Sasheen Littlefeather [guess which one in the image above] at Marlon Brando's behest ambushed "The" Academy Awards way back in the dark ages of 1973, blindsiding the gallantly dignified Roger Moore and the elegantly indulgent Liv Ullman with her disingenuous me-victim-you-oppressor assault in what turned out to be one of the first salvos in the Culture Wars that continue to escalate thirty years later.
"The problem is money, and the solution is money," wrote Minh-Duc of State of Flux the other day in a post we'd been meaning to highlight here for its good sense and clear-eyed refusal to take prisoners. Peggy Noonan's tour de force approaching the same topic from a slightly different angle in Opinion Journal Thursday called it to mind. First, Minh-Duc:
More money available to government leads to more corruption. Less money available to the government leads to less corruption. The only long term solution to corruption in government is limited government. We must reduce the source of corruption by reduce the amount of money available to the government.
Leave it to a Vietnamese American who knows the difference between a "fear society" and a free society, to tell it like it is. So does the Divine Miss N in her WSJ "Thoughts on the decline of the liberal media monopoly and the future of the GOP":
Eleven years ago the Democrats lost control of Congress. Then they lost the presidency. But just as important, maybe more enduringly important, they lost their monopoly on the means of information in America. They lost control of the pipeline. Or rather there are now many pipelines, and many ways to use the information they carry.
Peggy was on a roll:
And the end of the monopoly of course isn't only in the news, it's in all media. The other night George Clooney, that beautiful airhead, made a Golden Globe speech in which he made an off-color reference to Jack Abramoff. The audience seemed confused, as people apparently often are when George Clooney speaks. Once, his remark would have been news. Once, Marlon Brando stopped the country in its tracks when he sent Sacheen Littlefeather to make his speech at the Academy Awards.
We remember that awful moment -- incomprehensible at the time -- when Marlon Brando ambushed the previously a-political Academy Awards ceremony to promote an obscure personal political cause no one out here in Middle America had ever heard of. At the time, it was totally annoying but didn't seem like much, and we moved on to a life of hard work, hard play and the pursuit of happiness. As we look back, though, it begins to sound like an early shot across our bow in the Culture Wars. Here's where Peggy Noonan's perfect prose intersects with Minh-Duc's cut to the chase:
More than ever, the Republican Party -- the party ultimately helped by the end of the old monopoly and the reformation of news media -- must be a good party, a decent one, and help our country. That it regain a sense of its historic mission . . . That it return to basic principles on spending, regulation and state authority. That it question a foreign policy that often seems at once dreamy and aggressive, and question, too, an overreaching on immigration policy that seems composed in equal parts of naiveté and cynicism. That its representatives admit that lunching with lobbyists is not the problem; failing to oppose the growth of government -- so huge that no one, really no one, knows what is in its budget -- is. That they reduce the size and power of government. That they help our country.
Amongst the three Republicans now vying for House Majority Leader, Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, a freshman in Newt Ginrich's "Contract with America" Class of 1994 -- check out Hugh Hewitt's interview for the Congressman in his own words -- sounds the most promising:
Hugh Hewitt: Will you introduce and support a proposal to require all earmarks be identified by the name of the requesting member?
John Shadegg: I think my answer to that question is yes. I haven't given . . . I have not formed my specific earmark proposal, but we cannot have earmarks put in where you do not know who they benefit, or where you do not know why they're being done, and where they can't be debated. My understanding is that most . . . well, many earmarks, at least the ones that are abusive, are snuck in, in the dark of night, often by, quite frankly, some powerful members, and rank and file members don't even know about them.