I don't begrudge Obama supporters a celebration. After eight years in the presidential wilderness and an election that was, yes, historic, it's natural to whoop it up.
Even so, if Frank Rich were an NFL player [willing suspension of disbelief required], his end-zone dance of a column today would earn him a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Let's start with the headline: "It Still Felt Good the Morning After."
One of the less appealing traits of some folks on our side, IMHO, is to insinuate that people on the other are gay. So let me preface this by stating that I'm not suggesting that about Rich, twice-married and with two children [insert "not that there would be anything wrong with that" disclaimer here.] Even so, there's something kind of yucky [technical term] about that headline.
On the morning after a black man won the White House, America’s tears of catharsis gave way to unadulterated joy . . . The festive scenes of liberation that Dick Cheney had once imagined for Iraq were finally taking place — in cities all over America.
"Liberation"? How dark a view of America did Rich harbor that he sees the defeat of John McCain as more meriting celebration than the overthrow of a brutal, homicidal dictator?
For eight years, we’ve been told by those in power that we are small, bigoted and stupid.
What? I thought it was Democrats, from Jack Murtha to Obama himself, who were telling us that. Recall that among the things our president-elect said those bitter Pennsylvanians were clinging to was "antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment."
Let’s defend Hispanic-Americans, too, while we’re at it . . . [A] black presidential candidate won Latinos — the fastest-growing demographic in the electorate — 67 percent to 31 (up from Kerry’s 53-to-44 edge and Gore’s 62-to-35).
Francisco Rich: Gran Defensor de Los Latinos! Do people really have to vote for the candidate of Rich's choice to remove his doubts about their racism?
The second most persistent assumption by both pundits and the McCain campaign this year — after the likely triumph of racism — was that the culture war battlegrounds from 2000 and 2004 would remain intact. This is true in exactly one instance: gay civil rights. Though Rove’s promised “permanent Republican majority” lies in humiliating ruins, his and Bush’s one secure legacy will be their demagogic exploitation of homophobia. The success of the four state initiatives banning either same-sex marriage or same-sex adoptions was the sole retro trend on Tuesday.
Note first Rich's unseemly dancing on what he perceives as Rove's political grave. Consider also the utter condescension implicit in Rich's remarks towards millions of Americans: people didn't vote against gay marriage and adoption out of sincerely held belief, but because they were the mindless victims of "exploitation" by Republicans.
Finally, and most tellingly, this: "For all the attention paid by the news media and McCain-Palin to rancorous remembrances of things past, I sometimes wondered whether most Americans thought the Weather Underground was a reunion band and the Hanoi Hilton a chain hotel. Socialism, the evil empire and even Ronald Reagan may be half-forgotten blurs too."
Rich might make light of domestic terrorists, and laugh off the symbol of the heroism of John McCain and many others. But enemies foreign and domestic will always be with us, and, fortunately, so too heroes. As for socialism, we forget it at our peril, and might well have cause to be reminded of it during the coming four years. Finally, if Ronald Reagan is a blur to Rich, that's only because his legacy continues to streak across the sky, a comet that will make its return.
So have fun for now, Frank.