Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Noonan on Obama and Bush

Peggy Noonan has spent some time in airports, as (recently) have I. She thinks that her fellow travelers wonder whether Obama "gets" America and knows that the people she has been visiting are over George W. Bush.

I finally understand the party nostalgia for Reagan. Everyone speaks of him now, but it wasn’t that way in 2000, or 1992, or 1996, or even ’04.

I think it is a manifestation of dislike for and disappointment in Mr. Bush. It is a turning away that is a turning back. It is a looking back to conservatism when conservatism was clear, knew what it was, was grounded in the facts of the world.

The reasons for the quiet break with Mr. Bush: spending, they say first, growth in the power and size of government, Iraq. I imagine some of this: a fine and bitter conservative sense that he has never had to stand in his stockinged feet at the airport holding the bin, being harassed. He has never had to live in the world he helped make, the one where grandma’s hip replacement is setting off the beeper here and the child is crying there.

The last bit is a little unfair. We stand in lines and endure the indignities of the TSA not because of Iraq, but becuase of 9-11. Unfortunately, for better or worse, Iraq has made us forget 9-11, or rather our response to the latter is filtered through our opinion of the former. And whatever one can say about the decision to invade Iraq or about the reasons for finishing the "job," once it has been undertaken, the demoralized confusion of those of us trudging through the concourses is the President’s fault.

Discussions - 26 Comments

You meant to conclude with "is not the president's fault," right?

Noonan's prose prompts two propositions for a Friday afternoon:

1) A political stance defined by anti-Bushism, whether of the shrill Democrat variety or of the "true conservatives oppose Bush" variety, is no stance at all, and provides us with no guidance. Too much political thinking, right and left, has taken complacent refuge in "not-Bush" and "if it wasn't for Bush" formulas. It is a complacency that refuses to admit that the choices Bush faced were not ones that could have been eluded.

2) A couple of years into McCain or (especially) Obama, Bush is going to look a lot better, despite many flaws. Conservatives will have to admit that of all the presidents post-FDR, none but Reagan was better for America.

Have at it.

We bear with such indignities because we refuse to unleash and unload on our enemies. We know exactly which group we have been guarding ourselves from for decades now, when it began with the PLO and skyjackings in the mid 1960s.

Modern terrorism is a phenemnon wholly oriented around islam. Sure there were Leftist anarchists. But not in the numbers to warrant this intrusive security regime we've established, and what's more, that security regime is nothing to what it will be a couple decades hence.

And you're wrong too to try to exempt Bush and his White House for the confusion now regnant throughout party.

As I mentioned on this blog years ago, no one rallies to an uncertain trumphet. And what is the Bush family, father, son, Jeb, but an uncertain trumphet braying out across the fruited plain.

Reagan left clarity in his wake because he had clarity in his soul. The Bush family has left confusion and wreckage in their wake, because that is what exists in their soul.

Sad, but all too true.

And we can't shy away from that brutal, brutal assessment, simply because it might be bad form. We can't give guys who assisted in the disseminantion of such confusion, guys like Tony Snow for instance, a pass, simply because we prefer to be pleasant in our social relations.

We need to start airing things out in private, and in public. That's the only way we'll ever find our way back to clarity, and we need clarity if we are to regain majority status. And we'll need that clarity too, if we are to understand what majority status exists for and what is to be done with it.

And Carl, guys like Gingrich and Santorum have guidance to offer, but they can't override the President, they haven't position or authority to act. So people who are wholly lost, people like Karen Hughes, Andy Card and Condi Rice have been able to guide the nation's affairs, much to the nation's dismay.

"True" Conservatives aren't wanting for knowledge of what to do, they know exactly what to do. Their problem is the growing chasm between themselves and the GOP establishment.


I think the demoralized confusion to which I referred is the President's fault in at least two respects.

First, there's his ultimate responsibility for the execution of the war plans, for which he's also ultimately responsible. Even the most ardent supporter of the war in Iraq can't deny that avoidable mistakes were made on the way to our current situation.

Second, the Bush Administration has been unable consistently and effectively to articulate a compelling explanation and defense of its policy. There have been a few good-to-great speeches, but there have also been awkward silences and missed opportunities.

I participated in a blogger conference call with Douglas Feith earlier today and will have more to say later on this subject.

