I have experienced defeat in presidential politics many times. Actually, I expect most Americans have. You win some, and you lose some. I first experienced defeat in 1964 when then-Sen. Barry Goldwater went down, though I was not even old enough to vote. I experienced it in 1968. I experienced it again in 1976, when my candidate was Ronald Reagan.


Luigi Barzini, my old pal and the author of so many fine books all written from his aerie above Rome -- his finest of which, The Italians, he wrote in English -- once jolted me by saying, "You Americans talk too much." Of course, he said it with affection. Back in the days of the Cold War, he was one of the few European intellectuals who really understood and admired America. What provoked him, however, was the famous euphuism of American politicians.


On the Russia-Trump imbroglio, let us be clear. We are now months into it. A dozen or so culprits have been fingered, some being actually quite amusing. You will be seeing more of the fat British music promoter Rob Goldstone, who has been photographed wearing a baseball hat emblazoned with the letters "C*NTY." He is too good to be ignored.


I have recently been reminded of one of my earliest conclusions about the American left. I arrived at that conclusion when it was relatively civilized. In those days, we called it American liberalism, but even then it was fla fla. My conclusion was that when any entity falls under the dominance of liberalism, it loses all sense of its fundamental purpose. A city loses all sense of its purpose, which is governance. A university loses all sense of its purpose, which is education.


I have returned! From Europe, that is, and I hope I met with no Russian agents while there. The soi-disant liberals are in a snit about the Russians. Apparently, Donald Trump Jr. and the mysterious senior White House adviser Jared Kushner met with an agent of the Kremlin in June of last year, and they did not report their meeting to The Powers That Be.


Last weekend, while visiting the New Jersey shore, I heard an astonishing number of vacationing Americans -- all well-intentioned, to be sure -- greet their fellow vacationers with a cheerful "have a happy Memorial Day." That cannot be right. The more I think about it, that greeting sounds as misguided as saying "have a happy Good Friday" on that solemn day. 


While contemplating the Democrats' agitated preoccupation with the allegations of Russia's intrusion into our 2016 presidential election, many thoughts occur. However, the salient thought for me, engendered by our Democratic friends' anti-Russian rhetoric, is that many years ago during the early stages of the Cold War, The John Birch Society tried to warn us. It was raising the alarm as the Democrats are today. How did we greet them? What did the Birchers get for raising the specter of Russian imperialism and world domination?

 


WASHINGTON — Well, she did not show up. I am talking about Ann Coulter, the svelte conservative firebrand who was invited to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, and, inadvertently, to show the assembled coeds how a stylish blond dresses. But then, she was disinvited. Hold on -- she was, of a sudden, re-invited but only under certain university conditions. 


WASHINGTON — We call it Kultursmog, "it" being that collection of attitudes, ideas, tastes and personages that are polluted by the politics of the left and predominate on both coasts. And who are we? We are the freethinkers who are immune to the Kultursmog by virtue of our natural skepticism and reliance on empiricism, which is to say, reliance on evidence. 


WASHINGTON — There is hope! I am speaking of the envisioned memorial of Dwight D. Eisenhower here in Washington, D.C. Admittedly, its design by the crank architect, Frank Gehry, has been pretty much accepted by the memorial commission, and the chairman of the House committee that has control of the funding, Ken Calvert, seems to be going along.


It looks like former President Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice will get a reprieve. With all the hullabaloo from President Donald Trump's military action last week in Syria's ... do we call it Syria's civil war or a massacre? ... it now appears that Rice's mishandling of surveillance is going to subside from the headlines temporarily. 


WASHINGTON — The trials of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as he is almost certainly en route to his place on the Supreme Court, reveal one of my favorite findings regarding modern politics, to wit: The Democrats are the extremists; the Republicans are mainstream. The Democrats are the ideologues; the Republicans usually base their policies and political judgments on philosophy.