“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, October 23, 2006


Kinky Friedman for Governor of Texas

The very interesting English newspaper, The Independent, has a fun article on the interesting race for Governor of Texas.
When a Jewish country music singer and political virgin entered the race to become Governor of Texas with the slogan 'How Hard Can It Be?', people thought he was joking. Eighteen months (and a slew of high-profile political scandals) later, Kinky Friedman has become a genuine contender in an election battle that has excited and delighted voters across America.

Friedman has stayed true to the opening battle cry of his campaign - "Why the hell not?" - giving the whole system a jolt of reckless possibility. The joke is on everyone: career politicians, corporate lobbyists, Christian fundamentalists, liberals, moralists and the numerous friends and foes of George Bush. Friedman, with his dry, gravelly voice and impeccable timing born of years on the stand-up comedy circuit, unfailingly skewers them all. His one-liner about the President is that he is "a good man trapped in a Republican's body"; politics in general, he says, is the only profession where the more experience you have, the worse you get.
The highlights of the article include:

  • "Currently it is legal to buy a .357 Magnum at Wal-Mart, but I can't buy a techno french tickler at my local Walgreens. Where's the logic?"
  • "Here's my definition of politics, 'Poly' means more than one, and 'ticks' are blood-sucking parasites."
  • "A fool and his money are soon elected."
  • "Friedman's just another word for nothing left to lose."
  • "I'm not pro-life. I'm not pro-choice. I'm pro-football."
  • "They ain't makin' Jews like Jesus any more."
  • "The two-party system is destroying the soul of this country,"
  • Friedman when urged to drop out of the race and throw his support behind the Democratic Party campaign responded, "We don't negotiate with terrorists."
  • When Friedman was given an ultimatum of sorts by the NAACP for making a remark using the word, 'negro": apologise for what you've said, and we will invite you to speak at our convention, he turned the offer down flat. "Tell them I don't apologise to people who try to intimidate. I don't apologise to people with an agenda. I never apologise for the truth. And the truth here is that racists come in many different colours. Texas is my country, truth is my religion - and fuck 'em, fuck 'em if they can't take a joke."
  • "It's the cowboy ethic that's been lost," he says. "The cowboy didn't create the Texas that people talk about now. The cowboy has never been a bully. Cowboys always stood up for the little fella."
  • "I'm a Jew," he jokes, "I'll hire good people."
  • But Friedman often quotes Horace Walpole: "Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think."
  • His closest campaign aide is a former band-member who goes by the name of Little Jewford. ("He's a Jew, and he drives a Ford," Friedman explains.)
  • Willie Nelson, the veteran country singer and alternative fuels advocate will be his energy tsar.
The Independent


  1. ...the best thing to read on a Monday morning! : )

    ...absolutely marvelous - I hope he wins!

  2. Rethinking Iraq

    Of limitations imposed on possible Iraq scenarios, Jeb Babbin writes,
    “An independent Kurdistan -- the presumed northern section -- would violate the agreement President Bush made with Turkey before the invasion.”

    If Babbin is correct about a pre-invasion agreement with Turkey, what did the US get from the deal? Certainly not the free passage of the 4th ID into Iraq via Turkey, we all recall. So, what was the payoff of a deal so detrimental to the Kurds?

  3. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

  4. Goodwill, Allen, Goodwill.
    New Tone, you know.
    One reason these questions can be elided is that in Iraq, the media have adopted the strange practice of not naming the perpetrators of killings — unless the perpetrators might happen to be Americans. As the scholar Michael Rubin has pointed out, the use of the passive voice in the media has become routine. For example, a recent McClatchy story read: “Nearly 2,700 Iraqi civilians were killed in the city in September.”

    “Well, who killed them?” Rubin asks. “Baathist insurgents or Iranian-backed militias? If the public read that Iranian-backed militias killed nearly 2700 civilians, we might be less willing to reward their murderers.”

    Another example, this one from the New York Times: “Most of the 500 municipal workers who have been killed here since 2005 have been trash collectors.” Rubin notes: “Again, someone did the killing. Why hide it? It's important to know what we are up against.”

    Not identifying the killers makes it hard for people to direct outrage against them — and easy to direct it against Americans. Has there ever before been a war in which journalists have given such a gift to their country's enemies?

