Friday, October 22, 2004

"Operation Clark County" is a glorious victory!

For Tim Blair, that is. He was the one who suggested that Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian (UK) get back in touch with some of Britain's old colonial subjects, and provide them with unsolicited advice on how to discharge their civic duties. The resulting debacle, which will provide us all with amusement for years to come, is therefore Blair's accomplishment. We genuflect in his general direction.

Freedland had been voicing the latest grievance of the European Useless Class: The fact that they are not allowed to vote in US elections. This gross injustice, which had gone unnoticed for two hundred years, now weighs sorely on the already weary intellects of the Old World. New depths of sophistry are being mined, with the kind of diligence once reserved for digging coal out of Yorkshire. Since the outcome of the election will affect the entire world, they reason, why shouldn't non-Americans have a say, too?

The implication of this - that a US president elected by a "world community" would therefore be the President of the World, and entitled to give orders as such - is ignored. Not even the most deeply deranged European intellectual is about to submit to US World Rule. They just want to put a good chap in charge over here, the way they used to do with their old colonies. And of course, their chap of choice is John Kerry, not that ... that unspeakably vulgar Texas cow-person. For Europeans of Freedland's ilk have convinced themselves that Bush is all to blame for the current unpleasantness - without which, Saddam Hussein would still be managing Iraq and corrupt Euro-elites would be allowed to enjoy their "Oil for Food" bribes in peace.

Thus distracted, the Guardian unwittingly swallowed Tim Blair's suggestion, like a toilet sucking down a cherry bomb:
Here’s a way Freedland and his fellow meddlers can still have their say in the USA: each could simply identify and adopt a random individual living in one of the battleground states and target that person with emails, letters, and telephone calls begging them to vote against Bush.
The sarcasm was a dead giveaway, of course, but no doubt those busybodies at the Guardian were confident of their own superior cunning. After all, Tim Blair is an Australian, which by their lights is only a tiny evolutionary notch above being an American. Why, they'd borrow his petard and hoist Bush with it! So Operation Clark County was born, in which the Guardian asked its readers to pester the kind and patient folk of Clark County, Ohio, with letters telling them how to vote. How to vote against Bush, that is. Nudge, nudge. To give their readers an idea of what kind of pretentious condescension would be required to accomplish this mission, the Guardian commissioned some incredibly artless letters from British notables John Le Carre and Richard Dawkins, to serve as examples - nudge, nudge.

The ensuing chaos - reminiscent of Dunkirk and some of the more unpleasant events of the Crimean War - is described in the UK Telegraph: Guardian calls it quits in Clark County fiasco (via LGF).

The Guardian received letters of consolation from iowahawk and Jeff Goldstein.

UPDATE: The Guardian says "Blimey, what the hell were we thinking?"

And the Guardian's Bobbie Johnson denies that Tim Blair played them like a toy banjo: "Arch Australian Tim Blair claims he had the idea first, but I have been assured this is not the case."

Johnson did not say who assured him of this. Nor did he explain what an "Arch-Australian" is, or how he differs from the ordinary antipodean stalwart (Homo Dinkum). But surely it was no ordinary sort of chap who made such fools of their chaps.