The Magazine

Letter to Our European Friends

Everything you need to know about our presidential campaign.

Feb 4, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 20 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
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As for Fred Thompson, he didn't have much impact. Yes, he's a Republican who was seen on TV a lot. But so was Scooter Libby.

Mike Huckabee lost some support among the hard-core fundamentalists when Bible Belt denizens realized that John McCain was the only candidate with enough guts to really handle rattlesnakes at church. The rest of the public remains alert to the fact that evangelical Christianity, as a movement, has two faces--the Moral Majority face and the Tammy Faye Bakker face.

Let us not forget Ron Paul who is very popular--with people who stay up all night in Ayn Rand chatrooms, bury Krugerrands in the yard, and think the Trilateral Commission causes sub-prime mortgage foreclosures.

Incidentally, there's a balanced position that all of America's presidential candidates could take on the controversial abortion issue. If they want votes they shouldn't campaign to make abortion illegal or legal. They should campaign to make it retroactive. If a kid reaches 25 and he or she is still jobless, feckless, and sitting around Starbucks acting like a--no offense--European, then whack.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic field, Barack Obama may be altering our national political equation. Obama is an indication that America has reached an important benchmark in race relations. In America it is now officially more important to be cute than to be white. Barack Obama is cute, and he's nice. It's been a long time since any political party in America had the cute, nice vote sewn up. Rudy Giuliani? Not so nice. Bill Clinton? Don't get cute.

The problem for Obama is that, as yet, he doesn't have much political stature. However, there is a "Disney factor" is American politics. Think of America's politicians as the Seven Dwarves. They're all short--short on ethics, short on experience, short on common sense, short on something. But we keep thinking that one of these dwarves is going to save our snow white butt.

We've got Dopey right now. We had Sleazy before him. Grumpy lost in '04. Sleepy was great in the 1980s, but he's dead. How about Obama?

Who else do the Democrats have? There is, of course, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Al Gore. May I ask you Europeans, are your Norwegians crazy? What does the Nobel Peace Prize have to do with global warming? Did Al forge a truce in the war with the penguins? I'm trying to lead a carbon-neutral lifestyle myself. I've given up cigars. I think Al Gore should give up blowing smoke out his .  .  .

John Edwards is a personal injury lawyer, the sort of fellow who covers North Carolina with billboards reading, "Y'all May Have Been Malpracticed on by a Doctor and Not Even Know It. Call (800) S-H-Y-S-T-E-R." One of the remaining virtues of European civilization is that you aren't overrun with his ilk. John Edwards should go sue Krispy Kreme doughnuts for making his supporters too fat to get into the voting booths.

Dennis Kucinich swept the Mars caucuses.

Then there are the Democrats who're actually qualified to be president--Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd. All three have dropped out of the race. Before they did, they managed, between them, to raise almost $1,000 (2.79 euros) for their campaigns.

This leaves the Democrats with Hillary Clinton. She's going to reform America's health care system. Memo to Hillary: You already reformed America's health care system, 15 years ago. Just the outline of Hillary's 1993 health care plan was 1,400 pages long, almost as long as that equally successful reform document, the EU constitution.

Many political analysts say that the failure of Hillary's health care plan almost destroyed Bill Clinton's first term. You'll recall that Bill Clinton had to seek help from a different woman to almost destroy his second term.

But no matter who is elected America's next president--whether Barack Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, or even Ron Paul--it is important that Europeans be reassured that ordinary Americans will not change the way they think about Europe. They will continue to think they aren't sure where it is on the map.

P.J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.