Carl, the Bush administration was more than "unable" to communicate effectively, they were rather unwilling. And part of that flowed from the fact that they had little to communicate.

Let's take a look at the issue of energy. They came in cobbling together an energy reform proposal. But how seriously did they take that issue when they allowed Karen Hughes to edit and rewrite it. When you allow people like Karen Hughes to rewrite SUBSTANTIVE policy proposals, it's difficult then to be credited with having serious policy positions and legislative ambitions.

Speeches alone mean nothing. Presidents are judged on policy, and the extent to which their views and visions were implemented and executed. Churchill isn't recalled because of his philippics in the well of the Commons. He's recalled as a Champion of the West, a defender of the faith, if you will.

It's Libs who focus on speeches, Conservatives look to accomplishments.

I've made a mistake. That last comment wasn't addressed to Carl, it was addressed to JK's response to Carl.

The Bush administration can't be defended by observing they had a flawed and failed communication effort. It was way beyond that. That contributed to be sure.

The last bit is a little unfair.

Oh no, it was understated. If I had a 5 minute audience with the president, it is THIS issue I would bring up - this image: My 89 year old, stroke victim grandmother standing in her socks with her arms out at the airport. My grandfather who flew a B-17 against Germany must be rolling over in his grave.

It pisses me off to no end - it reveals the utter lack of competence of this supposedly "conservative" president. It is stupid beyond belief...

I agree with Dan on the extent of Bush's failure, but here's a question: putting aside the Bush administration's sheer incompetence in executing specific tasks, is there any other plausible Republican president who would have had a more coherent conservative political and strategic vision, or greater ability to communicate that vision to the public? I'm not saying that Bush was good at forming or articulating a vision, only that the alternatives to him in the Republican party since Reagan have not been noticeably better. Remember, in 1996, we nominated Bob Dole (the main alternative, I suppose, was the now forgotten Lamar!), and in 2000, Bush's main GOP opponent was McCain, whose conservatism, to the extent genuine, appears to be limited to support for winning in Iraq. In Congress, aside from Gingrich (who, notwithstanding his intelligence and creativity, has never been a realistic Presidential prospect), the GOP has been led by hacks (e.g., Tom DeLay, Denny Hastert), assisted by the occasional delusional libertarian (Dick Armey) and social conservative (Santorum and Brownback - both good men, but neither having any chance of becoming president).

I think the GOP has a serious problem in the quality of its political leaders, and would have that problem if the Bush family had emigrated to Australia in 1950.

Aside from the continued ill-concealed mooning for Obama -- in which Peggy is hardly unique on the right -- this is an outstanding column. Surely one of the year's best, by anyone.

So long as we tolerate incompetence, that's what we'll get. When we start expecting, nay, DEMANDING more, that's when we'll start seeing it appear.

We have to stop rationalizing incompetence. We have to stop rationalizing the behavior of a guy like Kyl, who promised no amnesty during reelection in '06, then immediately started work on an amnesty program when he won reelection. He needs to be howled down when he returns home. Why weren't there thousands of people gathering around his home when he returned to Arizona after his shameful violation of their trust.

Democracy depends upon honesty from those seeking high office. Lies and falsehoods bring the whole system of self-governance into disrepute. The people can't exercise audit when they're being deceived, when they're being lied to, when they're being manipulated.

The Bush administration quietly declared out-in-out war upon American Conservativism, all the while relying upon American Conservative support in that ongoing war effort, and here I'm talking the war against American Conservativism. Peggy Noonan said he filed for divorce from us. But that's too genteel. He declated war on the remaining vestiges of Reaganism within the party.

And then guys like Tony Snow lent their assistance to Bush, by veiling him, covering for him, conjuring up one falsehood after another just to stave off Conservative outrage.

What then is there to say about Tony Snow's tenure? He knowingly participated in a fraud against the American people, on issues of incredible moment. That's what he did. I know it's distasteful to ponder it. But that's what he did. So what are we to do? How are we to respond to this violation of public trust? I throw it out there to all of you. How will we ever get any better public servants if we provide a warm welcome afterwards to those who violated our trust?

Should such a man be applauded at Conservative gatherings? Should his political wrongdoing be excused, be overlooked?

What of Condi? How should Conservatives react when Condi gets out there on the speaking circuit? Should she too get applauded to the heavens by Conservatives?

