Number made up, but trust me: I could find forty-four more examples, ya, you betcha.
Here’s the thing: I’ve met Michael Barone. I know that he’s smart. Frighteningly so, in fact. And I know that he pays attention to details, in ways that usually startle the living life out of people who aren’t used to it. In other words, this is an aware guy that we’re talking about.
So why the surprise, here?
All of which brings to mind the report of a conservative blogger who watched George W. Bush’s 2005 inaugural speech with a group of liberals. Every time Bush called for spreading freedom and democracy around the world, the crowd guffawed and groaned and jeered. For them, evidently, Bush was a figure of fun, and his calls for democracy and human rights laughable. The same people who decried his supposed authoritarian rule at home had nothing but contempt for his call for freedom and democracy abroad.
Beneath this stated contempt is, I think, something in the nature of secret guilt. Or rather, anger at the notion that Bush had stolen the issues of human rights and democracy from the liberals.
The desire to oppose the Iraq war root and branch, to denounce every aspect of it, imposed a duty to dismiss as laughable Bush’s stated objective — set out eloquently before the decision to take military action as well as after it — of advancing democracy in the Middle East. A duty to side with those, like the National Intelligence Council nominee, who have long held that governance in the style of Saudi Arabia or Syria is the best that can be hoped for in that region, and the best for all concerned. A duty to dismiss with contempt, or simply to ignore, the rather remarkable strides of the Iraqis themselves made after enduring decades of brutal tyranny.