Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dogs and Transcripts: NYT Gives Yet Another Example of Double Standards

Speaking truth to power?

Gail Collins has a column in the New York Times that will probably make all its liberal readers guffaw at the pathetic Republican candidates, which is normal, because she uses gross caricatures of the right's candidates alone, while ignoring any and all equivalent examples related to the left — and more importantly, to the White House.
So many surprises to look forward to. … Will [Mitt Romney] ever release all his tax returns?
Well, a fine question, Gail.
I mean it.
But why don't you call for Barack Obama's releasing his college transcripts? In fact, while you're at it, why not ask members of the mainstream media busying themselves with the evils of Mitt Romney's Mormon faith (while ignoring Jeremiah Wright's church — I don't remember ever hearing any Mormon shouting "God damn America!", certainly not since Utah became a state) why they didn't ask Barack Obama for his college transcripts in 2008 and why they haven't been demanding he do so since then?

And then we get this doozy (which is hardly abnormal, since Gail Collins has already mentioned the 1983 car trip more than 50 times):
Did you ever notice how many of the Republican candidates seemed to have animal issues? [Follows a list of mockery regarding GOP candidates, both presidential and vice-presidential.] And the winner is the guy who drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car!
Notice how the left always has to exaggerate, making it sound like poor helpless Seamus was tied, personally, to the roof of the car (presumably by his paws and tail), hostage to the wind factor, to the elements, to the cold, and to the slightest false maneuver (rather than in an "air-tight kennel").

More importantly, it has been a week or two since a new animal issue has emerged, tied (so to speak) to the Democratic front-runner, also the resident of the White House — his writing of the memory of eating dog meat while in his 30s (the writing, that is, not the eating, which took place as a child in Indonesia) — and that is something which animal-issue-obsessed Gail Collins blithely… ignores.

Speaking truth to power?

Only when it ain't a Democrat…

The trouble with Hollande is his resistance to change and a determination to preserve the French social model at all costs

For all [of Nicolas Sarkozy's shortcomings],
editorializes The Economist,
if we had a vote on May 6th, we would give it to Mr Sarkozy—but not on his merits, so much as to keep out Mr Hollande

Mr Hollande’s programme seems a very poor answer to all this—especially given that France’s neighbours have been undergoing genuine reforms. He talks a lot about social justice, but barely at all about the need to create wealth. Although he pledges to cut the budget deficit, he plans to do so by raising taxes, not cutting spending. Mr Hollande has promised to hire 60,000 new teachers. By his own calculations, his proposals would splurge an extra €20 billion over five years. The state would grow even bigger.

Mr Hollande evinces a deep anti-business attitude. He will also be hamstrung by his own unreformed Socialist Party and steered by an electorate that has not yet heard the case for reform, least of all from him. Nothing in the past few months, or in his long career as a party fixer, suggests that Mr Hollande is brave enough to rip up his manifesto and change France (see article).

… The trouble is that unlike, say, Italy’s Mario Monti, Mr Hollande’s objection to the compact is not just about such macroeconomic niceties as the pace of fiscal tightening. It is chiefly resistance to change and a determination to preserve the French social model at all costs. [François] Hollande is not suggesting slower fiscal adjustment to smooth the path of reform: he is proposing not to reform at all. No wonder Germany’s Angela Merkel said she would campaign against him.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hope & Change: Leading in the Polls, France's Socialists Look to Obama for Inspiration

Referring to the initial of François Hollande's last name and to one of Barack Obama's campaign slogans in 2008 (as well as to one of his 2008 campaign pictures), a Socialist Party member wears a T-shirt reading (in English): H Is for Hope.

As for one of Hollande's campaign posters, is it any coincidence that it refers to "change" (Change Right Now)?

France's socialists keep looking to Barack Obama for inspiration while going out of their way to point out the alleged similarities between their candidate and the occupant of the White House.

Why is that?

