No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘GOP

Advice from the peanut gallery

There’s an interesting post this morning from the Point of Order blog, David Seymour and Judith Collins meet Daniel Hannan.

The article talks of the fusion between Liberal and Conservative politics, using the British Conservative MP Hannan as one of the more clear-headed and articulate examples.

Basically it’s giving advice to both New Zealand political leaders, while also taking a rather subtle swipe at them:

“We classical liberals were few enough before 2020. The median voter was always to our Left on economic issues and to our Right on cultural ones. As is often pointed out, the political centre of gravity in Britain is ‘fund the NHS, hang the paedos’. The epidemic has made us even more of a minority. Around the world, people are more frightened and therefore more authoritarian.”

“Thatcher’s brand of Manchester liberalism never colonised the Conservative Party. At best, it formed a contingent alliance with mainstream Toryism – an unequal alliance, it should be added, for the free-marketeers were always the minority.

This reminded me another recent Spectator article focusing on ructions within the US Republican Party, where the Never-Trumpers appear to be fighting a rear-guard action, but which quoted Thatcher:

At the level of principle, rhetorically and in Opposition, it opposed these (left-wing Labour Party doctrines of planning, regulation, controls and subsidies) … and preached the gospel of free enterprise with very little qualification. 

Almost every post-war Tory victory had been won on slogans such as ‘Britain Strong and Free’ or ‘Set the People Free’. But in the fine print of policy, and especially in government, the Tory Party merely pitched camp in the long march to the left. It never tried seriously to reverse it. Privatization? The Carlisle State Pubs were sold off. Taxation? Regulation? Subsidies? If these were cut down at the start of a Tory government, they gradually crept up again as its life ebbed away. The welfare state? We boasted of spending more money than Labour, not of restoring people to independence and self-reliance. 

The result of this style of accommodationist politics, as my colleague Keith Joseph complained, was that post-war politics became a ‘socialist ratchet’ — Labour moved Britain towards more statism; the Tories stood pat; and the next Labour Government moved the country a little further left. The Tories loosened the corset of socialism; they never removed it.

The Conservative MP’s who allowed this to happen naturally became Thatcher’s opponents and they were known as “The Wets”, a term that Thatcher herself coined that has come to describe all such Right-Wing politicians in the Western world. Thatcher’s formidable personality, intellect and the sheer brute force of election success, kept these people on the back foot through the 1980’s. They got their revenge in forcing her to step down at the end of 1990 and appeared to have “won back” the party with the rise of the hopeless John Major, followed by an unexpected close victory in the 1992 general election. Until the rise of Brexit they once again became the face of the party, as they had been pre-Thatcher.

That article also included a quick vignette of the similar opposition that faced Ronald Reagan in the 1970’s from the old guard of the Republican Party. Reading the following is a reminder of what the status quo of mainstream Right Wing parties always amounts to:

  • Vice President Nelson Rockefeller dismissed Reagan as “a minority of a minority” who “has been taking some extreme positions.”
  • New York’s Republican Senator Jacob Javits: Reagan’s positions are “so extreme that they would alter our country’s very economic and social structure and our place in the world to such a degree as to make our country’s place at home and abroad, as we know it, a thing of the past.”
  • Illinois Republican Senator Charles Percy said Reagan’s candidacy was “foolhardy” and would lead to a “crushing defeat” for the Republican Party. “It could signal the beginning of the end of our party as an effective force in American political life.”
  • Former President Gerald Ford: “I hear more and more often that we don’t want, can’t afford to have a replay of 1964.” If the Republican Party nominates Ronald Reagan “it would be an impossible situation” because Reagan “is perceived as a most conservative Republican. A very conservative Republican can’t win in a national election.” Asked if that meant Ford thought Reagan can’t win, Ford replied to the New York Times: “That’s right.” The Times story went on to observe that Ford thought “Mr. Reagan would be a sure-loser in November” and that Reagan held “extreme and too-simple views.”

I appreciated the above points being concisely summarised in this quote:

In other words, there’s nothing new here with this alarmism about “political extremism” from GOP Establishment figures about a conservative outsider and his supporters having the nerve — the nerve! — to invade what they see as their private club.

A club with the best manners and temperament too. Quiet. Civil. Good food and drink and good conversation that stimulates the mind but does not upset the stomachs of well fed and credentialed people. One can go home from the club, there to read the newspaper and chuckle about the silly things the Leftists are getting up too, while knowing that it’s really nothing important to get upset about or – god forbid – fight against.

To sum it all up? The Renew America Movement is nothing more than the umpteenth rejection of conservatives by Establishment Republicans. They stand for the socialist ratchet. They are the embodiment of what Reagan called the “pale pastel” Republicans.

Reagan and Thatcher the extremists eh? Perhaps, but to borrow a phrase from our Lefty brethren, they were on the right side of history.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 16, 2021 at 9:52 am

The next GOP Hitler

This is a follow-on from the previous post about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s time as Governor of California, his betrayal of GOP principles in line with other GOP politicians, and the subsequent rise of Trump.

It’s often said that Trump represented something new and frightening about the American Right Wing:

“I think Donald Trump is an authoritarian. He’s not an ideologue, he’s not a principled man in the way that Goldwater was….I think that the times are different and I think the people are altogether different,” Bernstein tells CNN’s Don Lemon. Earlier this week, as Mediaite notes, Bernstein “told CNN’s Brian Stelter that Trump is ‘a new kind of fascist in our culture’ with an ‘authoritarian demagogic point of view.’”

That’s Carl Bernstein of Watergate reporting fame, and that’s what the US Left and the Democrats always say about a GOP President or candidate, even Mitt Romney and John McCain – and Barry Goldwater:

As managing editor of the CBS Evening News, Cronkite seemed to relish pricking Goldwater from time to time for sport. In late July, he introduced a report from CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, a hard-and-fast liberal working from Munich. With an almost tongue-in-cheek smile, Cronkite said, “Whether or not Senator Goldwater wins the nomination, he is going places, the first place being Germany.” Schorr then went on a tear, saying, “It looks as though Senator Goldwater, if nominated, will be starting his campaign in Bavaria, the center of Germany’s right wing.”

The backstory was merely that Goldwater had accepted an invitation from Lieutenant General William Quinn for a quick holiday at Berchtesgaden, a U.S. Army recreational center in Germany. But Schorr made the takeaway point that Berchtesgaden was once “Hitler’s stomping ground.” Goldwater, trying to show off his NATO bona fides, had granted an interview with Der Spiegel in which he mentioned a possible trip to Germany soon. Some Democratic opposition researcher floated the idea that Goldwater was infatuated with the Nazis. It was ugly stuff.

