R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

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"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" So said John Maynard Keynes when a dearly held belief of his was confronted by new facts. He changed his mind and was not ashamed. I am an extreme empiricist. Show me the facts, and I shall make up my mind. Show me the new facts, and I shall change my mind.

Last week, goaded by Drudge's hordes, I took my stand against the opponents of the scan and the pat-down. I thought they were hysterics and very funny or provocateurs and obnoxious. Also, they inspired in me a few facetious sallies. That vulgarian John Tyner — who won himself a place in Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations for Slobs" by telling the patter-downers, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested" — was too much. Junk? Speak for yourself, Mr. Tyner. I filed my column, dismissing the protesters and confident that the Transportation Security Administration, though essentially bureaucrats, was saving us from another 9/11. Then all hell broke out.


I blame Drudge! Yes, I blame the Drudge Report for this insane controversy about the use of high-tech body scanners and "pat-downs" at airport security zones.

A minor altercation can take place at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, and it is headlines on the Drudge Report. The millions of American travelers who are utterly insouciant to a high-tech scan or even a pat-down are ignored. The other day, a CBS News poll found that 81 percent of Americans approve of the use of the high-tech machines at airports, but that means nothing to Drudge. How many more Americans would welcome a soothing pat-down midst the hurly-burly of travel at our nation's stress-filled airports I do not know, but count me in — especially if the patter-downer is a cute little number on the order of, say, Sarah Palin.


The other day, I sat down to breakfast. It was a normal day. Five daily newspapers were laid out before me. As I went over the front pages, I downed orange juice and a bowl of oatmeal powdered with brown sugar and flaxseed. Then I went off to my library with the newspapers and a cup of coffee. By then, incidentally, I was revolted.

The New York Times carried on its front page a perfectly disgusting story. It was not a news story, for it broke no news. It was, rather, a feature story, meant to inform and, I presume, to move me to action. It was about the prevalence of suicide in Afghanistan by women who use cooking oil and matches to do themselves in, sometimes successfully, sometimes incompetently and all the more painfully. This was brought to my attention even before my matutinal coffee!

It is not the first time the Times — or, for that matter, The Washington Post — has put on its front page appalling stories that did not have to be there. Both newspapers run such feature stories on the front page rather regularly — but not The Washington Times, not The Washington Examiner and certainly not The Wall Street Journal, my other three newspapers. They run repellent stories but usually inside. I think it tells you something about the biases of these newspapers.


There is an axiom that is adhered to by conservative journalists that explains at least some of what for liberals is this inexplicable election. It is the Taranto Principle. Coined by the inimitable James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, the Taranto Principle encourages the worst in liberals by reporting politics with a slavish bias. The conservatives can do nothing right. The liberals can do nothing wrong, and besides, they are always more winsome and more intelligent, and moreover they have an aesthetic and philosophical side. Even Vice President Joe Biden has an aesthetic and philosophical side. His malapropisms and goofball pronunciamentos are to be perceived from an artistic and philosophical perspective, as the artiste Chris Ofili's artful uses of elephant dung are to be perceived from an artistic and philosophical perspective.

I am serious. If the art of Ofili, the British-born hustler, were reported as not art but animal waste, he might have learned the rudiments of art a long time ago and become an acceptable street artiste. If Biden were reported to have bungled yet again, he might not say such idiotic things. According to the Taranto Principle, biased liberal reporting brings out the worst in liberals and makes them ridiculous and often unelectable.


The Democrats are about to be beaten by something that they do not in their heart of hearts think exists, a huge national majority. At this late hour, with the storm clouds gathering and the livestock getting restless, they see only sunshine. Yes, there is "foreign money" out there. Yes, the media have bungled broadcasting the purity of the Democratic message. And naturally, angry voices can be heard. Yet surely there is no majority gathering to unseat the party of decency and good deeds. Well, there is, and it is nothing like how the Democrats describe it.