Because Obamania still reigns in this nation. Which is due in turn to the mainstream media — in France as well as in the States — not reporting on the economic catastrophe due to the Greek-ish policies of the One, nor showing any interest in anything negative about Obama at all…

The Never-ending Revolution

According to law 26 brumaire an IX (17 novembre 1800), instituted by advanced-thinking revolutionaries in the 9th year of the French Revolution which is still on the books, women need permission from a health officer of the police prefecture to wear pants.
"toute femme désirant s'habiller en homme doit se présenter à la Préfecture de police pour en obtenir l'autorisation...". "...Cette autorisation ne peut être donnée qu'au vu d'un certificat d'un officier de santé...".
Get a little strange on the side, girlfriend... wear PANTS.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Scrotums in the News

Haikou City, Hainan Province, People’s Republic of China: Altercation Over Parking Spot Ends in Death by Testicular Asphyxiation
the woman, 41 years old, rode on her scooter to an elementary school in Meilan District, Haikou City to pick up her child that day. When she wanted to pack her scooter in front of a shop, she was rejected by the shop owner, a 42-year-old male. The two parties soon fell into a quarrel, and then the physical confrontation. The furious woman called up her husband and brother to come help her, which resulted in a more violent fist fight. During the fight, the middle aged woman manged to grab the man’s testicles, and squeezed them till he finally collapsed on the ground. The man was immediately rushed to hospital, but unfortunately died there
Voilà, un peu de Zen/.

Brazilian Blogger Shot Dead for His Political Writings and His Fight Against the Establishment

Almost exactly one year after a blogger was shot in Copacabana for his fight against corruption, another Brazilian blogger has been gunned down, this time in Maranhão, a state in the Northeastern part of the country. Contrary to Ricardo Gama of Rio de Janeiro, Décio Sá died of his wounds. (Incidentally, Brazil does have a form of gun control.)
Decio Sa, a political reporter for the newspaper O Estado do Maranhao in northeastern Brazil, was at least the fourth journalist slain this year in the South American nation, one of the deadliest for reporters to work in.

"For sure he was killed because of his work as a reporter," Silvia Moscoso, the newspaper's state affairs editor, said by telephone. "Over his at least 17 years at the newspaper he made a long list of enemies, many of whom I imagine would love to see him dead."

"But he denounced so many people and so much corruption that it is impossible to say who was behind his murder," she added.

A gunman fired six bullets into Sa's head and chest in a restaurant in the state capital of Sao Luis on Monday night. He died instantly and the killer fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice who was waiting outside, the Maranhao state public safety department said in a statement.

Standing Up to Stalin and the Soviet Union? For the New York Times, That Is "Bad Behavior"

Those who stood up to the Western leftists supporting Stalin's Soviet Union will never find solace or forgiveness from said leftists or from their ideological descendants, it emerges in Frank Langella's Dropped Names — as well as in Ada Calhoun's New York Times book review thereof.

An otherwise "satisfyingly scandalous new memoir" with "so much happy sexuality", which chronicles how "Frank Langella has slept with, been propositioned by, or at least swapped dirty jokes with a breathtaking swath of stars over his illustrious half-century career", Ada Calhoun applauds Langella for standing up to Elia Kazan's "bad behavior" before the House Un-American Activities Committee, quoting Langella approvingly as saying that nobody should have the "rights" to do such a vile thing.
Langella is “flattered and somewhat perversely titillated” when Elia Kazan makes a pass at his girlfriend in an effort to break him down, but of Kazan’s other bad behavior, before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he says, “I have always felt that talent such as his doesn’t give you rights.” Langella recalls sitting with his hands folded when Kazan received a standing ovation at the Oscars.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Before Palin, Before Bush, Before Reagan, It Was Eisenhower Being Called a Dunce by the Left

Yes, that Eisenhower. The one who won the Second World War in Europe against the Nazi war machine.

Do you remember the jokes about Sarah Palin?

And about George W Bush?

And about Ronald Reagan?

