Sunday, June 8, 2014

And Andrew Cuomo is Miklós Horthy

As Ross sees her.
As everybody else sees her. Could we at long last be moving beyond the Reese Witherspoon thing to facing up to some serious mommy issues?
Monsignor Ross Douthat, apostolic nuncio to 42nd Street, increasingly identifies himself with a party-within-a-party, the Reform Conservative movement, which you might define as the faction of Republicans who remember some of the stuff they learned in [jump]
college, or openly care more about the bond market than they do about hating Mrs. Obama, or are mindful that the people writing the checks mostly aren't the ones open-carrying guns to the Sunday snake-handler services, and he's anxious to show he's not all about simple low-Catholic sex-terror himself, but capable of showing some of that Old Mr. Buckley Bach-and-cocktails lightheartedness, so in the midst of some garden-variety concern trolling ("Are you sure you want to nominate that Old Stoneface Hillary?") he comes up with this hilarious analogy between the Democratic party and the Habsburg Dual Monarchy on the eve of the Great War, with Hillary Rodham Clinton as the doddering Kaiser:
the post-Obama Democratic Party could well be the Austro-Hungarian empire of presidential majorities: a sprawling, ramshackle and heterogeneous arrangement, one major crisis away from dissolution.

But this is where Hillary Clinton comes in. If her party is Austria-Hungary, she might be its Franz Josef — the beloved emperor whose imperial persona (“coffered up,” the novelist Joseph Roth wrote, “in an icy and everlasting old age, like armour made of an awe-inspiring crystal”), as much as any specific political strategy, helped keep dissolution from the empire’s door.
Not the Radetzky March but Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody no. 15 in Horowitz arrangement played by Arcadi Volodos.

The quote is from The Radetzky March in the translation, I guess, by Michael Hofmann issued by Granta in 2002*; unlike with David Brooks, I'd be willing to believe he pulled the book off his shelf to look for a quote, though I can't understand why he (or a copy editor) wouldn't have americanized the spelling of "armor".

The Blue Dogs would be Bosnia and Herzegovina, perhaps, ready to drop into the nervous, eager arms of the Republican Tsar (McConnell? Boehner?) if he can only escape revolution and death and the separate peace. I was going to say something else but never mind.

Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. Via.
*My copy, translated by Joachim Neugroschel 1993, has "locked in his eternal, silvery, and dreadful senility as in an armor of awe-inspiring crystal" and the German text is "in seiner eisigen und ewigen, silbernen und schrecklichen Greisenhaftigkeit eingeschlossen..., wie in einem Panzer aus ehrfurchtgebietendem Kristall". Both translations fail to work in all those adjectives and the heaviness of the biggest words, and "awe-inspiring crystal" adds a distractingly irrelevant reference to the crappy ESV Ezekiel 1:22 which I'd trade for Han Solo and something like "locked and forever frozen in his silvery, fearsome senectitude like a crystalline armor of worshipfulness."

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