Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yesterday Is Dead and Gone

Michael Barone offered more interesting observations at Real Clear Politics yesterday. His argument concerning the Democrat's inability to gain any traction with their obstruct, obscure and obfuscate policy is particularly trenchant. I might have tossed in the fact that they've managed to drive their approval numbers down to historical lows but some might see that as piling on.

I disagree with Mr. Barone on one point. He states that "George W. Bush seems to have had a similar lack of imagination until the November 2006 elections woke him up.", I believe that the President had made his decisions concerning Secretary Rumsfeld and the change in strategy prior to the elections based upon conditions in Iraq rather than upon US political considerations. He may have waited until the elections were over to make public the decisions taken but that would be a separate issue.

Mr. Barone's column was written prior to Bobby Jindal's victory in Lousiana and without mention of the Democrat's failure to overturn the President's veto of Sen. Clinton's trial run on her stealth plan to enact "No Choice" mandatory health insurance through enlargement of the SCHIP program. I would not presume to declare that a time of sunshine and roses has come for the Republican Party but I certainly agree with Mr. Barone's premise that a focus upon the last election is of little use going forward. I would also add that Saint Ronald did not see fit to enter the fray in his last 18 months in office at anywhere near the level that the President is maintaining. The handwringers on the sidelines might do well to reflect upon that fact for a bit prior to donning their sackcloth and ashes for yet another day's gripe.


buddy larsen said...

Jindal, and the bare margin of a Tsongas in Massachusetts, signify real hope. Settling on a pres candidate is gonna be ticklish, tho.

buddy larsen said...

Ron Paul's supporters--what will they do if their man loses?

ambisinistral said...

Not vote, like they have probably done in every other election. They're zealots.

Rick Ballard said...

I'm more concerned with whether the Iraqis will stay bought and the Fed's ability to finesse a soft landing. The Paulist fringe isn't substantially different that the Buchaninites - aside from the supersized megaphone.

The demographic shifts since the last election are another question mark for me. The under 45s are a tad opaque.

buddy larsen said...

that's a 10-4. "Opaque" is the word. Seems to be some movement in the black vote, tho. That's damn heartening. Sowell, Cosby, Williams, Jesse Lee Peterson, Star Jones--all are getting a hearing, finally, it seems. Before i cork off for the Great beyond, i'd love to see the Plantation break up once and for all.

loner said...

Barone is out to lunch as an objective analyst and has been for quite some time though I do think the President probably would have done nothing much new with regard to Iraq if the Democrats hadn't won control of at least one House. It's still early, but I still think it's Wilson he ends up most like (without the physical impairment) at the end of eight yeears though who knows.

The only thing of much interest now is the Republican race. Endless scenarios there and as someone over a RCP pointed out a couple of weeks ago there seems to be a point (more than three viable candidates) where it becomes impossible to sort things out. After watching one Republican debate, I actually think Hillary will have the easiest time, when it comes to it, with Giuliani though Giuliani is one of the Republicans I would vote for without a second thought.

buddy larsen said...

Rudy has the best cover of all, to successfully place hard strict-constructionists on the benches. This is huge, I think, insofar as what should ameliorate his one big weakness in the primaries. I mean, if Rudy is the best bet to beat the Friends of Vince Foster, then maybe we can minimize--because of the promise on the judges--his weakness on the so-called culture front.

Knucklehead said...


Before i cork off for the Great beyond, i'd love to see the Plantation break up once and for all.

If only! If I can manage to hang on just a bit beyond that I'd pass contentedly if 12% of the workforce that is "labor" (at least 1/3 of whom know little or nothing of laboring) were reduced to the level of democratic influence to which they are entitled.

But that's hoping for too much, isn't it.


I've REALLY grown tired of the generalized pissing and moaning. Better-Two-Thirds and I have found this to be a recurring topic of conversation these days. People who have astonishingly comfortable lives do little more than piss and moan about how awful everything is. It isn't limited to either side of the political spectrum.