Turns out it ain't nothing new… The first sentence in the John Lewis Gaddis book review of Jean Edward Smith's Eisenhower in War and Peace says it all:
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s memoirs came out while I was in graduate school in the 1960s, and one of my professors commented — not entirely facetiously — that he’d been surprised to see print on the pages. My fellow students and I were being taught that despite Eisenhower’s victories in World War II, the presidency had been beyond his capabilities.
He would have been "been surprised to see print on the pages" of Ike's memoirs! Remember that oh-so-hilarious joke about Sarah Palin:

"Sarah Palin's bookcase caught fire, and none of the books could be saved. Both were destroyed. And one of them she hadn't even finished coloring!"

Before Palin, it was told about Dubya, before Dubya it was told about Reagan, before…

Listen, I'll grant you this about the joke: it's not unfunny, far from it, and it is a two-fer that is an improvement on the Eisenhower crack, but it is hardly that original, and it turns out that it reflects less as a fair description of the subject than on the mental process of the (holier-than-thou, smarter-than-thou) leftist telling it.

It Must be That Superior Quality-of-Life Thing Americans are Supposed to be Envious of

Le Parisien reports that 2/3 of French homes have sub-standard elecreical work, and that it causes 80 000 house fires a year, fully one third of all home fires.

In fact a casual observer would call just about any property in the entire country a pit.
Of the 27 million homes in France , 7 million are at risk and 2.3 million are considered very dangerous, said the report, and an additional 300,000 properties can be deemed hazardous each year. The main deficiencies identified were lack of grounding, the location of electrical equipment (circuit breakers, service connections ...) obsolete equipment, non-observance of safety rules in bathrooms, and the lack of a protection against overcurrent [such as fuses or circuit breakers].
The damage is valued at €1 billion per year, not counting the victims – 400 deaths and 8000 casualties annually.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

French election gag sparks fun and fury on web

France tried but failed to stop premature leaks of first round presidential election results on Sunday, setting the web-warped world of Twitter alight with jibes, jokes and cryptic messages recalling coded World War Two radio communications.
Thus starts Brian Love's article, "French election gag sparks fun and fury on web" (merci à Carine).
… The warnings spurred derision and defiance with a profusion of dummy results and fun-poking messages on a micro-blogging network where national frontiers no longer exist.

"Netherlands-Hungary qualify for return leg," said one tweet in a play on the name of Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, top scorer in Sunday's vote, and the origin of second-placed President Nicolas Sarkozy's father.

… "According to observers returning from Syria, Russian tanks left at dawn, due to arrive in Paris at 20h (8 p.m.)," read one entry, alluding to a possible left-wing victory and closing time at polling stations.

Other aliases for Hollande included "Gouda", "The Flan", a caramel pudding that resembles one of his nicknames, and more transparently, "The Rose of Correze", combining the Socialist party logo with Hollande's rural constituency in central France.

For Sarkozy, they included "platform heels", a reference to Sarkozy's penchant for shoes that give the diminutive president a few extra centimetres in photographs, "Rolex" in a nod to his taste for flashy wristwear, and "Goulash", a Hungarian recipe.

"Daddy's girl" clearly alluded to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who took over from her father Jean-Marie last year as head of the anti-immigration National Front.

Firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was branded "hot red pepper" by one micro-message sender.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sarkozy, in Second Place, Is Going to the Second Round Against Hollande

"Sarkozy, Hollande Progress as Poll Shows Le Pen Wins 20% of Vote" writes Thomson/Reuters

Sarkozy's Principal Opponent in France's Presidential Election? Victor Hugo and “Les Misérables”

Suddenly, Victor Hugo has become [President Nicolas Sarkozy's] principal opponent
writes Robert Zaretsky of the University of Houston Honors College.
Whether it is the Socialist candidate, François Hollande, or the candidate of the far left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, citing from or identifying with this hulking literary figure — the 19th century’s greatest poet, novelist and bard of the Revolution — has become de rigueur.