Sure it was, about the man who a later Leftist journalist would describe as “principled”, decades later when Goldwater was safely dead. But then, every Republican presidential candidate, from Thomas Dewey (smeared as a Nazi by no less than Harry Truman) to the present will be attacked by the left in this fashion, no matter his temperament, or small-government policies (you need Big Government for real Fascism). In his 1984 book, Troubled Journey: From Pearl Harbor to Ronald Reagan, Fred Siegel, points out that this nasty crap started as far back as 1940:

Henry Wallace, the point man for the New Dealers, fought the 1940 election with the slogan “Keep Hitler out of the White House.” Wallace conceded that “every Republican is not an appeaser. But you can be sure that every Nazi, every Hitlerite, and every appeaser is a Republican.” Wallace glossed over the isolationism of leading Democrats like Burton Wheeler who were left-leaning at home yet impassioned appeasers…At their harshest, fervent New Dealers dropped the qualifiers and pronounced Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt’s middle-of-the-road Republican opponent, “the man Hitler wants elected president.”

Siegel should have mentioned a far more prominent name among the Democrat appeasers – Joe Kennedy. A little later, in his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR smeared the laissezfaire Coolidge era of the 1920s as “the spirit of fascism:”

If history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

Eisenhower was the only one who escaped the slur, probably because of his reputation from being the Supreme Commander of European Allied forces, the brief unanimity in facing down Communism, and the fact the he didn’t change any Democrat domestic policies.

But with Nixon’s return so came the Reductio ad Hitlerum. Those of us who are old enough also remember the same shit thrown at Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. Here’s the same Carl Bernstein writing in 2012 about “Mitt Romney’s Radicalism”. That article also carried the same lines about the GOP and its voters that you’re hearing today in 2021:

“today’s Republican Party (and its Tea Party wing) represent the first bona fide radical political party to rise to dominance in Washington in nearly 100 years.”

As another article responded:

Tea Party members oppose Big Government, excessive federal spending and debt. Bernstein is claiming that it is somehow “radical” to want to return to the founding principles of the United States and save America from financial bankruptcy and economic ruin. Who is the real radical?

Plus being tagged as racists because there was a Black Man in power, completely ignoring the fact that the groundswell of protest started with Bush’s bank bailouts in late 2008. One famous sign seen at Tea Party rallies in 2009 read “It Doesn’t Matter What This Sign Says, You’ll Call Us Racists Anyway.” As law professor Glenn Reynolds responded to “Right Wing” David Brooks of the NYT and his heavy breathing about Trump in 2016:

The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the stenographers of the Democrat party, their MSM operatives with bylines.

“The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.” – Carl Bernstein, 1992

Pre-internet you will note.

Now, the same crowds, having defeated Evil Orange Man, are gearing up to do the same thing again to the next GOP President and Nominee, as even the squishy National Review notes:

After four years spent painting Trump as a unique threat to the nation, progressive pundits have begun moving on to new villains.

“Former President Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our nation, at least, if you support our democratic republic,” [MSNBC’s] Obeidallah wrote. “But DeSantis is more dangerous.”

That was quick.

The ironic thing is that the Democrats may see their hysterical nightmare come true, as this guy explains the theme further in Every New Republican Is the Most Evil Republican Ever:

Chimpy McBu$Hitlerburton is tolerated now that he’s snuggling with the Obamas and Clintons, stabbing his loyal supporters in the back, and doing cheesy watercolors of veterans his grotesque incompetence got mutilated. All that unpleasantness about him being in on 9/11 is just a vaguely troubling memory from long ago.

They treated Trump like some radical, but they misunderstood him as they misunderstand so much else. Donald Trump was less a revolutionary than an eccentric with an inability to hide his contempt for his fellow caste members. He grew up and prospered in elite society, and he enjoyed it – as his myriad amorous adventures splashed across the cover of the NY Post testified. What made him dangerous is that he didn’t participate in the framework of Mutually Assured Discretion.

They hated him not because he embraced a few conservative ideas. They hated him not even because of those mean tweets – they like meanness. No, they hated him because he told the forbidden truth. He told the terrible secret to those unwashed people out there in Americaland who make things for a living and sweat when they work, that our elite is not only not better than the plebs but is much, much worse in every sense.

The truth that many observers of Trump saw in 2016 was that he was still the boy from Queens, gazing across at Manhattan and determined to be accepted by it. He never really was but he carried that yearning to Washington D.C.

Yet, Donald Trump did not want to destroy the ruling caste. At least until the end, he still maintained residual respect for its institutions. He might have accurately labelled it the “failing New York Times,” but at some level, he still thought he could win over Maggie Haberman and get a sweet write-up. He didn’t want to burn it all down; he just wanted to slap some of the swells around.

Luckily the Democrats foolishly decided not to embrace him for big spending things like a trillion dollar infrastructure bill and expanded Medicare (which he would have loved), but instead went feral; 100% opposition frenzy 25/8/366. Trump’s greatest gift was that he forced his opponents to lift their masks of civility and reveal just what awful, ugly and unprincipled pieces of shit they were, and where they were located, which in some cases was inside the GOP.

The key indicator is their norm-breaking – the norms they touted for so long about free speech, due process, and self-determination were all fine right up until the outsiders started to use them to threaten the insiders’ positions and prestige.

As some handful of those Republicans who had opposed Trump in 2016 later acknowledged; if you looked at policies, the guy was governing much like any GOP President, as well as doing some things previous GOP Presidents had promised and never delivered. But it didn’t matter to the Never Trumpers; nothing does. And so.

The next victorious Republican – one will come even if we detour back to another squish for a cycle or so – will be ruthless. He will understand that the enemy is serious about holding on to power and that means holding us by our throats. He will understand that to win means to take the fight to them, to ignore the whining and howling

He will not care about earning their favor. He will care about payback. He will be woke, conservative woke, and for the first time in a long time, Democrats will be right about something, for they shall fear him.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 9, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Total Recall – or why Trump arose

With the recently concluded recall election in California that resulted in a thumping win by Governor Newsom, I was intrigued to find an old book review that covered the aftermath of a previous recall election in the state in 2003 against Governor Gray Davis.

