to each other as they tumble toward the convention; who knows what will happen in the war? It's reasonably certain that the economy will be better in a year, and the Mesopotamian theater will be more stable; there will be footage of Iraqi children skipping off to schools, interviews with doctors who note that the number of patients who've had their tongues pulled out by the government is down to zero.

Clark will have to explain why he thinks this is a bad thing.

The main reason his candidacy has zest and vim is simple: He's a military man. He bestows credibility on the Democrats — one might even say gravitas. Of course, if the Republicans put a retired general on the ticket, half the chattering classes would take to the fainting couch: bonjour fascism, au revoir America.

But Clark's different! He's pro-choice, pro-high taxes, at least at press time. And he wants "a new patriotism," the old one presumably sullied beyond use by the boot-clicking usurpers who foul the Oval Office now. "No administration has the right to tell Americans that to dissent is disloyal, and to disagree is unpatriotic," he said in a recent speech.

Oh, absolutely. That's why we need Clark: Enough of those big banners in the train stations telling us to SHUT UP AND OBEY, and the endless mandatory TV shows about our Glorious Leader and his plans to increase the radish crop by 170 percent for the next five-year plan. Don't you wish your TV came with an off switch, so you could avoid the propaganda? Don't you wish you could skip the Tuesday night book burnings? Don't you wonder if we crossed the line the night John Ashcroft personally executed Al Franken on "Saturday Night Live"? I miss America, too.

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He went on, unfortunately: "In times of war or peace, democracy requires dialogue, disagreement and the courage to speak out. And those who do it should not be condemned but be praised."

OK, then: Gen. Clark, I disagree with you because you're a tool of the war machine that kills innocent people for the sake of corporate profits of globalized firms run by Jews who drink the blood of Gentile infants.

Anyone want to praise me now?

Didn't think so. Dissent is not automatically worthy of praise. The act of dissenting is not brave; dissent is the default position for half the nation. We don't round up people who vote for the losing candidate and ship them off to the gulag. And sometimes dissent is overtly un-American. Go to any anti-globo demo; look at the chanting rabble in Che T-shirts who want to replace America with International Workers Permanent Committee for Boiling Rich People in Huge Vats. Dissent on parade, and un-American to boot.

It's the same tired line: dissent against the dissenters, and you're quashing dissent.

An interesting line coming from a general, who no doubt encouraged free and open debate whenever he gave an order.

Well, that's different! He was in the military! True. But according to the playbook of the angry left, the military is the problem.

It's full of bloodthirsty killbots who long to plunge a bayonet into an enemy while shouting G-D BLESS RUPERT MURDOCH AND KARL ROVE! Or they're hapless grunts drawn from the ghettos and barrios, thrown into the meat grinder against their will by gouty old white men in Washington who regard war as a novel way to thin the herd. Or they're planners and gamers who hate this new age of pinpoint weaponry because it deprives them of the chance to blow up nursery schools and libraries.

How could the Democrats support a man who comes from this twisted cradle?

For the same reason Republicans support Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because he could win.

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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


09/19/03: All Hail the Ninth Circuit Court of Surreal
08/26/03: This time, the record industry doesn't stand a chance!
08/18/03: Assessing the Schwarzenegger Factor in Republicanism
08/08/03: No wonder Howard ‘Two Covers’ Dean gets all the buzz
08/04/03: Expect bad news for the foreseeable future
07/28/03: Despot's Deserts
07/21/03: No winners in this game of gotcha
07/14/03: Doing the right thing in Liberia may not be the right thing to do
06/27/03: On feet in Democratic mouths
06/16/03: The real story behind Hillary's book
06/09/03:America's new mission was and remains: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them
06/03/03: The Constitution as gag order
05/23/03: Sometimes the theme of world events is chaos itself
05/16/03: Newspapers are only human, after all
05/13/03: What McCarthy messed up
05/06/03: Still think the International Criminal Court was a good idea?
04/03/03: The world is ending, the world is ending! Doesn't anybody care!? Why won't anybody listen!?
03/14/03: Kerry and the Dems are banking on American electorate's tendancy to forget history
02/28/03: Roadmap to peace?
02/13/03: We live in an age where the poet has been cast out from the halls of power --- sob, sob
02/10/03: Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points
01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2003, James Lileks