… Long before his death in 1885, Hugo had become France’s four-letter word for revolutionary purity. This reputation was set in motion by Hugo’s ferocious opposition to Napoleon III, who had overthrown France’s Second Republic in 1851 and revived his uncle’s empire and dictatorship.

… [In “Les Misérables,” the riotous work that channeled Hugo’s republican and revolutionary sentiments and that marks its 150th anniversary this year,] Hugo’s concern was the lot of the laboring poor in 1862.

Indeed, this was the meaning of the word “misérables.” At first synonymous with poverty, the word “misère” morphed into “les misérables” — the riffraff and rabble, the superfluous and scum, all thrown up by a society in the throws of rapid industrialization and financial speculation. Through the trials of Valjean and Marius, Cosette and Gavroche, Hugo conveyed the fragility of lives and livelihoods in the face of vast economic and technological forces.

… A technocrat, Hollande declared just a few years back that he never bothered with novels. Similarly, Sarkozy once insisted that the French electorate was ready for a new kind of leader: one who quoted from television shows rather than “The Princess of Clèves.”

… Recently, however, this cultural landscape, flat as a crêpe, has been rented by the man Le Nouvel Observateur calls the “great troublemaker,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon. With his trademark red tie and carnation, the leader of the Left Front — an alliance of Communists and disaffected Socialists — Mélenchon has barreled into third place in the national polls.

Mélenchon’s politics are unabashedly radical (and for many critics utterly impractical): full retirement pension at the age of 60, the nationalization of energy industries and a dramatic increase in the minimum wage. They are also fully republican: greater independence within the European Union, greater distance from Germany’s suffocating economic policies and greater freedom for the French to pursue their nation’s destiny. At the same time, he disconcertingly expresses his admiration of Fidel Castro, plays down China’s repression in Tibet, all the while insisting that while Hugo Chávez is not a political model, he is a source of inspiration.

But the other Hugo has been an even greater source of inspiration for Mélenchon. At meetings, he casts a conspiratorial smile to industrial or transportation workers and confides: “I’ve been told I’m too intellectual for you. But the people are, in fact, too cultivated for their leaders.” Donning his glasses, he then reads from “Les Misérables” about the sans-culottes of 1793: “These violent men, ragged, bellowing and wild-eyed, who with clubs and pikes poured through the ancient streets of Paris.”

What Hugo’s sans-culottes wanted was “work for all men, education for their children...liberty, equality and fraternity. In a word, they wanted progress.” While Hollande belatedly announced that “Les Misérables” is his favorite book — thus usurping his previous favorite book, “Le Petit Prince” — Mélenchon now owns the novel. With Hugo’s help, he channels in remarkable ways the anxiety of a growing number of French citizens who ask if progress is possible only by accepting the economic and monetary policies of European institutions that seem no less relentless and rigid as Inspector Javert. Or, instead, as Mélenchon insists, ask if progress is desirable only when “the people reign”?

Also check out:
• Smart Diplomacy: A French Presidential Candidate Vows to Valiantly Fight the American Empire and Bring the World Out From Under Its Domineering Shadow

In his opinion piece, meanwhile, Olivier Guez describes
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, that great orator, [as rekindling] the spirit of revolutionary mythology by summoning Robespierre, Fidel Castro, Jean Jaurès, Hugo Chávez and Victor Hugo, while throwing to the wolves the bosses, the bourgeois, the journalists, Wall Street and the CAC 40 index on the Paris bourse.
However, with Sam Island's picture of an Eiffel Tower sticking its head in the sand, the French journalist writing for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung echoes John Vinocur and Liz Alderman as he adds:
But few things have been said about the gravity of the French economic crisis: the deficits in France’s public accounts and balance of payments; its drop in competitiveness; its decline in international commerce; its apathetic growth.

