The opinion pieces of Frank Bruni always offer a target-rich environment, and anyone who follows this blog knows that I normally excerpt a paragraph here and there and beat them like a pinata until they spill their contents — never candy, just a thousand Liberal tears of nonsense and delusion.
This last weekend offered such a mess of words that I have to go in a different direction: I have to post Bruni’s entire essay <link> and punctuate it with commentary as I go along. How else to get it all in?
The Thrill of Bill & Hill
You see that smile of his, still popping up almost daily in the news, and it stops you. [Actually, no, he is not smiling much these days, as his legacy of being a joke-President becomes more cemented by the day.] Melts you. [Never did, never will.] There’s just more exuberance in it — more messy life — than in the studied, self-conscious expressions of so many of the candidates who came after him, including the two squaring off for the presidency right now. [More "messy life" -- what an understatement, not to mention polite attempt to sanitize a legacy of abuse of women.] He’s on high beams, even in his vegan senescence. [Not really, he looks increasingly empty and a shell of his former self, but go ahead and reminisce.] They’re on dimmers.
You snap to attention when you spot her, too, [Maybe, but only out of fear that she is about to selfishly hijack America for who-knows-why.] not because she has his goofy radiance [Correct, she definitely does not.] but because she’s such an improbable survivor — from Hillarycare to everywhere, a secretary of state as frequent-flying and industrious as any [Accomplishments beyond flying around?] — and because after all these years, she remains an erratically coifed enigma, the conventional interpretation of any one chapter of her life not sufficing for the next [So poetic -- and false. There is a single, common theme to all the chapters of her life: ruthless pursuit of power for selfish aims.]. First she got so far and presumptuously ahead of herself, an upstart [What do you mean, her successful corruption in Arkansas? The Whitewater billing records?]. Then she patiently did the work and recreated herself, a penitent [She may be a lot of things, but a penitent? Such a colorful Liberal dream you are dreaming.]. When she set her sights on the Oval Office, she seemed as intent as anybody had ever been [That is what is known as an empty sentence, Frank -- where is your editor?]. When she didn’t get there, she let go of the dream with uncommon grace [That's funny, I never thought of clenched teeth with a furious look that was worse than her usual as "uncommon grace"].
Or did she? Maybe the two of them are scheming afresh [Hey, ya think?]. You never really know [Yes we do know, stop being idiotic]. That’s the stormy, thrilling, unrivaled adventure of them [Stormy and unrivaled, yes; thrilling adventure, no.].
Without Bill and Hill, where would we be? [Answer: the DOW at 25,000, the American economy at $25 trillion, and China a democratic republic seeking a secondary geo-political role behind the USA, all because the Reagan peace dividend would have been spent wisely instead of having been snorted up the proverbial proboscis by the most selfish couple ever to inhabit the White House.] Bored even sillier than we are. [No one I know is bored by the current political climate: we are horrified and fully mobilized to defeat Barack Hussein Obama so that his assault on the foundation of America is ended.] Bereft of genuinely juicy players. [Only the media want "juicy players"; American patriots want dynamic and patriotic leadership.] Consigned to the snooze button that is Mitt [snooze button to you because real substance is boring compared to savior-fantasies] and the cold touch of no-drama Obama [Bingo.]. That’s why we keep letting Billary back on center stage. Or, rather, yanking them there, by turning each of his demi-gaffes into a meta-story, by weaving fantasies in which she takes over for Joe Biden and he takes a train back to Delaware. [No, they make the news because (1) Bill is a self-promoting self-aggrandizing man so desperate to repair his legacy that he will do anything to get attention, and (2) his wife is Secretary of State, which at least for the time being is a meaningful role in the world.] They hold the spotlight. [No, they don't. They are a sideshow, but that does not suit your article, I know.] They add a dollop of mystery, [No, nothing mysterious about them, we know exactly what they want and are.] a dose of madness [Bingo.] and a crucial heartbeat to a strangely bloodless, mirthless presidential contest ["crucial" - hardly. "heartbeat" - nope, more like pins-and-needles in an appendage that has gone to sleep.].
