“The pen is mightier than the sword” is flatly false unless you are willing to use the sword to defend the pen.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 7, 2015
“The pen is mightier than the sword” is flatly false unless you are willing to use the sword to defend the pen.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 7, 2015
Virginia Postrel, writing in Bloomberg View, notes that “When ‘Star Trek’ debuted in 1966, showing a beautiful black woman and a dashing Asian man as bridge officers was an idealistic political statement. Turning someone who looked like Leonard Nimoy into a sex symbol, however, was entirely unintentional:”
Before he played Spock, Nimoy, who died today at 83, played a surprising number of parts as Indians and Mexicans in the Old West. With his long, thin face, prominent nose and deep smile lines, he looked like The Other.
That’s why he fit the part of Spock. “All I wanted at first was pointed ears and a faintly satanic appearance,” said series creator Gene Roddenberry in “The Making of Star Trek,” published in 1968.
Spock’s “alien features” — as Roddenberry called them in the book — weren’t limited to prostheses. Nimoy was handsome, but not in a way that Hollywood in 1966 recognized. He didn’t look like a leading man. He looked like what he was: the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. And if you looked like that, you were a character actor, not a star.
But Nimoy became a star. He was a Method actor and in creating Spock, he gave what could have been a gimmicky, two-dimensional character hidden depths. Those hidden depths in turn gave him sex appeal. Within the show’s plots, Captain Kirk was the lady killer. But Spock was the one who made female viewers swoon.
15 years ago in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, his look at the big screen “New Hollywood” of the pre-Star Wars early to mid-1970s, Peter Biskind wrote:
The young directors employed a new group of actors—Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Harvey Keitel, and Elliott Gould—who banished the vanilla features of the Tabs and the Troys, and instead brought to the screen a gritty new realism and ethnicity. And the women—Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Jill Clayburgh, Ellen Burstyn, Dyan Cannon, Diane Keaton—were a far cry from the pert, snub-nosed Doris Days of the ’50s. Most of these new faces were schooled in the Method by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, or trained by the other celebrated New York teachers: Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, or Uta Hagen. In fact, a lot of the energy that animated the New Hollywood came from New York; the ’70s was the decade when New York swallowed Hollywood, when Hollywood was Gothamized.
As Postrel concludes her article, “If actors like Jeff Goldblum and Adrien Brody aren’t stuck playing villains, it’s partly because Nimoy proved that looks like theirs could be not satanic but sexy.” As with so many aspects of the original Star Trek, it was nice of Nimoy and Roddenberry to once again go where no man had gone before.
Wow. As Steve Green tweets, “Clinton Troll Level: Jedi F***king Knight:”
Philadelphia area painter Nelson Shanks cunningly included a shadow over the fireplace cast from a blue dress on a mannequin.
Shanks said painting Clinton was his hardest assignment because “he is probably the most famous liar of all time.” So he added the nod to the Lewinsky scandal because it had cast a shadow over Clinton’s presidency.
If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.
At Big Hollywood, John Nolte adds that for once, “Dem President Gets Taste of Subversive Art:”
Usually the artistic community singles out Christians and conservatives for subversive attacks. This week it was Democrat Bill Clinton who got a taste of an artist’s sting when the artist responsible for the former-president’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery revealed he slipped in a reminder of Clinton’s sordid affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“The portrait also appears to show Clinton extending his hips towards the dress,” Nolte adds.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, one way or another, there will be a do-over, right? If not sometime between now and 2017, assuming Hillary gets in, either the painting will be quietly airbrushed Stalin-style, or it will be replaced by a portrait created by another painter. And given the track records of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, I hope that Shanks has his tax records well in order.
Rolling Stone is not happy, but then, they stopped speaking truth to power sometime during the Johnson administration.
Another day, another hit piece on Walker, this time from Philip Rucker of the Washington Post. (Link safe; goes to Hot Air; I’m not rewarding attack articles with extra traffic):
Walker responded by ticking through his recent itinerary of face time with foreign policy luminaries: a breakfast with Henry Kissinger, a huddle with George P. Shultz and tutorials at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.
