The Joy of Being Wrong

The great thing about history is that it’s always changing. Much depends on who is writing it—at present, a rather dubious case has been made that it’s liberals, not far rightists, who are the real fascists. Much more influential is the lived experience of history, which time and again will prove historians/handicappers such as yours truly wrong. In the June-July 2003 issue of the Rail, I declared:

The 2008 showdown between Rudy (and his conservative running mate from the Deep South) and Hillary (and her conservative running mate from the Deep South) is certainly a long way off. The Republicans still have more wars to fight, as well as more taxes and social programs to cut. And, even if they win the next election, the Democrats will likely offer a program of a few less wars, a few less tax cuts and a few less social programs.

Just a few things happened in the last four-plus years, of course—the Dean insurgency succumbed to the supposedly “electable” Kerry, while John McCain rose, fell and rose again. But as recently as a few months ago, a prediction of a Rudy vs. Hillary showdown seemed likely to come through. Now, at the end of January 2008, I must borrow a favorite phrase from McCain and say: My friends, I can’t tell you how glad I am that I was wrong.

I say this primarily because 2008 most certainly is not Giuliani Time. In the end, Rudy was just too faithless for the party’s base and too corrupt and erratic for the Republican establishment. A party that twice rallied behind George W. Bush decided that Rudy simply did not have the character to become president—a sad commentary, indeed. Bernard Kerik’s best friend will just have to go on raking in cash from the unknown clientele at Giuliani Partners. Yet money is one thing, whereas Rudy’s first love—fame and his name in the papers—is quite another. As he departs to his own existential wilderness, let it be said that no matter what happens from here on out, 2008 will have brought us the joy (and relief) that Rudy did fail.

The good news from across the aisle is that the battle has just begun. I’ll have more to say about it in coming months, but for now I will only remind our readers that as a 501 c 3, the Brooklyn Rail cannot endorse political candidates. We can, however, urge you to vote!

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With sadness, we must announce that our long-time poetry editor, Mónica de la Torre, has moved from the Rail to become an editor at Bomb Magazine. Mónica put the Rail on the map of the poetry world, for which we are forever indebted. We’ll introduce her successor next month (meantime, the poetry in this issue has been selected by Rail publisher Phong Bui). We send Mónica all of our love and are absolutely certain that she’ll fare very well in her gig—because she, in fact, is The Bomb.

—T. Hamm

Contributor

Theodore Hamm

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