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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Add Salter and Stir the Pot

I just got around to reading McCain speechwriter/chief of staff Mark Salter's riposte to Jean Rohe at PuffHo. Rohe, in case you don't know, is the woman who gave a student commencement address at the New School right before McCain spoke and a bunch of students and faculty embarrased themselves. You can read her self-serving claptrap here and her self-pitying claptrap here, if you feel the need.

As to Salter: Everything he said is absolutely correct, and he shouldn't have said any of it. As he himself writes, McCain "has managed to endure much worse."

Let the left have their fun, let them elevate yet another unworthy to the post of town crier, as they did with Cindy Sheehan. When was the last time any "respectable" liberal publication associated themselves with her? Besides, Rohe's main crime is the know-it-all foolishness of youth, and given that the Senator is the first to admit that he himself had some less-than-stellar moments as a young man, Salter would have been better served by letting the whole thing go. All he's done is reset Rohe's Fame Clock to 15 minutes.

Here's my favorite part of her speech:
We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet. Fear is the greatest impediment to the achievement of peace. We have nothing to fear from people who are different from us, from people who live in other countries, even from the people who run our government--and this we should have learned from our educations here. We can speak truth to power, we can allow our humanity always to come before our nationality, we can refuse to let fear invade our lives and to goad us on to destroy the lives of others. These words I speak do not reflect the arrogance of a young strong-headed woman, but belong to a line of great progressive thought.
I don't think Jet Blue flies to whatever world it is she lives in. It's obviously a world without terrorists, without dictators, without people who would very much like to kill a fairly large number of us. Hey, I'd like to live in that world, too. But I don't think I ever did, even as the sumgnoxiousTM college student I was. I'm jealous.

My favorite lines from Salter's ill-conceived comment are:
Ms. Rohe and those of her fellow graduates who hailed their school's President as a war criminal and who greeted the Senator's reference to a friend's death with laughter proved only one thing, one sad thing, that they could learn a thing or two about tolerance and respect from the students of Liberty University.
Once upon time, even among the young, the words courage and hero were used more sparingly, more precisely. It took no courage to do what you did, Ms. Rohe. It was an act of vanity and nothing more. And please don't worry about the Senator's discomfort with you. He has managed to endure much worse. McCain was once offered release from imprisonment and torture because of his father's position as a senior military officer. He declined because he would not leave his comrades behind, and thus, willingly, accepted four more years of hardships life will spare almost all of us from.
You took exception to the paragraph in which he lightly deprecated the vanity of youth. Well, Ms. Rohe, and your fellow graduates's comical self-importance deserves a rebuke far stronger than the gentle suggestions he offered you. So, let me leave you with this. Should you grow up and ever get down to the hard business of making a living and finding a purpose for your lives beyond self-indulgence some of you might then know a happiness far more sublime than the fleeting pleasure of living in an echo chamber. And if you are that fortunate, you might look back on the day of your graduation and your discourtesy to a good and honest man with a little shame and the certain knowledge that it very unlikely any of you will ever posses the one small fraction of the character of John McCain.
As I've noted in several posts, I'm not a big McCain fan. But there's no getting around the fact that Salter is among the best writers in Washington. Here he sounds kinda like Peggy Noonan would if she would just get rip roaring drunk and let down that impenetrable WASP shield of hers. But that shield is what made her a perfect fit for the always genial Reagan. And, now that I think about it, the lack of that shield is what makes Salter a perfect fit for the sometimes cranky McCain.

For the best take on Rohe and her new-found celebrity, read Greg Gutfeld's dead-on parody here. You might even find something from your cranky narrator in the "readers' favorite comments" section right after his post.

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