I used to have the picture above taped to my refrigerator door — it was clipped originally from Le Monde, which had really witty photo editors back in the day. It shows Maggie Thatcher dancing with Kenneth Kaunda. The version shown here is so over-contrasty that I don’t know whether you can see the lily-white hanky that the grocer’s daughter has draped over her hand before entrusting its Saxon pallor to the African strongman’s swarthy grasp.
I was reminded of the picture today when I read Barack Obama’s treacly, fulsome eulogy of the inimitable old bat. For sheer dog-faced shamelessness Obie, in his funereal mode, is hard to beat. Here’s the whole thing — really, trust me, you don’t want to miss a word:
With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher(*), the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.
Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.
Not just freedom, not just liberty, but freedom AND liberty. A twofer. And an example to our daughters, God help us. I don’t think my own daughter particularly admired Maggie, but perhaps she wouldn’t have told me if she did.
And ‘passing’? Fuck, can’t anybody say ‘death’ any more?
All the things that my Obamaphile friends value about Obie come down, in the last analysis, to things he has said, since none of them are right-wing enough to like anything he’s actually done. (Apart from the two or three dedicated Zionists, who strongly approve of his sedulous fellation of Israel.)
But even on the plane of mere words, some of what he says seems to matter to my Obamaphile friends, and other stuff gets swept aside. This paean to one of the most horrible political figures of our time — a real Horsewoman Of The Apocalypse — clearly went into the liberal Memory Hole even before it was uttered.
Now anent Maggie herself, let the record show there was something rather likable about her on a purely personal level, leaving the politics out of it. She always did seem to be having a whale of a time, particularly in the House of Commons — whereas most liberals, and most especially Obama, always have a pinched pained expression, as if they needed a laxative. Badly. But Maggie, in her own carnivorous way, was a good-time girl. One can — well, this one can, anyway — watch old clips of her baiting and being baited at Question Time with real pleasure. And she and that giddy airhead Reagan always looked like teenagers on a joyride as soon as they got into a golf cart together.
I think they were both rather uncomplicated personalities, and neither of them had a shred of conscience. Of course one entailment of this happy state is that you can’t suffer from bad conscience, as liberals chronically do.
(*) By the way, am I correct in believing that this phrase is a solecism? You could say Lady Margaret, with or without the Thatcher, or you could say Baroness Thatcher, or Lady Thatcher. But this overstuffed form just sounds ignorant and wrong to me. I will defer however to those better acquainted with the Sassenach toffery than I.