But then Walker suggested that didn’t much matter.
“I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhD’s,” he said. “It’s about leadership.”
Walker contended that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was then-President Ronald Reagan’s move to bust a 1981 strike of air traffic controllers, firing some 11,000 of them.
“It sent a message not only across America, it sent a message around the world,” Walker said. America’s allies and foes alike became convinced that Reagan was serious enough to take action and that “we weren’t to be messed with,” he said.
According to Politico, Rucker was the guy who whined, “What about your gaaaaaaaffffffes!!!!!!” to Mitt Romney in 2012; but what about Rucker’s gaffes, specifically, his lack of knowledge of history? Specifically, history that happened likely before the young Democrat operative with a byline was even born. Rucker’s article is headlined “Scott Walker calls Reagan’s bust of air traffic controller strike ‘most significant foreign policy decision,’” but that’s not a bad summation of how those events played out.
Return with us now to the early 1980s. In his 2009 book The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, Steve Hayward of Power Line wrote:
Smashing the air traffic controllers union has loomed large in populist lore ever since as a “signal” to private sector management that it was now okay to squeeze unions, but this is too simple. (If Reagan had really wanted to send an anti-union message, he would have proposed privatizing air traffic control.) Generally polls showed that public esteem for organized labor was at an all-time low by the time of PATCO’s ill-considered gambit. Labor was getting the message. A Wall Street Journal headline a month later told the story: “Economic Gloom Cuts Labor Union Demands for Big 1982 Contracts.” Fed chairman Paul Volcker later said that Reagan’s firing of the PATCO strikers was the single most important anti-inflationary step Reagan took.
There was one unanticipated audience that paid close attention to Reagan’s manhandling of the strike: the Soviet Politburo. Since taking office the administration had been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate in some concrete ways its toughness toward the Soviet Union. As is often the case, the most effective opportunity came in an unexpected way and from an unlooked-for place. The White House realized it had gotten Moscow’s attention when the Soviet news agency TASS decried Reagan’s “brutal repression” of the air traffic controllers.
For the American news media, Reagan’s handling of the strike became the opening for a new line of criticism. During the budget fight, the dominant line of criticism was that while Reagan’s policies might be cruel and uncaring, he himself was a kindly man. Having wondered whether Reagan was too “nice,” Haynes Johnson now wrote: “A glimmer of a harsher Reagan emerges…. For the first time as president, he has displayed another, less attractive side. Firmness is fine in a president; indeed, it is desirable. But something else came through last week—a harsh, unyielding, almost vengeful and mean-spirited air of crushing opponents. It makes you wonder how he will respond if faced with a direct, and dangerous, foreign challenge, one requiring the most delicate and skillful combination of strength and diplomacy.”
Gee, ask Secretary Gorbachev how that worked out.
In her 2003 book about Reagan, Peggy Noonan quoted the Gipper’s Secretary of State George Schultz, who called it:
“One of the most fortuitous foreign relations moves he ever made”. It was in no way a popular move with the American public but it showed European heads of state and diplomatic personnel that he was tough and meant what he said.
What Reagan did not speak about was an aspect of the story that had big foreign-policy implications.
Air traffic controllers in effect controlled the skies, and American AWACS planes were patrolling those skies every day. Drew Lewis: “The issue was not only that it was an illegal strike. . . . It was also that a strike had real national-security implications—the AWACS couldn’t have gone up.” It is likely that even though the public and the press didn’t fully know of this aspect of the strike’s effects, the heads of the union did. That’s why they thought Reagan would back down. “This hasn’t come up,” said Lewis, “but the Soviets and others in the world understood the implications of the strike.”
Foreign governments, from friends and allies to adversaries and competitors, saw that the new president could make tough decisions, pay the price, and win the battle. The Soviets watched like everybody else. They observed how the new president handled a national-security challenge. They saw that his rhetorical toughness would be echoed in tough actions. They hadn’t known that until this point. They knew it now.