That election resulted in a loss for Davis and more importantly a win for the former actor and Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would go on to win election in his own right and was Governor for two consecutive terms (eight years), the maximum mandated. In 2012 he published a memoir of that time, Total Recall (the title of one his hit movies). In the same way, he titled himself The Governator, after his most famous movie role as The Terminator.

I’m less interested in the review itself or the book than some of the tidbits that fell out of it (and some that did not) regarding his ideology as a Californian Republican governing in a state that’s about as Deep Blue as it gets. Here’s just three, the first two coming courtesy of his then wife, Maria Schriver: she was Democrat royalty (Kennedy family) and the force behind the Governator’s picks for key offices.

  • Given the awful condition of California’s finances at the time people expected somebody with a record of budget reform. Instead, thanks to Shriver, they got Ana Matosantos, a Puerto Rican with an undergraduate degree in political science and feminist studies. She easily moved on to become as chief budget advisor in Democrat Governor Jerry Brown’s administration. The state bled billions for years and the improvements were done by Brown himself. Naturally she failed up and is now Newsom’s “energy czar”.
  • Another was appeal court judge Tani Cantil-Sakauye, billed as a “moderate Republican.” In 2015, an illegal alien gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier, but Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was untroubled by Democratic sanctuary policies that protected the shooter. In 2017 he charged that ICE agents were “stalking” criminal illegals in courthouses.
  • Even without his wife, Schwarznegger called Fabian Núñez, a very Left former state assembly speaker, “one of my closest allies among the Democrats.” The pair worked together on AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which the governor claimed would be good for the economy. It wasn’t. What’s not in the book is that, in 2008, Núñez’s son Esteban was involved in the fatal stabbing and sentenced to 16 years in prison for manslaughter. How he avoided murder and life I don’t know but Ms Núñez tried to get that sentence reduced further. A judge refused. During his final hours as governor, Schwarzenegger commuted Esteban’s sentence to seven years. He did not notify the victim’s family and Judge Lloyd Connelly called the action “distasteful and repugnant.”

So there you have it. After the disastrous Gray Davis, voters expected a true reformer. Instead they got a climate change fanatic, a collaborator with corrupt Democrat politicians, and a coddler of violent criminals. In short, Arnold Schwarzenegger governed not just as a Democrat, but a quite Leftist one. About the best you can say of him was that he vetoed some awful bills.

You add in people like Mitt Romney, John McCain and Arlen Specter (a Senator who would switch to the Democrats after years of being touted as a solid Republican), plus the complete failure of GW Bush to rein in the size of government (hell, he pumped it up), his Liberal Internationalism that saw wasted nation-building war efforts, plus the obvious, post-political, cosiness of them all with their Democrat “opponents” and one can see why Trump won the GOP nomination in 2016, then the Presidency, and maintains a lot of influence in the GOP to this day.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 8, 2021 at 11:02 pm

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with , ,

Angelo Codevilla on our Ruling Class

He was killed by a drunk driver a few days ago while walking along a footpath. He was 78 and had just recovered from Covid-19.

Life eh?

You’ve probably never heard of the man. I had not until 2010 when he wrote a seminal article, America’s Ruling Class. But he had quite a background, outlined here, as a keen critic of the Pentagon and a progenitor of the Strategic Defense Initiative that Reagan pushed.

Among his many fine books are a translation of Machiavelli’s Prince, and several books on war, strategy, and intelligence that hold up very well even at a remove of 30 years in some cases. Especially recommended is his book The Character of Nations, which holds up very well because it draws upon vast historical learning that never goes out of style. His co-authored book with Paul Seabury, War: Ends and Means, is also a fantastic primer on how to take warfare seriously. And his book on intelligence, Informing Statecraft, is also a classic that can be read to great use today, because it was less about transient facts such as the Soviet Union and more about the defective culture of our “intelligence” community.

A learned but practical man then, not ignorant of politics and bureaucracy.

But back to that 2010 article, which I strongly urge you to read in light of all that has happened since. For me these are the key excerpts:

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. 

Fear! The strange thing is that it was the MSM, with their usual addiction to fear pornography, plus many other political and “thought” leaders who seemed to be more frightened than the public. Moreover, when the time came to shove money at the banks, a number of the largest objected, for the simple and sound reason that they weren’t the ones who had indulged in the CDO insanity and were not in trouble. But the collective won out.

The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one. When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. 

Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.”

And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

He makes it clear that the Republican’s “pivot” on some of these things was meaningless partisanship:

Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several “stimulus” bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind.

No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class’s continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.

But it is the following passages that are the key point about this new class, which increasingly apply across the Western democracies, and which lead to things like this, and this from our “leaders”. Codevilla contrasts the past American rulers with those of today:

Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed.

Actual diversity then, even within the ranks of the wealthy and powerful.

All that has changed. Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.

He then contrasts this ruling class with the rest of America:

The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

See also:

The Hunger Masks
Do as I say, not as I do
Generational Toxicity
A second American Civil War

Written by Tom Hunter

September 23, 2021 at 12:35 pm

This sounds familiar

Having put up a message from the embattled National Party I feel obliged to also post a piece on what I think is their central problem in this time, even more so than poor candidate selections and the extreme MSM bias against them.

The problem is almost a philosophical one, though it is often cast as a managerial and political one.

What is National to do in government?

I thought about this while reading an article in the US magazine, The Federalist, There’s A Reason DC Democrats Are Always Winning, Even When They Lose. First the “good” news:

Washington Republicans are excited for the 2022 elections, and they have reason to be — they’re going to do well. They’re heavy favorites to take back the House of Representatives; and despite a very bad Senate map, it’s a coin flip they’ll retake that too.

There’s a certain amount of “so-what” about this since the Presidential party almost always loses seats in the mid-terms after they win a Presidential election (the Bush 9/11-powered mid-term of 2002 being the exception), and since 1994 when the GOP finally broke the forty year stranglehold of the Democrats on the House, those mid-term election results have meant not just slimmed down majorities but the Opposition party coming into power.

As a side note, I’m always amazed that people who think they know American politics have no idea that the Democrats held the House between 1954 and 1994, which meant they controlled the Budget and all the legislative mechanisms of internal state power via their subsequent control of House Committees. With forty years in the saddle the leadership of those became almost like a royal family, with power passed down like an inherited nobility. The Senate and the Presidency get some input into those areas, and they have their own domains of Constitutional power, but if you control the House you control the machine.

