Becky Fenger | November 26, 2008
Cruising for answers
Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg. Byron York. Kate O’Beirne and Ramesh Ponnuru. These are just a few of the names from the roster of National Review who were on board the Eurodam for their “2008 Post Election Caribbean Cruise.” And since I had purchased a ticket prior to the meltdown of the stock market, I was lucky enough to be on Holland America’s newest ship to hear their thoughts on the election and their predictions for the future. Here’s a smattering of the ruminations:
Almost everyone agreed that, since a political party has never won a third term in a down economy, it would have been almost impossible for John McCain to have triumphed even if his campaign had not been so poorly managed. Deroy Murdock, however, claimed that if McCain had killed the bailout of the banks and AIG, he could have won by 8-10 points. Interesting.
Senator Hillary Clinton lost because of overconfidence. She didn’t prepare for the caucus states. Barack Obama got more delegates from the Utah caucuses than Hillary got winning the New Jersey primary. And, of course, Barack’s “adaptability” (read “flipping”) was not exposed by the mainstream media, noted Mitt Romney. Romney, by the way, was to my knowledge the only panelist who thought that the bailout of Wall Street was a must.
Goldwater Institute’s Darcy Olsen challenged Romney on that point. Very interesting.
Fred Thompson said that federal district judges are the most powerful persons in our judicial system, and York warned that the Democrats will now be able to do anything they want on judges.
Media watchdog Brent Bozell fumed that the media has never been worse. Their liberal bias was even denounced by Dan Rather, for heaven’s sake. The bias of omission reached a peak this year. “The good news is that people did not vote for Obama for change,” he said. “It was only the economy. Barack Obama won as a fiscal conservative!” Thirty-six percent of voters thought Obama would lower their taxes, whereas only 11 percent thought that McCain would. Puzzlingly interesting.
Ken Blackwell warned that we must be concerned about the consumers of largess who are afraid to take risks for freedom. Voters have gotten used to being wooed with pork and promises of freebies, and it is much easier to stop handouts than to take away the goodies once they have been bequeathed by politicians wanting to hold on to their seats. “If the world were to end in three days after the election, swing voters would vote based on ‘What are you going to give me?’” Mona Charen added.
Victor Davis Hanson stated that the worst thing the Clinton administration did was to allow Pakistan to become nuclear. “If Carter had gotten tough with the hostage situation, we wouldn’t have had three decades of terrorism,” he wagered. Depressingly interesting.
“Barack Obama doesn’t understand there are evil men who want to blow us up,” William McGurn offered. On that panel was Anne Bayefsky who warned that Obama will allow Iran to hand over nuclear weapons to terrorists. “Nuclear war will be sooner rather than later,” she predicted. Americans have voted to give up on who and what we stand for, she said. NATO is not going to be with us in our struggles. Obama will be pressed to sacrifice Israel for the sake of world peace. Both she and Near East noted expert Bernard Lewis agreed that Obama will hand over Israel and Taiwan for “world peace.” Lewis, it should be noted, has lunch with Henry Kissinger now and then, and “it’s one of the few times Kissinger listens” editor Jay Nordlinger would have us know.
“As long as Al Qaeda has safe haven in Pakistan, there will be a second 9-11,” the panel agreed. Chillingly interesting.
Jonah Goldberg sees one reason to be optimistic. “If Barack Obama transcends race, as his admirers keep telling us, why do we need racial preferences any more?” he wants to know.
There were lighter moments to enjoy. Fred Thompson commented on the senate race in Minnesota and comedian Al Franken. “It’s OK to tell a good joke,” he said, “but it’s quite another thing to be one.” Jonah Goldberg went on CNN and the anchor lady hit him with the cold question, “So what’s funny?” Jonah was sweating bullets to come up with a quick response and the only thing that came to his mind was, “That blouse makes you look like a hooker!” Happy Thanksgiving.