I've begun one of my dimwitted pondering phases. I'm coming to a foggish conclusion that the political divide is not political at all. It isn't about "right" and "left" or "liberal" and "conservative" or any such thing. It might be nothing more than a divide between those who are prone to pessimism vs. those who are prone to optimism. Apocalyptoids (sorry, I forget who coined that) vs. futurists. Today's apocalyptoids are little different than yesteryears calvinists; they just don't invoke any traditionalist "god". Instead they invoke Gaia or something similar to rant about evil people bringing doom upon everyone. I wish they'd shut up 'cause I'm bloody sick of hearing them.

Rick Ballard said...


In a campaign that will be run strictly by Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, I'm uncertain of Giuliani's ability to withstand Beelzebubetta &c's attack machine. There is no "bottom" to her venality nor does there exist any scruple that she has ever recognized and Rudy's closets rattle like castanets. From what I've seen of his wife, she cannot be regarded as a competent asset in the manner of the rapist's consort of '92.

It's a puzzle.


I keep wondering how much of the 'cycle' part of economic cycles has to do with the bitch and moan factor. We've moved beyond the point where there is a significant fraction of the population able to recall true hardship and it ain't necessarily a blessing.

I've been rereading the Aubrey series and find a bit of sunshine by doing so. Not as much as attendance at grandkid's football games but they don't play every day.

I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate in that I spend very little time among the bien pissants who were weaned upon lemons. Toss in a vast reduction in "news" intake and life is extremely bearable.

Anonymous said...

Not watching the news or reading the local paper allows you to see what they provide with different eyes when you do pay attention.

Aside from all the normal Gramscian stuff, TV news and its adult diaper commercials primarily seem to me to be a way to make the elderly, many of whom still recall FDR with admiration, more anxious about the world around them and to require that this anxiety be continually fed. This core audience forms one well-defined subset of the Apocalyptoids. Another, younger subset with many of the same anxieties seeks their "news" on the far left blogs.

loner said...


I read 1984 and decided I was justified in not thinking all that much of it thirty-plus years ago, but I also bought a 1,400-page volume of Orwell's essays at the same time and there's quite a lot in there that I've enjoyed. I read Emma to get my mind right after 1984.

I remember reading a couple of the O'Brian books, including the one that was adapted into a major motion picture, while in PA. I've no memory of why I stopped. I think I'll get myself down to the library and pick up Master and Commander.


Rick Ballard said...


I've never felt an urge to reread 1984. I read Emma again last year and I must say that Austen mixed venom with her ink in a very subtle and enjoyable manner. O'Brian holds up fairly well but subtle just ain't in it - as Jack would say.

I think that I'll tackle Faulkner's trilogy again after I run through the Aubrey series. What could be more fitting in an election year with a Clinton running?

buddy larsen said...

What could be more fitting in an election year with a Clinton running?

The Bible ?

loner said...


Austen created characters and situations that I'd generally care nothing for or about, but then I start reading and I'm entranced. She had a remarkable gift and is someone to whom I can always turn when I need a lift.

I have to admit that I left Snopes for last when reading Faulkner, but then I was brought in at Go Down, Moses so I suppose you could say I regressed in right good order from there.

I remember The Far Side of the World as being a roller-coaster ride with the Galapagos thrown in for good measure. In other words: fun.

The New Yorker has a long article on The Wire this week. The focus of the fifth and final season is going to be the newsroom. I'm watching the earlier seasons repeatedly these days as HBO makes them available on demand. The article names Charles Dickens twice and in the same context as I named him twice in the body of my review here at the end of season 4. Another fanatic.

loner said...


I forgot. I need to get a newspaper (this is the first time since college where I've not had the local paper, no matter how lame, delivered) and find out where the best football in these parts is being played on Friday nights. I do miss the Friday night lights every now and then.