February 27, 2008
He was very important figure not only to those who practice the conservative glass bead game, but to American political letters generally.
There's certainly much to criticize in one who was so prolific, but he was a giant.
Lord have mercy. Memory eternal.
Obama is engaging, and his coolness beats Hillary's nerdy intensity by a mile. Lots of men who in theory would vote for a woman President, will never vote for her. Her public persona just grates on men. We all know the Hillary from high school or college. She might get better grades than we, but she's just so damn annoying. Who would date her just to get help on his term paper? Plenty of people would key her car.
Michael Medved, who went to Yale Law with Hillary, and doesn't agree with her politically, says she was kind and compassionate. It doesn't show on the campaign trail.
On substance, they're both off base on Russia. Yes, she's authoritarian, but that's not our business. Why we insist on antagonizing a no-longer-expansionist country that has 5,000 nukes is beyond me. I don't think Obama had a clue who Medvedev, the President-to-be, is, so he was smart to let Hillary mispronounce the name. Their answers about Russia and Kosovo show they are just as interventionist and hegemonist as "Chimphitler," but they buy UNICEF cards, which Bush won't do.
Then there's the Oprah bit. Women with sick children, people who are unemployed, yadda yadda. Somehow the Nanny State is going to rescue each and every one of them. This is unadulterated poppycock that won't withstand serious examination. Compassion won't trump analysis, although a show of it wins Democratic primaries, dominated by women and minorities, every time. A nation of whining victims? Disgusting.
As much as I think he's wrong about just about everything, I find Obama likeable. He'll actually concede a point, with charming condescension. Imagine, OTOH, a Hillary State of the Union message. I'd run screaming from the room.
February 25, 2008
Now he's running for President yet again. Spare me the Harold Stassen of the left.
The cynical and hostile observer might note that the success of such a campaign thus far indicates some significant and widespread neurological damage in the voting population, but when all is said and done it is hard to fault a mass democratic election campaign for being largely vapid and bereft of substance. This is one of the reasons I tend to think so poorly of mass democracy, but since it is what we have at the moment there is a certain absurdity to the charge of insubstantiality, as if Mitt Romney rattling off 20 year-old talking points about the welfare state and family values represented some kind of substantive engagement with contemporary problems or John McCain repeating “we are winning” at every debate showed something other than the unimaginative status quo campaign that he is running.--Daniel Larison
I've pounded on Obama for the contrast between the passion of his rhetoric and the small beer that is his substance. I think, though, that Daniel has a point. I'm probably better informed about things political than the average citizen, and my eyes glaze over when Barack and Hillary bicker about the details of their health care proposals.
The question of whether the federal government should in effect nationalize the health care system is fairly momentous, as is the difference between a single-payer plan and one that allows for competition between different private plans. The nature and extent of mandates might be an important question, but like practically everything about health care policy, it leaves me totally cold. (Take it away, Cole!)
Since we regularly elect doves who turn out to be hawks, and soi-disant conservatives who turn out to be spenders of our grandchildren's substance, the policy thing is a bit of a charade, anyway.
Mass democracy brings out the worst in candidates and people alike. But the fact that Obama is better at infusing his image-building with poetry may not be the best reason to reject him.
The fact that his supporters, or some of them, endow his persona with messianic hopes, is, natheless, a reason to fear. The kindgdom is not of this world, and to pretend that it is amounts to political idolatry. The best weapon against this sort of thing is mockery.
February 21, 2008
Not only is Kosovo the historic heartland of Serbia, but the country has no visible means of support, it is run by gangsters, and its Albanians have a nasty habit of burning historic churches and monasteries that even the Albanian Nazi legions left alone. Kosovo's independence is also another needless provocation of Russia.
Why are we messing in the affairs of people so inconsequential for our interests, so far from our shores, and whom we understand so little?
Some of it is post-Wilsonian nonsense about self-determination. Some of it is wanting to show we care about "genocide" directed at Muslims, as well as at Jews--even if there was no genocide in Kosovo. And some of it is a strange antipathy to Orthodox Christianity.
It's an adventure of which we should be ashamed, and one that will do us no good.
UPDATE: This is not to say that the Serbs are blameless in this affair or the other recent Balkan affrays. It is to say that granting independence to every ethic enclave whose denizens have been abused by the majority is a recipe for endless conflict. And who, pray tell, are we to decide these questions? And what good does it do us to mess with them?
He's a smart guy, possibly up to the job. Too bad the social-democratic nostrums to which his party is addicted leave me cold. And too bad his critique on foreign policy is limited to Iraq rather than extending to hegemonism and interventionism generally.
It's also too bad that Mrs. O. says such creepy things.
Still and all, it seems the race is over and Hillary is running for VP, a job for which I prefer Jim Webb.
