Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More Wisdom from Free Frank

You have to check Frank out this morning.

He explains, as he does in the thread below, that Maliki is making Obama better, more flexible and prudent when it comes to a deadline for withdrawal. This will help America and Iraq win the war, and Barack win the election. And the Democratic activists won’t be able to do anything about it. Let me repeat: Obama isn’t going to defeat himself. Maliki, of course, wouldn’t be where he is if he weren’t quite an able Machiavellian.

And Frank contributes to BATMAN STUDIES by offering the interpretation that the new Caped Crusader IS George W. Bush. He’s displaying the president’s fortitude and courage in defense of freedom. Wayne and Bush are above not only money but honor. They’re willing to be mistaken for vigilantes to protect political freedom against terrorists. They’re so heroic that they don’t need to be recognized as heroes.

Discussions - 18 Comments


This is hilarious, sort of a neocon adolescent fantasy projection. The celebration of the narcotic of crime fighting militarism is right out of fascist aesthetics like Junger, but in comic book form, befitting our commander's illiteracy. Sure, Bush can be Batman, but only if Will Farrell plays him.

Your support for terrorism is a disgrace.

I laughed out loud when I read the Andrew Klavan piece this morning. What a bunch of drivel--amusing drivel, nevertheless. While excoriating left-wingers for claiming that morality is nuanced and complicated, he simultaneously held that morality is straightforward and simple, yet that cruelties must be performed in the name of kindnesses, and that communities must violate their values to maintain them. Making those distinctions sounds pretty damn nuanced and complicated to me.


Is Klavan angling to be Bush's speechwriter so late in his doomed administration? That's the only possibility I can conceive.


I enjoy plugging into NLT these days, if only to see the waning death throes of neocon thought. The neocons portraying their heroes in comic book forms, Iron Man, the Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-man, Superman, Batman, Fantastic Four, betray a kind of anxiety. With the abject failure of the Bush administration, the neocon-subject is left in veto, denied of the past unique identity comprised of a coherent, continual stream of consciousness. The denial of affect obstructs the modern temporality linked to the memory and compassion that each individual subject employs in the reading of modernist narratives. To paralyse time is to destroy an organizing system that the subject used cognitively to establish him/herself as a unique and stable nucleus around which his neocon society operated. This temporal paralysis yields a fragmented, decentred, unstable subject. Like Bush himself, the neocon-subject is schizophrenic.
The conservatives on this site blog and watch movies and link to other blogs. In a society where one lives through a perpetual series of high and low 'intensities', sensations or passions dissociated from any event, situation or object, individual and social life pass into movie fragmentation. Neocon culture becomes pastiche. The difficulty of deriving new styles, accompanied by the lack of individualism, pushes neocons into a terminal repetition of lost styles. Their pastiche is the re-emergence and perpetuation of past modern cultural styles to the point of a stagnation. This repetition of modern styles does not, however, constitute a 'style' of its own. The modernist notion of style is predicated upon the idea that the creations of unique individuals were granted authenticity by virtue of their very originality. Pastiche as repetitive imitation is founded upon a copy or imitation of an original and not itself grounded in an original. With the meaninglessness of the Bush administration now in full bloom, the neocon has nowhere to turn but reflexively back upon the institution of modern movie styles thus losing themselves within the continual circulation of simulated impersonation.
Bush as Batman is indicative of a deep pathology, as pastiche is the empty and superficial imitation of styles, the transformation of past oeuvre into pure images. We have reached the bottom: The comic book president is defended with comic book thinking.

Why are you insulting the memory of Lucius Stertinius? A man of deeds, who knew exactly what needed to be done with savages along the far-flung frontiers of civilization.

Why the pseudonyms? You could at least use your Christian name, instead of these handles from antiquity. Diogenes, Stertinius, --------------- what's next? Trajan, Vespasian?

I must say I sympathize with the anti-comic book snobbiness reflected in this thread. I for one am certainly not going to the movie, and will save my spiritedness for the real world. On the other hand, the lefties project their fantasies onto the child Obama. Now, about the Machiavellian Malaki and the child Obama, I think Gerard Baker had it right yesterday. When the Child came to al Malaki, all of a sudden the war was won. This not only puts Malaki into the driver's seat if the child become the jefe of the world, as Charles of Krauthammer has said, but opens up a hole in Obama's "narrative" about the WAR big enough for even McCain to drive a truck through.

Yes. Creepily similar . . .

Batman or Bush?