However, I’m not at all surprised that the newspaper whose then-subsidiary magazine declared “We Are Socialists Now” upon Mr. Obama’s inauguration in 2009 would not be all that familiar with the history of the final years of the Cold War.
And speaking of Reagan:
— Don Surber (@donsurber) February 28, 2015
The most impressive thing about Walker’s Throne of Skulls: every single skull beheaded itself. — David Burge (@iowahawkblog) February 28, 2015
The pile continues to grow.
Update: “Arrogant Media Elites Mock Middle America,” Salena Zito writes today at Real Clear Politics:
As consumers of news, most Americans want an honest look at the potential presidential candidates and where they stand on serious issues.
Reporters mock those news-consumers when they mock candidates who aren’t like the reporters themselves — but who are very much like normal Americans.
It is unforgivably arrogant for anyone in the media to think that the rest of the country thinks like they do.
“A reporter’s job is to report the news, not to drive it or to create it. A reporter’s audience is not just an echo chamber, not just D.C. friends, rivals, partisans and followers on social media. (Remember: Only 8 percent of Americans get their news through Twitter.),” Zito writes.
Don’t think of the DC media as reporters, as Glenn Reynolds recently noted:
The press sees itself first and foremost as political allies of Democrat-dominated institutions, which most emphatically includes universities, a major source of funding, foot-soldiers, and ideological suport for Democrats. When outsiders want information that might hurt Democrat-dominated institutions — see, e.g., ClimateGate — they are always portrayed by the press as partisans, malcontents, and evil. That is because the press today functions largely as a collection of Democratic operatives with bylines.
And the successful pushback against government unions by Walker — like Reagan before him — explains much of the subtext driving Rucker’s ahistoric ruckus.
Anyone familiar with my foundation knows my position. I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.
But of course, Howard Dean is not the real problem. He’s just one guy. And he’s absolutely right when he says that many others will judge Scott Walker for not finishing college. That’s the real problem.
However – when Howard Dean called the Governor “unknowledgeable,” he rolled out more than a stereotype. He rolled a pencil across the desk, and gave Scott Walker eight minutes to knock it out of the park.
It’ll be fun to see if he does.
—Mike Rowe, host of TV’s Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It. Read the whole thing.
“Scott Walker’s national education effect” is explored by Glenn Reynolds in his latest USA Today column:
Though Walker attended Marquette University, he left before graduating, which has caused some finger-wagging from the usual journalistic suspects. After all, they seem to believe, everyone they know has a college degree, so it must be essential to getting ahead. As the successful governor of an important state, you’d think that Walker’s subsequent career would make his college degree irrelevant, but you’d be wrong.
And that’s why a President Walker would accomplish something worthwhile the moment he took office. Over the past few years in America, a college degree has become something valued more as a class signifier than as a source of useful knowledge. When Democratic spokesman Howard Dean (who himself was born into wealth) suggested that Walker’s lack of a degree made him unsuitable for the White House, what he really meant was that Walker is “not our kind, dear” — lacking the credential that many elite Americans today regard as essential to respectable status.
Of course, some of our greatest presidents, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Harry S. Truman, never graduated from college. But the college degree as class-signifier is, as I note in my book, The New School, a rather recent phenomenon. As late as the 1970s, it was perfectly respectable for middle-class, and even upper-middle-class, people to lack a college degree. And, of course, most non-elite Americans still do: 68% of Americans, like Scott Walker, lack a college diploma. But where 50 years or 100 years ago they might not have cared, many now feel inferior to those who possess a degree.