    But this war is different. In this war, bullets and bombs are used at least as much to send messages as to kill and maim. And the media are for manipulating. One side makes full use of these changes.

    American political leaders seem not yet to fully comprehend what they are up against; much less have they begun to respond effectively.

    — Clifford D. May

  5. "Not identifying the killers makes it hard for people to direct outrage against them"

    don't defend yourself

    They dont seem to have a problem with this identification scheme. Is this attempt at directed outrage meant to stifle preemption. I wonder how much Oil money the MSM truely receives.

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  8. Kinky seals it, I'm votin for the Librarians.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. First I had a Chevy, than I bought a Dodge. After that I had a Ford, but it got a flat.
    Damned Chevys, always let you down.

  11. Unintentionally, PoliPundit makes the case of Glenn Reynolds: “Republicans deserve to lose.” Oak Leaf writes,

    "Today CNN writes:

    A senior U.S. State Department diplomat told Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera that there is a strong possibility history will show the United States displayed “arrogance” and “stupidity” in its handling of the Iraq war."

    He follows with,

    "If they were truthful, it would have been written:

    A Clinton holdover in the U.S. State Department diplomat told Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera that there………………………."

    If Oak Leaf is so interested in full disclosure, Oak Leaf could have written,

    "A Clinton appointee in the U.S. State Department diplomat, held over and promoted by the Bush administration during the last six years, told Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera that there [...]. This interview with Al-Jazeera is just one of hundreds given by Mr. Fernandez since 9/11.”

    Given the polls, one cannot fault Oak Leaf's raising the name of the loathsome Mr. Clinton. However, if Oak Leaf must do so, he should avoid doing so in those instances, like this one, where Mr. Bush is equally execrable. The Republican base might appreciate a distinction with a difference. Otherwise, it might be insulted by an obvious con job.

    Oh, here’s a toughie: How many years must pass before a “Clinton holdover” becomes a “Bush bud?”

    Clinton holdover quoted.


  12. There's no
    accounting for taste

    US bans Vegemite

    Now, if the Federal government could find the wherewithal to ban Venezuelan and Iranian Ameriphobes.

    Oh, this just might qualify as another of Glenn Reynolds’ reasons the Republicans should not win.

  13. Over at the BC one of the last comments, by Goesh ,outlines the premise that the muzzies could take down France if they statrted burning banks and government buildings instead of cars. He ends with this."French citizens aren't armed."
    Well that is the price the progressive countries take in disarming their citizenry. We don't have that problem.
    Oh, the muzzies will hit us again, no doubt in a spectacular way. But we are armed and the killing will be harsh.
    Islamist in America, you have the eye's of Texas' Kinky on you as well as the rest of us. It is now as if we were all boarded and ready for take off. The muzzie has ten sets of eyes on him. So tread lightly and consider returning to you homeland,soon. We will not brook what the Europeans are having to choke down. You will not be able to hide. Have a nice day.

  14. I can’t help but wonder if any of the obsessive-compulsives at the Food and Drug Administration, who banned Vegemite and Marmite, are also Clinton holdovers. Maybe PoliPundit can investigate.

    The outrageous ban on Vegemite

  15. habu_1,

    More and more, it looks like an armed, angry public will have to wag the Congress to get anything done about our imported Islamic friends of Bush. Of course, if the public continues to return to Congress the same bunch of wankers who have gotten us into this mess, well...?

    It will take at least the loss of an American city or an American outpost to get a seriously pro-American party into power. That party may not be either Republican or Democrat. Whatever the future holds, history will be unkind to the current bred of polecats and their partisan true-believers.

  16. The real worry, allen, are those hold overs from Bush 41, like Justice Souter.

    Or Ronald Reagan, like Justice Kennedy.

    But Justices have life tenure, 2nd tier Ambassadors do not. They serve at the pleasure of the President.
    Oh the pleasures Mr Bush must have listening to Alberto Fernandez.
    First his State Dept defenders said he was misquoted, then not.

    But Mr Alberto Fernandez still serves the President. Must be a pleasure for Mr Bush to have
    Mr Alberto Fernandez tell Arab TV, in Arabic, that the US is guilty of "arrogance and stupidity".

