Mark Steyn ‘s Chicago Sun-Times column takes a funny romp through events of the past week: “Democrats’ new strategy: Almost winning.” Most of the column is devoted to mocking the Democrats’ attribution of blame to President Bush for “cuts” in education funding that have contributed to the epidemic of obesity, but he squeezes in a discussion of Air Ameriscam on a twist of his thesis regarding Democratic failure:
Speaking of shivering coatless girls in Bush’s America, spare a thought for the underprivileged urchins of the Bronx. The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit social-services organization in New York, receives millions of dollars in government funds to give disadvantaged youth in poor neighborhoods a leg up the ladder of life. But mysteriously much of the money wound up being diverted to the coffers of Air America, the liberal talk-radio network whose ratings are yet another example of “deferred success.” The needs of disadvantaged Al Franken and his pals apparently outweigh those of Bronx welfare recipients. Perhaps Janeane Garofalo is the coatless girl John Edwards was talking about all those months. Air America looks like the broadcast version of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, whereby money earmarked to save starving moppets somehow winds up in the bank accounts of bloated self-described do-gooders with political connections.
In the immediately preceding paragraph Steyn describes his thoughts while sitting behind “a Vermont granolamobile”:
Sitting behind yet another Vermont granolamobile bearing the bumper sticker “Bush Scares Me,” I found myself thinking that perhaps the easiest way to reduce childhood obesity in American families might just to be to shout out, “Look! There’s big scary Bush! Run! Run for your lives! No, wait, there’s John Bolton, too! Better cut through the park before he puts his hands on his hips in an aggressive manner!” Indeed, when yesterday’s coming man John Edwards dusts off his “Two Americas” stump speech — the one with the heartwarming Dickensian vignette about the shivering girl whose parents can’t afford to buy her a winter coat ($9.99 brand new from Wal-Mart) — he might want to add a section about how an easy way for shivering coatless girls to keep warm is to run around the block a couple of times.
While waiting for our flight from Denver to Aspen, I saw a woman looking like former Texas Governor Anne Richards, though aged enough since I had last seen her that I wasn’t sure. I walked behind her down the ramp a few gates to buy frozen yogurt, and heard her loudly demanding granola on her serving in that distinctive grating voice. Richards spent the rest of her time before we boarded talking with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, who was also traveling to Aspen.
Our Claremont group has in addition sighted Al Gore and George Soros in our Aspen hotel. They all seem to be attending a meeting of the Aspen Institute. One of our speakers yesterday spoke to our Claremont group about terrorism in the morning and to the Aspen Institute group in the afternoon. He reports that the left-liberals attending the Aspen Institute program are living in Cloud Cuckooland on the subject, independently confirming Steyn’s larger theme of Democratic fantasy.
The associate editor of Portland’s Oreogonian does a pretty mean impersonation of Mark Steyn in a column devoted to Air Ameriscam: “Air America listeners to the rescue?” Reinhard writes:
Liberals are always letting the rest of us know just how much sharper and more compassionate they are than the rest of us. Now it’s time to prove it: Air America Needs You.
First, its listeners should unleash their “we know better” candlepower and their you-can’t-fool-us cynicism to get to the bottom of the Air America’s kids-for-kilowatts scandal. And, clearly, a scheme that hurts children and Alzheimer’s patients to fund left-wing outreach should appeal to progressives’ dark sense of irony.
Second, Air America’s listeners should go beyond the network owners on the financial front. Simply repaying funds to club isn’t enough. Really, how cover-your-assets corporatist is that? Leftist listeners need to really showcase that storied compassion of theirs. Yes, how about a radio-thon to raise funds for kids and Alzheimer’s patients across this broad land? Lefty listeners could, well, “Give piece of change.”
Better yet, progressive forces should do what they do best — hold a rock concert. Franken probably could put the finger on some major talent. It’s hard to imagine that the Dixie Chicks, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand wouldn’t want to participate in a Live Air America-Aid concert. The guess here is that even stars who said they would leave the United States if Bush were elected or re-elected would return home to help the victims of this hideous corporate scandal.
Granted, Air America’s overall rating have fallen in major markets. But here, the left-wing network is still going strong, particularly in the crucial male-ponytail demographic. A little advice for the network’s Portland affiliate:
Think globally and act locally.