(* punchline to a proposed “Why does a Republican cross the street” joke. The famous Ernest Hemingway version of the “Why Does the Chicken” joke, you see, ends with: “To die… alone… in the rain.”)
Peggy Noonan thinks the two parties these days are like two very different houses:
It’s a tale of two houses. One is dilapidated, old. Everyone in the neighborhood is used to it, and they turn away when they pass. A series of people lived in it and failed to take care of it. It’s run down, needs paint. The roof sags, squirrels run through the eaves. A haunted house! No, more boring. Just a house someone . . . let go.
But over here, a new house on a new plot. It’s rising from the mud before your eyes. It has interesting lines, a promising faÃ§ade, and when people walk by they stop and look. So much bustle! Builders running in and out, the contractors fighting with each otherâ€””You wouldn’t even have this job if it weren’t for the minority set-aside!” And everyone hates the architect, who put a port-o-potty on the lawn.
But: You can’t take your eyes off it. “Something being born, and not something dying.” Maybe it will improve the neighborhood. Maybe the owners will be nice.
Personally, I think the cops will soon be arriving in large numbers to suppress the donnybrook going on in that nice new house, and to take a significant portion of the tenants away in paddy wagons.
The base is tired. Republicans feel their own kind of unease at Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. Talk about wanting to stand athwart history yelling stop. They’re not in a mood to give money. Remember the phrase “broken glass Republicans?” The number of Republicans so offended, so wounded, actually, as citizens, by the Clinton years, that they’d crawl across broken glass to elect George Bush? They existed in 2004, too. Now a lot of them wouldn’t crawl across a plush weave carpet to vote for a Republican.
Not if he’s John McCain, we wouldn’t.
But Peggy has one crumb of good news about McCain. He likes Hemingway. A lot.
Who has he read besides Hemingway? (And he’s read himâ€”he loves him to an almost scary degree.)
Maybe he’s not all bad, after all.