4 I CHRONICLESnCui bono? That is the question to asknnow that the fur and feathers havensettled from the celebrated Januarynmatch between gamecock Vice PresidentnBush and wildcat Dan Rather.nClearly the answer is George Bush.nBefore the encounter Bush had twonserious liabilities: a general impressionnof wimpishness and a lingering taint (atnleast among grass roots conservatives)nof Liberal Republicanism.nAll that, it would appear, was turnedncompletely around in less than 10nminutes. The Vice President is nownthe hero of 10,000 American barrooms,nwhere people are slapping eachnother on the back and saying: “Hownabout ole Bush? The first guy to tellnoff Rather since George Wallace!”nAnd the conservatives, always ready tongrasp at a straw, are telling themselvesnthat if CBS wanted to get the VicenPresident that bad, he must be betternthan they feared.nParanoids on the old right suspectnthat the whole thing was an orchestratednaffair. Imagine what’s going on innthe minds of the CBS brass: ThenAmerican rubes are no longer buyingnthe Democrats. Since even a replay ofnWatergate didn’t work, the next Presidentnwill be a Republican. Which onenof those guys can we live with? ObviouslynBush. If we put Rather on hisntail, we can kill two birds with onenstone: wipe out the wimp image andnget rid of Rather, whose behavior isnincreasingly bizarre.nStranger things have happened.nThe TV bosses have always, in fact,ntried to orchestrate the RepublicannParty. In 1964, during their stop-nGoldwater phase, they promoted thenineffably forgettable Governor Scrantonninto a national folk hero in a matternof a few days. They kept alive thenhopeless presidential candidacy of thenlate Governor Rockefeller for 20 years.n(If I recall rightly, some of them werenstill touting his inevitable victory rightndown to the second day of the RepublicannNational Convention in 1968.)nWith Bush, they have something tonwork with. It has always, actually, beennCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSnunkind and unfair to consider the VicenPresident a wimp. He has more couragenand integrity than most politicians.nHis real weakness is not in his character,nit is in his intellect. George Bushnhas never had an idea that was angenuine solid conviction learned in thenschool of real life. That is, he has neverntaken a public stand that had behind itnanything more than pleasant plausibilitynand vague good intentions. Dukingnit out with Dan Rather over whether ornnot he was asleep at what meeting doesnnot change this a bit.nIn this, he is simply nothing morenand nothing less than the legatee ofnLiberal Republicanism. Viewed overnthe long haul of its history, the RepublicannParty (like the Democratic) is anstrange, strange entity. Now, nearingnthe end of the Reagan revolution, thenRepublican Party finds itself with noncapacity to move constructively intonthe future, or to do anything but fadenreflexively back into its past. Its leadingncandidate is a throwback to Rockefellernand Scranton, and its second chance.nSenator Dole, is a throwback to Nixonnand Ford. Some revolution. (Ofncourse, I am forgetting RepresentativenKemp, who is a throwback to HoracenGreeley. The most positive force innthe party, Mr. Robertson, brings backnhappy memories of William JenningsnBryan, who was, alas, a Democrat.)nIf Bush could somehow dedicatenhimself to continuing the Reagan program,nthere might be some hope. Wenknew, in 1980, or thought we knew,nwhat the Reagan program was. Thentrouble is, now, nobody has the slightestnidea what the “Reagan program”nmeans. There are many, many reasonsnwhy this is so, but one of them is thatnwhat Mr. Reagan stood for has beennhopelessly blurred and diffused by thenformer Bush supporters with whomnthe President has stocked his administration.nReaganism is over, whoever is nominated.nI am betting that within hoursnafter President and Mrs. Reagan takenoff for the ranch next January, no onenwill even remember it, not even pro­nnnfessional Republicans and commentatorsnwith a slow news day.n— Clyde WilsonnAmerican professors of literature (orna large number of them) have been innthrall for some time to a body ofn”literary theory” exported from Europenin the late 60’s. The basic mastersnare Marx and Freud, followed by denSaussure and Levi-Strauss, and thendevelopers of this property now mostnin vogue seem to be the philosophernDerrida and the psychoanalyst Lacan;nbut as time passes it appears that thenabiding fascination for the Americansnis with Freud and Marx themselves. Bynnow the federated squadrons of Marxists,nneo-Freudians, deconstructionists,nand Lacanians, with their close alliesnthe feminists and the “new historicists”nare largely in control of the academicncenters of cultural tradition in thisncountry, and their professed aim is tondismantle the institutions.nNonacademic Americans can havenno conception of the scale of thisninvasion, but a pair of university pressncatalogs that dropped into the mail thenother day will give a hint. Betweennthem, Johns Hopkins and CornellnUniversity presses are currently listingnsome 120 books on “literary theory,”nan outlay to the library that buys all ofnthem for about $2,500 at discountednprices. Obviously, no individual academicncan either afford them or, in anynreal sense of the word, read them. Thisnis not just a question of the timeninvolved. Most of them are written in anturgid, hermetic style that is intentionallynunreadable.nIt is hard to see how a librarian willnmake a decision. The catalogs givenlittle help, for according to quotationsnfrom professorial readers these booksnindividually and as a set are exemplary,nbold, brilliant, important, surefooted,nlucid, cogent, ground-breaking,nthought-provoking, sustained, landmarking,nexhilarating, deeply concernednand/or committed, richly suggestive,nchallenging, sublime, andn