But it’s what you do with that power that matters. Nancy Pelosi knows this:

She’s thrown away a House majority before, back in 2010. But guess what? Before she did, she changed the entire country with Obamacare. That was her exit bomb; that was the sacrifice she made. And now she’s back, Obamacare is still the law (because of the Republicans and the legacies), and the temptation is going to be to return to laughing at her when she loses again in 2022.

Except that if she gets her $3.5 trillion spending bill that GOP laughter will be hollow.

But if she gets this budget through, well then who cares. Her legacy will be remaking the role of government and its interactions with an increasingly dependent class of citizens in the most major way since President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society 60 years ago.

At this stage it’s hanging by a thread – not because of the Stupid Party, which has effectively voted for it – but because of a handful of “moderate” House Democrats and two moderate Senate Democrats (with a few others hiding behind them). The likely driver for those Democrats is that they come from so-called “Purple” districts or States, but that’s the point of this article:

Democrats know that if they can get those policies implemented now, many of them will remain forever. They’ll lose Democrats in the process, but so be it — there will be more Democrats in the future. It’s impossible to watch politics professionally for over a decade, through some of its liveliest battles in a long time, and not come to the understanding that Democrats in general do politics differently.

Here’s how this dynamic plays out: When Democrats are legislating on something major, they look around the field and say to themselves, “Yeah, we’re going to take some casualties on this one, but we’re going to change America.”


And then they blast right through it. Pelosi is going to lose members for this overhaul of our country and she knows it — she’s just decided that given the trouble they’re already heading into, it’s worth it.

By contrast what does the GOP do with its time in power?

When it matters, Republicans look around and say, “Oh no we can’t do that, we’d lose a man. The Democrats would take seats.” They are virtually a majority for the sake of being a majority. They just want to polish it up, put it on the shelf, and look at it. 

To put it simply, Republicans approach politics like America fights wars: They don’t want to lose a single man. Democrats, on the other hand? They look at politics like the Russians looked at Stalingrad: The congressman in front votes now; when they fall the next man gets elected and he will vote too.

I loved Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev in Enemy At The Gate (not a great movie) and I can see Pelosi with that mindset.

So you see a repeating pattern to American politics: There isn’t a true back-and-forth. Instead, Democrats change the country a lot while they’re in power. Then Republicans hold power and push the pause button. There’s no rollback that a new executive order can’t undo.

Maybe they cut taxes; bring back the Mexico City policy; junk a regulation that Democrats created but didn’t manage to implement; but that’s about it. When was the last time Republicans passed a huge law — one that changed America forever the way Democrats do every time they hold serve in American politics? You don’t see it.

Similarly here. The one “big” pro-active thing I recall from the Key National government was flogging off 49% of an SOE power company, but that was merely the last gasp of the reforms of the 4th Labour government. Also note that it was only 49%; the cultural and political winds had shifted and National have a great nose for such.

The problem is how much longer this can continue, especially given the love of Big Business (and Big Government)? As another article, The Revolution Will Be Bureaucratized, pointed out:

It’s boring and sounds tired, I know, but ballooning state power is not a silly fear of “Zombie Reaganites” and insufferable libertarians. It’s a vehicle of cultural tyranny as much as economic. It’s a tool for the political establishment to bulldoze our culture from their sad office buildings here in Washington.

Elites love corporate power, but they also love federal power. (Unless, of course, Donald Trump is exerting it.) Note that the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable both supported Biden’s vaccine requirements.

That last will be true here also, although in New Zealand’s case it doesn’t matter because we really don’t value our freedoms and civil liberties as much as most Americans do. We’ve proved that in the last eighteen months.

From Biden’s “child tax credit” extension, which conditions nearly all families to depend on the federal government every month for aid, to his extension of the federal eviction moratorium, this president and his elite champions are not worried about these power grabs. The blueprint for Democrats’ infrastructure bill is more proof of that. Their goal is to create a leftist elites’ utopia, blending cultural leftism with neoliberal economics and imposing it on America by any means necessary.

I did appreciate the last two sections of that second article:

Mocking libertarians is a conservative tradition, made all the more fun in recent years as many reflexively defend Big Tech and woke capital. But reflexively dismissing their dry warnings about liberty does not serve conservatives well in this perilous moment.

Simply put, we’ve let our government become very big as its stewards have become very radical. It’s a vehicle for their cultural revolution, not a distraction from it.

A vehicle for cultural tyranny is exactly right, even when it presents as supposed economics – measures on control of water and “fighting Climate Change” likely being the focus of such here in NZ.

We didn’t used to be like that but now that we are, any future “Right Wing” government that claims it’s a “Big Tent” for conservative, classical liberal and perhaps even a slight tint of libertarian thinking, owes its voters to not just slowly reduce government employee numbers but reduce the number, size and regulatory power of the state institutions they inhabit.

If they don’t then they’ll just be weaponised further with vast sums of money and bodies by a future Labour-Green government. Incidentally – for those National people who only care about government spending as a % of GDP and taxes – that will also put paid to any future tax cuts. Actually that’s almost the case now: the giant spend-fest of lockdowns means you can probably look forward to new taxes and tax increases from a future National-ACT government. They’ll have no choice because they’ll have allowed Labour-Green to make the big choices for them.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Flyover State

The term “Flyover country” was invented by US Progressives some years ago as a pejorative smear against all the rubes living in the USA between the East and West Coasts, over whom the Advanced Thought Leaders jet back and forth on their way to making the world a better place.

Other such descriptors are “Jesusland” and my personal favourite, “The Land Of The Low Sloping Foreheads”.

😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅 Oh those English graduates. Such wit.

Incidentally the reporter who coined that term died of cancer and heart disease just a while later after collapsing in the newsroom of The New York Times, which seems very appropriate when you consider that this attitude had been around long before, as this famous 1976 New Yorker cover shows.

But what else could you expect from a magazine for whom this cover became its logo.

“Flyover Country” has stuck and even rebounded on them a bit in recent years, particularly after the mid-term elections of 2010 that booted Nancy from power after just four years when she thought had twenty, and of course in 2016.

I say rebound both in terms of the shock the Coastal Progressives suffered at discovering those people still mattered and had power, plus the inland yokels grabbing the term and starting to wear it with pride.