We can't just be outraged by Bush. We have to find a way to express our enduring distaste with him, with them, and we have to do that after they leave office. No more passes. No more pretending that they did their best. No more pretending that they were one of us. Enough of the falsehoods, enough of the false friendliness, enough of the play acting.

When an administration doesn't simply turn its back on certain Conservative positions, but declares war against American Conservativism, ----------------------------------- then there is only one choice for men of honour within that administration, and that's a public resignation, a public display of complete disagreement with existing policy.

That's what Duff Cooper did.

Why do you think that David Frum cleared out so early? He saw it all coming, and made sure that he was on the outside so that he could raise his voice against the imminent insanity.

Many of those that held high office in the Bush 2d term need to be ostracized by Conservatives. They need to feel for some time the sting of disapproval from American Conservatives, at least until such time as they utter a PUBLIC apology and offer a PUBLIC explanation for their incompetence.

There has to be a point where such great incompetence in public office, where so clear a violation of public trust MUST be answered with private and social rejection by the citizenry. Otherwise we risk the widening of the chasm that already exists between those outside the Beltway and those within. And that chasm is already too great. They've left us with no choice. We can't just pretend that nothing happened; we can't just pretend that all is fine; that they did a great job.

Nixon went into the dog house for about a decade. We need to send a good chunk of the men and the women of the Bush 2d term to that very same dog house.

Noonan forgets the MIT study/argument detailing why we can't simply harrass those who look arab/terrorist. In addition to this her contempt for Bush is basically grounded in the same contempt Obama has for washington politics, the idea that these politicians travel around in private jets and rarely if ever fly coach...Obama actually makes a big point of this in The Audacity of Hope.

But if the blame is to fall on George Bush then the blame should fall upon those who sold George Bush, and those who sold George Bush are essentially the same ones who will sell McCain.

The main problem is that Dan is partially right, the bigger problem is that Dan doesn't understand Hegel. He makes the same error in regards to Islam as he makes in regard to politics, an error I make and an error all americans and perhaps all people make from time to time. We confuse Christianity with Christians, Islam with Muslims and conservatives with Republican office holders, and yet we don't consider that the purely abstract principle is never in existance.

It is in some ways insane to read what Dan is saying especially given the nomination of McCain who is supposedly not a conservative...Suppose I point out to Noonan that George Bush embodied the concrete manifestation of Conservatism from 2000 to 2008, any attempt to deny this must present conservatism only as pure abstract principle or concede that it only finds true expression in candidates that have no chance of ever becomming president.

Just as Hegel says that the state is morality in so far as morality exists on earth at the time, so to might he say that the republican party and its politicians are conservatism in so far as conservatism exists on earth at the time.

Now some have said that Obama is a product of the 60's, Obama himself admits that this is a partial truth in the audacity of hope. Others have said that Obama is an elitist victim, which is an altogether interesting way of repeating that he is a product of the 60's, that is Obama is completly guided by the World Spirit. There is in Obama no originality that infuses into the Idea what was not in it before he appeared. Interestingly enough the hero in Hegel is an elitist victim of sorts.

The American Hegelian Walt Whitman said: "In the future of these States must arise poets immenser far...poets not only possessed of the religious fire and abandon of Isaiah....but consistent with the Hegelian formulas."

My second proposition was: "Conservatives will have to admit that of all the presidents post-FDR, none but Reagan was better for America." Assuming major McCain trouble (from a conservative perspective) if we're lucky enough to get him elected, isn't this bound to be true? Without a doubt, George W. Bush stands as one of the least competent presidents of the post WWII period, with Joe's two undeniably true points being exhibits A and B, but was not the domestic policy competence (i.e., ability to get laws passed, win public support for these) of the Democratic presidents generally for the worse of the country? Don't conservatives have to say that Eisenhower, Bush I, Bush II, that these are the sorts of mixed-bags and mediocrities that protected us from far-worse alternatives?

Visualize President John Kerry.

Imagine Commander-in-Chief Al Gore's ongoing negociations with Saddam Hussein's permanent dynasty.

Calculate the tax differences, the economic policy differences. Do make the case for why a Kerry or Gore presidency would have prevent the current slide towards recession.

Need I mention the Supreme Court?

But enough of this. Because, again, once we have Obama as President, there is going to be detail after detail that is going to make us miss Bush's lackluster but nonetheless adult presidency.

