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Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest--and Beyond

It's important to know your limits.

12:00 AM, Aug 15, 2007 • By LARRY MILLER
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And I guess I knew that politics is a dirty, foul, full-contact, no rules game devoid of any ethics, and that anything that weakens your opponent, anytime, is okay. It's not okay to me, but I knew it was okay to them. (If you think it's not both sides, look up what the Bush people did to McCain in the South Carolina primary of 2000).

By now I thought certain folks would see farther than the end of their noses and vanities. I still hope they will. I can't believe they haven't. I thought they wanted to win.

But there's a group I didn't know about. A large (and growing) number of Americans out there believes nationalism in general is bad, and American nationalism in particular is especially toxic, and that we are exceptional only in the sorrow we spread; that the only hope for the future is through international settings like the EU and the UN; that only a large, international apparatus can lead and ensure stability; that it would actually be a very good step forward for humanity if the United States leaves/loses/redeploys/returns home, shaken and guilty, unsuccessful, too flaccid and traumatized to act aggressively again, anywhere, for another hundred years. Two hundred. Ever.

I disagree with all these folks, but if you add them up it's a pretty big group, and that's what I didn't realize: No matter what our differences are, I thought they all wanted to win. They don't. On the surface or deep down, or hidden behind misplaced good will, they want us to lose.

There's one more, and this one is so dumb I can't even believe it myself. For years and years . . . Oh, I can't, it's too dumb. All right, I'll just say it. For years now, I thought the White House would begin getting smarter about communicating. Isn't that silly? I really thought they would get better at it.

AH, WELL, there you are, eh? Clothes that fold themselves, cars that park themselves, a country that wants to win, and leaders that aren't selfish or clueless.

As I said, sometimes I'm so stupid I amaze even myself.

Important addendum before you write a letter about the Lexus LS 460:

So I'm talking to Mike Goldfarb the other day, who, in addition to being a dandy writer, is editing THE DAILY STANDARD now. I'd just sent him this article, and he said he liked it and would run it next week (now), and it was fine, and so on, and then he said, "But you know what's funny? I thought that Lexus could park itself, too."

"Really?" I said, laughing. "I guess we're both dumb, eh? Okay, speak to you tomorrow."

I picked up my son later from baseball and told him, and he laughed, too, and said, "No, it can't. Boy, you writers think you're all so smart."

Then, the next day, I was talking to my friend Hiram Kasten, a terrific comic, and told him about it, and he said--seriously--"Boy, that is weird. I thought the car could park itself, too. But your kid said it couldn't, huh? Oh, well, they know way more than we do these days."

Later that afternoon I was in the kitchen here at the office and ran into Tom Schleuning, who runs the place, and he asked what I was working on, and I told him about the article, and he said, "That's odd. I know the commercial you're talking about, and I could've sworn it was real, too. Huh."

Back home that night the whole family and I, including the dog, were playing Go Fish, and I told my son that everyone I'd spoken to thought the car could park itself, and my wife said, "It can. Can't it?" and my son said, "Mom, that would be, like, 2097," and the little one chirped (as younger brothers will) "Yeah, that would be, like, 2097. Got any eights?"

I called Mike on a break from the game and he said, "That's funny, my wife thought it could park, too. I'll put the fact-checkers on it tomorrow."

Well, as you probably know by now (especially if you work for Lexus) it can park itself.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD fact-checker (who presumably spends the bulk of her time checking facts slightly more important for humanity than this), sent an email to Mike saying, "Hey Mike, the Lexus LS 460 does in fact park itself." Then she quoted Car and Driver, the Lexus website, Family Car magazine, Business Week . . .

By the way, I don't have a Lexus, I don't have plans to get one, I'm sure it's a fine car, and I don't know anyone at the company (obviously). Although, once again, if they feel like sending me thirty of them, that would be fine, too.

Hmmm. I'll be picking up the kids from practice later, and I can't wait to say to the older one, "Hey, guess what? It turns out you're not as smart as a fifth grader . . . and you are a fifth grader."