A Pub’s Eye View of Washington Politics
A century of political warfare, as viewed through a pint glass, darkly.
February 8, 2014 - 12:14 am
I guess you could call it a sports bar, but their regulars called it a pub and they had an ancient sign that said PUBLIC HOUSE to prove it. Their sport was politics — not a sissy game — where “argument” was considered a mild term. They had their elders but their guru was old Matt. He usually settled debates citing the rules of the house, which he wrote. When evaluating history, only two things were considered — basic facts and basic suppositions, which he listed under the headings, BF and BS. Matt always said, “Basic facts are scored big and basic suppositions are just guesses. They aren’t worth much unless that’s all you have. Some suppositions are necessary to achieve ‘spin’ or, maybe, only to write your own version.”
All the regulars understood the rules and it did tend to hold down the BS.
Then one night, the big discussion about a bit of history called “the Hundred Years War” was getting heated. The debate was over whether any war could last that long with people putting up with it. Old Matt took over. He said the answer is right here — they were living it. He called his story, the view from out here — away from Washington — “A Pub’s Eye View.” Here’s how he told it:
A series of conflicts between the royal houses of England and France began in the year 1337 and ended about the year 1450. The English gave up their claim to the throne of France and ended the dispute. The issue was settled but the rivalry was to continue. Years later, historians called these events “the Hundred Years War.” The people of the time probably didn’t refer to it as one long war but they knew there were a lot of battles. England, though on the losing end, retreated to their island, and survived.
That hundred years war is of little interest today. Also of little interest, oddly enough, is the current hundred years war that may well be ending. It was just about 100 years ago that a new political philosophy began to achieve standing as a wing of our old Democrat Party. The Progressive movement came into sight with the election of Woodrow Wilson as president of the United States in 1912. Academia found political credentials with the election of this college president and quietly began to reshape all education down to the level of preschool. Many of the elitist intellectual class signed on. Matt reminded the lads “elitist means, the powers that be.” They are the leaders of any group who exercise the power and call the shots.
Progressives, under Wilson, had a setback when the Senate failed to ratify the peace treaty of World War I, which he championed, establishing the League of Nations. He did establish the federal income tax and Federal Reserve.