Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Another Dem Smackdown

Don’t Miss George Will’s thorough smackdown of the Democratic Party in today’s WaPo: Tone-Deafness Among Democrats.

He also includes a hard swipe at Republicans along the way: "[The Republican Party] is showing signs of becoming an exhausted volcano. Regarding Iraq, it is mistaking truculent asperity and tiresome repetition for Churchillian wartime eloquence. Regarding domestic policy, intellectual anemia has given rise to behavioral patterns not easily distinguished from corruption, as with the energy and transportation bills."

Discussions - 22 Comments

Further astute observations from America’s most diligent student of Reader’s Digest’s "Word Power."

This line gave me a chuckle, at least:

"...intellectual anemia has given rise to behavioral patterns not easily distinguished from corruption..." Maybe because it is corruption?

In Will’s article, the subject of the paragraph and sentence, previous to your quote, is the Democratic Party. "It", which has been replaced by bracketed "The Repuclican Party", actually refers to the Democratic Party.

That’s not how I read that (nor how Steven H. read it, too, apparently), TMH. Will said this:

"But the Democratic Party, whose democratically elected chairman is Howard ("I Hate the Republicans and Everything They Stand For") Dean, is not ripe for lessons in temperate rhetoric, which may be why the Republican Party has far fewer worries than it deserves.

It is showing signs of becoming an exhausted volcano. Regarding Iraq, it is mistaking truculent asperity and tiresome repetition for Churchillian wartime eloquence. Regarding domestic policy, intellectual anemia has given rise to behavioral patterns not easily distinguished from corruption, as with the energy and transportation bills. Yet the Democratic Party, which by now can hardly remember the far-distant past when it was a volcano not of molten rhetoric but of serious thought, seems preoccupied with the chafing around its neck...."

His overuse of the pronoun "it" lends itself to some confusion there. I read it one time and it sounds like he is referring to the Dems; the next time I read it, it sounds like he’s talking about the GOP. Will could stand to brush up on his writing skills, frankly, with some emphasis on clarity.
The line "mistaking truculent asperity and tiresome repetition for Churchillian wartime eloquence" really made me think he was talking about the Bush administration, but since it’s George Will writing, I should have known better...

No, I think he’s talking about the Republicans, but I agree that the antecedent is a unclear. He talks about the Democrats later in the paragraph.

Shades of Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Oh no, I said "It!" "I said it again!"

Two points, neither one very profound:

1. As in the sixties, any movement is characterized by different kinds of shrillness and momentum, coming at different times, and from different quarters. I think of it as similar to pushing a car. In the beginning, the pushing must be profound and constant, and then the pushing can ease up as the momentum grows. When the "movement" becomes "established," as Republicans seem to be, then life is pretty easy. the shrillness goes away, and is replaced gradually with complacency. apparently, it is that complacency that led to the "Republican Rennaissance."

It may benefit Will and others to lump all Democrats together with the noise-makers, like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, but that is obviously not accurate. Neither Sheehan nor Moore hold office, and neither one makes laws, though Will suggests that they "wag the dog.". Their functions are to make noise, to illuminate the problems that they see. Every movement needs such people, but most successful ones also temper the drastic messages with time and with greater organization.

2. My second observation is that (on this blog) I have now read two right-wing writers praise Hillary. Do I need new glasses? What is going on?

To let Will’s unclear writing off the hook, why don’t we call a truce and say that he should have meant both parties.

Clint - while I honestly read that as meaning the GOP, and even have some NLT bloggers who think the same, I’m happy to agree to a truce. My opinion of the Dems is only slightly higher than that of the GOP, and yes it’s true he should -and could- have meant both parties.

Re: Fung #5, Point 2 (Hillary):

I just wanted to follow up the Jerry postings with something that might make your head explode. :)

S Wynn:

I had thought to pick up on your comment #1 about what looks like corruption being corruption to ask: If the Republicans are now behaving like the Democrats did when they were in power ("Meet the New Boss: Same As the Old Boss"), then how do we make sure that we "Don’t Get Fooled Again."