Nor have we heard much about the threat of increased unemployment and reduced purchasing power from the austerity measures that the markets expect any president to take — right after the election, of course. As for civil war in Syria, the perilous transitions in Arab countries, Al Qaeda’s progress in the Sahel, or Iran’s nuclear program, the candidates have behaved as if nothing were the matter — as if France were tacitly abandoning all influence abroad.

These omissions say a great deal about the state of a country that has rarely seemed so avid in its navel-gazing, so inward-looking. In short, France in 2012 is an old nation that increasingly cultivates the temptation to be an island unto itself.

… But all 10 candidates had one enemy in common: globalization, that perpetual movement of capital, people and merchandise that endangers the French social model cherished by 90 percent of French people even as it threatens to definitively bring them to ruin. Among all inhabitants of developed nations, it seems, none hate globalization more than the French. All their political leaders have promised to “fight against” it. But no one fights globalization alone. No one can lie down alone in the path of history with impunity, not even the nation of the artiste Jean Dujardin.

Evidence of Fraud in 2008 Election? A Surprising Number of Parallels with JFK's 1960 Campaign

In some ways the most dangerous kind of politician is a man who is good at PR and nothing else
writes Paul Johnson in his monumental History of the American People.

No, he was not talking about the current occupant of the White House (his book was written in 1999, after all — before Obama had even published his (first) autobiography), but about John F Kennedy, and I am speaking as a former Kennedy devotee and Camelot maniac. (Yes, even if the book was written before 911 and even the George W Bush presidency, it is a must-read — as you will see below.)

I was coaxed into pulling Paul Johnson's masterpiece from my shelves again, as I read Instapundit's review of the PJMedia piece on what the Wikileaks memos say about the 2008 election, getting increasingly angry as I read through the J Christian Adams original.
What we do know is this: First, that people in the McCain campaign thought they had evidence of election tampering that cost McCain the election. Second, that McCain thought it best for the country to do nothing about it, in part because of fears of mob violence.
Interestingly, Glenn Reynolds calls his link to J Christian Adams' article "Bad Call." That turns out to be entirely appropriate, in view of the fact that Bernie Marcus recently pointed out (video) that
the Republicans play the rules of … golf. In golf, if you miss a putt or you touch the ball, you call a shot on yourself. We're playing the game of golf. The Democrats are playing ice hockey. It's a killer game. And that's the difference in politics.
This brings to mind uncounted parallels with the 1960 election, rarely if ever disclosed in mainstream history books, and which I only learned through Paul Johnson's History of the American People, the reading of which sometimes made my eyes pop out as previously-undisclosed facts (of the unpalatable sort) were revealed.

As I re-read part of the book this morning, it turns out that there are many more parallels than you would at first assume.

