Bush does so have a mandate

Published February 22, 2001 2:47PM (EST)

Seeing red

Frankly, I'm sick of the whole "mandate" argument against Bush. Clinton only had 43 percent of the vote in his first election in '92, and no one ever pointed out this lack of a mandate ever. Sure, Bush supposedly lost the popular election, but we never counted the absentee ballots in most states or recounted the votes of the close states for that matter. Get over it. We will never really know who won the election. We have enough problems as it is. Just let the man govern.

-- Claire Huber, Connecticut

Submit your own rant or direct us to a good political online discussion by e-mailing us at redvsblue@salon.com, or jump right into a Table Talk discussion about Red vs. Blue.

Anger management

"Clinton Pardon Payoff Exposed" [National Enquirer]
The king of America's tabloids (and, after this and its scoop on Jesse Jackson's "love child," America's hottest political weekly?) set off another scandal that the rest of the media -- and the Clintons -- has reacted to: that Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars to represent controversial characters who received pardons from his brother-in-law. The ex-prez and his senator wife both denounced hapless Hugh Wednesday; and Rodham subsequently announced that he had returned the cash. But partisans are having a heyday on a Table Talk thread, "The Latest Smirky Diversion: The Bogus Hugh Rodham Nonsense," which is more balanced than the title would suggest. (Skip the National Enquirer's forum. Typical sample: "The Clintons was a bum before they came to washington, was a bum while there and still are bums. The democrates should be ashame oy them. jimmy carter is," writes us30n.)

Other Hugh-ing and crying:
"Luck of the Clintons Now History" [Free Republic]
"A Clinton In-Law Recieved $400,000 in 2 Pardon Cases" [Lucianne.com]
"Clinton's Brother-in-Law and Pardons" [Bartcop.com]

"I for one love Eminem, I think he's funny as hell" [Free Republic]
The day after Eminem performed with Elton John at the Grammys, there's a weird turnout online, with Freepers bashing Lynne Cheney (who denounced Eminem's lyrics Wednesday) as "a raving censorship advocate," while on PlanetOut's message board (under "General News Discussion") John gets seriously dissed by posters, including cruisenyc, who writes:

I would also like to remind you that last year it came to light that Elton had amassed quite a mound of debt.

Oh well, at the very least, Sir Poof will now have a contingent of GLAAD demonstrators who threaten to picket the upcoming Billy Joel concert -- once again creating "controversy" and guaranteeing both headlines and sales. Believe me -- this thing has legs. (Maybe in the long run he'll be able to afford a better toupee.)

"Cindy's Assertion: Nancy Reagan Responds" [Lucianne.com]
A day after the New York Post's gossip columnist, Cindy Adams, wrote that Nancy Reagan had dissed the new president as a "village idiot" she didn't vote for, Reagan angrily denies the report in a letter to the Post. On this forum, a poster feels vindicated. "Nancy kicked her Clymer," writes Doggie Do-Right, "big time." (Poor Adam Clymer.)

The man who still hates Chelsea

John Derbyshire, the National Review columnist blasted right and left for a nasty column last week that announced his hatred of Chelsea Clinton, got into an e-mail war of words with Red vs. Blue reader Greg Dyas, who sent us a copy. The complete exchange follows.

From: Dyas, Greg
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001
To: John Derbyshire, Letters at National Review
Subject: Regarding your 2/15/01 National Review Article

Mr. Derbyshire & National Review Editors,

Your 2/15/01 New Republic article, "Be Very Afraid," showed a level of vitriol and eagerness to abuse one's position as a contributing editor that before now I could have only imagined. Your extended castigation of Chelsea Clinton simply for being "a Clinton" was, no matter one's political opinion of her parents, opportunistic, vile, and baseless. In the article the most damage you do is to your own character and the arguments you've made against Mr. & Ms. Clinton over the past years. The specious linkings of Chelsea to foreign policy problems and administration policy, snide non-reference references to her looks, and the surprising suggestion that it's unfortunate we cannot exterminate the entire Clinton clan like the Nazis or the ancient Chinese did simply go far beyond the pale and your responsibilities to the idea of the proven fact's place over allusive bile.

I can henceforth no longer read the things you write, as your manner and the vitriol you chose to spew at a young person who, despite your wishes to the contrary, has not played any known role in any of the things you despise the ex-president for, have awakened me to exactly the sort of person you must be. I feel filthy for having read these words. My hope is that if not you then your editors will realize the repellent nature of this excrescence you call an editorial and mend your ways through a complete retraction and apology, if not your dismissal.

Gregory Dyas

Derbyshire responds:

From: John Derbyshire
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001
To: Dyas, Greg
Subject: RE: Regarding your 2/15/01 National Review Article

Thanks, Gregory. Your hope is probably vain. The editors, along with most readers, took the piece in the spirit intended, i.e. not all that seriously. They may change their minds when the audit notice arrives from the IRS (Mom's in the Senate, & Dad still has some very powerful friends).

There's no telling how people will take a piece. If 75% of readers take it in the spirit I intended, I feel I'm doing pretty well. (If it was 25% I'd give up writing.) But there is always a large corps of humor-free and irony-proof idiots out there, and there isn't much I can do about that.

I didn't suggest exterminating the Clinton clan (though I didn't rule it out ... sorry, I forgot I'm in an irony-free zone here).

And I DID say she has perfect teeth. Unlike your dentally-challenged columnist,

John Derbyshire

Dyas responds:

From: Dyas, Greg
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001
To: John Derbyshire
Subject: RE: Regarding your 2/15/01 National Review Article

Mr. Derbyshire,

I'm no less irony-challenged than anyone else out there and I certainly understood the intent of the piece's tone. As a writer however you should know that irony is saying something while implying its opposite. If your intent was to say that Chelsea was some sort of wonderful person who'd grow away from her ignominious parents' shadow to be a light for our country's future, you'd have been being ironic, but somehow I don't think that's what you were getting at.

Instead of irony you chose banal cruelty. It's simpler, more direct, and requires much less grammatic acuity. You say what you mean and mean what you say, even if you try to say it cleverly enough to make it look like sardonic "entertainment." Not only that, it feels better to get all that anger out through your fingertips, never mind the innocence of the target and inadequacy of the argument. Ah, and you're right in that you assiduously avoided any outright advocacy of violence (very smart -- one might say "Clintonian" -- of you). Yet that isn't what I accused you of. I said that you lamented the lack of such draconian forms of dictatorial social punishment. You can't combat that accusation because, despite the "spirit intended," that is exactly what you did, the crowning foolishness that topped the pile of silly things you wrote in that article.

Maybe you'll be back looking at your archives a year or two into Bush's presidency and you'll realize that you were more than a little over the top here, maybe a little exultant in the wake of victory, and in your exultation a political civilian got caught in your line of fire. I hope so. How you can write for a profession yet choose not to take ownership of what you say seriously I don't know.

Gregory Dyas

Ending with this from Derbyshire:

From: John Derbyshire
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001
To: Dyas, Greg
Subject: RE: Regarding your 2/15/01 National Review Article

CIVILIAN? She was out there on the trail last year with Mom, doing her bit to keep my state safe for socialism. She could have stayed home. This is no civilian, Greg. As for "cruelty" ... Don't worry about the Clintons. They're well able to take care of themselves.


By Salon Staff

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