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I had a talk with Bay Buchanan on the convention floor Monday. Remember her? She’s Pat Buchanan’s sister. Back in the 1990s, when Pat was leading the torch-and-pitchfork crowd, she was known as his behind-the-scenes fixer, her name frequently mentioned alongside epithets like “dragon lady” and other phrases one can now pull up using the search term “Hillary.” On the floor, Bay was perfectly cordial.
People as deep inside political circles as she is tend to speak in rigid, protected tones. Initially, nothing I asked cracked the rhetorical wall of “Mitt has the opportunity to talk directly to the American people” and “Mitt offers real vision” and “Mitt sees the future as a better place.” But after about ten minutes, she started to loosen up and said that Romney’s Thursday speech was going to be the roll-out of a new Mitt. He would show his personal side, a Mitt 2.0 who can attract better favorability and likability numbers (where Obama is killing him almost two to one). A New New Nixon for the twenty-first century.
Then she said something and scooted right past it, as though something significant had slipped through the wet mortar of her words. She said that this new Mitt was going to try something audacious—to co-opt Obama’s 2008 message, since Obama himself can no longer claim it. “They need to have a sense again that things can change,” she said. “We all hoped with Obama four years ago. People voted for the hope. They wanted that.” We’ll see tomorrow.
More from Jack Hitt:
Political Asylum — November 6, 2012, 2:01 pm
Obama’s data-driven approach may decide today’s race—and determine the future of the G.O.P.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”