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Monday, October 25, 2004

Down to the wire

As we enter the final days of this epochal contest, October has given us one surprise after another-- but none quite so surprising as this:  a dark-horse candidate has come out of nowhere and surged into the lead. 

Camille Paglia!

What, you thought I was talking about the election?  Screw the election!  I’m bored with the election.  Besides, the election has been so over ever since Bush landed on that aircraft carrier, or ever since Saddam was found, or ever since the Republican convention, or ever since that devastating ad showed Americans that John Kerry would not defend us from the Minnesota Timberwolves.  It has been over over and over again, people.  And it just happens to be one of those “ironies” that I’ve lost all interest in the election on the very day Kurt and I finally got around to displaying that “best political blogger nominee” tile from Rox Populi.

No, I’m talking about my own special contest, my “I am the Back End of a Horse” Award.  After three and a half weeks in which Townhall, Tech Central Station, the Corner, and various Professors of Law have battled mightily for the coveted hindquarters, Camille Paglia comes roaring into the lead with this recycled gem.  She recently told Reason that her “most embarrassing vote” was for

Bill Clinton the second time around.  Because he did not honorably resign when the Lewinsky scandal broke and instead tied up the country and paralyzed the government for two years, leading directly to our blindsiding by 9/11.

(Via Slate.)

It’s a twofer:  Clinton was responsible for 9/11, sure, we knew that, but he tied up the country and paralyzed the government as well, thereby preventing those brave, vigilant House Republicans from disarming al-Qaeda.

Now, because Camille has said similar things before, this month’s Back End of a Horse Award-- should Paglia remain in first place at the end of the week-- will be more like a recognition of lifetime achievement.  Two years ago, on Sullivan’s Daily Dish, Camille could be found saying, “I blame the media as well as the superstructure of the Democratic party for the appalling delusionalism of the Monica Lewinsky episode, which began in 1998 and consumed the news for two years.” (What is “delusionalism,” you ask?  The end result of delusionalization, of course.) No question, Al Gore would have been given a long honeymoon by the Freepers, the Isikoff-Fineman crew, and the Congressional GOP-- except that four years ago, Professor Paglia could be found in Salon, repeatedly ridiculing and lying about the very guy she believes should have taken office in Clinton’s stead-- Al Gore, who, she now says, would have prevented 9/11 had he won in 2000.

And six years ago, when Clinton ordered missile strikes against al-Qaeda in response to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, what was Camille saying?  Funny you should ask!  Why, she was saying this:

The missile attacks Clinton ordered from Martha’s Vineyard this summer were similarly oddly timed to coincide with politically embarrassing events in Washington.

So in 1998, there was Clinton trying to take out bin Laden with a couple of cruise missiles while the House Republicans were making their little origami-diorama replicas of Lewinsky’s kneepad performances in the Oval Office, and there was Paglia, sneering that the missile strikes were diversions from Monica, only a couple of years before she decided that the Democrats were to blame for letting Monica divert us from bin Laden.

I used to refer to Camille as the Howard Stern of academe-- occasionally good for a little amusement amid the outrage, and certainly more savvy about media and celebrity than most of her critics.  But the truth is, she’s not nearly as bright as Howard.  “Incendiary,” yes; “provocative,” I suppose; “voluble,” no question.  But really not very bright, in the end.

This award isn’t wrapped up-- anything can happen, especially in those swing states, and the floor is still open for nominations-- but right now, Paglia is the leading Back End of a Horse.  Remember, only one week left!

Posted by Michael on 10/25 at 09:20 AM
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