Chances are most liberals aren't familiar with the Left Behind series, the set of apocalyptic mega-bestsellers penned by the fundamentalist preacher Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. But if you want some insight into conservative rage over the recent booting of the U.S. from the United Nations Human Rights Commission -- where it has held a seat since the body's founding in 1947 -- the Left Behind novels are a good place to start.
War appears to be on the verge of making everyone -- except for a few U.C. Berkeley students (see below) -- sane. As George Will recently observed, because of the present conflict, "Both conservatism and liberalism have been purified by being purged of some anachronistic ingredients." Conservatives have given up on their more radical anti-federalist streak; liberals have shed the influence of the loony left (or what Idea Log last week called the "preemptive peace" movement) to become internationalists and humanitarian interventionists.
Hawkish conservatives today must secretly reserve a
special affection for the late Idaho Democrat Frank Church; after all, he
provided them with the cudgel they've since used to batter liberal critics of the
U.S. intelligence community. As chair of the Senate's 1975 intelligence
investigation, Church famously characterized the Central Intelligence Agency as a
"rogue elephant rampaging out of control." He was struggling to describe the lack
of any clear presidential authorization for the agency's bungled assassination
attempts against Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. But to Church's critics,
the "rogue elephant" comment came to epitomize the barnstorming liberal senator's
One of the synchronicities of the 2000 election was that interest in Nostradamus spiked after George W. Bush was finally acclaimed president-elect. At the turn of the year, the sixteenth-century French seer was listed at number 32 on the Lycos 50, the search engine's compilation of top online information requests (the list doesn't include pornography-related searches). The sudden prominence of Nostradamus was undoubtedly triggered by a widely circulated electronic message asserting that in 1555 the prophet had foreseen the results of the presidential election:
Despite media and pollster predictions to the contrary, George W. Bush lost the nation's popular vote to Al Gore on November 7. But according to Republican howitzers Rush Limbaugh, David Horowitz, and others, he won something more important: the most land.