Speaking of creepily similar, Stertinius's post and this.

At this rate, I expect Lawler to promote himself to full "Obamacon" status. Skip the striptease and be done with it, professor.

Several points

1. Maliki's comment on Obama's timeline was intended to make Obama more prudent. Whether it actually made Obama more prudent will be tested in the event of an Obama administration. I wish I was convinced.

2. Mr. Warner wrote on his blog that the Democrats would rather win the war than lose an election. Very true, but by January, President Obama will have already won the election. To some extent this would allow Obama to govern as he would want - and this might be closer to the desires of Democratic activists rather than Maliki.

3. But Obama would have to be politically stupid or fanatical to give up a war mostly won right? Maybe not. Say that in Spring 2009 insurgets launch a series of car bombs that kill several dozen American soldiers and maybe take a couple prisoner. President Obama makes some outraged noises, but orders American troops pulled back from exposed positions and after several months announces a speeded up withdrawl timeline. Sound familiar? Thats pretty much what President Clinton did in Somalia. What political price did Clinton ever pay? Of course the US is still paying the price in that terrorists around the world learned the lesson that the US can be worn down. Mr. Warner's analysis is based on the notion that by January 2009, the war will be on a path that will make the John McCain strategy (pull troops out, but only as Iraqi security allows)so clearly the best and easiest strategy, that even Obama will go along with it. I fear that by 2009, courage, resolution, and a clear sense of the importance of victory in Iraq might still prove crucial to maintaining the right policy.

Pete, Obvious you're right. That's one reason, although not the most important one, why it'd be very scary if Obama won. But to repeat a repetition: He won't beat himself.

About the Bush/Batman comparison: it seems to me that the Dark Knight seems to stress that there are evil men in the world who must be confronted by good men (or at least rough men) in order to protect everyone else. Incidentally, Team America had the same view. In both movies the protector is not appreciated, and even hated (the Dark Knight actually developes that theme a little more by making it seem as though Batman's actions as a protector are bringing more evil than they are stopping). I think that a) this theme is pretty obvious throughout both movies, and b) it really does seem to correlate with what's going on today in the world. I don't think we're projecting what we want to see onto the movie, I think it's pretty obvious.

Andrew astudely adds a point of comparison: The movie thought is that it could be that both Batman and Bush have, despite their intentions, caused more evil than they're stopping.

Another theme in the Gothic Knight that hasn't really been stressed is the importance of deception. For example:

- Batman and Gordon "cover-up" how Harvey Dent embraced the dark side, leaving the people of Gotham with the memory of a White Knight, instead of leaving them with the truth,{compare this episode to the aftermath of the death of former NFL player Pat Tilman...};

- Gordon lies to his wife and even fakes his own death to his kids; He also fakes his death to just about everyone else; additionally, he DELIBERATELY keeps the DA's office outside the loop, refusing to give them key information about what he's planning, {didn't the DA's office have a right to that information?};

- Of course Bruce Wayne continues to veil his alter-ego, Batman, despite pressure to dislose it;

- And Alfred burns the letter from Rachel, figuring that it's better that Bruce believe the girl was going to spend the rest of her existence with him, instead of knowing the truth, that in the end she rejected him.

Deception all across the board, and all designed to serve a better end.

It’s sad that it took talk of a comic book movie to coax an appeaser out of the darkness. Faced with the liberation of 50 million people but unable to celebrate freedom, Stertinius reveals himself as the hyper-conservative, so right-wing he was willing to have Saddam Hussein, the Islamists and their ilk torture, repress and murder forever. Stertinius struggles for words that don’t reveal his selfish cynicism. Unable to use “comprise” properly, he falls back on “pastiche” repetitively. Instead of making a new point, he describes as “abject failure” the recently hard and successful work of overturning tyranny and replacing it with democracy. In a pseudo-liberal pretense of analysis, Stertinius attacks liberation with a pastiche of fascist propaganda and Communist slogans. We’ve heard it all before. It’s nonsense like this that keeps half the world in chains.


Appeaser! Celebrate freedom! Pow, Batman! Overturn tyranny! Wham! It is selfish cynicism not to launch a pre-emptive war! Ka-pow! Holy mullah, Batman! Embolden the enemy! Wham! Bring 'em on! Mission accomplished!

The modernist notion of style is predicated upon the idea that the creations of unique individuals were granted authenticity by virtue of their very originality.

Good old "authenticity", the last refuge of the cookie-cutter adolescent left.

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