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John Derbyshire’s Election Diary: “Thanks A Lot, Willard. You Couldn’t Have Taken Just ONE Strong Conservative Position? “
DK has recently been traveling abroad, brought a bottle of duty-free Glenfiddich with him. We toasted confusion to the President’s party and settled in front of Fox News.
With no real news to think about, my mind drifted into regrettable frivolities—mainly the appearance of the two Fox presenters. For the first time I noticed how odd-looking Baier is: Hobbit-like, with strange ears and hair that, from a certain angle, looks like it’s been painted on. Kelly has that terrifying man-jaw that is supposed to signify an excess of testosterone in the female metabolism . . . Oh, I know, I know, I’m no oil painting, and I should concentrate on the important things about to happen. Concentrate, concentrate.
7:00 pm. Still nothing to look at but man-jaw and Hobbit ears.
Bored, we set out for a neighborhood restaurant.
They’re doing good business for a Tuesday night. There’s a TV in the bar—Fox News again—but hardly anyone watching. DK cheerful, thinks Romney will pull it off.
Scarfed down escargots (it’s a French restaurant), sole meunière, profiteroles, two glasses of wine, coffee. Discussed Tom Wolfe’s new book, which I don’t yet have but DK is reading.
Very attractive waitress, name of Grace—same as Calvin Coolidge’s wife, but our Grace is blonde. We talk about Silent Cal. Is Amity Shlaes’ book out yet? [Added later: no, not yet.] Recalled my one conversation with John Coolidge twenty years ago. He: “If my father ran for office today, he’d just be laughed at.”
9:00 pm. Starting to get some numbers, but nothing definite yet. Still, so far as the numbers mean anything, they don’t look good. Something’s in the air . . . DK senses it too: he’s no longer taking ice with his Glenfiddich, drinking it neat.
9:30 pm. Fox calls Wisconsin for Obama. This is not good. We are glum. Glenfiddich going down fast.
10:00 pm. DK is doing electoral-college arithmetic. Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio. Any three? Ohio and any two? I can’t follow his argument. Damn single malt has fuddled my brain. Note to self: Stick with bourbon on Election Nights.
For a dissident conservative, there is some small satisfaction in seeing the discomfiture of the neocons. These nitwits have all been predicting a sure Romney victory: Peggy Noonan, Fred Barnes, Rove, Krauthammer . . . Suck it down, hacks. (What, me, bitter?)
JD: “Was he actually the sucker? Wasn’t he in fact the suckee?”
DK: “Bah! Not only was he the sucker, he paid to suck! Thousands of dollars! To suck a hooker’s toes!”
10:30 pm. Karl Rove is spinning the numbers for Ohio. “With 58.3 percent in, Romney’s down by 3.7 percent; but see, when another 0.5 percent have come in, he’s only down 3 percent . . .” He’s really hard to follow. Quick mental flash of the duckspeak scene in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Some different talking head (I was concentrating for a while there, but now it’s getting difficult again): “You’ll notice that southeast corner of the map is a blue patch . . .”
When there was a patch of blue in a cloudy sky, my mother, the optimist in the family, used to say: “Enough to make a sailor a pair of trousers.” It’s looking as though this blue patch will make Barack Obama a pair of trousers.
10:56 pm. There’s a ghoul on the TV screen: face lifted to the rafters, bizarre blonde cheerleader wig, frog voice. Is this the Zombie Apocalypse? No, it’s Susan Estrich. Bring back Megyn Kelly, please. I’m sorry I mocked her jaw, sorry sorry.
11:00 pm. Fox calls Ohio for Obama. It’s over. DK declares intention to go home & slit wrists. He leaves with utility blade and remains of Glenfiddich.
Things are getting fuzzy. That damn single malt. Nothing a shot of bourbon won’t cure, though. Hair of the dog. Lurch over to liquor cabinet.
11:35 pm. That’s better, I can concentrate again. Fox seems to have been having a lot of protests come in about their having called Ohio.
Megyn goes walkabout through studio to the back office number-crunchers at the “Decision Desk.” Nice legs, but she’s wearing what in my 1950s childhood was called a pencil skirt and hasn’t got the wiggle right. Some items of apparel need practice, Megyn.
She asks the geeks if they’re comfortable with their prediction. Yes, they’re comfortable. They walk her through the stats. Megyn hobbles back to the news desk.
“If you look at Hamilton County . . . There are a bunch of cats and dogs that add up to 270 thousand votes . . . The Republican suburbs of Hamilton County . . . We got another county called Delaware, they have 50 thousand votes . . .” I feel my will to live ebbing away.
Resolved: When I have seized absolute power, the entire Rove family will be sentenced to twenty years of picking tomatoes, followed by lifetime exile to the Aleutian Islands.
11:50 pm. Now the hammer of the krauts is up. Even more incredible than Rove’s spinning, Charles has made contact with reality. That blue pill he took at the beginning of the Bush 43 administration must have worn off, or someone’s given him a red one.
CK: “Chances are infinitesimal that Romney could pull it out . . . We are where we were a year ago . . . The country will slide thru a second term . . . Very weak mandate . . .”
Megyn: “What does it mean for the GOP?”
CK: “He’s a northeast liberal . . . We had a very weak field. But there’s a rising new generation: Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio . . . They are Reaganite and conservative. The future of the party is quite bright.”
Oh great, a rising new generation of neocons. More wars! More Third World immigrants! More debt! Yep, this is the Stupid Party all right.
“The future of the party is quite bright.” So that contact with reality was just momentary, then. Hoo-ee.
11:55 pm. Rove and Barone, Rove still spinning: “We’ve still got some votes in Butler County . . .” Barone: “I don’t think there’s reason to believe there’s a lot of Republican votes to come in . . .” More reality! They must have been handing out red pills around the studio.
Midnight. Popular vote counts: Obama 47,067,815, Romney 47,280,782, but left coast not yet counted.
Wednesday, 2:00 am. Still clinging to last shreds of consciousness. Romney conceded in there somewhere. Thanks a lot, Willard. You couldn’t have taken just one strong conservative position?
Obama makes an energetic and quite gracious speech. The grace is bogus, of course. Everything about the guy is bogus. Four more years of his bogosity. Four more years of that clipped, condescending voice.
Four more years of . . . what? “After my election I have more flexibility.” To do what? Appoint the first transgendered Supreme Court Justice? Disband ICE? Jack up the National Debt another five trillion? I guess we’ll find out. Could be good for book sales, anyway.
Bret and Megyn sign off.
2:15 am. Begin writing weekly columns for VDARE and Taki’s Magazine.
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimismand several other books. His writings are archived atJohnDerbyshire.com.
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