However, the one thing never considered was that it might be applied by any Democrat Progressive to their own State. Yet that is exactly what the idiot Governor of California did just the other day in a staggeringly brain-dead admission he made while being interviewed by The Atlantic magazine for their article on his recall election, What California’s Recall Election Says About America:

Still, he had to get moving—he was driving to Los Angeles, not flying, so that he could make stops along the way and talk with voters on his own. Flying over California his whole life, he had “never fully absorbed and appreciated it,” he told me. He’s hoping that the state cares enough to appreciate him, at least a little longer.

Incredible, and this guy is sold as “smart”. This is what happens to disconnected politicians; they don’t even realise how disconnected they’ve become from the voters. This guy was born and raised in the state and has never even driven between San Francisco and Los Angeles? That’s flyover country to him. No wonder the I-5 and CA-99 are in such shocking states of disrepair; the local pols don’t drive them, don’t know and don’t care.

Governor Hair Gel rose in politics because he was a Democrat in a One Party state and because he was mates with some of the richest families in San Francisco (Nancy Pelosi’s being one of them).

At the RedState news site there’s also an excellent summary of both The Atlantic article and a similar one from The Economist (“The Trials of Gavin Newsom“), where both are stripped apart for being nothing more than perfect reflections of Newsom and his class. On The Economist article:

It is interesting how these lefty writers always view it from their filter, rather than from the actual filter of the people who have spoken out in favor of recall. Did this writer bother to watch that heart wrenching video of Angela Marsden of Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill? Did this writer bother to interview any of the mothers whose children were shut out of school for almost two years? How about the mothers who had to quit their work to manage their children on Zoom?

I loved the following Tweet response to that news of Newsom’s fly-not-drive:

If you’ve wondered why Trump made serious gains with Hispanic and Black voters across the USA, that Tweet sums it up.

I subscribed to The Economist in the 1990’s because detailed news of the world can be hard to come by in the US, but clearly it’s gone well to the Left and shallow. RedState notes a reference to the awful “Recall” actions as “They should try to fix the quirk”, and points out that:

It is a 110-year old provision baked into the California constitutional republic. The fact that it has only succeeded once in 110 years shows the solidity behind its intent. The persistent dismissiveness of it shows that the Left has no issue with the Recall law, as much as they have issue that it has been successfully used against them.

Something the useless Economist writer should have known. The Atlantic writer gets the same treatment for ignoring the very real and genuine factors driving Newsom down in the polls:

However, this writer prefers to fixate on what he knows: Trumpism, COVID hysteria, and why Republicans are so stupid. He touts an unspecified poll about how people blame the unvaccinated for this latest surge (so original). When, according to Hair Gel, 80 percent of California is fully vaccinated. The major population centers (read Los Angeles, Ventura, and Alameda counties) are still restricted and masked to the hilt—so how is it possible that the unvaccinated are causing this surge? But, the Left loves their narratives, and they are not going to let this one go. Always in need of a bogeyman instead of actually looking at their failed policies.

It’s that last part that is the reason I’ve paid so little attention to this election to date. Even if Newsom is recalled and replaced by a Republican, the failed Democrat policies will remain in place because the Democrats have overwhelming control of the State House and Senate. For almost twenty years now they’ve been able to pass whatever laws they wanted and override the Governor’s veto. It’s why Arrrnuullld (RHINO) was turned into a pussy so quickly when he became Governor after Gray Davis’s recall – although judging from comments in recent years, there was not much difference between him and the Democrats anyway.

It’s possible that Larry Elder, a Black Conservative talk radio star, might actually win the election. Certainly he’s viewed as the Number One Danger by the LA Times, who went so batshit insane that they produced this headline, complete with a pure Post-Modernist argument explaining why.

As to the election itself, it seems to be moving along the lines of a Preference Cascade. People who six months ago did not consider recalling Newsom and probably thought the petition to do so a waste of time, have seemingly come to think that now they have the opportunity they may as well give him the boot. The polls have shifted dramatically from “will never happen” to “almost certainly will happen” – hence all these worried Lefty reports on Newsom and his sudden transition from dismissiveness to flop-sweat efforts at currying favour with the voters.

Either way, for the rest of the USA the following warning will still apply.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 30, 2021 at 2:30 pm

It’s 25th Amendment time – or something?

Readers will know that I have a very low opinion of US Vice President Kamala Harris, the person who started in the Democrat nominations as the Female Barack Obama and ended as the Black Hillary Clinton.

Her inadequacies are extensive, as I noted in The unbearable lightness of Kamala Harris. She’s shallow, nasty, tin-eared, incompetent as both a politician and a manager, and utterly devoid of principles beyond her ambition to crawl to the top of the American political world. She was so awful that she dropped out of the Democrat race even before the first votes were cast in Iowa. The Biden team rescued her from the well-deserved obscurity of failure.

But right now she has one overwhelming thing going for her.

She has a functioning brain.

The current POTUS does not.

Biden has always been a dim-bulb gaffe-meister and a fabulist liar who lacked Clinton and Obama’s slickness but made up for it by being bald-faced and attacking people when they called him on his bullshit. Also he could get away with this as a Senator, although it caused him to fail in two runs for the Democrat Presidential nomination. But given how senile he has become in the last two years none of that history applies now. For months, on numerous issues, it has become quite clear that he’s simply following instructions written down for him in precise detail:

“Ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list here. The first person I was instructed to call on was Kelly O’Donnell from NBC…”

It’s just more evidence that Biden is not actually running the show.

But the recent disaster in Afghanistan put him and his staff in a position they could not control as they had for the last eighteen months; calling “lids” (no outside contact) early on many days, and keeping him either in his basement as candidate or in the White House once he was President. He now had to front the Press and the American people often.

It has only made things worse. I make a point of not watching politicians or listening to them nowadays because I don’t want to be distracted by their voice or mannerisms. I recall Lefties going beserk about Bush 43’s “smirk”, Righties about Obama’s uplifted nose (caught so well by cartoonist Michael Ramirez), and now NZ Righties about Adern’s speaking manner and facial expressions. Much better to just read the transcript – and not some “journalist’s” paraphrasing of it either.

So it’s only been in the last couple of days that I’ve gone back to look at the pressers that Biden has held on the Afghanistan situation in the last two weeks.

They’re godawful. The first ones seemed strange enough with him just walking away and taking no questions: this after literally days of hiding while things unwound. Perhaps realising this wasn’t doing the trick they put him a one-on-one with ABC TV’s George Stephanopoulos, senior aide to Bill Clinton through his ’92 campaign and first term and a solid, partisan Democrat. About the friendliest interviewer Biden could have found.