That majority is amiable and sensible and believes in limited government. It is convinced that we face a catastrophic budget crisis and that measures must be taken against the spending and on behalf of growth. Furthermore, many of these friendly Americans would be delighted to give our president a ride home if they found him on a street corner, though they would be a lot happier if he did not live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. They doubt he would ask them in for a drink. After all, to him they do not exist.

Many of these people are tea partyers. Now, they certainly do exist. Yet they are nothing like what the Democrats believe them to be. They are not angry and warlike. They are concerned about what the Democrats have done these past months, but they will retire them the old-fashioned way, through the ballot box.


On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel declared his candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Instantaneously, he had problems with his campaign, not the least of which is that he is as much a resident of Chicago as I am. So on Monday, I declared my candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Why not? I did it on the national television show of the estimable Sean Hannity, who immediately threw his support behind me. I was born in Chicago, come from a long line of Chicagoans and, like Rahm, am occasionally in town. The place is a gastronomic paradise, a cultural delight with great museums and a fine orchestra, plus opera; surprisingly, Rahm and I never have crossed paths while in town. Supposedly, he attends rock concerts. He could attend the Chicago Symphony, but he opts for Bruce Springsteen.

My candidacy already had the national endorsement of The New York Sun, which tapped me the day before I declared. I have a new book out, "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery," to provide Chicagoans — and Americans generally — with a blueprint for getting out of our present political and economic fix. The blogs are alive with support (and occasional rudeness), and more newspaper support is rumored to be on the way. All Rahm has are a few big names and our mutually held residency problem. Rahm still is seeking newspaper support, and his "listening tour," begun Monday, has gotten off to a rocky start. A lot of Chicagoans do not like him. He has a reputation for yelling at underlings and for profanity.

As for me, I am free of any hint of Chicago corruption, certainly no hint of a connection to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Frankly, I could not pick him out of a police lineup — at least a police lineup of gaudily dressed gigolos. Rahm is recorded on the telephone with Blagojevich suggesting deals shortly after President Barack Obama's election. All of this and any other questionable dealings will be rehashed over and again during the run-up to the February election. When it comes to political connections with the Chicago machine or, for that matter, almost any connection at all — my family lives in the suburbs — I am clean as a hound's tooth.


 On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel declared his candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Instantaneously, he had problems with his campaign, not the least of which is that he is as much a resident of Chicago as I am. So on Monday, I declared my candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Why not? I did it on the national television show of the estimable Sean Hannity, who immediately threw his support behind me. I was born in Chicago, come from a long line of Chicagoans and, like Rahm, am occasionally in town. The place is a gastronomic paradise, a cultural delight with great museums and a fine orchestra, plus opera; surprisingly, Rahm and I never have crossed paths while in town. Supposedly, he attends rock concerts. He could attend the Chicago Symphony, but he opts for Bruce Springsteen.

 My candidacy already had the national endorsement of The New York Sun, which tapped me the day before I declared. I have a new book out, "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery," to provide Chicagoans - and Americans generally - with a blueprint for getting out of our present political and economic fix. The blogs are alive with support (and occasional rudeness), and more newspaper support is rumored to be on the way. All Rahm has are a few big names and our mutually held residency problem. Rahm still is seeking newspaper support, and his "listening tour" begun Monday, has gotten off to a rocky start. A lot of Chicagoans do not like him. He has a reputation for yelling at underlings and for profanity.

As for me, I am free of any hint of Chicago corruption, certainly no hint of a connection to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Frankly, I could not pick him out of a police lineup - at least a police lineup of gaudily dressed gigolos. Rahm is recorded on the telephone with Blagojevich suggesting deals shortly after President Barack Obama's election. All of this and any other questionable dealings will be rehashed over and again during the run-up to the February election. When it comes to political connections with the Chicago machine or, for that matter, almost any connection at all — my family lives in the suburbs - I am clean as a hound's tooth.