Magazine article The Spectator

Quite a Switcheroo

Magazine article The Spectator

Quite a Switcheroo

Article excerpt

New York

Although they 'shoulda stood in bed', Bill and Pat Buckley gave their traditional election-night party in their elegant Park Avenue maisonette despite a dislocated hip, a broken shoulder and a painful cracked rib between them. (Pat fell while gardening and Bill broke his rib soon after.) Not many celebrities were smiling that night in the Bagel, the exception being chez Buckleys. Mind you, Tom Wolfe, Henry Kissinger, the Oscar de la Rentas, Drue Heinz and folks like them are not the type to draw attention to themselves, so as the results came in you'd think the Grand Old Party was taking a beating. Well, as we all now know, Americans are much too dumb to understand Hollywood's message, and they went out in droves and voted for George W. Score one for the square versus the hip.

It's a strange thing, but nowadays being a billionaire like the currency-speculator George Soros, a professional celebrity and party-goer like Bianca Jagger, or an Ivy League school professor makes you almost a perfect Democrat. Hard-working, church-going, poorer types are far more likely to be Republicans. As the great Tom Wolfe has said, 'Support for Bush is about not wanting to be led by people who are forever trying to force their twisted sense of morality on to us, which is a non-morality.' A slob like Michael Moore or the truly obnoxious Whoopi Goldberg can get lots of publicity by heaping abuse on W and his church-going family, but the chickens came home to roost on election night. The Democrats, in effect, are now the party of the elite, and the GOP that of the common folk. It is quite a switcheroo. While pampered liberals sat in their fancy Manhattan pads ridiculing Bush and his dummy followers, people who still think it's okay to talk about loving God and country were casting their vote for the dummy. 'Flyover country', as the great spaces between the Bagel and Hollywood are known by the elite, sent them a message that will keep for the next four years.

There is always a certain moment during an electoral period which somehow stands out in one's memory. More often than not it has the opposite effect to what was intended. For me, it was the foul-mouthed tirade against George Bush by Whoopi Goldberg during a John Kerry fund-raiser. The Hollywood types roared with delight, and she went on and on repeating it. …

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