As for McCain, we'll see...

The bitterness against Bush is merited only in terms of what could have been...but honestly, that "could have been" would have required a different man from the get-go. And it also needs saying that heading up against an in most-ways more socially liberal younger generation, and an increasing inability, stoked by the MSM and the universities, of Americans of all ages to REASON about foreign affairs, that even a Reagan elected in 2000 would be leaving to his Repblican succesors a Democrat-leaning populace. We are fooling ourselves if we think the current advantages of the other side are primarily due to the personality and administration of one man. True, the truly Right Man might have worked the wonders of genuine political leadership. But we did not have that man. Seldom in modern politics do you wind up with that man.

And finally, my first proposition stands unchallenged, that there is precious little guidance to be found in the resolution to not do like George W. Bush did. My political thinking can derive nothing from learning that I should dislike Tony Snow forever and that the people of Lubbock don't like Bush anymore. And until Noonan can supply evidence that an ethnicity-profiling system for airport searches could win the sustained support of 60% of Americans, and without provoking a sustained and passionate rejection in the remaining 40%, it looks like I have nothing to learn from the ridiculous aspects of our airport security policies.

It's interesting that Noonan (and to some extent, presumably, Mr. Knippenberg) imagines bitter conservatives as those suffering the indignities of the security line at the airport. (boohoo) Very revealing, I think. She might well be correct that this is the "conservative sense", but considering that a very large portion of Americans - especially those from the lower-class and many of the working and middle-class as well - can only dream of affording a plane ticket, or paying for any trip that requires a flight (or more than a tank or two of gas), this doesn't seem to mesh that well with the notion that the wealthy elites are the liberals, while the GOP is the party of the average working (note: NOT blogging) Joe. There are still plenty of Americans who've never been on an airplane, and even more who haven't (for a variety of reasons) stepped foot in an airport since 9/11. The indignities of the security pat-down in one's socks, and the "the demoralized confusion of those of us trudging through the concourses" is, in itself, a world apart from that of many, many Americans - whether it's a world they're interested in being a part of or not. While casual mentions of frequent flyer miles, and the reality of the think tank or uni springing for airfare (be it coach or 1st class) are part and parcel of the NLT realm, plenty of Americans would be overjoyed if they could take a trip by plane once every 5-10 years.

Also, if one feels there's "demoralized confusion" to be had "trudging through the concourses" I can bet there's at least one place on Earth that would put such affliction into its proper perspective. It doesn't bother me nearly as much that Bush hasn't trudged through airport concourses in a state of demoralized confusion as it does that he hasn't trudged through hellish warscapes in a state well beyond demoralized confusion - something he's imposing on others without adequate justification.

Noonan used to love GW, but when he turned against Conservativism in his 2d term, and declared open hostilities against the Reagan coalition, ---------------- that's when he lost Noonan. It wasn't long afterwards that she observed that America had "turned off" the President. At the time she was ripped by many Republicans for that piece, for their were many still defending Bush. But events and time have proven the prescience of her observations.

There's a typo there. One sentence should read: "At the time she was ripped by many Republicans for that piece, for there were many still defending Bush."

That was the period when the enchantment still held. Many a Conservative was still in denial, still defending an administration working against them and their interests. Instead of critiquing Bush and seeking to change his ways, such in-denial-Conservative were attacking fellow Conservatives for having the temerity to go after their beloved leader, who was we were endlessly told, "a war time President."

Just about everything Frum and Noonan said about Bush and his administration, which met with initial rejection, harsh rejection, is now accepted as Gospel within Conservative ranks.

Dan opines: "Reagan left clarity in his wake because he had clarity in his soul. The Bush family has left confusion and wreckage in their wake, because that is what exists in their soul."

My take: Hero worship tends to turn otherwise intelligent people like Dan into pathetic blithering idiots.

Here is the REASON (or accepted model) for why our airport security is the way it is. Carnival Booth: An Algorithm for defeating the Computer-Assisted Passenger Screening System.

