Cliffs Notes for Conservatives

It has happened to everyone: You get in an argument with a liberal friend or coworker and you find the perfect statistic, story, or fact to shut him up, end the discussion and win the debate outright … about a week later.

Hey, the world is a big place, and when you’re right about so much, you can’t hope to have every relevant factoid, come-back and anecdote on mental speed-dial 24 hours a day. After all, if knowing you were right and being able to prove it were the same thing, we wouldn’t need lawyers.

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We do need lawyers, right? Well, regardless of that, you do need facts, figures and witty rejoinders when conducting the occasional political knife fight around a friendly cup of coffee. And now hundreds of them are conveniently assembled into a single volume, Mark W. Smith’s "The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: 2006 Election Year Edition."

This handy update of the New York Times bestseller is a pocket guide to pertinent facts, figures and (liberal) fantasies on nearly every major political flashpoint being debated today — assuming you have a slightly oversized pocket. Clearly, a coat pocket is called for here. Also, it would fit in a desk drawer, which is a better idea.

Divided by subject into 27 very short chapters, the book is a sort of Cliffs Notes for conservatives. Going to dinner with your wife’s crazy anti-American sister and her free-hemp hippie "partner"? Quick, read chapter nine, "America the Beautiful: Why this ‘arrogant, unilateral, racist, gun-crazed society’ is the envy of the world."

While they’re taking a water-saving European shower in a brief mist of cheap organic perfume, you’re loading up your short-term memory with nuclear-tipped torpedoes of truth. Each chapter is divided into subsections detailing a typical leftist bumper sticker of a thought and then rattling off a cogent and concise cacophony of cold hard facts and counter-arguments.

Instead of dreading your sister-in-law’s dreary drone about “herstory” and oppression, you can’t wait for her to criticize capitalism and carp on class-consciousness. Tonight’s main course: crow, followed by some just desserts.

Is that sock-and-sandal-wearing igmo at work still tearfully touting the terrible tragedy of Tookie Williams’ belated execution? Tonight, spend a little quality time with chapter 27, "Forget the electric chair, bring on the electric bleachers: The case for the death penalty." You’ll get a charge out of how shocked he is when you throw the switch on your cranial capacitors.

Or maybe your company is sentencing you to diversity training again? That’s no reason to segregate yourself from the truth. Integrate your grey matter with a little bit of chapter 18, "I have a dream: Let’s end racial preferences once and for all," and you’ll be prepared to explain why affirmative action really is a black-and-white issue. But then keep your mouth shut, because no one wins when some know-it-all stretches out diversity training with handy facts and reality. Man, how many times must I attend that endurance contest?

Whether the subject is abortion, apportionment, the establishment, or the environment your mental magazine will be fully loaded with black-tips and ready to fire at Will, that ridiculous little gun-hating tree-hugger your next-door neighbors failed to raise properly and who is always sending his comments onto your property. Answer his cries for attention with a slap on the buttocks of his ignorance! It takes a village to save a single liberal child, and Mark Smith is Dr. Spock. And I mean the child-care author, not the pointy-eared guy.

The book’s only major flaw is that the alphabetical list of inspirational conservative thinkers is incomplete, going from Terry Jeffrey directly to William Kristol, without any names in between.

Otherwise, it’s a fun, fact-filled romp through the reference section of modern political repartee.


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