It went okay until people (even CNN) began noticing the incredible number of facts that Biden got wrong and that contradicted what he’d said earlier, sometimes just days earlier, as well as the anger when Stephanopoulos gently challenged him. Once again he did not come across well. All such TV interviews are edited for time so there are always things left out. But when the full transcript was released people were stunned by this answer that did not make it to screen. For context, Stephanopoulos asked what Biden thought of Veterans wondering if it had all been a waste and why the US could not have “left with honour”:

That is not even coherent as spin. He simply lost the thread of the answer, as he has before. And while it’s one thing to forget the names of members of his cabinet, as he has done in pressers, it’s quite another to forget his son’s rank, which service he was in, and even where he was stationed, especially since he’s employed this shroud-waving deflection before.

But the last two pressers were the worst.

On August 24 he was five hours late, which was unprecedented enough to get the MSM talking. When he did show he looked awful, his eyes bloodshot and glazed over. At times you could not even see the whites of his eyes. The teleprompter presentation was cold, robotic and tone deaf as he started by yakking about his “Build Back Better” plan. No empathy. Then he once more turned his back and walked away again with his little-old-man pitter-patter gait, taking no questions, clearly unable to physically and mentally do so.

Then on the 26th, after the bombings, after hours had passed with no word from him, the presser showed him slurring so badly it was if he was drunk. One of the more bizarre moments occurred when he stopped talking and stared down at the podium while his right arm jerked spasmodically behind it, as if he was fishing for a stick of gum in his pocket. It got worse from there:

Near tears at one point, Biden was seen hunched over the podium, clutching his briefing binder with both hands, his face a sea of grief. 

My first thought was that he looked like a beaten man. 

My second thought was that beaten men make terrible presidents and disastrous commanders in chief. 

Barely had that passed when he had to meet the new Prime Minister of Israel. Watch.

To appease the fact-checkers, I’ll note that I can’t tell for sure that he’s asleep here. Perhaps he’s just resting his eyes? But certainly there is nothing normal about him hanging his head for more than 30 seconds in this way that we’ve all seen with elderly relatives, instead of having his attention locked on the head of state he’s there to speak with. At one point, the video zooms in and you can see that his eyes are closed.

Something is badly wrong with this president, not just mentally but now physically and there’s no way it can be ignored anymore. Moreover, more people are noticing what the rest of us have seen for two years but which was dismissed as nothing more than partisan attacks. Biden is a man in steep physical and mental decline. Further, that decline is affecting his emotional health as well, with angry outbursts becoming more common.

It’s so bad that even the NeverTrumpers at Ye Olde Staid Right-Wing magazine, National Review, finally noticed with an article, Something Is Wrong with the President:

Somewhere along the way of the last few years, Biden transitioned from “young old” to “old.” Veteran reporters describe the transition in code. “He’s lost a step or two.” Or: “he’s lost something off his fastball.”

You’re not supposed to talk about it. If you do, and you’re a Democrat, you’re scolded for aiding and abetting the enemy. If you do, and you’re a Republican or (God forbid) a MAGA voter, you’re a horrible hate-mongerer, trying to overturn the results of a free and fair election (and you probably watch Fox News to boot).

The problem is that it’s there for all to see. Pretending not to see it is untenable.

Great. Those clowns pretended up to this point and snarked at other Right-Wingers pointing to the lack of Emperor’s clothes. But now they’ve been given permission to discuss this by the Respectable Idiots of D.C.’s laptop classes that they soiree with every day.

There’s no way Biden can lead the USA any longer, something that’s become abundantly clear over the last two weeks, and if the people running this guy had any shame, they’d get him to resign. The thing is that they’re not the only ones with a say in this, and as Tucker Carlson noted, The Knives May Be Out For Biden:

Some of Biden’s most senior appointees are contradicting him in public. If you cover politics, it is shocking to see that. It’s a violation of the first and most ruthlessly enforced rule in any White House, which is don’t diminish the boss.

But suddenly, they’re doing just that and they’re doing it openly.

Or it could just be the same general incompetence shown in other areas, this time in message control.

Assuming a forced resignation won’t happen what are the other alternatives for getting Biden out? There are only two it seems: Impeachment and the 25th Amendment. The former is a non-starter while the Democrats control the Senate and House, even with the barest majorities.

The latter is not well known because it was only passed in 1967 following the assassination of President Kennedy. But ironically enough it has been discussed a lot in recent years – specifically by Democrats during the Presidency of Donald Trump with his “erratic governing style” (heh, good times, good times…). But it’s not so simple as the movies have portrayed, as this detailed article in 2018 explained:

The amendment’s less-interesting inability provision, Section 3, has been used three times by presidents about to go under sedation. Simple and straightforward, Section 3 allows the president to declare himself disabled and pass power temporarily to the vice president. Then, whenever the president declares himself recovered, he retakes power.

So section 4 has to be used. The thing is that it has never been used, it’s multi-layered, each layer has complexities and more importantly…

It was designed to ensure that there is a conscious, communicative person in charge of the government, not to stop unfit or even unbalanced presidents (as today’s Section 4 advocates view Trump) from doing bad things.

[It was not designed to] remove inept presidents who are doing a disastrously bad job. Section 4’s language is broad enough, arguably, to apply in such situations. But its design ensures that it can cover such situations only in the rarest of cases.

The history of Presidents being replaced due to death pre-25th is interesting, especially in the case of Garfield, who lingered for two months after being shot in 1885, and of course Woodrow Wilson with his strokes in 1919. In both cases the VP’s were reluctant to take over in case the Presidents recovered, so effectively the nation didn’t have a President. It was Eisenhower, spurred by the age of nuclear deterrence, who pushed for it, and Kennedy’s shocking death swung the argument since Kennedy might also have lingered in a coma had his wounds been a little less lethal.

You can read all the detail and history in that article as it’s fascinating stuff, but the synopsis as follows.

Advocates would have to convince a majority of the cabinet and a supermajority of the Congress (2/3s as with Impeachment) that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” – not politically, but as a matter of medical fact. That isn’t going to happen here since Biden (or more precisely his staff) has the power under the amendment to counter “that no inability exists,” and would not go along with it. Kamala Harris, who would have everything to lose if she failed in the attempt, has never shown she takes such risks. And Congress, which would be called upon to follow through in the unlikely event the cabinet pulled the trigger, is not going to vote for it, even if the GOP holds the Senate and House after the 2022 elections.