Just consider:
By all historical standards, Nixon should have been an American media hero. He was a natural candidate for laurels in the grand old tradition of self-help, of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. He came from nowhere.
Think of John McCain, who should have been — and who was! — an American hero for other reasons, linked to dramatic combat, horrific jail conditions (with — very — violent wardens, of a decidedly racist bent), and the ever-present risk of death in a foreign country. (In France, while both of Obama's autobiographies became best-sellers, McCain's autobiography, with its full life (written past the age of 60) and with all the drama of its war "adventures", was not even translated.)
Yet, from start to finish, the media, especially the 'quality' press, distrusted [Nixon], consistently denigrated him, and sought to destroy him, indeed in a sense did destroy him. At every crisis in his career — except the last — he had to appeal above the heads of the media to the great mass of the ordinary American people, the 'silent majority' as he called them.
When I first read Paul Johnson's book, incidentally, I remember thinking, But of course! What has always been described as an unsavory character trait in Richard Mulhouse Nixon — his alleged paranoia — turns out perhaps not to have been so paranoid at all and to have been provoked by those who claimed to be innocent bystanders, if not the actual entirely-innocent victims of "Tricky Dick"… (If only for Paul Johnson's description of Watergate — which he likens, persuasively, to a witch hunt — you must read A History of the American People.)
By contrast, the media did everything in its power to build up and sustain the beatific myth of John F. Kennedy, throughout his life and long after his death, until it finally collapsed in ruins under the weight of incontrovertible evidence. The media protected him, suppressed what it knew to be the truth about him, and if necessary lied about him, on a scale which it had never done even for Franklin Roosevelt.
C'mon. Don't tell me that I really need to point out the parallels here with Barack Hussein Obama, the anointed One come to save America and Americans from their own demons.
And this was all the more surprising because Kennedy had most of the characteristics of an American anti-hero. … the running theme of the Kennedy family [was] how to turn money into political power … Maximum use was made of Jack's war career in all his campaigns. … Old Joe set about making Kennedy first a congressman, then a senator, then president. This train of events is worth studying because it shows the extent to which money paved the way to political power in mid-20th-century America …
Again: need I really point out the parallels with Obama, and his war-chest(s), along with his billion-dollar campaigns and his spending sprees? At this point of the book, Paul Johnson brings an interesting aside:
As Tip O'Neill put it: …
'I'd have to say that [Jack] was only nominally a Democrat. He was a Kennedy, which more than family affiliation. It quickly developed into an entire political party, with its own people, its own approach and its own strategies.'
The man who got it right at the time was the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. He grasped the important point that electing a Kennedy was not so much giving office to an individual as handing over power to a family business, a clan, almost a milieu, with a set of attitudes about how office was to be acquired and used which at no point coincided with the American ethic. Having paid his first visit after Kennedy's election as President, Macmillan was asked on his return what it was like in Kennedy's Washington.
'Oh,' said he, 'it's rather like watching the Borgia brothers take over a respectable North Italian city.'
But let's get back to the election of 1960 (as you read the few next parts, remember all the nasty things you have heard through the years about Tricky Dick).
Nixon had deliberately decided to keep Catholicism out of the campaign, and succeeded in doing so. The day after the result, he said to his aide Pete Flanigan:
'Pete, here's one thing we can be satisfied about. The campaign has laid to rest for ever the issue of a candidate's religion in presidential politics. Bad for me, perhaps, but good for America.'
In fact, Kennedy's catholicism won him the election … In the Northern industrial states, where the margins were very close, the swing of the Catholic vote to a Catholic candidate made all the difference.
Think of McCain opining that the election of a black man was good for America — which it undoubtedly was. But regarding America's alleged nightmarish racism, note that it was precisely Barack Obama's race that won him, or that helped win him, the election — as much among minorities as among liberal whites pining to demonstrate their status as "good" whites.

Unfortunately, there is a more ominous parallel between 1960 and 2008 (although not necessarily in the states specifically mentioned), which should overshadow Nixon's (and McCain's) satisfaction with the (respective) result(s), along with pride in his (in their) countrymen. Indeed, why be satisfied with a result (and why be proud of your country) if the result was the product of cheating?
This was a crooked election, especially in Texas and Illinois, two states notorious for fraud, and both of which Kennedy won. In Texas, which gave its twenty-four college votes to Kennedy, by a margin of 46,000 votes (out of 2.3 million), one expert made the calculation that
'a minimum of 100,000 votes for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket simply were non-existent.'
… (in one polling station, where only 4,895 voters were registered, 6,138 votes were counted as cast)
Then again, perhaps there does turn out to be a parallel between 1960 and 2008 in regards to one of the states mentioned: …
In Illinois, Nixon carried 93 of the state's 102 counties, yet lost the state by 8,858 votes. This was entirely due to an enormous Democratic turnout in Chicago, under the control of the notorious Democratic city boss and mayor, Richard Daley. Daley gave Kennedy the Windy City by the astonishing margin of 450,000 votes, and the evidence was overwhelming that fraud was committed on a large scale in Kennedy's favor.
An interesting side-note:
The mafia played an important part in this fraud. Afterwards, its boss Giancana often boasted to Judith Campbell, the mistress he shared with the President, 'Listen, honey, if it wasn't for me your boyfriend wouldn't even be in the White House.'
I don't suppose the mafia helped Obama in 2008; however — No, I wouldn't want to call into question the honesty and the civility of members of ACORN and of the Black Panthers (for fear of being labeled a racist, natch).

