Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rich Deserts

Ya think the New York Time's Frank Rich penned anything like this column when the Democrats took back the Congress in 2006, or when they lengthened their lead in 2008?

Don't waste your time doing a Google search, the answer is no.

Can you say "sour grapes"?

Until the Sun Goes Down...cont.

It seems that in 2010 at least 144 companies left the Golden State for a more hospitable business climate...and I'm not talking about sunshine.

Muskogee, Oklahoma perhaps?

The Great Reckoning continues.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why DO They Love Sarah?

After being derided in the Main Stream Media for a slip-of-the-tongue in which she said North, instead of South, Korea was an ally of the US, Sarah Palin demonstrates, again, why she is a darling of so many on the Right.

While many, if not all, conservatives would be explaining away, back-pedalling from, or apologizing for a similar gaffe, and thereby exasperating the conservative base, Palin, as she says, does not retreat, instead she reloads.

Consider her Facebook entry in the wake of the hubbub titled "A Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States":
My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…

Of course, the paragraph above is based on a series of misstatements and verbal gaffes made by Barack Obama (I didn’t have enough time to do one for Joe Biden). YouTube links are provided just in case you doubt the accuracy of these all too human slips-of-the-tongue. If you can’t remember hearing about them, that’s because for the most part the media didn’t consider them newsworthy. I have no complaint about that. Everybody makes the occasional verbal gaffe – even news anchors.

Obviously, I would have been even more impressed if the media showed some consistency on this issue. Unfortunately, it seems they couldn’t resist the temptation to turn a simple one word slip-of-the-tongue of mine into a major political headline. The one word slip occurred yesterday during one of my seven back-to-back interviews wherein I was privileged to speak to the American public about the important, world-changing issues before us.

If the media had bothered to actually listen to all of my remarks on Glenn Beck’s radio show, they would have noticed that I refer to South Korea as our ally throughout, that I corrected myself seconds after my slip-of-the-tongue, and that I made it abundantly clear that pressure should be put on China to restrict energy exports to the North Korean regime. The media could even have done due diligence and checked my previous statements on the subject, which have always been consistent, and in fact even ahead of the curve. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story? (And for that matter, why not just make up stories out of thin air – like the totally false hard news story which has run for three days now reporting that I lobbied the producers of “Dancing with the Stars” to cast a former Senate candidate on their show. That lie is further clear proof that the media completely makes things up without doing even rudimentary fact-checking.)

“Hope springs eternal” as the poet says. Let’s hope that perhaps, just maybe, they might get it right next time. When we the people are effective in holding America’s free press accountable for responsible and truthful reporting, then we shall all have even more to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
If you're one of those conservatives who is uncomfortable with the likes of Sarah Palin, then I doubt you'll be able to understand, or appreciate, the appeal to so many of just such a response as hers.  And I also doubt, as such, you'll ever be able to create, deliver, and sustain a governing majority.

Le Mot Juste

The American Spectator's Bob Tyrrell issues a sincere mea culpa for the other day challenging those  across this liberty-loving land increasingly upset with the TSA's new airport security line procedures.

But that's not what this is about.  Rather, it's about a great line he uses to describe the Left's routine and numerous hypocrisies.  To highlight their workaday phoniness, I, like many others, typically refer to them simply as Limousine Liberals.  Another, older, but less used, moniker is Champagne Socialists.

Tyrell provides an altogether catchy new phrase when, after conceding that the lack of targeted profiling is the most serious shortcoming of the TSA's procedures, he let's loose with this: "This hang-up about profiling is at the root of our problem. It is a false piety practiced by the ancien régime."

"A false piety practised by the ancien régime."  Just think of the number of liberal bromides that phrase would accurately capture. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for American Exceptionalism

It's Thanksgiving eve and I had planned a post encouraging gratitude not only for America, but also for oft- maligned American Exceptionalism.  But I get up this morning, log on to The American Spectator, and find that Mark Tooley beat me to it.

Oh well, might I elaborate a bit anyway?

The Left has long been uncomfortable with, if not outright hostile to, any notion that even suggested the uniqueness of America.  President Obama's own publicly expressed ambivalence about American Exceptionalism is certainly not the first time the idea has been questioned.  (Although it is probably the first time such has been heard from a sitting US president.) But with this position, they are not only at odds with most of their fellow citizens, as Tooley points out, they are also guilty of a glaring inconsistency in their thinking.

A reflexive pride in one's self and one's own is not only natural and understandable, it is also critical to sound emotional health. The Left, which has lectured us for a couple of generations now about the importance of high self-esteem in individuals, forgets this point, however, when it comes to their country.  Here, it seems no amount of criticism is too much.  For them, serially confessing and atoning for sins real or imagined, current or more than two-hundred years old, serves a very useful public function.  It eliminates, or at least mitigates against an over-reaching national pride, or, as they like to say, the temptation to hubris.

Fair enough, I suppose, to a point.  As Tooley notes, and I would like to highlight, the appeal to, as opposed to the denial of, American Exceptionalism also serves a very important public function.  Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to cite just two examples, had precisely the exceptional nature of America in mind when they reminded us to seek "the better angels of our nature" and called the nation to "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed."  Because we thought of ourselves as different, their appeals carried with them the potential to shame us.  Had we thought of our country as fundamentally the same as any other in human history, that shaming would have gained very little purchase on the soul of America.

Which leads to a related, but important point about the irony of the Left's position.  It is because the public still embraces American Exceptionalism, and apparently stubbornly so, that the Left's abiding challenge to it continues to have any resonance at all.  As soon as we, as a country, take the Left seriously and start thinking of our nation as no different, and no better, than any other, then we will begin to behave as such, and feel justified in doing so.  That sad day will ill-serve both ourselves and the world.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!        

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Right to be Happy

Ever wonder why so many lefties seem perpetually unhappy?  And why, as polling data confirms, conservatives appear just the opposite?  Dennis Prager offers at least four reasons.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Limp Excuses

The Administration is fighting back.  Consider this headline: "White House: Terrorists Have Discussed Use of Prosthetics to Conceal Explosives"

Explosives hidden in prosthetics attached to elderly, white, females?

Do You Support Chris Christie?

Jim Geraghty, reporting from a National Review-sponsored cruise, overheard this perfect response to a question about the presidential potential of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:
People ask me if I support Chris Christie. He’s direct, his mouth gets him in trouble, he knows what he wants and he’s determined to get it, and he looks like he eats too much. Do I support Chris Christie? I am Chris Christie.