The 2012 race is an exercise in extreme caution [Unfortunately true, and let's hope Mitt takes the gloves off soon.] starring two exercisers more devoted than Bill usually managed to be. For all the stark differences in their ideologies and biographies, Romney and Obama are strikingly alike in their taut, tidy, temperate ways, each the perfect and photogenic patriarch of a perfect and photogenic brood [Make me vomit; how dare you say that Barack Obama, a Marxist, corruption-loving, America-hating man who seeks to punish the United States for all of its alleged crimes is "strikingly alike" with Mitt Romney, a proven leader who was a successful Governor, successful business executive, and the antidote to Olympic Committee corruption, and who believes in American exceptionalism.] Together they foster a curious kind of longing for the Clintons, [(1) There is no "together", and (2) there is no "longing for the Clintons.] not just because the couple inhabited the White House during the last era of outsize prosperity [they had nothing to do with it, and if you don't believe me, read this <link>] and not just because they still had so much boomer vitality left when they left, [I guess you're a boomer, Frank, because the rest of us don't see much vitality in that demographic, just a heavy dose of nauseating solipsism.] bound for Chappaqua but not obscurity.
They’re relished because they were (and are) such great characters, and such relatable ones [you relate to the Clintons, Frank? Really?]. They wore their flab, their flaws and their bruises as conspicuously as their talents [yes, and such flaws were INIMICAL to the nation, and those of us of sane mind despised their time in the White House as a result.]. Although insanely gifted, [insert vomit sound] they’re also all too human [<-- epic Liberal excuse applied only to Liberals, of course], to crib the phrase that George Stephanopoulos aptly used as the title for his book about his Billary years.
I was reminded of this by an advance peek at the mini-series “Political Animals,” a zippy television fiction to begin on the USA Network next weekend. It stars Sigourney Weaver as a former first lady who is excoriated by many feminists for standing by her philandering man; subsequently runs for the presidency herself; loses her party’s nomination to an ultrasmooth whippersnapper; is plucked to be his secretary of state; and, in that assignment, wrings a whole new amplitude of respect from Americans who still have questions about her life choices but not about her dedication to public service or her competence. Sound like anybody you know? [Another Liberal-Hollywood series designed to get the electorate on the Hillary bandwagon? Have they no self-respect? No.]
Unlike Hill, Weaver’s character divorces her ex-president husband, but he still strides confidently across the cultural landscape, a libidinous Southern charmer [I wonder how the phrase "southern charmer" strikes Juanita Brodrick?] whose effervescence [ditto] is a constant rebuke to her stiffness and the laboriousness of her march toward popular affection. Just like Bill, he questions the competence of the man who defeats the former first lady in her presidential campaign [Let's be clear, for all his faults, Bill was right to question the competence of Barack Obama.]. He also tells her, “Baby, I am the meat in the Big Mac of this party.” All others are condiments and sesame seeds.
As I watched “Political Animals,” I thought: no wonder a scenarist fashioning a Washington roman à clef would summon the Clintons. They’re political animals — unpredictable, ferocious — to a degree that Obama and Romney really aren’t. Obama finds the muck of politics degrading, a necessary evil, and backslapping isn’t his thing [Frank, you are so wrong to parrot this media line. Barack Obama in fact is the quintessential backslapper, but not in the light of day and not of the types you expect. He is patron-in-chief with the bureaucratic pigs who feed at his trough of federal spending disguised as "stimulus" or "green jobs"]. It’s an even more awkward fit for Mitt. Bill reveled in it all [oh he reveled, alright, but not quite "in it all," Frank: he left out the part about being President and leading a nation.]. Although few politicians have been as lacerated by the blood sport of their profession, he continued to play it with unalloyed zest [you make it sound like he's a victim, but then again Clinton was always the master of this form with guys like you. Once again, he continues to "play" only insofar as he believes he is salvaging his legacy, which as always with him is a purely personal ambition]. And to play it masterfully. [Since when?]
