The “Fighting Words” description doesn’t seem to fit Hitch’s column today; he seems like nothing so much as a tired, beaten man, vainly grasping for relevance as he pushes out a few more paragraphs. I suppose he gets some mild credit for being the last man on earth capable of writing the following without irony:
George Bush at his worst is preferable to Gerhard Schröder or Jacques Chirac—politicians who put their own countries in pawn to Putin and the Chinese and the Saudis.
Right; because this administration is notable primarily for standing up to the Saudis and Chinese on…. well, I’m not sure, but maybe it makes sense in Hitch’s world. On the 2008 election:
Sen. Obama cannot possibly believe, and doesn’t even act as if he believes, that he can be elected president of the United States next year.
It’s as if he’s having a conversation with himself without realizing he’s by himself; he nods along to what he fancies are clever observations, reinforcing in his own mind the idea that he has something useful to contribute. In the end (and this is really the worst thing that can happen to a self-described contrarian) he’s not so much wrong as just not making any sense. There’s not enough substance to generate disagreement; all he produces is the kind of mild fascination/pity we reserve for the guy muttering to himself at the bar.
I remind you that Gore was once a stern advocate of the removal of Saddam Hussein, and that in office he might well not be the coward or apologist that the MoveOn.org crowd is still hoping to nominate.
Right…. The idea that Al Gore would have invaded Iraq (despite Gore’s early and often opposition to the war) requires extraordinary intellectual contortions, but remains beloved of both raving liberal hawks and raving Naderites. Since Hitch is, in some sense, a member of both groups, it’s not surprising that he holds to it. Even here, though, it doesn’t really seem like he believes it. He kind of hopes that Gore might have invaded Iraq, but he can’t summon the enthusiasm to animate that idea with any rhetorical force.
Really, there’s nothing more sad than a contrarian who evokes more pathos than anger.