Memo to the Next First Lady
Peggy Noonan

Bob Dole would have been so hilarious as first gentleman, so entertaining, that everyone would have liked it a lot and it would have been months, well, weeks, before we fully tired of the newest wave of Viagra jokes. But in time things might have become complicated, not because he’s a man but because he was majority leader of the U.S. Senate. He might have found it hard to understand that he was not expected to go to the Oval Office meetings with members of Congress. He would have found it hard to plan things like menus. (“Aaaaaarrrgghh, give ’em some Velveeta.”) He would have had to memorize his mantra, “I’m retired.” With his midwestern accent it would have sounded like he was saying, “I’m a retard,” but in time it would have broken through for him, and us: She is the president.
~Autumn 1999

Mr. Malaprop Reclaims the Language of Politics
Heather Richardson Higgins explains Bush talk.

Bush is capturing the rhetoric of the left. The difference is that his policies might actually help to achieve some of those goals, rather than subverting them. A case in point is feminism.

Bush’s idealism is what a mature feminism ought to espouse. It could not be further from the whiny replacement of thought with feeling that characterizes contemporary feminism and that is the key factor in what is criticized as “feminization of politics.” Feminism as we now know it has never grown up.

Feminism first erred in trying to emulate the most crass and selfish of male perks-casual sex, freedom from commitment, a time horizon largely unencumbered by biology, and status based on career and power. Feminism patted itself on the back for its virtuousness for “getting it,” but practiced special-interest selfishness-whining about economic alienation yet demanding double standards and fomenting class warfare.

A mature feminism ought to call everyone, male and female, to the harmony of the whole of society, to have great hearts, to think more of others than of self, to remember that, while we are all individuals, we are also all social creatures who share in the public square. Our status as free citizens only increases our responsibility and obligation-not to foist the burden off onto Other People’s Money and Other People’s Time (the essence of the desire to have government be the responsible agent). We must remember that, as President Bush puts it, “compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government.”
~Spring 2001

Liberals vs. Conservative Gals
From the Right, David Brooks admits he finds liberal babes sexier.

You see, liberals, who do not normally embrace hierarchies, do have a hierarchy when it comes to sex. For liberals, the highest form of sex consists of ten female literary theorists sitting naked in a circle in a forest telling each other how beautiful their private parts are. The second highest form is a woman pleasuring herself alone in front of a mirror, and then writing a journal entry to be shared with her reading group. And at the bottom is regular heterosexual sex between a man and a woman.

Yet even at this lowest level, liberal sex is of a high caliber. Liberal women have many advantages over their right-wing sisters (even aside from the obvious, that left-wing women don’t have cigar breath). For example, liberal women have adopted the absurd notion that female sex drives are as strong as male sex drives, which means that in order to live up to their creed, they have to put out like crazy. If a man meets resistance from a liberal mate, all he has to do is quietly muse, “I guess Naomi Wolf was wrong then,” and he will be happily lovemaking within thirty seconds.

While from the Left, Christopher Hitchens reveals his lust for Thatcher types.

Never mind for now that I thought then, and think now, of Jeane Kirkpatrick as a death-squad groupie and a coiner of euphemisms for dictatorship. Never mind, either, that on the matter of the Falklands, she was Margaret Thatcher’s most sedulous foe. To watch her on television or in person was to see someone who enjoyed dialectic for its own sake, who strove to define the argument rather than squelch about in a pacifying “middle ground,” who had convictions rather than opinions but who also, and here I take the plunge, could be deliciously aware of her sex. And she also showed the superiority of the pseudo-intellectual over the anti-intellectual. By this I mean, to phrase it simply, that you just can’t imagine Jeane Kirkpatrick commencing a sentence with the words, “As a woman, I feel.”

The cross-dressing appeal of conservative women for radical men is buried in there somewhere. Thanks to certain ephemeral “movement” ethics, a number of our guys had every chance to get a touch bored with people-of any sex and of none-who started with their identity and continued with their feelings. Don’t tell me who you are-I can see that. And don’t tell me how you feel-tell me how you think. We Marxists go by the content, not of your character, but of your cerebellum. And we don’t mind scar tissue if it’s been honorably incurred.
~Autumn 1997

Better Red Than Dead
Charlotte Hays

In the mid 1970s, when a sniper climbed onto the roof of the Howard Johnson’s in downtown New Orleans and began firing at people, I was on his side. As a reporter for an “alternative” weekly, I immediately interviewed the most radical black leaders I knew to produce a piece headlined “Nine Black Voices Speak Out.”

I am a former liberal who got mugged. This makes me a walking cliche. The mugging happened one night, when I’d worked at the office well past midnight. Unable to get a taxi, I decided to walk home, through the wino district, which I figured would be safe, and a stretch of New Orleans’ central business district, which wouldn’t be safe, before I got to the relatively well-policed French Quarter where I lived.

The mugger started shadowing me in the business district. He said something like, “Go with me or I’ll kill you,” before we scuffled on the concrete pavement. I chased him, screaming so loudly that a bank’s guard came to my aid. I didn’t bother to call the police.

It was only the next day that I realized I was angry. It was also then that I had my epiphany: No matter what kind of childhood my mugger had endured, no matter what he had suffered, if he had killed me, his act would have been… wrong.

This dazzling idea filled me with wordless awe. I simply had no vocabulary with which to explain my newfound belief that my mugger was existentially responsible for his actions.
~Winter 2001