While reading History of the American People the first time, I remember thinking: it can't be possible that the MSM history books wouldn't mention this, so probably the fraud was tiny, and/or hard to prove, and not worth mentioning, so perhaps Paul Johnson is exaggerating, if ever so slightly. Then I came to this part:
If Nixon, instead of Kennedy, had carried Texas and Illinois, the shift in electoral votes would have given him the presidency, and the evidence of electoral fraud makes it clear that Kennedy's overall 112,803 vote plurality was a myth: Nixon probably won overall by about 250,000 votes. Evidence of fraud in the two states was so blatant that a number of senior figures, including Eisenhower, urged Nixon to make a formal legal challenge to the result. But Nixon declined. … A legal challenge … would have produced a 'constitutional nightmare' and worked heavily against the national interest.
Doesn't this sound like the Wikileaks memo stating that "McCain felt the crowds assembled in support of Obama and such would be detrimental to our country and it would do our nation no good for this to drag out like last go around" — Bernie Marcus's dependable, mature golf player acting responsibly to prevent the ice hockey players from going berserk?

Just as interesting is the passage preceding the story of the 1960 election, which explains the downplaying of the Republican candidate while the extolling of the Democrat's alleged virtues. As you read the following passage, think also of all the ways that Rupert Murdoch has been demonized over the years, as has his Fox News network.
We come now to an important structural change in America. America had always been, from the earliest time, a democratic society, in that men (and indeed women) paid little attention to formal rank, even where it existed. Every man felt he had the right to shake hands with every other man, even the President … But this democratic spirit was balanced by the tribute of respect to those who, for one reason or another — experience, learning, position, wealth, office, or personality — had earned the title of 'boss.' The balance struck between egalitarianism and deference was one of the most remarkable characteristics of America, and one of its great strengths.

The Sixties brought a change. In the space of a decade, the word 'boss' passed almost out of the language, certainly out of universal usage. Deference itself deferred to a new spirit of hostility to authority. It became the fashion to challenge long-established hierarchies, to revolt against them or to ignore them. Nowhere was this spirit more manifest than in the media …

The gradual but cumulatively almost complete transfer of opinion-forming power from the owners and commercial managers of TV stations to the program-makers and presenters was one of the great new facts of life, unheard of before the 1950s, axiomatic by the end of the 1960s. And it was gradually paralleled by a similar shift in the newspaper world, especially on the great dailies and magazines of the East Coast, where political power, with few exceptions, passed from proprietors and major stockholders to editors and writers. Owners like Hearst and McCormick (of the Chicago Tribune), Pulitzer and Henry Luce (of Time-Life), who had once decided the political line of their publications in considerable detail, moved out of the picture and their places were taken by the working journalists. Since the latter tended to be overwhelmingly liberal in their views, this was not just a political but a cultural change of considerable importance. Indeed it is likely that nothing did more to cut America loose from its traditional moorings.

… The change could be seen in 1960, in the way the East Coast media (the New York Times and Washington Post, Time and Newsweek), handled the contest between Nixon and Kennedy.
The final word?
There is a sense in which Kennedy, who loved to use words like 'bearing,' 'results,' and 'in,' was a professional sportsman, a political huckster, and a propagandist rather than a serious statesman
Note: After spending hours writing the above, I decided to do a search of Paul Johnson in the No Pasarán archives, discovering to my great surprise that I had actually used A History of the American People once in the past to compare the elections of the 1960 and 2008, and that in… November 2008 no less (!)
Here t'is: Stealing the Election: The 1960 and the 2008 Contests Compared

Update: I knew Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon was a friend of mine, and you, Barack are no Richard Nixon (thanks to Instapundit)

Update: The Watergate Cover-Up Trial: Justice Denied? (thanks to Instapundit)
There were real crimes and real criminals. But newly found documents suggest a denial of due process of law to the defendants, a move that did the Constitution no favors.