Or to put it another way:
— Jerry Jones (@jdavid17) February 14, 2015
Walker is certainly driving all of the
right left people utterly insane; the Times has had to quietly correct both of their goofball hits on Walker this month:
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) February 16, 2015
It was the genius and the greatness of Dr. King then to recognize that disobedience would confront America with the flaws in its own system–that eventually people would see that it was immoral, within the context of our own belief system, to punish people for seeking the rights that they’d already been promised and, indeed, granted in the Constitution. It just was not possible to treat blacks as indecently as we did and maintain the pretext that we had a decent society. What was required, and what the Civil Rights movement achieved, was to drive that truth home to all of us in the most public and persistent way, until it could no longer be ignored. In a very real sense, he sought not to fracture society but to make it whole and healthy.
—Orrin Judd, “A More Perfect Union,” 1/20/03.
“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth,” Elizabeth Scalia, aka the Anchoress writes. “And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…:”
Got a wonderful email from a reader who is being received into the Catholic Church in 2015, and it is in many ways thanks to internet web sites, both secular and religious. Writes this reader, whose privacy I am protecting, but who is very excited to be entering the church:
In the beginning was National Review Online, back when Jonah Goldberg was starting it up and the blogosphere was young…NRO named lileks.com as their Site of the Day. I started reading the Daily Bleat, and I noticed two or three blogs listed in the right-hand column of the page. One of them was Instapundit – this was back in the BlogSpot days. Instapundit linked to you at some point and that ultimately brought me to where I am today and where I will be…
So, there you go. In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth. And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…
One of the most under-reported sea changes in media, a huge milestone that we now all take for granted, was when 24-7 broadband replaced by the minute dial-up charges. In the early days of CompuServe, I often had monthly online charges that would cripple the fiscal reserves of many third world nations. So being able to stay online indefinitely each day without worrying about the fee such explorations would incur at the end of the month was just as exciting as the faster speed of the cable modem.
Living in the Bay Area, I think we had our first cable modem installed in late 1998 or early 1999, and I quickly began to hit the Drudge Report early and often, as Drudge had been all over the news for breaking the Clinton’s dalliances with Monica Lewinsky when Newsweek attempted to bury the story as good DNC apparatchiks, and then I very quickly started reading NRO as well. I used to watch William F. Buckley on Firing Line in the 1980s, but was more than a little put off by his Brahmin tone and polysyllabic style. But at the time, with its cable TV ads featuring WFB, Tom Selleck and President Reagan, it seemed like the only conservative publication on the planet. Then came Rush, Fox News, and the World Wide Web.
Reading Jonah Goldberg’s early G-Files were a revelation in much the same way that listening to Rush was. I had sort of half-seriously assumed in the ’80s, between Firing Line’s classical music, Buckley’s erudition, and perhaps the prominence at the time of Allan Bloom’s best-selling The Closing of the American Mind and its chapter on rock, that to be a proper conservative, I would have to renounce my love of rock music, comedy, modern art, and much of the rest of pop culture of the 20th century. As someone who rather liked those things, I wasn’t prepared to become an aesthetic monk. So hearing Rush begin his daily show with the opening riff of the Pretenders’ “My City was Gone” (I was a big fan of the Pretenders’ early albums; presumably Chrissie Hynde is a big fan of the royalty checks she receives from Rush), and reading Jonah goofing on “chicks in chains” films, Star Trek, and Marvel comic books was a huge sigh of relief.
And discovering Lileks through Glenn Reynolds was a similar confirmation that all was well, as James’ mid-century pop culture influences track mine remarkably well. Not to mention his interests in ’40s movies, Miami Vice, Mad Men, Bauhaus architecture, Mondrian, etc.
As for how I discovered Glenn Reynolds, well, I’ve told that story before. But I think I’m one of the few people that Glenn has linked to, before I had a blog. And before 9/11. And once again, I have NRO to thank for that bit of synchronicity as well…
Your humble narrator, voted “Best Media-Watcher” of 2014 as part of fellow veteran blogger Doug Ross’s long-running annual award series:
Ed Driscoll: A witty, memorable artisan whose specialty is dissecting the Left.
Pretty good company to be in, alongside fellow PJM-associated bloggers and columnists such as Glenn Reynolds, Victor Davis Hanson, Bill Whittle, Andrew C. McCarthy, Hans A. von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams, John Hawkins, Fausta Wertz, and numerous other new media mavens.