Never Mind

Arriving no doubt by limousine for the interview, former vice-president Al Gore admitted that he now regrets supporting subsidies for corn-based ethanol production.  "First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small."  And, "It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."  One more, "The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices."

No sweat Mr. Vice-President.  We've always got food stamps.  Thanks anyway.  Uh, fill'er up?

Gloria All Red

Ladies and gentlemen, the voice of contemporary feminism.

Early Thanksgiving Day Best Wishes

“I think that people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it,” says billionaire Warren Buffet.

Really?  Well, what are you waiting for Warren?  There's no need for a law to be passed, or not passed in the case of extending the Bush tax cuts.  Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so, as a gesture of good will during this holiday season when so many of your fellow citizens are hurting, why don't you, Bill Gates, and a few other of your uber-rich buddies pitch in and pick up the nation's tax tab?  C'mon Warren, show us the way.

You know, I was going to wait 'til Wednesday to post a "Happy Thanksgiving" note, but today seems as good a day as any.

My fellow Americans, might we all pause at least for a moment this Thursday and thank the Almighty for the tremendous blessing that is this great nation.  So great, in fact, that even people as dense as Warren Buffet can achieve and maintain fantastic wealth?  What a country!

Bush from Britain

Or at least from one pretty important Brit, Alastair Campbell, former Prime Minister Tony Blair's longtime ccommunications chief.  Campbell was in a position to know and from this review of George W. Bush's new memoir, it's clear he very much respects the man.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Breaking in Line

George Will writes an excellent column about the current dust up over airport security line procedures.  As far as he's concerned, the entire TSA process is "mostly security theater, a pageant to reassure passengers that flying is safe."  With this column, he admirably takes up where Charles Krauthammer left off just a day ago.

But Will uses the occasion as well to invoke the memory and thought of William F. Buckley, Jr.  (Almost always a wise gambit.)  He reminds his readers of a story Buckley once told of riding a commuter train from New York to his home in Connecticut.  As it was winter, the car heater was on, but either the temperature gauge was set too high or the unit was malfunctioning because the car was unbearably hot.  What Buckley noticed was that in spite of the conditions, no one took it up with the conductor, even though at one point he walked through the car, directly in front of all the passengers.  For Buckley this said something disquieting about America itself, about what it had become.
It isn't just the commuters, whom we have come to visualize as a supine breed who have got onto the trick of suspending their sensory faculties twice a day while they submit to the creeping dissolution of the railroad industry. It isn't just they who have given up trying to rectify irrational vexations. It is the American people everywhere.
I think something very like this happened on 9/11.  We, as a society, have been conditioned for several generations now, to suffer quietly all manner of discomfort, indignity, and injustice, to simply take it, to swallow it, to sit and to wait for the proper authorities to arrive and handle it.  "In a more virile age", as Buckley had it, confronted on even an airplane by a couple of punks armed with nothing more than box-cutters, one, two, maybe ten men would have scoffed, stood directly up, and returned the challenge with a robust, "the hell you are!"

This is not to mock the poor souls who lost their lives that terrible day, and certainly not those of Flight 93 who, once they understood what was happening, did stand up and take matters into their own hands.  On the contrary, one likes to think that on that day something changed for the average American.  For the first time in a long time, he stood erect.  He began to peel away the layers upon layers of schooling, training, and outright propaganda that always drilled the exact same lesson:  Wait.  The authorities will take care of it.  You are not responsible.  You are not competent to this task.  Your passion will mislead you to pursue vengeance instead of justice.  Wait.

Is "Don't touch my junk!" another way of saying "I'm tired of waiting.  So why the hell is this line moving so slowly?"   

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A New Newsweek?

If you follow this blog, you'll know that New York Times columnist and writer David Brooks often, uh, frustrates me.  Friends tell me that, no, he really is a conservative, so I look for it, but still find too many of his sympathies and sensibilities suspiciously liberal to be convinced.

I say "too many" because sometimes he manages to prove me wrong despite my wariness and one good example is this column about the death of Newsweek magazine.  Unlike most who think that, because of technology chiefly, the days of a successful, middlebrow, general interest, news magazine are numbered, Brooks makes the case that the country may indeed be ready, hungry even, for the birth, or rebirth, of a good one.  As he sees it, the bursting of  the "bubble" has served to restore a healthy measure of economic and even moral sanity to the country.  Hence, there abides a growing desire for the higher things, for the permanent things, which a good magazine like Newsweek, Time, The Saturday Evening Post, and a host of others used to provide.

I'm not sure he's right about that...yet.  The Great Reckoning continues.  Nevertheless, if you're of a certain age, the column offers as well a pleasant ride down memory lane.  I, for one, can remember as a boy how the presence from time to time of such a magazine in our working class home would excite in me a desire for more.  It was mostly vanity, to be sure, but still I wanted it.  Anyway, give it a look.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Party Purity

Over at The Daily Beast, Samuel Jacobs seems to think the Democrats could well lose control of the Senate in 2012, just as they lost the House this year.  Why?  Well, for one, more currently Democrat-occupied seats (21) than Republican will be up for re-election.  But more important than the raw numbers are the candidates themselves.  For Jacobs, three "unorthodox" (his word for moderate) Democrat senators standout:  Montana’s Jon Tester, Virginia’s Jim Webb, and Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey Jr.

Their lack of liberal orthodoxy is no real problem for them within the Democrat Party.  But given what Jacobs expects to be a continuing backlash, within the general electorate, their conservative ideological shortcomings will be.  The net result is that the Democrats will likely lose seats and the party that remains will be even more ideologically pure, i.e., liberal, than it is today. (Is that even possible?)

It is precisely this kind analysis, but in reverse, that is usually applied to the GOP.  The result is that  Republican Party professionals start fretting about a shrinking tent, that is, they begin to worry that the Party and its candidates are too conservative to capture the votes of the independents who determine an election's outcome.

Liberal pundits and pols can be counted on to encourage this kind of thinking because it serves to water down the GOP's message and blur the distinctions between the parties.  They do this because they know that this is, and has been for some time now, much more of a political problem for Democrats than it is for Republicans.  On this point, Jacobs quotes former Representative Dan Glickman, who served as Bill Clinton's Secretary of Agriculture:  “If we are monolithic and liberal, then we won’t be the majority party.”

Assume, as a great deal of evidence indicates anyway, that this country is essentially center-right in its ideological orientation. (I think it's more so, but will make that case another time.)  What this means is that a majority of Americans consider themselves essentially conservative, while only a minority identify with liberalism.  If this is in fact true, then even if both parties, not just the Democrats, become more ideologically monolithic, then the numbers will necessarily fall out to the GOP's advantage.

