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Monthly Archives: November 2008

All Hail the King

November 4th, 2008 - 10:12 pm

Like many others, I am happy that a black man has become president, if for no other reason than it may remove “racist” from the string of epithets America haters throw at us.  In Africa last week, I told a national leader that racism was no longer a force in our society, and that the issue was not whether a black could be elected president, but whether this particular man was worthy of the presidency.  And that remains to be seen.  I certainly hope he is.

What if he fails?  What effect, if any, would that have on racial questions?  I don’t know, but it worries me a bit.  But only a bit.  Other things worry me more.

Obama will now have to do something he’s never done before:  manage a huge, complicated, and very fractious organization.  Up until now he’s only had to manage friends and followers.  He goes in with many advantages, above all the huge Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.  But he faces enormous problems, both at home and abroad, and even a highly experienced president would have a tough time.  He now has to make decisions of all sorts, from personnel to policies.  We’ll soon see his Cabinet, which will tell us a lot about “the real Obama.”

Was Joe Biden right when he predicted a major crisis within six months?  And did he know anything about Obama’s response to it when he (Biden) said to the faithful, “you’re not gonna like it”?  We’ll know more when he names his national security adviser and his secretary of state.

Will Obama really go down the redistributionist path?  I think he probably will.  I think he’s convinced himself that he can make anything work, even an economic system that has bankrupted some very rich countries.  We’ll know more when he names  his Treasury Secretary and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Governing is very different from legislating or giving speeches.  As often as not, presidents end up doing things they denounced during their campaigns, and, often as not, that’s a good thing.  But it’s very hard, and very rare, that anyone in a high position in the executive branch learns something fundamental about the world.  There just isn’t time for it.  Kissinger once said that you usually come out of office with the same cultural baggage you carried in.  Let’s hope this president is different, because the culture he seems to have is ill-suited to the world he’s going to be asked to lead.

Election Thoughts

November 3rd, 2008 - 5:57 pm

What makes me angriest:  that there is no outcry against election fraud;  that the media have become pure political instruments;  that our “educational system” has produced an ignorant electorate.

Years and years ago, during Watergate, Barbara and I were living in Rome, and we had lots of journalist friends (I was then a correspondent for The New Republic, so…we saw lots of Italian journalists).  They were all openly jealous of America, because they saw American journalism as clearly superior to theirs.  American journalists reported, while they, the Italians, were doing politics.  “We could bring down our entire Political Class,” they would say, “we all have information so devastating that no politician could survive,” but they didn’t publish it, because they didn’t see an acceptable alternative.  We would tell them that their job was not to make political decisions, but to report the news, and let the people decide.  But they couldn’t;  they were doing politics.  And we felt superior, because American journalism, we thought, just reported the news and let the people decide.

Well, that’s over and done with now.  Never before has the ignorance of the electorate been so intensely cultivated as in this election.  We all know that major publications and broadcasters have simply refused to report news, and what they did report was spun politically.  And among the stories they are not reporting, is the massive electoral fraud, from the “where is all that money coming from?” to the “how dare state officials refuse to verify the identity of voters?” one, to the refusal to report, day by day, on Joe Biden’s scandalously inept, incompetent, and often meretricious campaign.  Instead, they obsess on every real and imagined misstatement by Sarah Palin, who for me has been the most attractive of the four candidates.

An ignorant electorate is a real threat to good government, and the whole point of the First Amendment is to create a wide-open national debate from which the truth might emerge.  The current behavior of the media–now totally politicized–makes it very hard to get to the truth.  They censor themselves, just as our Italian friends confessed they were doing to themselves thirty years ago.

Rush today played some clips from a conversation about Obama between Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw.  Each said repeatedly “we really don’t know much about him.”  Well, duh, whose fault is that, y’all?  Yours.  You haven’t done your job.

For years now, most thoughtful Americans have known they were being misled by the MSM.  But they didn’t know exactly where to go to get the real news.  Over time, many of them learned to read blogs, to listen to talk radio, and to read the few good journalists who still believe they should report, and let the people decide.  It’s only natural that the Dems should want to shut down these outlets and those reporters, and I think that’s going to be a very big battle in the very near future, whoever wins tomorrow.

It follows from all this that there’s another thing that has my dander flying:  the snooty treatment of Palin.  It’s as if that old New Yorker cover–the one that shows Manhattan occupying most of the map of the United States, then the Mississippi River and fly-over country in a small strip, then San Francisco and Los Angeles in a larger area–has now become the template for all proper thinkers.  I’m sure lots of folks in fly-over country are enraged by this, but many others want to have a seat at the table, want to join the celebrities, want to be thought of as serious thinkers.  And so they join the swarm.

American exceptionalism rests upon independent thinking, pride in community and heritage, and disdain for ivory tower intellectuals combined with admiration for self-help and achievement.  My greatest fear is that these values are going to be trashed over and over again the next few years, and we will have to fight it very fiercely.

The Ledeen family is now a military family.  All three of our children are engaged in the war which to my way of thinking is the single greatest issue for America, but which has virtually vanished from our national debate.  There is no escape from this war, there is only victory or defeat.  But the Democrats can’t win a national election on that question, and so it has been spiked.

Tough times.