Thank you for the award — and something tells me that as awful as the news in 2014 was, and the media’s even worse coverage and frequent outright fabulisms while covering — or in some cases creating the craptacular eventsof 2014, next year will only be crazier. (Especially when the MSM has a united GOP Congress starting in January that they’re no doubt already licking their chops in anticipation of undermining.)
On the plus side, none of us in the starboard side of the Blogosphere will lack for material. On the downside, it will be another bumpy ride for the nation. But we’ll be here to cover all of the craziness inside and outside the MSM next year.
Thanks everyone for their readership over the past 12 years, and continue to stop by early and often!
Mark Steyn in the London Spectator on that most American of songs, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas:”
In the end, ‘White Christmas’ isn’t a song about snow. They had white Christmases in Temun, Siberia, where Berlin was born, but a white Russian Christmas wouldn’t be the same: It’s not about the weather, it’s about home. In 1942, those GIs out in the Pacific understood that. Twelve years later, building a new movie named for the song, Berlin acknowledged the men who made it special, in the best staging in the picture: Bing singing in the rubble, accompanied only by Danny Kaye’s musical box, as the boys rest their chins on their rifle butts and think of home. Berlin couldn’t have predicted Pearl Harbor, but there’s no surprise that, once it had happened, his were the sentiments the country turned to.
Christmas was not kind to Irving Berlin. At 5 o’clock on the morning of Christmas Day 1928, his 31/2-week-old son, Irving Junior, was found dead in his bassinet. ‘I’m sure,’ his daughter Mary Ellin told me a few years back, ‘it was what we would now call “crib death”.’
Does that cast ‘White Christmas’ in a different light? The plangent melancholy the GIs heard in the tune, the unsettling chromatic phrase, the eerie harmonic darkening under the words ‘where children listen’; it’s not too fanciful to suggest the singer’s dreaming of children no longer around to listen. When the girls grew up and left home, Irving Berlin, symbol of the American Christmas, gave up celebrating it. ‘We both hated Christmas,’ Mrs Berlin said later. ‘We only did it for you children.’
To take a baby on Christmas morning mocks the very meaning of the day. And to take Irving Berlin’s seems an even crueller jest — to reward his uncanny ability to articulate the sentiments of his countrymen by depriving him of the possibility of sharing them.
Berlin was a professional Tin Pan Alleyman, but his story, his Christmas is there in the music. 23 years after his death, he embodies all the possibilities of America: his family arrived at Ellis Island as poor and foreign and disadvantaged as you can be, and yet he wove himself into the very fabric of the nation. His life and his art are part of the definition of America. Whatever his doubts about God, Berlin kept faith with his adopted land — and that faith is what millions heard 70 years ago in ‘White Christmas’.
Pour yourself an eggnog and read the whole thing.
And some various and sundry Christmas-related items we’ve linked to over the years. First up, Chris Muir’s Day by Day:
From Hot Air‘s boss emeritus:
Neo-Neocon: “Twas the bloggers’ night before Christmas.”
Orrin Judd has lots of Christmas-related posts. Just keep scrolling.
From Reason TV via Instapundit, it’s Christmas, TSA-style! (Shudder.)
From Claire Berlinski at Ricochet, Happy Jewish Christmas!
And from Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades, some parting words (at least for now) from a Mister L. van Pelt:
Update: If Santa hasn’t arrived yet, he sends his apologies for running late.
Originally posted in 2012.
Oh and reminder this year to always respect diversity as much as those obsessed with the topic respect your beliefs…
I’m okay with Christians worshiping on Christmas, but it should be quietly and out of the public eye. That’s how you respect diversity.
— Male Feminist (@Warden_AoS) December 15, 2014
Heh. But then, as that parody of the typical leftist’s thoughts about Christmas remind us, as Christopher Caldwell of the Weekly Standard wrote a decade ago to explain why “the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.”
