Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Heard about that cruise ship on which Mitt Romney was ‘schmoozing’ Republican insiders last week? CNN said so, and Jay Leno even cracked a joke about it in his monologue.
Well, yours truly was there, at the invitation and for the benefit of my mother. (Why did the little old lady cross the street? Because she could, with a little help.) I must admit to feeling a bit sheepish, though, when some of the people we met commented on what a nice son I was to do this for my mother. Right: so very nice of me to go along, on her nickel, and spend a week on a cruise ship with her and help her get around. Mm-hmm, it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.
Seriously, thanks, Mom, it was a truly memorable week.
Anyhow, one of the things I noticed was how thoughtful and considerate everyone was toward everyone else. These were mostly people who had never met one another, people from various walks and religions: Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews, bloggers, doctors, photographers, comedians, lawyers, farmers, writers, politicians, conservatives, and liberals. OK, I was kidding about the liberals. This was, after all, a National Review cruise. Although I didn’t see or meet any liberals in our group of some 700 strong, for all I know, there may well have been some hiding in the shadows.
I do think if there had been any liberals who had spoken up and voiced their opinions in conversation—you know, while schmoozing—they would have been engaged in honest, intelligent, and courteous discussion and debate. That’s provided, of course, they did so without the shrill voices and outlandish conduct we have too often seen from the loons on the outskirts of the left. I rather doubt that these folks would be willing to engage, say, the naked bicyclists protesting something or other in Portland, Oregon this week. Or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions.
But these people were quite interested in intelligent, informed, and reasonable conversation; and there was lots of courtesy toward people like me who are not quite as politically informed.
Many times during the week my mother and I had opportunity to meet personally with some pretty well-known people, whether over drinks or dinner or even at random places. We talked with the likes of Fred Thompson (yes, the Fred Thompson), John O’Sullivan (Margaret Thatcher’s speechwriter), Jack Fowler (the publisher of NR), and Scott Johnson (author of How Arafat Got Away with Murder), to name just a few, and I found these people to be as gracious and down-to-earth as your next-door neighbor. This was not like the meeting of Oz the Great and Powerful with Dorothy the Meek and Small, and precisely because it wasn’t, I was duly impressed. No stuffiness, and absolutely none of haughty demeanor we sometimes associate with famous people.
No wonder, incidentally, there was tremendous applause every time Sarah Palin’s name was mentioned. She's down-to-earth too, just like them, and just like our next-door neighbors. There is something to be said about that kind of unassuming modesty.
Three cheers for this large gang of conservatives big and small, and their decent humanity.