As I usually say, the typical reform ideas don’t work. The only way to get rid of corruption in high places is to get rid of high places.

Hayward

As I usually say, the typical reform ideas don’t work. The only way to get rid of corruption in high places is to get rid of high places.

You’re a closet member of this organization, aren’t you?

Membership is about to become free. You ought to consider it!

Actually, he’s starting to sound more like some sort of anarchist to me. I haven’t known libertarians to necessarily be anti-hierarchy.

But maybe he’s just setting up some more of his "funny" bait for the liberal commenters here...who knows.

To M. Shaun and J Mont:

No, I don’t belong to the LP, not even as a closet member (though I was once a contriuting editor to Reason magazine). Although I like the LP sticker, "There’s no government like NO government," I lean toward limited government rather than no government. I’m not against a federal highway bill or even a federal energy bill, but I can’t help but agree that something is wrong with the lobbyist-driven, pork barrel nonsense that Congress just produced. This is where George Will is right to call the results "corrupt."

Also--and I suspect this may start a furious argument--I think many (not all) libertarians have disgraced themselves in the aftermath of 9/11, sounding little different than Chomsky much of the time. Can’t use it.

Sometimes I think we (common people) should stop fighting each other over (D) and (R) and (LP) and fight all the politicians. To go along with the corruption and errors in both parties, I found this article.
Are there really two parties, or just one oligarchy running the nation for the mutual benefit of a few? Sometimes I wonder.

Can’t we all just get along?

Mr. Hayward, you are absolutely correct about the LP and 9/11. Before the war I thought of Libertarians as close cousins, a bit odd on a few issues like foreign policy and not nearly concerned enough about maintaining our culture, but then came the war and their opposition to it. This forced me to do a deep study of Libertarianism...I quickly dubbed them "Rousseau’s step-children." They embrace most of Rousseau’s crazy ideas, but their instinctive hatred of authority and radical individualism prevents them from becoming totalitarians like Rousseau’s "natural" descendants (i.e., Liberals). In short, except for our (general) agreement on market capitalism and the Bill of Rights, Conservatives and Libertarians don’t have that much in common. I’ve come to see Libertarians and Liberals in the same light...unrealistic, prone to radicalism, and completely misguided in their understandings of human nature.

Goodbye Cato Institute...I hardly knew ye.

Dain- Glad you’re back! I was getting concerned. Really.

Rather addicting, am I not?

And an acquired taste, to boot.

Nope, more like crack - no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

MES, are you always this ’cranky’ (pun intended!).

Well, I’m frequently accused of holding libertarian views, but I can’t stomach the LP either. I attended an LP state convention once, and there were far too many crackpots and conspiracy theorists. And I agree that a lot of libertarians sounded like Chomsky after 9/11. I don’t think that’s true of the Cato Institute, though. As I recall, they supported the war in Afghanistan. They opposed the Iraq war, of course, but then again so did a lot folks whose opinion I respect. Opposition to that war hardly makes one a radical.

Cato is on the sensible side of libertarianism, but I thought their general failure to support Bush on Iraq displayed a certain narrowness of vision (blinkered, in fact). And the more I thought about how they view "the market," the more I realized that their views were quasi-religious...an abiding faith in the invisible hand (even though Smith did not agree that the market was the answer to everything). Conservatives, on the other hand, view humanity as deeply flawed and in desperate need of tried-and-true social institutions to give life wholesome parameters/meanings and to control baser appetites. I do think that conservatives and libertarians(heck, maybe even liberals) want the "good life" for humanity, but I think the conservative view is far closer to the truth of what is needed to achieve it. Liberals tearing down institutions, and libertarians ignoring them, just won’t cut it.

Why do these young Muslim college students go on to become suicide terrorists? I think they are looking for identity, a system of cultural meanings that "the market" just doesn’t provide (but Islam does). I sure wish Libertarians would see the light and disavow this foolish view of humans as homo economicus (an error that Rousseau’s rightful children also make). Jesus was right...Man lives by more than bread alone.

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