As for the rest of us, see headline atop this post.
Bearing in mind that four presidential elections is not a very large data set, the fact is that voting is racially polarized across the country, not just in the South. In 2012, Barack Obama won 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206; if only whites’ votes had been counted — if Mitt Romney had been running for the office of President of White Folks — then Romney would have handed Obama a crushing loss, roughly 438 to 100 in the Electoral College. Romney would have won such Democratic strongholds as California, Illinois, and New Jersey; in fact, he would have won every state except for Iowa, Washington, Oregon, New York, and a few small states. Race is not the only cleavage, of course: If the vote had been white men only, chunks of New England would have slipped away, leaving Barack Obama with something like half a dozen states and 40 electoral votes.
On the other hand, have a gander at the 2014 midterm-election map: Does this look like the showing of a rump Southern white people’s party to you? It may be that presidential elections, unlike congressional and gubernatorial elections, really are mainly about culture, about signaling identity and values, about how we see ourselves and our country. If that is the case, it should not surprise us all that much that blacks and whites vote differently. Not only do policy preferences reflect racial divisions, but there are racial differences in all manner of beliefs, tastes, and opinions. We can all laugh at jokes about the O. J. Simpson verdict’s role as a black-authenticity heuristic today, but roughly contemporaneous racial disagreements are not amusing even in retrospect.
That the Democratic party has attempted to hijack for itself credit for the hard and often bloody work performed for a century almost exclusively by Republicans, from Lincoln to Eisenhower, is a reminder that the party of Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton is not a place for men with a very developed sense of decency.
That being the case, Democrats should spare us their batty tales about Louisiana sending off the South’s last Democratic senator — a sanctimonious white lady if ever there was one — because white bigots are being inspired by a governor one generation away from Punjab, Haitian refugees representing Utah in the House, and this National Review cruise aficionado. From George Wallace’s infamous stand in the schoolhouse door to Barack Obama’s, embarrassing racial politics are the Democrats’ bread and butter. And what happened in the 1960s wasn’t the parties’ “changing places” on racism and civil rights; it was the Democrats’ — some of them, at least — joining the ranks of civilized human beings for the first time.
It only took them a century.
But I’m not holding my breath waiting for the cohorts of Al Sharpton, not to mention the man himself, dubbed “smart… entertaining… experienced… thoughtful… provocative, all the things I think that MSNBC is” by that channel’s president to enter the 21st century anytime soon.
Wow, that was fast:
BREAKING: Cassidy defeats Landrieu in Louisiana Senate race, bolstering GOP majority in new Senate.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 7, 2014
Senator Mary Landrieu. There’s a little voice of rage in your head that wants you to lash out at national Democrats. LISTEN TO THAT VOICE.
— Moe Lane (@moelane) December 7, 2014
As to why “Democrats still confused as to why the South has given up on them,” Moe has you covered on that topic as well. (Update: QED.)
Fortunately for her election bid, Hillary knows that the right song is all it takes to win back the South…
Update: To modify the gender on a line from this classic “Yankee’s Guide to the South,” if you ever hear a Southerner exclaim, “Hey, y’all, watch this!” stay out of her way. These are likely the last words she will ever say:
Landrieu said if you don’t like Obamacare unelect me. Well the ppl of LA just did. https://t.co/4kdFN3ADKD
— Raffi Williams (@Raffiwilliams) December 7, 2014
the people who write those “how to talk politics at thanksgiving” pieces have no idea they’re the ones their relatives are dreading seeing
— andy levy (@andylevy) November 26, 2014
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) November 26, 2014
But if all else fails:
Thanksgiving dinner rules are simple. When this relative starts a political argument, you kick his ass. Got it? pic.twitter.com/oCqAXNZeiM
— J.R. Salzman (@jrsalzman) November 27, 2014
Have a happy Thanksgiving from myself and everyone else at Ed Driscoll.com, including me.