Now, if we can just convince the GOP professionals to stop temporizing, to communicate a consistent and unapologetic conservative message, then we just may be able to build a governing majority that will last a generation or two.  Or at least, we pray, long enough to clean up this mess.

A Fifth of the Country?

So, nearly 20% of all Americans suffer from some form of mental illness.  Hmm?  Actually, that's not so surprising.  Democrat Party base, right?

Thank You Charles

The incomparable Charles Krauthammer sums up (and more) much of what I was trying to say yesterday about the airport security line process with this paragraph:
[E]veryone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; three-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives, when everyone — everyone — knows that none of these people is a threat.
Krauthammer connects the "Don't touch my junk" episode, and the sentiment it expressed, with the whole of the Tea Party Uprising. Might the dam of insanity finally be breaking?  We can hope.


This summer Virginia Senator James Webb penned an op-ed piece disagreeing with his chosen party, the Democrats, over quotas and racial set-aside policies.  Now, as the first of the terrorists has been convicted on but one of the more than 280 counts for which he was charged, Webb posts on his website another convenient article, this time one that distinguishes himself from his liberal colleagues on the wisdom of trying terrorists in US civilian courts.  Can you say "I'm up for re-election 2012"?

Senator Webb left the Republican Party in 2006 in an opportunistic fit.  He knew then that, of the two parties, the GOP was the one seriously struggling to fight the war on terror, even if he did disagree with many of President Bush's policies.  He knew then that the Democrats had, almost from the first day after 9/11, irresponsibly, cynically, and unforgivably used the war chiefly as a political wedge issue, and often as little more than a campaign punch line.

He knew then and he made his nest with them anyway.  Now, he must lie in it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not Just Liberals

The title of  S.E. Cupp's piece says it all: "Sarah Palin's happiness is what really irks liberals"

Well, not quite all. I'm afraid her happiness irks more than a few conservatives as well.

And still at it...

Yet another puzzler is this:  How in the world did this government, run, as it is, from top to bottom by liberal Democrats, ever get charged with anything like pursuing overly aggressive policies in the war on terror?  For heaven's sake, they resolutely avoid using even the word "war" or the word "terror".  Moreover, they routinely dismiss the whole enterprise as a regrettable product of Bush Administration hysteria and unconstitutional overreach.

Very strange.

While I'm at it...

One thing about this uproar over the body-scanning and frisking does puzzle me a bit, however. 

We were attacked on 9/11.  Many thousands of Americans were killed.  Moreover, several other attempts at similar violence and murder via airline travel have been attempted.  As a result, I, for one, am prepared to give the government a bit more constitutional latitude in this particular area.  After all, however clumsily they may be doing it, it is still broadly consistent with "providing for the common defence."

What I can't figure is why similar outrage is not expressed when the government, local, state, or federal, moves to control, for example, the amount of salt or trans-fats permitted in your food, where, and even if you can smoke, not to mention the provision of the nation's health-care delivery system.  Because the control of these items, and countless others like them, seem more or less benign, I find their takeover even more of a threat to our liberty.

But in this, I suspect I'm mostly just talking to myself.

A Clearer Picture Maybe

Over at The American Spectator, Bob Tyrrell is at least one conservative who's taking issue with all the brouhaha  surrounding the Transportation Security Administration's new procedures with body scanners and body searches.  He reminds his readers that we are in fact still at war and that much of the scandal is DrudgeReport-manufactured anyway.

While there's some truth in what he writes, he does reach a bit when he compares our situation and our response to it with the Israelis.  From what I gather, the Israelis do not use the scanner, and perform body searches only when they're indicated.  (More about that in a moment.)

I think what's happening is not so much a national re-assertion of constitutional rights as the government crosses some invisible line.  Nor is it even an expression of collective anger caused by an unfortunate coincidence of TSA errors and abuses.  Rather, it's simply an eruption of pent-up frustration.

As a function of the living I make, I fly a great deal, far more than the average American.  Just last week, as I went through the security line at a major US international airport, for the first time in many years, I had to remove my belt.  This past spring, as my wife and I left for a vacation, we had to purchase at the airport one-quart clear plastic bags in order to display our toiletries to the TSA inspectors.  The one-gallon clear plastic bags we had brought for that purpose, and had used before on previous trips, were no longer acceptable.  To make matters worse, not once since that episode have I ever been required to show my shaving cream, cologne, etc., in any bag, of any size.

The frustration is this:  Everything about the government's handling of airport and airline security feels (pardon the pun) arbitrary and capricious.  As such, it comes to appear as little more than an opportunity for the abuse of power, if not by "Big Sis", Secretary Janet Napolitano herself, then at least by some petty entrepreneur from your local TSA.  (How do those supposedly immediately-erased, nearly-naked pictures make it to Drudge anyway?)

And even if the arbitrary and capricious nature of the regulations is not an occasion for abuse, it at least communicates to us all a lack of seriousness.  First, if the policies can change from airport to airport, and even at the same airport, from day to day, then skepticism is in order.

Secondly, and more importantly, the substance of many, if not all, of those policies seem chiefly to be the product of the unwritten codes of Political Correctness.  God forbid we target for particular scrutiny young, middle-eastern, Muslim men.  You know, the profile of nearly every known anti-American terrorist for the last quarter-century.  Profiling of that sort is precisely what the Israelis do and largely explains why their population may be less inclined to grumble.  So long as we persist, against all common sense, in the body-scanning and frisking of grandmas, nuns, and little girls, outbursts of frustration, like the one we're witnessing now, will continue.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roger That

In an interview with The Daily Beast, FOX News chief Roger Ailes reveals that he thinks President Obama is different from the rest of us. “He just has a different belief system than most Americans,” says Ailes.

Technically, I suppose, he's correct.  Obama does think differently than most Americans.  Unfortunately for us, however, he thinks exactly like almost every other liberal Democrat, only more so.

Take, for example, former Clinton chief of staff  and Obama transition team chief John Podesta.  Reflecting on the results of the "shellacking" Obama and his party took during the recent election, Podesta counseled not humility, but rather for the president to "push the country to a better place."

While "push", shove, force, demand, etc., is not the language, and certainly not the thinking, of your average American, it's actually quite familiar when it comes from the mouth and mind of a liberal Democrat.   

Until the Sun Goes Down Over Santa Monica Boulevard

Even as the price of gold soars, the stock of the Golden State plummets.  But, as the election returns of two weeks ago demonstrate, the majority of the people of California are still not serious, still not quite feeling the pain.  The legalization of medical marijuana, perhaps?

