Roger L. Simon

The Politics of the Vacuous

I was pleased and amused to see that my friend Matt Welch isolated what I thought was the Biggest Eyeroller of the Dem Convention so far (okay, I haven’t been paying that much attention) on the Reason blog today. He was quoting Howard Dean’s address of last night:

As I’ve traveled America, I’ve seen that strength [of democracy]. I’ve seen it in the people I’ve met and their desire to take our country back for the American people. I saw it in a college student in Pennsylvania who sold her bicycle and sent us a check for $100 with a note that said, “I sold my bicycle for democracy.” I saw it in a woman from Iowa who handed me $50 all in quarters. She saved it from her monthly disability check, because she wanted to make America well again.

When Sheryl and I caught that same moment, we both stared at each other in shock and awe at Dean’s extraordinary self-regard. Bring back Christopher Lasch. There was never such a perfect expression of The Culture of Narcissism. Democracy is alive and well in America because a college student sold her bicycle for Howard Dean.

Now refresh my memory – what exactly did Howard Dean stand for? Oh, yes, he was anti-war. Kind of the purified expression of the Saddam-was-a-bad-guy-but-there-are-other-bad-guys-so-why-did-we-have-to-get-rid-of-him argument… the modern day equivalent of why attack Hitler when there’s still Stalin? Some “progressive” this Dr. Dean. I’m going to rummage around in my garage and see if I can locate my rusty Peugeot ten-speed. Maybe I can donate it to Dean’s next campaign.

The stench of the politics of self-regard permeates the Democratic Convention. Issues, specifics anyway, have not been discussed, but being “our kind,” a reupped version of “bon type, bon genre” has been emphasized — the rich, sometimes the mega-rich, offering to lead the multi-cultural. Talk about revolution from above. Meanwhile, what will not be discussed at this convention is news like this for fear the Dean/Kennedy narrative would be preempted. Deep down what these people seem to be saying is that the War on Terror was a bad thing because “we didn’t do it.” Well, that’s politics.

UPDATE: Thomas Lifson’s article on Teresa Heinz Kerry’s “fashion accessory” vision of the Presidential campaign is the most interesting piece on the convention I have read so far. (via Instapundit)