I am a great fan of legal dramas. After “The Practice” has ended this June, I’ve been awaiting its spin-off impatiently. “Boston Legal” aired two episodes, and it has everything I am looking for in television: tight, smart dialogues, compelling storyline, and characters with the charisma of a nuclear power plant.
There is an ageing lawyer who says his name as if he were casting a spell. ‘Danny Crane,’ he utters to silence his opponents. When a junior partner questions his sanity, we are made to believe he’s about to self-destruct in the last, bombastic show of vanity.
Wrong. When it comes to court performance, Danny Crane is unmatched.
Later on in the second episode, he stops the junior partner who came to congratulate him, and says, ‘I don’t need your love. I want your respect. I am a senior partner. Respect comes with the job.’
Hard as it may be for anyone with a post-9/11 mindset, there is a distinct possibility that starting January 20, 2005, a new legal series will hit TV sets around the globe. Featuring two former legal professionals, it would be a mix between reality TV and absurd drama. Ratings would have no impact on how long it would air. The first opportunity to cancel the show would come in 2008.
‘Danny Crane.’ I leave it up to you to decide who bears more resemblance to the famed attorney. It may be John Kerry who would hold a summit and say, ‘John Kerry’ (and the Earth would shudder). Or it’s John Edwards whose ‘the lame will walk when John Kerry is president’ has a similar quality.
What neither has in common with him is easier to name. Danny Crane walks in, repeats his name a couple of times, and makes wonders happen. Although he is able to intimidate his adversaries just by projecting his aura, the cruel world of lawyering requires more of him. He is free to roam the office and demand respect since he is able to say more than just his name when the situation calls for it.
We have heard much about Kedwards’s plan for this and that. A lot less was said about the contents of such a plan. The central part of it is the candidate. He’ll come to Paris and say, ‘John Kerry.’ Unfortunately, he is an American despite his French looks, and he will see his dream vanish as soon as he realizes that Europe hates him just a bit less than it has despised George W. Bush.
And respect? For a president, it comes with the job. He doesn’t need to go abroad to ask for it.
The “more respected in the world” soundbite illustrates how profoundly mistaken the Kerry campaign is. America is very, very respected in the world today. She has both the resources and resolve no other power can compete with.
However, that is not what John Kerry seeks. Love it is, and a handful of kind words cannot buy that. Guns can’t either but at least they keep the respect at an all-time high.
Polls taken overseas might have misled the campaign strategists to assume that just by installing the duo in the White House, Europeans will revive their ardor for America. The truth is, it had been buried too deep, and remained lost longer than Kerry cheerleaders in The Guardian would let you believe.
Sometimes, doing what’s right doesn’t win you friends. The reasons why America cannot count on her old allies are plentiful – demographic trends, plain old populism, and sense of one’s own irrelevance are shaping Europe’s growing hostility to anything – anything – the U.S. might want to do. Except surrender. That would indeed be welcome even at many places where the boots of U.S marines secured freedom decades ago.
Bill Clinton wasted his entire career seeking approval, and missed his chance to be a truly great statesman as a result. Yes, he could bring anyone to the table and claim their affection. The smiles at press conferences were genuine. The intentions – not so often. It’s entirely possible that even Yasser Arafat is a card-carrying member of the Bill Clinton fan club. That hasn’t stopped him from being a bad guy, has it?
All parties who believe in the necessity of success in the War on Terror are already sitting at the table. Whoever is missing is unlikely to join at this stage. It is not a lawsuit, it’s not a TV show with commercial breaks every 10 minutes, and only good cowboys can see it through.