Two entries in the “Yes, Tonight Was Fun, But…” column. First up, Here’s Charles Hurt in the Washington Times positing, “America faces most dangerous two years in 150 years:”
If President Obama suffered a “shellacking” in the 2010 elections, then what he endured Tuesday night was nothing short of a vicious gangland beatdown the likes of which have rarely been seen before in the history of electoral politics.
This, of course, is a wonderful and well-deserved outcome. But beware: America now enters the two most dangerous years of her existence — or certainly the most dangerous since the Great Depression and possibly going all the way back to the Civil War.
* * * * * * * * *
President Obama still has two more years left in his final term.
Already, he has demonstrated again and again that he has no regard for the constitution or the legitimacy of laws when they do not suit his agenda. He flaunts his disregard for the constitutional process, dismisses laws he doesn’t like and rewrites others.
He mocks the powers of Congress. The Supreme Court has slapped him down more than any president in recent times. All of this as he tells us he is an expert on constitutional law.
Now come his very explicit threats to pass more illegal and unconstitutional presidential edicts to grant amnesty to illegal aliens already in the United States. This, in turn, will issue invitations for millions more illegals to come streaming across the border.
It will not end at immigration. Unchecked power is addictive.
Disowned by Democrats and made to feel irrelevant in this election, President Obama’s enormous and unjustified ego is deeply wounded. He is frustrated and feels caged, cornered. This is when people like him are most dangerous.
Buoyant Republicans will make an effort to engage him.
But President Obama is not a listener. He is not a negotiator. He is not a learner. He will just take what he wants. It is easier that way.
And while a wounded Obama with nothing to lose is a very dangerous proposition indeed, he’s certainly done plenty of damage already. Which is why Roger L. Simon, our own Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus, adds that as great as tonight’s victory was, “Too bad there’s no time to celebrate. We almost lost our country. There’s no time to lose getting it back:”
Depending on whether Barack Obama decides to behave like an adult or not in the face of massive defeat, all Hell can break loose in the next few months. He can subvert Congress and initiate an absurd amnesty program that nobody wants except for perhaps some random aging members of La Raza. Just as bad, or maybe worse — it involves weapons of mass destruction — he can subvert Congress again and sign a deal with the Iranian mullahs that, on latest reports, relies on our good friends the Russians to police the Iranian nuclear program. How insane is that? Ask any Ukrainian.
And that’s only getting started. The litany of possible mischief small and large is endless from Obamacare to accusations of racism (how else could Obama lose?) to that monumental absurdity the “War on Women.” (That one doesn’t seem to be working out too well lately with the Senate filling up with Republican women.)
And then there are the Clintons who have been in their Westchester bunker all night long working the phones while staring at walls of televisions and plotting their way back, speaking of the “War on Women.” There must be another way. It doesn’t matter what to them. Power is all.
So what should Republicans do? Stand up and lead, obviously. Come up with programs and put them through the House and Senate. Do away with Obamacare, either in one gulp or, if that’s not possible, piecemeal.
But they all should make a monumental and immediate outreach to African Americans. No group has been so brutally screwed over by the Democratic Party — and I suspect more than a few of them are beginning to realize it. Republicans should take this opportunity to come up with some fresh ideas and communicate with them, and with Latinos, and Asians, and with women, and break the back of our identity politics that is so reactionary and divisive, so hurtful to the very people it pretends to help.
Roger’s post is titled, “Hooray for the Wave: Now Forget It.” I rarely argue with his advice, but I’m going to delay implementing it until tomorrow; tonight there’s a cigar and a snifter of cognac with my name on them.
Sen Obama after ’06 Dem takeover: “If Pres Bush is stubborn, refuses to take signals from the election…” http://t.co/OI2LOyuzA7
— Morgen (@morgenr) November 5, 2014
Say, that Sen. Obama seemed like an interesting, and at times sensible guy; whatever happened to him?
The mood is nasty. The mood is exactly what we’ve been talking about all week. People don’t like the way things are going. — @BobSchieffer
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 5, 2014
…CBS establishment leftist fossil Bob Schieffer, who really needs to expand his circle of friends on Twitter, where for half the country, the mood is anything but “nasty” right now, judging by the euphoria in my Twitter stream.
