I can’t top Bill Voegeli’s takedown of the continuing absurdity of L’affaire Edwards, but I can put in a good word for the National Enquirer. These days all the action is supposedly on the blogosphere, but it was an old fashioned celebrity/gossip rag that did the shoe-leather and palm-greasing reporting that got the story.
And that brought back an old memory, and sure enough I was right: National Review columnist D. Keith Mano wrote way back in 1977 how the Enquirer was the second-most important conservative publication in America (after NR, of course). The piece is not available online, but I got it from the archives. A few samples:
I’ll tell you what America is. America is a three-hundred pound woman. This woman has two dogs, two TVs, hypochondria, and no secondary education. Also she’s broke, bored to tears, over forty (her husband was once alcoholic, unfaithful, crippled or laid off), and yet, despite all, she still believes in life after death. Got to be. She’s the only person who would buy National Enquirer. . .
Sounds rather like the constituency Edwards hoped to build upon for his campaign, doesn’t it? Southern Democrats of an earlier age--Mano alludes to George Wallace--would have understood this. More Mano:
Yet NE is the newspaper for lurid optimism, grossest good news. . . NE is penny-anti. Anti-government. . . Psychics apart, this is straight Wallace social conservatism. . . Contemptible? Sure. But let’s be realistic, very significant as well. Given its circulation National Enquirer is probably the second most important conservative publication in America.