Roger L. Simon

Why are you so surprised, Camille?

In an otherwise trenchant and amusing column, Camille Paglia evinces surprise that the Democrats, liberals, progressives, call them what you will, have made such a hash of things under Obama and have become, mirabile dictu, an elite.

How has “liberty” become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party — but I must be living in the nostalgic past. Remember Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “Chimes of Freedom,” made famous by the Byrds? And here’s Richie Havens electrifying the audience at Woodstock with “Freedom! Freedom!” Even Linda Ronstadt, in the 1967 song “A Different Drum,” with the Stone Ponys, provided a soaring motto for that decade: “All I’m saying is I’m not ready/ For any person, place or thing/ To try and pull the reins in on me.”

Well, sure. But where were you, Camille? We’ve been living in a world-upside-down for over a decade now, even before 9-11 (when people like me started to wake up.) I know they would probably boot you out of Salon, even though you are the only thing worth reading over there, if you moved any further to the right, but c’mon, girl. Bob Dylan is less liberal than I am. Reification has set in on the Left. Don’t you be a part of it. Not to put to fine a point on it “Le gauche n’existe pas.” It’s over. It doesn’t exist. There’s no there there. We live in a world where Keith Olbermann is a “gauchiste.” What could be more square than that? Enough.

Now about the GOP: You make some good points there, but what Republican, pray tell, is recommending “Dick Cheney for President”? I haven’t heard a single person. The dude walks around with a defibrillator on his back. Bush League comment, Camille.*

*Pun not intended.