Update: And speaking of temper tantrums:
Obama aide on GOP wave: “He doesn’t feel repudiated” http://t.co/aX0xOiaQpT
— HotAir.com (@hotairblog) November 5, 2014
“GOP Senate Means Obama Owns Gridlock,” Jonathan S. Tobin writes today at Commentary:
Republicans face formidable challenges once they are in charge of both houses, though most of these will come from within. But what liberal pundits and even some conservatives forget is that the dynamic next year will be a lot different from the past. Obama is weak and getting weaker in terms of the political capital he has to spend every month. A Congress that puts him on the defensive by passing its own agenda will potentially be offering the nation a coherent alternative to liberal patent nostrums. On a host of issues, including energy, education, and immigration, if Obama’s only answer to Republican bills is to say no, it won’t be as easy for him to say that it’s all the fault of the other side. He’s the one will be saying “no,” not Speaker John Boehner or even the Tea Party. That’s even more more pertinent if he is also seeking to institute one-man rule via executive orders so as to prevent Congress from having its say.
All of which means that the stakes tomorrow are a lot higher than many on the left are willing to concede. A GOP Senate presents the party with an opportunity to not only make Barack Obama’s last two years in office miserable but also to lay the foundation for a strong 2016 effort. As much as it is tempting for Democrats to say they win by losing, the truth is, they have far more to lose in the midterms than they are letting on.
It only happens if you get out tomorrow to make it happen. As my friend and PJM colleague Stephen Kruiser “joked” in 2010, assume elections are within the margin of ACORN — or as Hugh Hewitt presciently warned in 2004, “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat.”
Say, anyone else alternating between giddiness and terror?
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) November 3, 2014
Update: Make this happen, America:
— Matthew (@Matthops82) November 4, 2014
“No one knows what’s going to happen next week, never mind Nov. 4, Peggy Noonan wrote this past Friday. “But it is increasingly reasonable to believe what a grizzled journalistic veteran of the campaign trail said last week in conversation. The election will be a wave for Republicans; the only question is whether it will be a big one or a small one:”
On Nov. 5, Mr. Obama will have to say something that shows he gets it. That shows without saying that he’s humbled, that he isn’t living in a bubble.
Here’s the problem. The qualities required of such a statement—humility, self-awareness, sensitivity to the public mood—are sort of the opposite of what the president brings to the table.
His people are going to have to figure this out.
Republicans in 2006 lost the House and Senate. In a news conference just before 7 p.m. the next day, President George W. Bush said: “Look, this is a close election. If you look at race by race, it was close. The cumulative effect, however, was not too close. It was a thumpin’.” That did the trick, declaring the obvious with an air of chagrin, admitting he’d been wounded, and acknowledging that politics at bottom is combat.
Democrats in 1994 took an even worse pounding. Republicans not only won the Senate and House but did so on the Contract With America. President Clinton responded the next day with a nearly perfect statement: “We were held accountable . . . and I accept my share of responsibility in the result.” He said of the voters’ message: “I got it.” He acknowledged the election had real political meaning, saying the people “still believe government is more often the problem than the solution.” The voters backed “sweeping changes.” He then made a mistake in seeming to claim his election in 1992 was part of the change, and 1994 just a continuation of its spirit. But he backed off under questioning and reporters didn’t press the matter.
What would an Obama White House meeting on What the President Should Say sound like?
Good luck with that; Obama’s horrid and historically illiterate young speechwriters have little to show for their efforts, and as Obama himself has said, “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” But while Obama may have disdain for his inner circle, his hatred of everyone to his right, Republicans and moderate blue collar Democrats alike has been the stuff of legend since 2008.
All of which is a reminder that Republicans should work extra hard over the next week to ensure that at a barely restrained fury is on display from the semi-retired president — and Harry Reid, of course — next Wednesday.