In France, the Socialists' François Hollande Is Using Lessons From Barack Obama's 2008 Campaign

Arthur Muller, Vincent Pons and Guillaume Liegey, young Frenchmen who met in Cambridge, Mass., at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and M.I.T., are working hard to get out the vote, American-style, for the Socialist challenger for the French presidency, François Hollande
reports Steven Erlanger.
For the last few months, they have been working to recruit and train 70,000 volunteers to knock on almost 3.5 million doors. Having witnessed the successful campaign of President Obama, they are back in France, using American models of canvassing to get left-leaning voters who would normally abstain to instead cast ballots. Their work, said Mr. Liegey, 31, is concentrated in the banlieues, poorer suburbs heavily populated with ethnic minorities, where alienation and abstention are high.

… “When we saw what Obama had done, the very systematic way of door-to-door campaigning and the way he used the Internet to coordinate volunteers, we thought, ‘How can we do that in France?’ ” said Mr. Pons, 28.

… The two main candidates are already thinking ahead to the second round. Mr. Sarkozy is hoping to come first on Sunday, to get new momentum for the next two weeks. The traditional French understanding is that in the first round, people vote with their hearts, and in the second round, with their heads. And the second round, barring surprises, should be a classic French fight between the left and the right.

“The left longs for Mitterrand and the right longs for De Gaulle”: Extreme Parties Poised to Capture 30% of French Vote on Sunday

François Kahn has had enough of the French mainstream
reports Nicola Clark.
Raised in a conservative Parisian family, his sympathies growing up were on the right. About 10 years ago, he switched his allegiance to the Socialists, who seemed to embody values that had grown important to him, such as equality and social justice.

But on Sunday, the first round of France’s presidential elections, Mr. Kahn, a 30-year-old strategic planner and graduate of one of France’s top business schools, will be voting for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former teacher and Trotskyist, whose party, the Front de Gauche, groups a hodgepodge of former Communists, environmentalists and anti-globalists disheartened by a presidential race that many voters feel is out of touch with their bread-and-butter concerns about jobs, the rising cost of living and the future of their state pension and health care benefits.

“The Socialists have really become a party of the center-right,” Mr. Kahn said. “It’s almost like they are too embarrassed to be on the left.”

Such frustrations are manifesting themselves across France in stronger-than-usual support for so-called fringe candidates on both the left and the right. Together, the extreme wings of French politics are poised to capture as much as 30 percent of the vote on Sunday, according to opinion polls taken in the weeks before Sunday’s election. … That is more than either of the two front-runners, President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Socialist challenger, François Hollande, are expected to take among a field of 10 candidates.

… The choice amounts to either doubling down on France’s Socialist traditions and ample — some say, unaffordable — welfare state, or moving farther toward the kinds of reforms aimed at trimming the state and opening French labor markets that Mr. Sarkozy has long promised but has been largely unable to deliver.

For the moment, at least, voters are in effect saying they want neither, or at least not the polite solutions put forward so far by the politicians of France’s two main political parties.

“The French mistrust of politicians and institutions has never been so high as it is today,” said Pascal Perrineau, director of the Center for Political Research at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris, also known as Sciences Po. “We are experiencing a major crisis of confidence.”

… “The left longs for Mitterrand and the right longs for De Gaulle,” said Mr. Perrineau of Sciences Po. “This all has a direct impact politically,” and is reflected in the high rates of abstention and willingness to vote for the far right and far left.

“The French are telling us something,” Mr. Perrineau said.

See also:
• A Miserable Precedent? In France's 1st Election Round, Extremism’s Total Promises to Beat Either Mainstream Candidate
• While France Goes Berserk Because of 1 Lone Member of the American Nazi Party, French Extremists Promise to Win Most Votes in Sunday's Election