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Ruthless sends in this latest column by Mark Helprin in The Wall Street Journal. With his work on the Dole campaign in 1996, Helprin demonstrated that he's the only Republican speechwriter with more than a half-pint of talent. Here he goes on to prove that the physical repulsiveness of John Kerry has displaced war, nature, and love as the muse that lifts all poets to new heights of phrasing and imagination:

We have watched the division of the country into two ineffective camps, something that is especially apparent in an electoral season. On the one hand is John Kerry, a humorless Boston scold, in appearance the love child of Abraham Lincoln and Bette Midler, who recites slogans that he understands but does not believe. And on the other is the president, proud of his aversion to making an argument for his own case, in appearance a denizen of the Pleistocene, who recites slogans that he believes but does not understand.

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  1. I’ve always liked Halperin’s books, especially Memoir From Antproof Case (then again, I have always been sucker for magical realism generally). However, his political writings have always seemed to be made up mostly of red meat barbs for Republicans to chew on.

  2. nothing cheeky and sarcastic about 9/11 on here — rather uncharacteristic of y’all — why you wouldn’t want to write Allende and Pinochet’s overthrow of his regime on this date in ’72 is beyond me.

  3. Two wars (one justifiable, one questionable), 1000+ troops dead in Iraq, two deposed regimes, a frighteningly unconstitutional PATRIOT act, Abu Gharib, Guatanamo Bay… and this arm-chair general thinks we haven’t done enough???

    What the hell does he want? A draft, tire and gas rationing, Meatless Tuesdays, and war bond drives? If I hear another jingoistic right-winger use this “Why We Fight…”/WWII rehtoric to describe the War-On-Largely-Imagined-Terrorism , I’m going to either hurl or vote Kerry.

  4. “A Soldier of the Great War” is a masterpiece. Helprin’s political bedfellows, though, just suck.

  5. Total thread abuse here.

    As far as I can tell, the hideousness that was the assault weapons ban expired this morning. I never in my life thought that one would go away.

    Republicans do some stuff right, after all …

  6. Gadfly, we don’t begrudge folks their bedfellows. See just previous topic.

  7. Bette Midler??? Sorry, I don’t see it – is that an obscure Botox reference or something?

  8. Kerry’s appearance and demeanor makes it pretty unlikely that a “cult of personality” would develop around him.

    As opposed to Captain Flight Suit, who seems to strive for one as an tactic to help his electoral chances and leverage with Congress.

    Come to think of it, “Vote for the Guy Least Likely to Inspire a Cult of Personality” seems like a pretty good pro-liberty strategy.

  9. Come to think of it, “Vote for the Guy Least Likely to Inspire a Cult of Personality” seems like a pretty good pro-liberty strategy.

    That would rule out Clinton, given how charismatic he is.

    I guess we’ll have to drag out Bob Dole or Teddy Kennedy 😉

  10. The excerpt nicely demonstrates the dilemma of having to choose between Chimp and Lurch 🙂

    I just read an article that says there is a worse candidate in this election!

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/0912maceachern12.html

  11. “I guess we’ll have to drag out Bob Dole or Teddy Kennedy;)”

    I thought Kennedy was charismatic! If he is comparable to Bob Dole in that department, what explains the bloat’s popularity?

  12. Kerry looks more like the love child of Rhea Pearlman and the guy in “The Scream”

  13. John Kerry looks like John Elway wearing a cheap Elvis wig.

  14. Since everyone has accepted that looks matter more than policy, why don’t we scrap the presidential debates and have a swimsuit competition?

  15. I like all of Helprin’s novels, but I must insist that Winter’s Tale is by far the best. I have read that book at least a half dozen times and I think I’m going to read it again soon. I’ve never been able to name one book as a favorite (comes from being a librarian) but that one is very close to the top. It’s a wonder.

    Off topic stupid question: why can’t I get underlining to work in these comments? I have no problems with bold or italics, but underlining never sticks.

  16. What amazes me is that Helprin, though admittedly a smart guy, refuses to examine his own contradictions. What war? We didn’t declare war on the nation of Iraq. We, led by our own crazed zealot of a president, simply stomped Iraq into the dust. Why? There was nothing there. Just a different crazed zealot ruler and a lot of people who hate us now more than ever. If God is speaking through Bush, God is a hateful fellow. Maybe Helprin speaks to the same great Overlord.

    Holly the Librarian: There is no html style for underline. It’s only used for links. You can use bold tags if you want to emphasize something.

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