In short, it’s not a replacement for impeachment, which is specifically designed to remove and replace a President.

For the GOP this is actually good news, since it means the Democrats are tied to these sinking ships into the 2022 and 2024 elections: an increasingly brain-dead President and a VP of cackling, obnoxious, incompetence, both of whom are sinking in the polls for many reasons. If Biden becomes comatose or suffers a stroke (he’s suffered two brain aneurysms) then it’s a different ballgame as he would be incapable of objecting. But there’s a big difference between those physical .states and even advanced senile dementia.

But it’s not good news for the USA and the rest of the world. Terrible as she is, Kamala needs to take over as President.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 30, 2021 at 6:00 am

The Stupid Party strikes again

It’s an entirely standard attack line of the Left that their Right-wing opponents are stupid: lacking in IQ points, ignorant, religious, inclined to conspiracy theories – like the one that Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election.

Oh wait, that was Hillary Clinton and the Democrats circa 2016-2018, with some still bitterly clinging to their Steele dossier and their windmills.

Nevertheless, the thing that the US Left in particular might be amused to know is that Republican voters actually do often refer to their own party as “The Stupid Party”.

The rationale behind their epithet is entirely different of course. It refers to the fact that the GOP, once they have gained power in the House, Senate or Presidency, promptly ignore the reasons they were elected and worse, start implementing Democrat ideas.

Some examples:

  • John McCain regularly talked of terrible border control policies in his border state of Arizona and how tough he was going to be on strengthening the border, up to and including things like walls and fences. But once re-elected he always got guilted and shamed by the Democrats about The Wretched Of The Earth and stayed with the status quo.
  • The Tea Party effectively got the GOP re-elected in 2010 to the House when all had seemed lost in 2008, based on the demand for a serious approach to fiscal spending, especially after the 2008 insanity around GFC measures such as the TARP legislation and eight years of Bush gleefully pushing general spending. But once elected the GOP House merely kept the status quo chugging along with spending extensions – the wonderfully named Continuing Appropriations process. The excuse was that without holding the Senate and Presidency nothing more could be done.
  • When all that power miraculously fell into the hands of the GOP with the 2016 elections, almost the first thing they did was pass gigantic spending bills stuffed with Democratic goodies. It was so bad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer gloated about it in public, rubbing the face of the gormless “policy wonk” Paul Ryan in the muck and making him look like anything but Speaker of the House, the third most powerful political position in the US government. Ryan’s pathetic excuse was that all that stuff needed to be cleaned out of the way so the GOP and Democrats could get down to fighting over truly meaty fiscal issues. Having got almost everything they wanted Pelosi was still laughing weeks later.
  • They did not repeal Obamacare, although to be fair that was down to one Senator, John McCain again, who went back on all his previous votes just because he was in a personal war with Trump and wished to snub him.
  • As a result of all this, the US budget, deficits and debt continued to relentlessly rise, almost as if the Democrats had never lost power.
  • The GOP did hold back on spending for a few things – like refusing to appropriate money towards Trump initiatives like the Southern Border Wall because the “Free Trade” (Cheap Labour) wing of the party still refused to admit that most Trump voters (and more than a few Democrat voters) hated the idea of a border open to illegal immigrants.

Sure, they did pass some serious tax cuts, and curbed (temporarily) the growth in spending, at least compared to the avalanches of the 2007-2011 Democrat Congresses, but that was it.

It thus came as no surprise that they got turfed in 2018, as GOP voters reached their “what’s the point” threshold. Naturally the GOP is relying on the “But-the-Other-SIde-is-Worse” argument to get back into power in 2022.

They better be careful though, because recent events show that it’s happening again, this time with the godforsaken “infrastructure” bill.

The Act is a $1.2 trillion, 2702 page spend up that, upon close inspection, has little to do with the real infrastructure of roads, bridges and such, but everything to do with pork barrel politics, as the WSJ helpfully details. As well as that the damned thing extends Federal, centralised control to yet more government actions that are supposed to stay with local government at the state and city level, as per the original vision of the USA.

No Lindsey! Increasingly large portions of the Republican base and even many independent voters do not need to see the Senate do “big” things because big legislation invariably leads to a bigger, more intrusive government, as well as…

But seventeen GOP Senators voted for it.

Even more stupid was the fact that no sooner had they done this than Joe Biden very publically threw them under the bus:

President Biden’s big gaffe was not his threat to veto a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal he had just reached with Republicans. It was accidentally saying out loud what everyone in Washington knows, but most Americans do not: that he has not compromised on infrastructure at all — and does not intend to do so.

In other words he would get all the stuff the Democrats “compromised” on in the infrastructure bill, instead placed in the $3.5 trillion dollar Democrats-only reconciliation bill, and he would only sign the former if he knew the latter would pass, which it can with just 50 Senate votes. At that point, none other than Graham declared that Biden had made him look like “a fucking idiot.

No, no! Joe Biden – Joe “Bivalve” Biden – had made all seventeen GOP Senators look like fucking idiots.

Yet, after some toing and froing and yakking and sort-of-apologies for making them look stupid in public, the Democrats kept the seventeen on board.

This is very much a pattern with centre-right parties across the Western world; their idea of bipartisanship and compromise in the name of avoiding the dreaded polarisation of the nation, is to merely stop the Left from doing all the things they want right now. Then the Right-Wing party toddles back to its voters to say, “didn’t we do well, vote hard for us again”.

Undoubtedly they’ll be the usual bribery reasons; the Senators thinking they’ll be able to return to their states with all that juicy, “free” government money for their voters. But that strategy has diminishing returns in the face of ordinary voters increasingly wondering about robbing their kid’s futures:

Last September, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted the federal debt wouldn’t hit $29 trillion until 2028. Just short of a year later, the national debt stands at $28.6 trillion and is set to surpass $29 trillion within weeks.

That does not include these spending bills. Every time I think the US debt is bad it just gets worse – now aided by these profligate idiots in the GOP. As that article points out, $50 trillion by 2030 is now not out of the question. As you can see it’s basically falling off a cliff.

Then there’s the fact that an economy recovering from a government-imposed recession, unlike a normal recession, merely needs the brakes to be let off. A government that thinks it’s Keynesian time again (for the Left it’s always Keynesian time) and wants to blow trillions of dollars into an already recovering economy, especially one with all sorts of supply problems arising from the Covid-19 response, is going to discover inflation sooner or later. And wadda ya know.

