Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 1, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

JUST SHOOT ME NOW....Dan Drezner is at a conference in London this week and reports back:

The campaign panel was certainly not boring — for me, the entertaining highlight was when Peter Wehner unironically compared John McCain to Pericles of Athens.

That would be the Peter Wehner who until recently was director of George Bush's office of strategery. I guess the Lincoln and Churchill comparisons have gotten stale for these guys.

Kevin Drum 11:27 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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More like Alcibiades I'd say.

Posted by: demisod on May 1, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Didnt Pericles, for all his eloquence, lead the Athenians into a disastrous endless war with Sparta? The problem seems to be that the Bushies are talking too much with Donald Kagan, who failed to learn the lessons of the Peloponessian War, even though he wrote a seminal book on it.

Posted by: troglodyte on May 1, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

They are about the same age.

Posted by: Mr. Awful on May 1, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Talk about aiming low. McCain truly reflects an earlier time, the age of Myth.

Posted by: Boronx on May 1, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

troglodyte nails the comparison. Pericles transformed Athens into an empire, and then recklessly set it on the road to despair by inciting the Peloponnesian War with Sparta. I'm sure that's not the comparison that the speaker intended, but it's what first jumped into my mind.

Posted by: Bucky on May 1, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

They had similar first marriages.

Posted by: reino on May 1, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe he meant to go for Perseus, the guy who freed the world of the evil, ugly, snakehaired, Shrillar...oops, Medusa.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 1, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

What he means is this: If John McC gets into office and dies there, we're toast.

{Also, it's nice to see Kevin's audience has taken Western Civ (and remembered much more than I do!)}

Posted by: marych on May 1, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

No, no. Wehner meant the Pericles of Pericles' Gyros in Athens, renowned for his grilled lamb. He was complimenting Sen. McCain on his skill with the barbecue grill.

Posted by: Zathras on May 1, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain - a brilliant thinker from a fifth century B.C. era.

Does that make McCain an elitist of his time ~ 450 B.C.?

Posted by: tmartinsmith on May 1, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Pericles died in office prematurely, too.

Posted by: tom s on May 1, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Also Sprach Zathras! Good parry, mein Schatz!

Posted by: troglodyte on May 1, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Irony is not only dead, but it's starting to smell bad.

Posted by: idlemind on May 1, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Pericles promoted construction. McCain promoted Keating and Diamond, who in turn promoted construction.

Posted by: reino on May 1, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

More like Coriolanus, I'd say. Flip-flopping, and all that.

Posted by: Grumpy on May 1, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I was thinking Caligula. Oderint dum metuant, after all.

Posted by: Susan on May 1, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Damon Linker, former editor of First Things, a Roman Catholic journal that promoted the invasion, is among the Catholics to report manipulation by the White House.

"Writing days after the release of the final report on Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs …, Neuhaus chose to base his analysis not on the report itself but on a heavily redacted and deceptively interpreted version … provided … by Karl Rove’s White House deputy, Peter Wehner."

Damon Linker, The Theocons. Secular America Under Siege (New York: Doubleday, 2006), 137.


Posted by: Dan Tompkins on May 1, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

It reminded me of Plato's _Gorgias_:

Cal. What! did you never hear that Themistocles was a good man, and Cimon and Miltiades and Pericles, who is just lately dead, and whom you heard yourself?

Soc. Yes, Callicles, they were good men, if, as you said at first, true virtue consists only in the satisfaction of our own desires and those of others; but if not, and if, as we were afterwards compelled to acknowledge, the satisfaction of some desires makes us better, and of others, worse, and we ought to gratify the one and not the other, and there is an art in distinguishing them-can you tell me of any of these statesmen who did distinguish them?

Cal. No, indeed, I cannot.

Posted by: Ted on May 1, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Pericles? Who's that? Isn't he that guy on American Idol?

Posted by: Typical American on May 1, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Pericles? Who's that? Isn't he that guy on American Idol?

No, you fucking moron. He played Dr. Zorba the Greek on Kojak.

Posted by: a real smart american on May 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Pericles, huh?

Well, at least Wehner kept with the chronological order, since both Nero Bush and Caligula Cheney are younger than McCain.

Posted by: Gary in LV, NV on May 1, 2008 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Pericles of Tyre, he probably meant. Shakespeare's great flop.

Posted by: phil on May 1, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Oh my. These folks do live in their own world...

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