February 19, 2008
February 15, 2008
Some DINKS (double income, no kids) who invested heavily in furniture manage to procreate in their late 30s, and face a dilemma (as described by the Fishwrap)
Suddenly they were confronted with a question that had never before occurred to them: given the way baby gear and toys take over households, the uncivilized habits of toddlers and the dangers posed by sharp-edged contemporary furniture, could Ms. Brown and Mr. Friedman continue to live their high-design dream?My wicked side questions whether people who worry about such matters should be allowed to live.
These people are scum. I pity their children. The reporter is an idiot, too.
Barack Hussein's website is cool; Hill's is Micro$oft boring and tacky.
Barack carries Wisconsin, though not by much. That leaves Ohio, Texas and later, Pennsylavania. The Ohio polls still favor the apparat-chick, but polls are to primaries as schedules are to airline arrival times.
The black super-delegates are flocking to Sen. Obama.
Let's hope the nicely cut suit isn't as empty as it seems to be, and be prepared to pity the woman who stayed married to the Hot Springs philanderer, only to have the Nation turn its lonely eyes to some upstart mulatto.
Not to be outdone, Hamas TV has launched a new kids' character, Assud the Rabbit, successor to Farfour the Mouse. Assud not only loves his country and hates Jews and Zionists, but promises to eat the wily bastards:
Saraa Barhoum: "Of course, Assud. We will liberate Al-Aqsa from the filth of those Zionists."
"I, Assud, Will Get Rid of the Jews, Allah Willing, and I Will Eat Them Up"
Saraa Barhoum [to girl in the audience]: "Is there anything you want to share with us?"
Girl: "Arnoub ['Rabbit']?"
Saraa Barhoum "His name is Assud ['Lion']."
Girl: "How come you are called Assud, even though you look like a rabbit?"
Assud: "Because a rabbit is not good. He's a coward. But I, Assud, will get rid of the Jews, Allah willing, and I will eat them up, Allah willing, right?
This new carnivorousness raises many questions:
- Do Jews, like rattlesnakes, taste like chicken?
- Is Assud related to the pro-apartheid rabbit that attacked Jimmy Carter?
- What if your rabbit won't eat people? Is he Brunswick stew?
- Is the flesh of a rabbit fed on pork-eating Jews halal?
- When the lion lays down with the lamb, will they be munching on clover, or Jew?
February 12, 2008
I won't say hee face is pure evil, but she is the clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles, who told you after an hour's wait, that you were on the wrong line and it was time for her break.
Supposedly she once bit a Secret Service agent. Entirely plausible.
February 11, 2008
That's the sense I get from the Hilary camp's reaction to these Obama victories in a rather diverse collection of states. They knew they would lose and have taken it into account. The problem is, Obama has a lead in number of delegates and number of states, a lead that will grow when the vote from Maryland, DC and Virigina comes in this week.
Hillary's not a quitter, and will soldier on, but the chances of her winning keep dropping. Obama's just a lucky guy.
The unspoken reluctance of many to vote for a woman President is also a factor. We have various ready-made styles of leadership for men, but not for wormen. McCain's the old soldier, putting on his armor for one more battle. Huckabee's the democratic guy next door, man of the people, and so on. Each woman has to reinvent her own leaership style, which will inevitably rile some people, including women. So many women don't want to work for a woman boss.
I don't know whether there's a "Bradley effect" meaning that a certain number of voters who will tell pollsters that they intend to vote for a black candidate, but in the privacy of the voting booth, can't bring themselves to do so. A similar effect may also exist for a woman candidate, at least for maximum leader.
As Democrats realize that Obama will be more effective against Sen. McCain, the Obama bandwagon may begin to accelerate.
February 7, 2008
1. Martin Luther King Jr.: 67%
2. Rosa Parks: 60%
3. Harriet Tubman: 44%
4. Susan B. Anthony: 34%
5.Benjamin Franklin: 29%
6. Amelia Earhart: 25%
7. Oprah Winfrey: 22%
8. Marilyn Monroe: 19%
9. Thomas Edison: 18%
10. Albert Einstein: 16%
Oy vey. Not to denigrate anyone on the list, except perhaps poor Marilyn, but this list can only be a result of affirmative action history teaching. My list (keep in mind, not necessarily the greatest, but the most famous):
1. George Washington.
2. Thomas Jefferson.
3. Ben Franklin.
4. Abraham Lincoln.
5. Mark Twain.
6. Franklin Roosevelt.
7. Thomas Edison.
8. Frank Sinatra.
9. Henry Ford.
10. Robert E. Lee.
Dead white males, all. Put in pipe and smoke.
