The Day of the Jackals

Mythmaking at the Republican convention and getting punk'd on Kudlow and Cramer

Which is why, after I praised Ahnold's speech for being a gas, Cramer insisted that it was "negative" of me to belittle a "substantive" man, and Kudlow favorably compared Schwarzenegger, who "worked himself up from nothing," to the liberal elitist Kerry, who went to St. Paul's and Yale and had a diplomatic background.

When I noted that George W. Bush wasn't exactly what anyone would call a self-made man, Kudlow snapped, "Listen. Bush went to Andover, Yale, and Harvard Business School. He's the best-educated guy ever to be president of the United States."

Whoa! I was about to mention Thomas Jefferson, when Cramer announced that the hour was up. As the show faded out, the argument lost, Kudlow scoffed, "9,000 on the list." With a cackle, he triumphantly knocked fists with his sidekick (or so I was later told).

Although the segment lasted only five minutes, I was surprisingly exhausted from trying to talk rationally with people whose shtick is to mock, cut off or misrepresent anyone who disagrees with them—even before they've disagreed with them. I was also a bit abashed. After years of watching conservative gangsters pull this kind of crap, I should have known better than to get punk'd into thinking I was going on a serious program. I understood how Kerry and his people, for all their experience, might still be stunned by his opponents' utter shamelessness in telling bald-faced lies. But I'd also learned a fundamental truth: If you don't fight back hard, you're dead.


John Powers's Sore Winners (and the Rest of Us) in George Bush's America is available in bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at sorewinners.com.

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