There’s also the slowly rising political power of the Millennial and Gen-Z voters, who understand that they’ll be on the hook for all this shit at the very same time that government institutions like Social Security and Medicare may not be there for them as it was for their Boomer parents, or at least not as sumptuously.

Whether they’ll vote for The Stupid Party to fix it is questionable.

See also:

$5,630,859,000,000

The Great Crash of 2034

This is not going to get better.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 24, 2021 at 6:00 am

The Triumph of Trunalimunumaprzure

Back in 1896 Republican William McKinley’s presidential campaign team ran an interesting strategy that came to be known as The Front Porch Campaign. It turned out to be the bridge between old-fashioned Presidential campaigns where the candidates stayed out of sight and let others do all the work, and the modern system where candidates are front-and-centre all the time, racing around the key swing states needed to win.

The 1896 campaign was the perfect contrast of those two styles. Instead of going to the voters McKinley’s campaign brought the voters to him. Over a period of months, something like 750,000 people came in organised delegations by train to the town where McKinley lived and then to his house, where they literally met him on his front porch, from where he made his speeches. His campaign manager, Hanna, made sure those speeches got into all the newspapers, thereby reaching tens of millions of Americans.

His Democrat opponent, William Bryan, was a great stump speaker and he decided to hit the trains, covering 18,000 miles around the USA making speeches. This was also unusual in the day but it set the standard for Presidential campaigns for the next one hundred twenty four years despite Bryan losing the election badly.

Some years ago, G W Bush’s key political advisor, Karl Rove, wrote a great book on the subject, The Triumph of William McKinley. If you want to see him talk about it, and the parallels of that time with the modern era of US politics, hit this C-SPAN link, Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters.

It was completely unexpected when the 2020 Democrats ran a similar campaign to McKinley’s for their Presidential candidate, Joe Biden. The key difference was that he didn’t meet crowds even at his home, relying on the modern electronic aids of TV and the Internet to reach people. But it was a smart strategy given the constraints of the Chinese Lung Rot pandemic and Biden’s own physical and mental frailties. Let Trump do the flying and the rallies and the speeches. The Democrats would protect their aging, frail candidate and rely on the MSM, Trump hatred and their machines in key states to deliver election victory, which they did.

But now that he’s President that strategy cannot be used all the time. Sooner or later Biden has to step out and meet people. His staff has done pretty well in this regard, keeping Biden’s appearances limited to restricted gatherings and very controlled press conferences, aided by the knowledge that the MSM will baby him as they have done since he was nominated.

It seems to have been working well, so it’s a mystery as to why they decided to step out with a classic “Town Hall” event for Biden the other night.

They used CNN, about as friendly a forum as one can get for a Democrat, plus a very restricted audience…

Not even 1/3 full

… and a very carefully screened group of questioners from the audience, including several hilariously placed shills who claimed they were Republicans – who promptly asked softball questions that just happened to fit with Democrat talking points. Only one guy seemed to be a Republican, a restaurant owner and his question was to the point and not well-handled by Biden.

But even when Biden was being guided as gently as possible by the host, the oleaginous Don Lemon, he did not do well.

If anybody can understand what the hell he was saying there please comment with your explanation. Some poor, sad political tragic actually did try and transcribe it:

”And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where, you, er, um, are why can’t the, um, the experts say we know that this virus is in fact, er, er, um, uh, its this its going to be or, excuse me, we, we, we know why all the drugs approved are not temporary, temporarily approved, but permanently approved.”

That’s about what I thought; it makes no more comprehensible sense when written down than when spoken.

Nothing new there of course. The last word in the title of this post is actually from a desperate attempt to produce a transcript from something Joe Biden tried to say in a 2020 campaign speech.

Things got no better as he rambled on about “Whether or not there’s a man on the moon”: I assume he was trying to connect vax conspiracy theories with faked moon landing theories but screwed it up as usual because his old brain is broken. He also unveiled a new economic theory in which the tsunami of government spending will actually “reduce inflation, reduce inflation, reduce inflation”. Then there was his defence of the idea of raising the corporate income tax, where he boasted that his home state of Delaware has more registered corporations “than all the rest of America combined. Combined. Combined.”. That state, which he represented for almost forty years as a Senator, has no corporate income tax.

Extended comments like those are why his handlers give him note cards with detailed sentences he can read out (but which he still screws up) and keep his free-“thinking” repertoire simple with soundbites he can remember; they make sure that he mutters “Jim Crow” at least once every time he’s allowed out of the house. In this case the Senate filibuster standing in the way of all their fabulous legislation is “Jim Crow”, which I guess does make sense when you consider that the Democrats have used it hundreds of times in recent years. As one commentator noted:

The case could be made that this wasn’t that big of a train wreck because it happened on CNN and therefore had an audience only slightly larger than I do when my cat wanders in and watches me while I shave. Still, why can’t they just leave this guy in the White House with his coloring books and spare the country the embarrassment? Television appearances by Biden are probably the only American shows the ChiComs allow to air uncensored so their beleaguered citizens can finally have something to laugh at.

This is both hilarious and pathetic. The brain trust currently running the USA – mainly Co-President Jill Biden (wife) and Co-President Klain (Chief of Staff) – thinks that letting this senile old clown babble incoherently is going to eventually be what changes hearts and minds on issues of the Covid-19 vaccine, spending, taxes or anything. Whenever sane people who aren’t heartless hear Biden speak, they just want to wrap a blanket around him and help him to his chair. This guy isn’t going to be convincing anyone to do anything.

Ever.

Given the ages of President Biden (78) , House Speaker Pelosi (80), Senate Leader Schumer (71), and more than a few of their equally aged compadres, the USA is really start to look like the USSR in the 1980’s with Brezhnev and the rest of the Politburo.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 25, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Politics as Geology

A fascinating little map of the US state of Alabama that starts with the geology of ancient beds of sediment from the Cretaceous epoch to voting in 2020.

It brings to mind the quote from economist John Maynard Keynes:

“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

Are ideas generated by humans as long-lasting in their effects on us as geology? The answer to that question may have to wait until millions of years have passed, assuming humans can stick around that long. After all, the Cretaceous period was ended by an asteroid strike, killing off the dinosaurs who had survived for tens of millions of years by that point, dwarfing our existence of perhaps two million years?

Written by Tom Hunter

June 21, 2021 at 12:20 pm