"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Monday, August 27, 2007

Waiting for Fred-ot

Well, it works better if you say it. As in Godot.

In the Oscar-winning movie Tootsie, Jessica Lange confesses to Dustin Hoffman in his female disguise that all she wants from a man is for him to play it straight, no games, and tell the truth that he simply wants to make love to her.

When Hoffman actually tries the tactic as his real-life male self, the comely Jessica throws her drink in his face. Such impertinence.

The GOP has been putting on the hair shirt. Not only has the perhaps last of its flirtations with idealism (Iraq---the other two being Reagan vs. communism and the Civil War) gone not-that-well, but domestically, it proved that once entrusted with actual governing power, it would cynically loot the public treasury to buy votes just like any other ruling party, and without the moral confidence. (Or acclaim.)

After they punted congress in the 2006 elections, there was barely a Republican, and not a single conservative, who didn't see it as justice.

Enter Fred-ot.

By most accounts, so far Fred Thompson's trip down the 2008 rhetorical runway has a lot of honesty, a lot of hair shirt. Truth, you might call it. The GOP has abandoned its principles, the Democrats don't take anything seriously. But will it fly?

His tone is a bit mournful, a bit stumbling, not passionate. (May I recommend as background here the exquisite Harvey Mansfield on thumos, on political passion. It's what makes things go.)

No, you don't court Jessica Lange or the American electorate with brutal honesty and the offer of a hair shirt. You'll make a lot of sense to the wallflowers of America like me, but the rest, friend and foe alike, will throw their drinks in your face.

Word up, Fred.

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