I think it is interesting to see how Barack Obama speaks of his meeting with the president as recounted in the Audacity of Hope. According to Obama president Bush warns him:

"You've got a bright future," he said. "Very bright. But I've been in this town awhile and, let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunnin' for ya. And it won't necessarily just be coming from my side, you understand. From yours, too. Everybody'll be waiting for you to slip, know what I mean? So watch yourself." Obama: "Thanks for the advice, Mr. President." Bush: "All right. I gotta get going. You know, me and you got something in common." Obama: "What's that?" Bush: "We both had to debate Alan Keyes. That guy's a piece of work, isn't he?"

This dialogue between Bush and Obama is interesting and not altogether off point, because if one is to argue that George Bush is not the embodiment of conservatism, then it is somewhat more difficult to argue that Alan Keyes isn't, and if Alan Keyes isn't then Hegel's observation that purely abstract principle is never in existance returns with full force. In fact we don't really understand Obama until we understand what he does and doesn't like about Alan Keyes, and also the fact that Alan Keyes does in fact trouble him deeply, just as the more extreme marxists and ideologues trouble him.

I don't hero worship Reagan. I faulted him then. It's just that in retrospect it's clear that he got far more right than many of his critics, including me. And my ego is sufficiently disengaged from the fray to acknowledge as much.

As for the men of the Bush family leaving wreckage in their wake, ---------------------------- what more evidence does one need?

I don't hero worship, and those few heroes that I have are guys like Nelson, MacArthur and Lee. Those are the kinds of guys I'd be vulnerable to for hero worship. But not for politicians, whose trade is manipulation. And not for Reagan, who allowed his domestic initiatives to dwindle in his 2d term. He rapidly became a domestic caretaker of a President in his 2d term. In foreign affairs, that wasn't the case, but in domestic, it was.

Dude, you don't know spit about me to go tossing around some comment like that. I've been accused of many things in my sojourn on this planet, but being slow on the uptake was never one of them. Not even close.

However I thank you for at least noting that "otherwise" I'm an intelligent person. I can't help but laugh at that one, {of course that may be because I've had a few...}.

But still, you don't have enough information for that line. Remember Sherlock Holmes' declaration, where he said he couldn't "make bricks without straw." So cut me some slack.

It's clear that I've turned against Bush with a vengeance. But I'm not the only one. I did it earlier than most Conservatives to be sure, but I wasn't in the vanguard, people like David Frum and Peggy Noonan were trailblazing before me. I began to sense a tremor in the force when Bush allowed the Democrats to get away from a declaration of war, and allowed them to skate by with a mere mandate for hostilities. A declaration of hostilities wasn't legally required, but it was a psychological threshold, and for that reason alone, Bush should have demanded it. But he was in such a hurry for bipartisanship that he never gave such a thing a thought. He was so damned eager to court Daschle, to draw Democrats into the war effort, that he never seriously considered that a declaration of war was much more onerous for a Democrat to skate away from.

But this is all after the fact. We can't undo the past, we can't re-chart the Bush presidency. All we can do is go forward from here, with a flawed candidate, a party in disarray, and a platform that needs to be thrashed out and adhered to. We have to draw the best from the Reagan/Gingrich victories, we have to explain ourselves once again to America.

And in that explanation, explain America once more to Americans. There was a point where Reagan's Conservatism happily coincided with all things American. We have to go back out there and make our case. And this time, we have to do it carrying John McCain on our back, for he isn't going to help us in our efforts. In fact, it's not unlikely that he'll try to hinder us in our task.

Dan responds: "As for the men of the Bush family leaving wreckage in their wake, ---------------------------- what more evidence does one need?"

My take: No more 9/11s comes to mind.

Dan whines: Dude, you don't know spit about me to go tossing around some comment like that.

My take: Sigh. Point made.

13: Carl, aside from our disagreement about profiling -- I'm for it -- your comments are very sensible. Dittoes.

17: Interesting to see Bush's remarks to Obama, if they're accurately reported. I'm sure Bush is very sympathetic to him. While it's understandable why he'd like Obama better than Keyes, he shouldn't be talking as if, relative to Keyes, they are on the same side. He also shouldn't be giving Obama advice, especially since he did indeed, and may still, have a bright future. Typical Bush, for sure.

What a sad, depressing thread...

Yeah, Bush, like all Presidents, is nice, convenient, and safe, whipping post for the dissatisfied et al. One of Bush's own campaign themes against his detractors in 2004 was spirited optimism in the face of their nonsensical "litiany of complaints" mantra.