To be fair, it’s not just the current candidates who want for a certain wildness. It’s the political culture, transformed by Twitter and the 24-minute news cycle into a constant patrol for — and vigil against — excited, off-script utterances. Remember the days when we talked only of message discipline? Recently a pollster I was speaking with extolled the virtues of language discipline. What’s next: syllable discipline? Wait, we already have that, in Romney’s “jobs, jobs, jobs” incantation and strategy. When he’s forced against his will onto other nouns, like penalty and tax, he stammers and flails.
Obama’s background and arc make him compelling [to whom, Hugo Chavez?] His comportment often doesn’t. He eschews displays of emotion and endeavors to control even the past, rewriting his own, as the author David Maraniss recently made clear [hey, that's a damning accusation, but I like it. Do his sycophants care?]. He’d never be caught in the bedraggled states that Hill frequently is or let his thighs and stomach go the way Bill’s sometimes did. [No, destroying a great nation apparently burns a lot of calories.] His clothes are unwrinkled. [So is his fake birth certificate, so what.] His appetites are firmly in check, [except for the one called "Eat the Rich"] and have been ever since that college transfer to Columbia, that resolve to get serious and that New York regimen of three miles a day and a once-a-week fast.
His campaigns and administration are as orderly as his person. The suffix “-gate,” which flourished under Billary, is endangered under Obama, [Wake up, Frank, Wake up -- you might have heard about Fast & Furious -- walking guns into the hands of Mexican drug gangs and then obstructing Congressional oversight? Don't worry, you'll be hearing a lot more about it soon] and the staffers and staff convulsions just aren’t the same [no, they're probably not, which means that various women are not being groped, or worse]. Clinton had Dick Morris and James Carville and Betsey Wright, whose profane fictional alter ego was played by Kathy Bates in “Primary Colors.” While that chronicle of the 1992 campaign could focus tightly on the Clinton camp, which had all the suds a soap opera needed, its nonfiction analogue from the 2008 campaign, “Game Change,” had to include candidates other than Obama to generate the requisite froth. And when HBO made a movie from it, the Obamas were edited out entirely. [Of course they were, because the actual fact of Liberal fantasies is best left alone by Hollywood lest a fictional version confuse Liberal minds as to what is real] They weren’t the best story.
The Clintons were always the best story. That’s not exactly a compliment. [No it isn't, because the nation and its Constitution should never be eclipsed by such selfishness.] Americans suffered on account of the couple’s sloppiness, heedlessness, self-consumption and greed. [TRUE] From Whitewater through impeachment, Bill and Hill abetted distraction upon distraction, undermining their own agenda. [TRUE]
But they had fire, and he had a sort of glee that redeemed and bought him forgiveness for his many infidelities — marital, political, ideological. [No, never. There can be no redemption for a man who squandered such opportunity and who took the office of the presidency so lightly. His failure was complete, and total, and it will echo in eternity.] There’s inexhaustibly riveting material in these two. [Not really. Hillary's moment of presidential ambition will come one more time, and then fade, and we will all find -- even the Liberal media -- that the Clintons are no longer so riveting. Rather, they will be seen as a less-than-serious interlude between the Reagan victory in the Cold War and the struggle for the nation's soul that began when a man of questionable origins rose to power and attacked each and every one of its sacred principles, including self-reliance, freedom, economic self-determination, and sovereignty.] There’s also a capacity for risk-taking, along with a gameness and a toughness, that Obama and Romney could learn from, and that the rest of us can’t help missing just a little. [No, we don't miss it at all. What we miss is Ronald Reagan, a man who believed in America and knew how to lift all citizens with that belief; who at the peak of the risk of global thermonuclear war was unafraid to call the Soviets' bluff in a series of negotiations and actions that vanquished the USSR; who reigned in inflation and restored the American economy to greatness and fairness; who rebuilt the American military to such a degree that every President since then has used it to powerful effect and yet simultaneously taken it for granted; and who ultimately strengthened and preserved the bedrock of freedom on Earth -- the United States of America -- for at least one more generation.]
Mitt Romney is the only man now who can carry on that legacy, and we must elect him this November, and he must then do so.
The alternative is too terrible an outcome to bear.