August 31, 2004


Go On, Snicker -- Bush May Well Laugh Last (Chris Bray, August 31, 2004, LA Times)

Ignoring U.S. political history, Bush's most virulent opponents are engaged in a staggeringly obtuse cultural offensive that defines most of the country outside their circle. Attacking his instances of inelegant speech, people who loudly and publicly criticize Bush attack the inelegant. Anyone who has spent some time around the humanities division will recall the comfortable claim that most highly educated people live on the political left. Granting that self-aggrandizing and highly debatable point for the sake of argument, we might stop to note that only one American in four graduates from college — from any college, all grade-point averages included. That's a pretty narrow path to political success, folks. Most people can smell contempt.

So rant on, and take note of every stupid-sounding thing that the president says. But remember what the horrified New York Times Book Review had to say about Huey Long, the wildly successful governor and senator from Louisiana, when he published his autobiography in 1933: "There is hardly a law of English usage or a rule of English grammar that its author does not break somewhere." And remember one other thing: 1934 was a very good year for Sen. Huey "Kingfish" Long, as he polished his platform, "Every man a king," for a presidential run.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 31, 2004 4:24 PM

I'm with the author of your post. Isn't it time we gave the mediocre some respect. Like the late great er... average Senator Roman Hruska said so anyway he said it.

"On January 19, 1970, president Richard Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. While Carswell's nomination was promptly rejected by the Senate, Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska presented a novel argument in his defense:

"Even if he was mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers," Hruska declared. "They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises and Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that there."

Posted by: h-man at August 31, 2004 6:41 PM


Who knew we'd been inundated with presidents of the stature of Brandeis & Cardozo. Frankfurter was a hack.

Posted by: oj at August 31, 2004 6:48 PM

Please substitute "highly educated" with Highly indoctrinated.

Posted by: genecis at August 31, 2004 7:14 PM

Well, the Times would have preferred a more erudite northerner, like Norman Thomas, to expouse Long's redistribution theories in 1933. Today, they're more egalitarian about supporting liberals from across the nation, so that if a southern John Edwards were to take up Huey's battle cry with a little more verve than his "Two Americas" schtick, the Times would be fully supportive even if he threw in a few southern cornpone sayings or two.

Posted by: John at August 31, 2004 7:52 PM

>...only one American in four graduates from
>college from any college, all grade-point
>averages included...

And if your college degree is in one of the hard sciences or engineering types that degree doesn't guarantee you've accepted the Left as your Personal LORD and Savior.

In the hard science and engineering professions, you have to deal with reality. Reality -- whether the laws of physics or engineering -- comes back to bite you HARD when you try to deconstruct it into word games to redefine it into "I'M RIGHT! YOU'RE WRONG! NYAAAA! NYAAAAAA! NYAAAAAA!"

Posted by: Ken at August 31, 2004 8:25 PM


Amusingly, Mr. Hruska was not at all a mediocre man (I'm a native Nebraskan and know a little bit about him). He received spectacular grades from Creighton University's law school (I believe he graduated summa cum laude) and spent some time at the University of Chicago, where he knew fellow Nebraskan Alvin Johnson, who went on to co-found the fashionably lefty New School for Social Research.

Too bad he'll never live down that mediocre "mediocre" comment.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 31, 2004 9:30 PM


Of course you are correct and I think it would be great to have 60 Hruska's in the Senate.

Posted by: h-man at September 1, 2004 4:05 AM