Anyway, give it time.  Absent a subsidizing sugar daddy, i.e., the rest of the country, liberalism invariably destroys everything it touches.  And it's not only touching California, it's got it in a choke hold.  The state's short-term problem is that it's just too big and the rest of the country is just too broke.

Long term?  Well, the Great Reckoning continues.  The bills keep coming due and they have to be paid.  But California remains huge, resource rich, and almost idyllically beautiful.  Check it out.  Land there is getting cheaper every day.

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Phillip Longman writes about a demographic reality, and supreme irony, with huge implications.

The reality:  The more fundamentally religious one is, the more likely, biologically, to not only reproduce, but multiply as well.  The more fundamentally secular one is, the less so.

The irony:  While the proselytization of religious fundamentalism increases its number, the spread of secularism, over time, reduces its..

Who, again, are the enlightened champions of capital "P" Progress?

"A sickness unto death," I tell you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rusty Gates

Let me get this straight:  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is convinced that a military strike against an Iran determined to secure nuclear weapons would only serve to make them determined to secure nuclear weapons.

Time to retire maybe?

Palin Envy

All-but-senator-re-elect Lisa Murkowski took a shot at fellow Alaskan Sarah Palin by insisting that the former governor lacks the "intellectual curiosity" to govern effectively.  Well, when I'm reminded of Ms. Murkowski's intentions regarding the current Administration--"I will tell you, I am not one of those who wants Obama to fail. If he does well, that means the country's doing well"--then I can only conclude that she lacks the intellectual capacity to legislate.

The GOP congressional leadership had better make this woman pay for her disloyalty.  If they don't,...

Cupcake Crimes

"New Castle Councilman Calls Cops on Boys' Cupcake Sale"
Would anyone care to guess this fellow's political party affiliation?

It's easy to make jokes, but this is inescapably who they are, how they think, and what they do. 

Return of the Reluctant Hero

George Washington established the role for the American political stage and we've seen it reprised countless times in film, mostly Westerns, always to great satisfaction.  You know, a band of bad guys terrorizes the town and the only fellow who can do something about it would rather not.  Finally, the bad guys go too far and the good guy's sense of duty overcomes his desire to otherwise be left alone, a desire, importantly, that informs and nourishes that same sense of duty.  Anyway, he rises up in righteous anger, rids the town of the vermin, and then, true to character, rides off into the sunset determined to be left alone again.

P.J. O'Rourke, in a way only he can, reminds us that this is who we really are, that this represents, always, the very best in us.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slick Willie on the Silver Screen

Could anything be more predictable than Bill Clinton agreeing to a cameo appearance in the sequel to...Mr.Smith Goes to WashingtonYoung Mr. LincolnSeven Days in May?   No, no, and, uh, no.  Instead, look for the former president this spring in The Hangover 2.

Bottoms up!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vanity or Pride?

"Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us."  Jane Austen, from Pride and Prejudice
OK, maybe I'm just quibbling, but Jonathan Last's latest in The Weekly Standard got me to thinking.  Is President Obama guilty of vanity, as Last suggests, or is it pride that vexes him, and us?  I think it's pride.

To be precise, we should note that these categories are not exactly "either-or".  If I may correct Ms. Austen just a bit, while a person may indeed be proud without being vain, he may also be both, that is, proud and vain at the same time.  So, it might be better to ask whether Obama is more proud or more vain?  I still say it's pride.

Think about it, does Obama appear to exhibit any concern whatever about what people think of him?  In his public life, has he ever?  Even after the "shellacking" he and his party took almost two weeks ago, has he thus far focused, in any meaningful sense, on wooing back the voters who were once so enchanted by him?
By way of contrast, think of Bill Clinton, the quintessential vain politician.  There is an old story about a comment President Kennedy made to a White House gathering of Nobel Laureates.  He joked that the event was "the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."  When William Jefferson was president, I used to wonder, when he dined alone at the White House, not about his IQ, but whether anyone was there at all.

But this begs an important question: Which is more dangerous?  A proud president or a vain president?  While both make the list of the seven deadliest, Scripture and the Church have long taught that pride is the worst of all sins.  Therefore, Obama, if he is indeed more proud than vain, is not only worse that Clinton, he's more dangerous as well.

While I would never challenge directly the truths of either the Scriptures or the Church, I would still hasten to point out that, as far as I can tell, a proud man enjoys at least one major advantage over a vain one:  He's more honest.  In fact, for a proud man to lie to a public that he understands to be beneath him, is, well, beneath him.  A vain man, by contrast, is almost defined by mendacity.  He's a chameleon, a man who doesn't know who he is, because he can't know who he is. His audience determines it. As a result, you have to ask yourself each time you confront him, who it is, exactly, you're dealing with.

So, while a proud president may be worse, and even more dangerous than a vain one, I'll take him nevertheless.  He's the devil you know.

How about you?

Schoolin' Peggy Noonan

About a week ago I let loose with a diatribe that took Peggy Noonan to task for condescendingly interpreting the recent election results as a vote for maturity.  A vote, that is, against the immaturity expressed by the Tea Party and some of its favorite candidates, and most especially a vote against the movement's darling, at least as Ms. Noonan understands her, Sarah Palin.  Following up, she now intends to tell us just what those mature people look like and, not surprisingly, for her they look like people who are acceptable to the Main Stream Media (MSM).
The mainstream media already has a story line in its head, and it is that a lot of these new Congress critters are a little radical, a little nutty. Media bias is what we all know it is, largely political but also having to do with the needs of editors and producers. The media is looking for drama. They are looking for a colorful story. They want to do reporting that isn’t bland, that has a certain edge. We saw this throughout the past year as they covered big tea party rallies. A reporter would be walking along with a cameraman. At one picnic blanket she sees a sober fellow and his handsome family. He looks like an orthodontist or a midlevel manager. His family looks happy, normal, pleasant. Right next to them, on a foldout lawn chair, is a scowling woman in a big straw bonnet with a dozen tea bags hanging from the brim. She’s holding a sign, a picture of Obama in a Hitler mustache. Who does the reporter choose to interview? I think we know. A better question might be who would you pick if you were that reporter and had a producer back in the newsroom who wanted interesting copy, colorful characters and vivid pictures. The mainstream media this January will be looking for the nuts....The point is when they want to paint you as nuts and yahoos, don’t help them paint you as nuts and yahoos.
No, Ms. Noonan, and all like-minded pundits, that's not what the point is.

