Monday, February 4, 2008


Letter to Our European Friend by P.J. O'Rourke
There are two factors in American politics that may seem strange to Europeans, race and religion. You, of course, don't have any religion. Except every now and then someone who came to Europe lately and is a Muslim blows himself to bits. But I understand that you have EU funding to address these social problems and help Muslims build bombs that release fewer pollutants and less carbon dioxide, reducing the threat of global warming.

After the events of the 20th century, God, quite reasonably, left Europe. But He's still here in the United States. The majority of Americans are Christians, and Christians can be divided into two kinds, the kind who think you should get Jesus and the kind who think Jesus is going to get you. Mike Huckabee is one of the latter. Then there are the Mormons such as Mitt Romney who believe some unusual things — things that no sensible European like Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, Benito Mussolini, Karl Marx, Emanuel Swedenborg, or Cherie Blair would ever believe.

The question of race in America is supposed to be a matter of what one looks like. But it is difficult to comprehend how a political interest group that contains both Al Sharpton and Halle Berry could be based on looks. Barack Obama looks like he was raised in Hawaii. He may have just a good tan.

The number of American presidential candidates varies with the sunspot cycle and the phases of the moon. Being a Republican, I'm backing Hillary Clinton. Because she could lose. The reason is not that she's a woman. The reason is that she's the particular woman who taught the 4th grade class that every man in America wished he were dead in. Hillary Clinton is Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. Hillary Clinton is "America's ex-wife."

A man can be a Democrat to the core, going into the voting booth to pull the lever with the donkey label no matter what. Then he sees Hillary's name on the ballot. And it all comes back to him … the first marriage … the time he came home a little late, it wasn't even midnight, and he'd only had four or five beers, and she threw his bowling ball down the storm sewer.

The Republicans will have a hard time coming up with someone who can't beat Hillary Clinton. But I don't put it past them. You may remember Senator Bob Dole in 1996....

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.

Great Literature? Depends Whodunit

Endowments Widen a Higher Education Gap
Others, too, are seizing on the idea of endowments for public universities. Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York recently proposed creating a $4 billion endowment for public universities, to be paid for by selling part of the state’s lottery business.

Virginia Tech, a state institution with a $525 million endowment, is allocating nearly one-third of the money received in its current $1 billion fund-raising campaign to its endowment.

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