Alas, we've seemed to have adopted the detractors theme as our own. Bush sucks, so let's all just get over it, as Noonan declares.

Nah. Not me, anyway. There's just too much good happening out there in the world to cash in the chips... Reagan is still smiling....

Too bad John McCain wears such an ugly frown, eh?

Oh please.

To go through the litany of Bush blunders is to make a thread a depressing one. The case against Bush is so rock solid, air tight, that it doesn't require being made anymore. It's a given. It's the point of departure; it's not something at issue; it's not moot; it's settled. Final judgement has come in against the Bush presidency, and the judgement was unfavourable.

If details you desire, go check out David Frum's archives. Go check out the archives of NR and see how their respect of him turned into derision.

That's not me. I never wished Bush to fail. I campaigned for him. I voted for him; I blogged in defense of him. I overlooked a multitude of sins, hopeful that in the end all would come right. But there's no excuse for something like the Dubai Ports deal, whereby the creepy regime in Dubai could use American ports to launder their ill-gotten gains. Gains acquired through deals with the Iranians for instance, or deals with the AQ Khan network. The details of which Dubai has NEVER come clean with us or Interpol about.

What excuse is there for putting a Texas groupie on the most prestigious court in Anglo-American jurisprudence. The nomination, just the nomination alone, was a massive insult to the American Bar.

What are we to make of Annapolis? You'll recall that "Peace" summit where the Arabs were allowed to come through one door like human beings, whereas Jews were ushered in the side, like the help, lest they taint the other participants at the meeting. How are we to excuse that? How are we ever to live down the shame of that? The party of Lincoln now validated the evil anti-semitism of the Arabs, and it wasn't Carter that did it, it wasn't Clinton. It was Bush. It was Condi. Who would dare defend such a thing?

Or what of the recent idiocy emanating from Condi's State Department, where the use of jihad and jihadist has been banned. What of that?

Or what of an administration that causes famine by whacked out energy policies, that it signs with great fanfare, and then when famine and food riots results, tosses a band aid at the problem via 20 million in increased food aid.

These are just some cursory items in the bill of particulars. What we really need is the American equivalent to The Grand Remonstrance.

Gasoline was $1.25 a gallon when he came in, and it will likely exceed $4.00 per gallon when he leaves. Is that more evidence of success? Is that something to be proud of, is that something that we Republicans will recall with pride in the decades to come?

He came in with a federal budget of 1.6 trillion per annum. He'll leave having doubled it to roughly 3.2 trillion, again PER ANNUM.

Defend that if you will. I refuse to. I damn it all as a piece of one of the most disastrous presidencies in American history. In the course of a single term, the 2d, Bush almost did his level best to exceed the dubious record of James Earl Carter.

The parallels between the tenure of LBJ and GW are striking. Incompetent war effort, over ambitious domestic spending, runaway inflation, plunging dollar. Communicative incompetence. Texan swagger masking inner insecurities and incompetencies. And that's the charitable take.

I could continue on this vein all day and all night. And never exhaust it.

Take a look at North Korea. Who is telling the American people the truth? Bush, or Bolton? Who do you trust to speak the truth on American foreign policy, Bush and Condi, or Bolton and Frum? It's a no-brainer.

Bush makes me embarrassed to be a Republican.

My take: Hero worship tends to turn otherwise intelligent people like Dan into pathetic blithering idiots.

Your take sucks canal water. Your take does not matter because instead of treating people with common decency you stoop to "blithering idiots", which simply shows you are one.

Dan's point stands. Reagan had a clarity that Bush does not, at least when it comes to governance. I have appreciated Bush's conservative stand on stem cells, but the rest of his "conservativism" is incoherent at best, liberal at worst...

Bush makes me embarrassed to be a Republican.

You have to expand that to Republican leadership in general. Much of what you list took a determined effort of non-conservative House and Senate members. In other words, it took the REAL Republican party which is = to the libertarian business interest, country clubbers.

We Republicans have been fooling ourselves that the conservative movement within the party has real influence. It does not, and the Republican failure since 94 is exhibit A.

Once you realize this, you will unhitch your conservative aspirations from the GOP because it simply is not the vehicle for them, never has been, and will never be short of a complete ouster of the country clubbers who actually lead and control and govern. THAT would be a miracle, something I give less of a chance of happening than a the rise of a real conservative 3rd party.

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