My favorite sign from one of the Tea Party rallies held this past year read: "It doesn't matter what I put on this sign, they'll call it racist anyway."  By "they", the sign-holder meant, of course, the MSM.

That's part of what the point is.  Another part is this.

I remember watching during the early 1990's an episode of Bill Buckley's TV show Firing Line in which his guest was the political scientist James Q. Wilson.  At one point in the interview, Buckley asked him what he thought about Rush Limbaugh who was just then emerging as a conservative phenomenon.  I can't recall what Wilson said, but Buckley offered that Limbaugh reminded him a bit of Ronald Reagan in one important respect.  That is, Limbaugh, like Reagan, did not care what the New York Times thought of him.  Not that either decided not to care, or was determined not to care, but, rather, that they simply didn't give the Times any thought at all, one way or the other.

If not from me, then take a lesson from your hero Ronald Reagan, Peggy.  First, the only way any conservative's behavior will ever be acceptable to the MSM is when it's, well, liberal.  And even then they'll mock you for being a hypocrite.  Second, why would you ever want to give them the power to call the tune?  We want them reacting to us, not the other way around.

Peggy Noonan and the many others who are supposed to be on our side should stick to their fear and loathing of Sarah Palin.  She'll continue to get richer for it and the rest of us can remain focused on saving the country.   

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Our Veterans

As a veteran, this may come across as a bit self-serving, but the point stands in any case.

Many years ago I fell upon a copy of a speech delivered by the famous novelist Herman Wouk to, if I remember correctly, a gathering at the US Naval War College. We were then still in the midst of the Cold War and Wouk observed that the mostly "cold" nature of the war meant there would be few opportunities, if that's the right word, for those serving ever to engage in actual combat.  Many in his audience would pass their entire careers without ever hearing the "mournful mutter of the battlefield", much less afforded the chance to test their mettle in a real contest of arms. As he had himself served in the US Navy during World War II, Wouk knew that for a soldier, especially a career soldier, that possibility would create a nagging regret and numerous occasions for a measure of what can only be called shame

As he was aware of this, Wouk wanted very much to make a point of saluting those who served honorably nevertheless. If you're familiar with Wouk's The Caine Mutiny, either the novel, the play, or the film adapted from them, you'll recall that one of his themes was that whatever the sad end to the career of the troubled Captain Queeg, his long service to the country was invaluable nonetheless. As dangerous as the struggle for control of the Pacific was during the war with Japan, it afforded for its participants numerous opportunities for fame and glory. Not so were the twenty-plus years that passed between the First and Second World Wars. During those years a whole host of careers began and ended in virtual anonymity. But, Wouk insisted, their service was not for that reason without meaning or dignity.

So, taking a cue from Herman Wouk, let us salute again our veterans, all of those who served, in whatever capacity, whether in harms way or not.  Had it become necessary, they were available, they were prepared, and they were willing. The least we owe them on this one day each year is a heartfelt expression of gratitude.

Don't Know Much About Friedrich Nietzsche

This is definitely not for everyone, but if you're so inclined, try Jonathan Ree's concise introduction to Nietzsche by way of book review.  Ree doesn't much care for the two recent books on Nietzsche by Julian Young, who, he argues, trys a bit too hard to domesticate the mad German professor/philosopher.  But as you read Ree flesh that out, you'll come away from the review with a pretty good introduction to Nietszche's life and thought.

Not to mention, it's darned good writing.  I particularly liked this sentence: "If an argument looks rough and murky, it may be best to leave it that way, and interpreters who buff it up till they can see their faces in it may be doing their author a disservice."

Dead On

The America Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. notes a tendency among liberal newspapers, specifically the New York Times and the Washington Post, towards the morbid in news coverage and, moreover, a proclivity for placing that preoccupation on the front page.

Once again, liberalism is "a sickness unto death."

Life Savored

G. Tracy Mehan, III pauses to remember and celebrate the life of Dr. Mildred Jefferson, as well as a few other important women in the noble cause of protecting the unborn.  You should too.

Hail Ceaser!

It's a bit long, but still very much worth the time.  Please take a look at University of Virginia politics professor James Ceaser's analysis of our recent election, "The 2010 Verdict"

Among the essay's most important paragraphs is the last.  Not yet two weeks from a national election in which the Obama Administration and the congressional Democrats were "repudiated" in historic fashion, there has emerged nevertheless a contingent within the Republican Party counseling caution.  Here Ceaser:
Along with the Democrats' open campaign to persuade the public that the election did not mean what Republicans thought, there is an allied effort underway, far more subtle, to undermine and weaken the Republican position. It comes from a group of self-proclaimed wise men who present themselves as being above the fray. These voices, acting from a putative concern for the nation and even for the Republican Party, urge Republicans to avoid the mistake of Obama and the Democrats after 2008 of displaying hubris and overinterpreting their mandate. With this criticism of the Democrats offered as a testimony of their even handedness and sincerity, they piously go on to tell Republicans that now is the time to engage in bipartisanship and follow a course of compromise. The problem with this sage advice is that it calls for Republicans to practice moderation and bipartisanship after the Democrats did not. It is therefore not a counsel of moderation, but a ploy designed to force Republicans to accept the "overreach" and the policies of the past year and half. It is another way to defend "the change." If Republicans are to remain true to the verdict of 2010, they cannot accept that the message of this election was just containment; it must mean roll back.

My Apologies

Back in February, when the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction commission was first formed and charged by President Obama with recommending some way, any way, out of our fiscal mess, I expressed more than a little doubt about its likelihood of success, and perhaps too much skepticism about its relative seriousness.  I believed, first, that the whole project was simply a way for the Obama Administration to kick the can down the road, to avoid dealing seriously with a very real problem the solving of which would entail very real political costs.  Moreover, I was sure that a commission led by a committed liberal like Erskine Bowles and a less-than-committed conservative like Alan Simpson could reach only one conclusion. i.e., we need to raise taxes.  It appears I was wrong.

A first glance at their various proposals indicates that they were indeed serious.  Bowels concludes that the balance of their recommendations consist of about one-quarter tax increases and three-quarters spending decreases.  I'm not so sure about that, but the fact that Democrats are the first to voice reservations about the plan is encouraging.

Some would say that the recommendations of a commission such as this that troubles or even angers both sides more or less equally shows that they probably got it just about right.  But they would be wrong.  Any serious proposal to get a handle on our national debt and deficit spending must, by definition, upset Democrats more than Republicans.  The Democrat Party is the party of big government and while there are more than enough Republican fingerprints on the fiscal problems we face, the crime is still chiefly theirs.

