Despite its manifest limitations, Combat! blog strives to appear fair and reasonable. Our discussions here may be colored by liberal bias, occasional smug atheism and captions about seagulls swooping at Anne Coulter’s vagina, but we try to maintain at least a pose of circumspection. Nobody wants to read blog posts by a person who already knows what he thinks about everything. That being said: today I read about Rick Perry’s declaration that President Obama “grew up in a privileged way” and that “that mentality of ‘I’m the smartest guy in the room and therefore it couldn’t be my fault’ is really hurting America.” And I thought to myself, you craven little ponce. Only for once, I was thinking that about someone else. So today’s Combat! blog post is basically just a rant. Rick Perry is a mediocre man and a bidder for the admiration of the crowd. His campaign for the presidency is important only insofar as it warns us against the legions of men exactly like him who will come after, and who will also be too dishonest and stupid to do us any good.
Barack Obama is visiting Indonesia this week to talk about American-Muslim relations (have fun, buddy,) discuss Asia’s role in world economics, and maybe check in on his alma mater, State Elementary School 01 Menteng.* That’s great news for the people of Indonesia, who will finally encounter a man in a suit who does not exhort them to detonate night clubs or answer customer service calls. It’s less great news for Ilham Anas, who will suddenly find himself the second-best Barack Obama impersonator in town. Frankly, it’s another setback in a bad year. According to Anas, the President’s declining popularity has meant less work for him, as the mere sight of a man who strongly resembles Barack Obama is no longer sufficient to delight everyone. “This year, it’s definitely not like it was at the beginning,” Anas said in an interview with Reuters. “I still get jobs, but most of them are overseas.” And with that, Ilham Anas definitively establishes himself as a funnier Barack Obama impersonator than Fred Armisen.
If you’re eating something, spit it out right now. Don’t swallow it, because you’ll only see it again seconds later. Gallup has released the results of its annual poll to determine the men and women Americans most admire, and Glenn Beck has tied with Pope Benedict XVI for fourth place. That’s right: the man who made this video (and this video explaining that video) is as well-regarded, among Americans, as God’s official representative on Earth. Barack Obama crushed his division for the second year in a row, topping the list of most-admired men with a healthy margin over the second-place finisher, George W. Bush. Are you beginning to appreciate the sheer insanity of this poll, yet? Arguably legitimate human being Hillary Clinton topped the list of most admired women, but she only beat Sarah Palin by one percent. Maya Angelou remains deadlocked with Margaret Thatcher.
The takeaway from all of this is that Americans respect—or at least claim to respect—a former morning zoo DJ whose television show started four years ago more than the head of the Catholic church. Those of you concerned that people in the office like one of your coworkers better than you might consider, for a moment, of what value the esteem of the mob. Whatever you do, don’t consider what values Beck’s ascent alludes to in the hearts of the American people, or how long such a people can successfully operate a representative democracy. That’s what Dana Milbank at the Washington Post did, and he was forced to draw some ugly conclusions. “All ages have their charlatans,” Milbank writes. “The fact that Beck’s stew of venom and fabrication has been such a triumph probably says less about Beck than about us. He has merely captured the moment.” Zing!