February 6, 2008
Now, the loyal partisan as always, he faces reality, and urges a GOP vote:
At the same time, Romney and Huckabee ought to begin to note Senator McCain's lead and urge their followers to recognize that if they cannot come back they and their followers will have to come in and join the party's eventual nominee. Senator McCain would do well to make a similar statement though his lead is significant and his collapse unlikely. Putting Humpty Dumpty together again cannot wait for St. Paul. Each of the three need to strike some common chords again and again, beginning with why the GOP needs to retain the White House, regardless of who its nominee is.I'm not ready to buy in; "Invade the world, invite the world" is not my mantra. But it's worthy of note that Hugh the loyal partisan is finally seeing it like it is.
February 4, 2008
As for Tuesday's follies, some predictions and some comments.
McCain will all but clinch the GOP nod, and poor Hugh Hewitt will have to find another graveyard for his whistling practice.
I think Obama may surprise. The numbers are trending his way. With proportional allocation of delegates, this thing won't end on Tuesday and Hillary is out of rabbits.
Romney has been running ads here in California. Even as presented by his own flacks, he puts my teeth on edge. He's going to "change Washington" with the same old nostrums. Pfui.
McCain's stances on immigration and campaign finance are offputting, and although he's been a critic of military boondoggles he appears not to have rejected foreign adventures. I admire McCain's authenticity and I like listening to him, but I'm voting for Ron Paul.
I never delved into Huckabee, and apparently it would have been a waste of time. Huck's a big help to McCain, avoiding the improbable but possible coalescence of the Bushites around Mitt. He could get VP, as could Charlie Crist.
As for the Dems, Hillary is an apparat-chick. She's a lot like the girls who sat next to me in college taking detailed notes in a fine round hand while I drew cartoon animals on the margins of my notebooks pages, waiting to hear something I needed to write down. She never met a gummint social program she didn't like, and I have met few that I did, but if nominated she'll move right and continue Bushian interventionism, although more slickly.
Obama pipes prettily, but he could be marching us all happily to the River of Doom. No one really knows if he's a triangulator with happy feet, or a lefty with calming rhetoric and nice suits. A blank slate upon which each of it can mentally inscribe his own dreams?
Both Hillary and Barack Hussein should pick Jim Webb for VP. They need a white male who can appeal to red staters and white men generally. Webb's the guy.
These folks cling desperately to two themes, among others: it's always 1938, and the enemy of the week (lately Iran, mostly) is a Nazi, or at least a fascist. For many reasons, both of these propositions are erroneous. In a comment on Mr. Greenwald's latest post, I point out some reasons why this view is mistaken:
All of this is true enough, with the footnote that the founders of the Ba'ath, like the Lebanese Kataeb (Phalange) and Jabotinsky (spiritual grandfather of the Israeli Likud), were intrigued by Mussolini.
1. Fascism and authoritarianism or dictatorship aren’t the same thing. Indeed, if Saddam, for example, had a mentor, it was Stalin, not Hitler. Mere unlovability and authoritarianism does not fascism make. Ahmadinejad is not Iran’s dictator, and its régime is not even a dictatorship, but what Sukarno called a “guided democracy.”
2. None of the contemporary dictators Greenwald mentions threatens to dominate a continent, and none represents an existential threat to Europe or the United States.
3. If “fascist” is an analytical term rather than mere invective, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah are hardly fascist in any meaningful sense.
4. The various species of jihadis are a problem for many, but the analogies to fascism and the notion that 2008 is 1938 is singularly unhelpful for strategic analysis. Indeed, immigration and energy policy are probably more significant than military policy for the West’s present situation.
What's interesting is the why. I think there are a couple of reasons. The hyperventilating interventionist stance requires both a moral imperative and a dangerous enemy. While dabbling in redemonizing Russia and China, the neocons' hearts are really in the Middle East. In the moral calculus of right-wing Zionism, every Jewish adversary is a "self-hater" and every Gentile adversary an antisemite. To make the crisis as stark as possible, and to exact a high moral toll for refusing to join them in their obsession, the enemies of Israel must be modern-day Hitlers. Otherwise, instead of chiliasm, Israel, and we, would face not Armageddon and Auschwitz and a call to histrionic prophecy, but the normal challenges of statecraft.
Life would be more complex, and somehow duller.
I'd like to think that the best analogy for 2008 is not 1938, but 1823, the year the Monroe Doctrine was promulgated. The Napoleonic challenge was over, Metternich was establishing the basis for nearly a century of relative stability in Europe. The new Republic could simply tell Europe to stay out of our hemisphere, and avoid sticking its nose in theirs, except to trade.
I like the concept, to which I would add energy independence and immigration restriction. Instead we are offered perpetual war for perpetual peace, globalization, multiculturalism, and the circus of consumption financed by public and private debt.
I must confess, perhaps because I find Hillary so dreary, that part of me wants to resonate with Sen. Obama's contentless calls to transcendence and unity. My rational brain, however, wants a competent immobiliste and nay-sayer, not a Pied Piper tootling the flute of Hope.