While it's still far too early to say whether or not the commission's recommendations will yield success, it's a good place to start and its leadership should be commended for that anyway.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You Can Make Book On It

As you probably know, former President George W. Bush is currently making the rounds promoting his new book about his presidency, Decision Points.  While I haven't read the book, I did read the report of the interview about it he gave with USA Today, out today, and I suspect you'll find it's a fairly representative, and predictable, reaction by the left-wing media.

On the front page, above the fold, we find this headline quoting the former president: "'I could have done better.'"  It's followed with an opening sentence that reads: "This isn't the George W. Bush who couldn't come up with an answer when he was asked during a 2004 White House news conference to name his biggest mistake."  Also, "unusually reflective" and "unusually introspective" are descriptive phrases that appear within the first four paragraphs.  Frankly, this tells you all you need to know.

When Bush balked at the question in the 2004 news conference, his instincts served him well.  Of course he had regrets and second thoughts about action he had taken or not taken as president.  Who wouldn't?  But in that setting and at that time, the liberal press was not seeking to humanize George Bush for the reading and viewing public.  Rather, they were looking for a "gotcha" moment they could then use to pummel him with politically.  As a sitting president, everything he did and said had political consequences and he would have been foolish to give his opponents a weapon to use against him.  As a former president, he's of course freer to speak his mind and while Bush is now prepared to publicly admit mistakes, it is clear the liberal press is still uninterested in humanizing him.  As we can see, they remain committed chiefly to creating the "gotcha" moment that escaped them in 2004.

As for Bush being "unusually reflective" or "unusually introspective", does it ever occur to them that his reticence is not unusual at all, it's just private rather than public?  I mean, do they really think we would be better served with the election of a Hamlet as president, a commander-in-chief wondering aloud whether or not he should do this or that?  This would not humanize him, it would instead make him pathetic and, with the nation at war, dangerous as well.  Of course they know this, but it does not serve their larger purpose of continuing the indictment George W. Bush and his presidency.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Unexceptional America

So says Michael Kinsley in the "US is Not Greatest Country Ever."   A liberal who thinks America unexceptional, who'd have thought?

Believe it or not, there is one small bit of wisdom to be gleaned from the article.  It has finally occurred to Mr. Kinsley, mostly because his ideology and the political party that represents it took a drubbing last week,  that vox populi is not always the same as vox dei.  True enough, but I'm afraid that little slice of common sense would be more acceptable coming from a conservative than from a liberal.  I mean, it is liberals who routinely engage in class-warfare demagoguery of the soak-the-rich kind, isn't it?

But that aside, I would still like to ask Mr. Kinsley one simple question:  If you liberals insist on telling every child, from the day he manages to avoid your state-funded abortion until he's 26 years of age and finally responsible for his own health care, that he's special, exceptional even, then why can't we, America, say the same thing about our nation?


"God Bless the Tea Party" is the title of Michael Novak's piece praising the same for being a movement not just about rejecting big government with its big spending, but also about arresting moral decline.

As you can see by my title, I agree wholeheartedly, but something's still amiss when paying our bills fully and on-time, not to mention pursuing independence and self-reliance, as well as encouraging it in our fellow citizens, is seen as somehow distinguishable from moral principles. 

No Exit

On the Sunday news shows yesterday, I listened to several liberal pundits use the results of exit polls to argue that it was the economy (stupid!) that hurt the Democrats last week and not the passage of Obamacare.  I hope they keep this up.

I wasn't asked by any pollster, but had I been, I, too, would have answered that I was voting against the  Administration and the Democrat Congress chiefly because of their mismanagement of the economy.  That would not mean, however, that I was otherwise happy with or unconcerned about their move to socialize medicine.  First things first.

I suspect I'm not alone.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hillary's Choice

So, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not running for president in either 2012 or 2016 after all.

OK, but doesn't that depend on what the meaning of the word "is" is?

Playing with Your Food

By now you've heard that San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has voted to prohibit city restaurants from offering a toy with any meal that does not meet their maximum calorie/fat limit.  Their immediate target is, of course, McDonalds with their famous "Happy Meals" for kids.

While it's easy to scoff and lampoon an act as ridiculous as this, you shouldn't.  You must understand that this is no aberration.  This is liberalism!  Its internal logic, if it can be called that, is inescapable and by that I do mean that you cannot escape from it.  It must be stopped, and soon.

Bon appetite! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grow Up Peggy

With friends like these...

So, I notice the title of Peggy Noonan's latest column and am immediately suspicious:  "Americans Vote for Maturity"   Hmmm, I think I know where this is headed.

But, I'm surprised.  After making a couple of overhead points about the increasing ineffectiveness of negative advertising, as well as the ubiquity of microphones and cameras, the balance of the first half of the article is devoted chiefly to taking President Obama to task for his somewhat petulant press conference on Wednesday afternoon.  She even mentions that it dawns on her that he will likely make a very poor former president.  So far, so good.

But after luring me in with this, she reveals the real point of her piece.  And the real point is...?  You guessed it, the Tea Party is still a problem and Sarah Palin is an even bigger one.


First, her take on the Tea Party:
What the tea party, by which I mean members and sympathizers, has to learn from 2010 is this: Not only the message is important but the messenger.

Even in a perfect political environment, those candidates who were conservative but seemed strange, or unprofessional, or not fully qualified, or like empty bags skittering along the street, did not fare well. The tea party provided the fire and passion of the election, and helped produce major wins—Marco Rubio by 19 points! But in the future the tea party is going to have to ask itself: Is this candidate electable? Will he pass muster with those who may not themselves be deeply political but who hold certain expectations as to the dignity and stature required of those who hold office?

This is the key question the tea party will face in 2012. And it will be hard to answer it, because the tea party doesn't have leaders or conventions, so the answer will have to bubble up from a thousand groups, from 10,000 leaders.

Electable doesn't mean not-conservative. Electable means mature, accomplished, stable—and able to persuade.
Does Ms. Noonan mean by "mature, accomplished, stable--and able to persuade", candidates like Bob Dole and John McCain?  You know, the kind of candidate of which she and her sort regularly approve, but who lose nevertheless.  Moreover, has she already forgotten that those inclined to follow her kind of advice were very early supporters of the candidacy of Governor Crist as a sure bet in Florida and derided the Tea Party for pushing its favorite Marco Rubio?  It appears to me that their record of picking winners is no better than the Tea Party's.  And their record of picking loyal Republicans is worse.

