In Pamplona, Spain, this week, brave men are being gored and trampled in the traditional running of the bulls. The 400-year-old ritual goes on for a week. Each day, ill-tempered bulls are let loose in the street, where they take three to four minutes to run the half mile to the bull ring and eventually face battle with a professional bullfighter. The sport usually involves drunken men of all ages throwing themselves in the imminent path of the bulls, and then trying to avoid death or a certain act that is no longer illegal in Texas.
According to the ancient rules of the run, despite the danger (which is even greater than inhaling secondhand smoke), any person over 18 may take part. Participants are allowed only a rolled-up newspaper to fend off the bulls. This is curious. Even if a newspaper is as slanted as the New York Times, it is hard to see it having much effect on a Spanish bull. Even if one concedes the power of the press and that the pen is mightier than the sword -- this would be taking literalism too far. The runners would seem to be on the horns of a dilemma.
Meanwhile, here in the States, another ritual is being played out: The traditional running of the dwarfs through the quaint newsrooms and meeting halls of Iowa and New Hampshire. In this tradition, the running dwarfs -- who are usually drunk only on their delusions of grandeur -- dash about desperately for a full year before one of them reaches the national bullring, where he will meet the professional bullfighter, George W. And, in our tradition, the Des Moines Register and Manchester Union Leader, whether rolled up or not, can take a terrible toll on the cattle.
With the former vice president out of the race, at least none of the participants are going to be gored. But there is still the danger that late in the year the wandering dwarfs may yet be trampled by the late entry of Hillary "Cattle Futures" Clinton. From the seat of her pants to the crowning hair on her head, she is no dwarf. In every poll of every sample of Democrats in every state that has polled, she would win every election against every other Democratic candidate. In short, the Democratic nomination is hers for the asking. But, like all monarchs, Queen Hillary will not condescend to ask. The great prize must be offered to her by a band of supplicating Democratic grandees -- top hats in hand.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.