Which brings me to her comments about Sarah Palin.  Here's what she wrote:
Conservatives talked a lot about Ronald Reagan this year, but they have to take him more to heart, because his example here is a guide. All this seemed lost last week on Sarah Palin, who called him, on Fox, "an actor." She was defending her form of political celebrity—reality show, "Dancing With the Stars," etc. This is how she did it: "Wasn't Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn't he in 'Bedtime for Bonzo,' Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor."

Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I'll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.

The point is not "He was a great man and you are a nincompoop," though that is true. The point is that Reagan's career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn't in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn't in search of fame; he'd already lived a life, he was already well known, he'd accomplished things in the world.

Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can't just bully them, you can't just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.
Well, I watched the interview to which Noonan is referring.  It was with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.  It was the one where Palin called the media a bunch of "corrupt bastards".  Remember that?  I can tell you that Noonan's take on it is a complete misrepresentation.

What really happened is that at one point in the interview Wallace brought up Palin's appearance on a "reality show", as he disparagingly called it.  His point was to probe her about whether or not she might be diminishing her stature by doing such things.  At first she balked at it being called a reality show, but then she shifted gears and defended herself by pointing out that Reagan had been similarly derided for doing such things, for being an actor, for being an actor who appeared in ridiculous movies such as "Bedtime for Bonzo".

By bringing him up in this context, and this was obvious to any honest observer, Palin was in no way seeking to diminish Reagan.  On the contrary, she was wrapping herself in Reagan.  They, that is, the "smart set", that is, every Democrat and many Republicans as well, routinely dismissed him as nothing more than a B-movie actor who was skilled at comfortably reading 3x5 cards in front of an audience.  Reagan accepted it all with grace and nevertheless rose above them all.  Rose so far above them all, in fact, that he went on to become and remain a most beloved president.

But not only did Peggy Noonan misrepresent the interview, she then used that misrepresentation to make "a larger point" that is also untrue.  Sarah Palin did not begin as a TV star who hoped to succeed in politics.  Rather, she was, and is, to this point anyway, a successful politician, who, like Reagan, started at the bottom and rose to the top (PTA president, mayor, governor, vice-presidential candidate).  She is now capitalizing on that success in order to make a few bucks and secure a better life for herself and her family, and maybe, just maybe, position herself to try her hand at electoral politics once again at some point in the future.

I suspect Ronald Reagan, were he still with us, would not only wrap his arms around Sarah Palin, he would also proudly point to her as an American success story, an example of what anyone, man or woman, can do in this great country.  He would then wink and remind us that, even better, she was a solid conservative Republican to boot.

But not so Peggy Noonan.  As much as she rushes to defend and celebrate her hero Ronald Reagan, I'm afraid she did not learn all that much from his example.  What does she do to Sarah Palin instead, who, as far as I know, has never done anything to her?  She mocks her.  She looks for opportunities to mock her.  She invents opportunities to mock her.

Why?  I don't know fully, but I'm beginning to think we'll need to resurrect Dr. Freud in order to answer that one.  But the really sad and disappointing thing is that Peggy Noonan is not alone.  Noonan here, and others elsewhere, are representative of a type, a type that is dangerous to the Republican Party, and all the moreso because they are convinced they are doing it a favor.

Let me be clear, if Sarah Palin were to announce today her intention to seek the Republican Party's nomination for the presidency in 2012, and she was, in short order, joined on the dais by several of the other names we already routinely hear bandied about, I suspect she would suffer by the comparison.  Suffer so much, in fact, that I sincerely doubt she could secure the nomination.  Now, do you see, I just wrote that without mocking her, without disparaging what she represents, without insulting those who are enthusiastic about her presence, without doing damage to Republican Party.  Is it too much to ask the same of those who claim to be of the Party as well?

In the meantime, if candidates who are "strange, or unprofessional, or not fully qualified, or like empty bags skittering along the street" is where Ms. Noonan, and others, draw the line, then might we suggest they turn their collective attention and gifted pens on the likes of Barney Frank, Charley Rangel, Richard Blumenthal, Maxine Waters, any Kennedy?   For heaven's sake, the woods are full of crazy Democrats.  Is it really all that unreasonable for us to urge them to reserve their most biting prose for those of the other party and not those of their own?

Driving for the Red Zone

For some sober analysis of what happened last Tuesday, you could do worse than Charles Krauthammer's column today at NationalReviewOnline.

Krauthammer reminds his readers that all this talk of waves, one way and then the other, is over-wrought.  What actually transpired on Tuesday is more simply explained as a return to the norm and represents neither a whole-sale rejection of the Democrats nor a passionate embrace of the Republicans.
This is not, however, a rejection of Democrats as a party. The center-left party as represented by Bill Clinton remains competitive in every cycle. The lesson of Tuesday is that the American game is played between the 40-yard lines. So long as Democrats don’t repeat Obama’s drive for the red zone, Democrats will cyclically prevail, just as Republicans do.

Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people’s proxy in saying no to Obama’s overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn’t an election so much as a restraining order.
Fair enough, as far as it goes, but I think there's something important missing.

According to the football metaphor Krauthammer employs (I've used it myself), when the Democrats "drive for the red zone" of liberalism, they are in fact playing their game, being themselves.  The GOP's role in that instance is unquestionably one of defense, as it just was, and their charge is simply to hold the line.

The problem with this image, however, is that for the most part only the Democrats control the ball.  What happens when the Republicans have it?

Sadly, what usually happens is that they play it safe, content, it seems, to keep it comfortably between the 40s.  Because that's where the game is played, right?  Sometimes, however, and this is maddening, even within the 40s, the GOP actually adopts some of the Democrat plays and moves the ball in their direction. (The new prescription drug benefit, for example.)

Well, I say it's high time the Republicans quit playing defense and made their own bold move toward the red zone of conservatism, of constitutionalism.  Sure, given the cyclical give-and-take of American politics, it's unlikely they'll score an immediate touchdown.  But, if they try, they just might get close enough for a field goal.  And after playing mostly from behind since the 1930s, even a few points on the board would feel especially good. 


Thursday, November 4, 2010


Couldn't resist the pun, but I'm referring to the poet and critic T.S. Eliot and not the "Untouchable" G-man.  If you like, there's a very nice essay about him by Joseph Epstein over at Commentary.

Anyway, reading it reminded me of an experience related to me by old friend from when he was a graduate student at Princeton.  If I remember correctly (it's been at least twenty years now), he was at party attended by both fellow graduate students and their professors.  At one point in conversation one of the professors made a remark in which he used the line, "April is the cruellest month."  Puzzled, my friend asked him what he meant by that, to which the prof huffed and patronizingly explained that it was from Eliot's The Waste Land , "arguably the most important poem of the Twentieth Century."  To which my friend, no dummy, just as quickly responded, "Then why haven't I read it?"

My friend was not asserting with that question his intellectual superiority, as in, "If I haven't read it, it couldn't be that important."  Rather, if indeed The Waste Land was that important, with his question he was indicting that professor and the entire enterprise of higher education in America that he represented, for, in the name of avoiding anything so, God forbid!, undemocratic as standards, failing to teach it to him long before he ever arrived at such an elite institution for graduate studies.

Sadly, it's only gotten worse since then.

Now That's Progress

For a delicious slice of sarcasm, try George Will's latest about the meaning of Tuesday's election for Democrats.  After mocking Obama's whining for a paragraph or two, he turns it on with this:
Actually, as the distilled essence of progressivism, he [Obama] should feel ratified by Tuesday's repudiation. The point of progressivism is that the people must progress up from their backwardness. They cannot do so unless they are pulled toward the light by a government composed of the enlightened - experts coolly devoted to facts and science.

The progressive agenda is actually legitimated by the incomprehension and anger it elicits: If the people do not resent and resist what is being done on their behalf, what is being done is not properly ambitious. If it is comprehensible to its intended beneficiaries, it is the work of insufficiently advanced thinkers.

Of course the masses do not understand that the only flaw of the stimulus was its frugality, and that Obamacare's myriad coercions are akin to benevolent parental discipline. If the masses understood what progressives understand, would progressives represent a real vanguard of progress?

Of course the progressive agenda must make infinitely elastic the restraints imposed by the Founders' Constitution and its principles of limited government. Moving up from them - from the Founders and their anachronistic principles - is the definition of progress.

Republican Failure?

Are you kidding me?  After winning back at least six Senate seats and sixty-plus in the House?  Well, this story in POLITICO says as much and points to serious riffs within the GOP as well.

Rush Limbaugh did an excellent job analyzing the piece on his show today, so I won't repeat what he has already said and, as usual, said about as well as anyone can.

But I would like to add this:

As one authority for the anti-Tea Party faction existing within the GOP (South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is the other), the authors of the piece resurrect none other than former Mississippi Senator and Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Now the last time Trent Lott was mentioned in the liberal media at all was when he was being castigated as an out-of-the-closet racist for praising SC Senator Strom Thurmond at the old man's 100th birthday party.  But it seems Lott has changed, or at least he has now that he's useful to the liberal media.  He's emerged as an authority on what's wrong with the Republican Party, and among the things he thinks are wrong with it is its close relationship with the Tea Party.

Here's Lott lamenting just how close the GOP was to winning back the Senate along with the House: “We did not nominate our strongest candidates”  If so, "we would have won and been sitting at 50 [senators].”

And if Lott was still Majority Leader, with the Senate at 50-50, would he have offered the Democrats a power-sharing arrangement as he did in 2001?

One of the failures of the Republican Party was in not retiring the likes of Trent Lott sooner, much sooner. And Lindsey Graham had better enjoy his next few years in Washington as the senior Senator from the Palmetto State because they'll surely be his last.


Let me get this straight, during his state visit to India, accompanying President Obama and his already embarrassingly bloated entourage will be 34 US Navy warships?  I thought liberals eschewed gunboat diplomacy.  Have we explained to the Indians that we're not invading?

Anyway, I'm confused.  Weren't we told that the man's very presence would elicit palm branches and cries of "hosanna"?

Geez!  Lose an election and everything changes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Is the Party Over?

Congratulations to all the newly elected and re-elected conservative politicians across the country!  Do enjoy your day in the sun.

But make no mistake, you should understand your term in office as strictly probationary.  The Tea Party is still here and its members will be watching you.  Sure, the burner will be reduced to a simmer for a time, but it won't be turned off altogether and you'd be wise to remember that.

Now, pass the crumpets, would you?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Person or the Party?

As you march to the polling station today (You are marching, right?  I mean, this is war.), consider, if you've not done so before, voting a straight ticket.  (Republican, of course.)  Why?  Well, you might read Dennis Prager's piece at NationalReviewOnline for a few very good reasons.

Let me add one more.

William F. Buckley, Jr. once articulated an axiom that went something like this:  If an institution is not intentionally, deliberately, and steadfastly conservative, it will, invariably, become liberal in its orientation.  If the congress we elect today does not go to Washington with an unambiguously conservative mandate, it will govern in a liberal fashion.  If you choose to vote Republican here and Democrat there, because, well, you know, that Democrat's a solid fellow after all, you will not thereby elect a reasonable congress, you will instead ensure a liberal one.

Remember that today when you mark your ballot.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Left, Right, Left, Right,...

If you're up to plowing through some real nonsense on stilts, then you might give this piece a look.  Its about the on-going effort by social scientists to predict an individual's political ideology, that is, whether he'll identify as a liberal or as a conservative.  It seems an evolutionary psychologist from the University of New Mexico, using the tools of his trade, has developed a new and promising approach.

I won't try to explain his method here, but among the many problems with it that immediately come to mind, one is the time-frame.  Typically, when you challenge an evolutionist of any stripe about his theory, a response you'll often get is that we dilettantes are simply unable to appreciate adequately the large amount of time required for the evolution of a species to occur.  You know, we're talking about millions and millions of years.  (I've always thought that a pretty convenient dodge, by the way.)

Well, since the electoral fortunes of America's two major political parties--parties that effectively represent the two ideological extremes--have shifted so quickly over the past four years, shouldn't there, as a result, exist a huge fossil record for the evolutionists to consult?  I mean, if the liberals were ascendant in 2006-2008, but now, in 2010, it's the conservatives, then a large number of liberals must have died out over the last couple of years, right?

Good grief!  


Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has apparently set his sights on his country's golf courses, making them, along with just about everything else, potential objects of government expropriation.  Why?  (Need you ask?)  Chavez: "That’s an injustice -- that someone should have the luxury of having I don’t know how many hectares to play golf and drink whiskey and, next door, there’s misery and children dying when there are landslides.”

Now that's the kind of "stick-it-too-the-rich" populism with which we're familiar.  For those who insist, nevertheless, on pinning that label-as-epithet on the Tea Party Uprising, I can say with a very high degree of confidence that if their candidates win tomorrow, America's links will still remain safe havens of escape from the long arm of the law.

On the contrary, if Hugo's comment came from the mouth of an American politician instead, of which party would you guess he was a member?