    Winning those "Hearts & Minds"

  17. Mr Alberto Fernandez, he speaks for the President and US.

    Vote Republican Values
    Vote Foley '06

    Support Literacy
    Vote Librarian!

  18. "Upon reading the transcript of my appearance on Al-Jazeera, I realized that I seriously misspoke by using the phrase 'there has been arrogance and stupidity' by the U.S. in Iraq," said Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

  19. Oh, the Pleasure of the President.

  20. The way out of this situation will be for the U.S. to allow the al-Maliki government to silently shift to a policy of pacifying Iraq’s Sunni-Arab areas through de facto coercive resettlement, best done out of the view of U.S. military forces.

    Iraq’s new security forces know how to end the war in Iraq. They can start by sending home their U.S. advisors, ripping up the U.S. counterinsurgency field manual, and then drastically reorganizing Iraq’s cultural demographics.

    Westhawk link

  21. Although written in 1994 and highly critical of the Clinton administration, this paper ponders the dangers posed by a “hollowed out” military, predating Clinton. In fact most of the policies in force in 1994 were inherited by Clinton. Consequently, it is fair to say that the all too real hollowing out of the US military came as the result of policies devised and implemented by both Presidents G.H.W. Bush and Clinton.

    Who was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 – 1993, as the hollowing out was being planned and directed? Why, it was Mr. Powell, whose advocates now decry the current state of military readiness - a sad state of affairs, begun on Mr. Powell’s watch.

    Hollowing out America’s defenses

  22. DR,

    The links to Westhawk and the Weekly Standard are good ones.

  23. Allen,
    You and DR and Buddy,Rufus, Whit, and Deuce are reading from the same documents. They go back to the beginning. Some of us slice certain issues with a sharp straight edge, others prefer the serrations.
    One of the articles that resists both of these tools are the ones that say United States. I'm not for diluting my sovereignty for cheaper TV sets, or any other material item. I am not for the up and down rates on the redistribution of wealth we already have in place. Flat tax me.
    I don't think one has to be an isolationist to maintain a uniqueness known to no other nation, but we are allowing our professional classes to erode national identity for muticultural experiments and another percent on GDP for an experiment that is already failing in Europe.
    Unfortuneately I do not see the leadership or the will of a misinformed populous to change in time to avoid a clash of civilizations here, just as in Europe.
    How the ideas, in all their mutated forms, of Marxism hang on and on is beyond my understanding. I sincerely wish I could say that I see on the horizon a leader,who could lead us to bright sunlit uplands, but I do not. I see the gathering storm.

  24. d'Rat @ 10:18 AM

    It's all bone, no meat. As is Kinky Joo Friedman, btw.

  25. habu_1,

    The only glint of sunshine on the eastern horizon I see is faith that America will ultimately rise to the occasion and produce a leadership cadre up to the task of destroying the ancient enemy, Islam. As you say, the sky is black. There is no guarantee. Moreover, how many bites of the apple of good fortune does a civilization get before its desiccation?

    So long as the American public buys into empty partisanship, the enemy will gain strength from our division. Mr. Bush promised a skeptical conservative base a robust basso performance; instead, he has rendered a feeble falsetto. I go so far as to say that almost any Democrat could have done as poorly, without inflicting such consternation on the conservative base. In our peril, the best we can get from either party is empty, pathetic rhetoric, eagerly devoured by various sectaries with the hope of gaining sufficient strength to annihilate domestic adversaries.

    Given the great divide separating antithetical American cultures and an elite almost universally liberal and almost entirely corrupt, I am not entirely hopeful of a solution that leaves the West the means to win. But, win, lose, or draw, we each must do our best, wherever we find ourselves. While clichéd, sometimes it really is darkest before the dawn.

  26. Habu 11:40, I'm not sure I get what document we are reading from.

  27. I think the thing that is unique to the American experience of this generation is that the Muslims are the first generation of immigrants that have expressed reluctance to fully intergrate into US society, and based on their religion, it seems as if they cannot without leaving that religion as they know it and practice it.

    The Europeans looking at how well immigration worked for the US, made the same assumptions. We have come up with a trans-atlantic "now what?".

  28. I think the thing that is unique to the American experience of this generation is that the Muslims are the first generation of immigrants that have expressed reluctance to fully intergrate into US society, and based on their religion, it seems as if they cannot without leaving that religion as they know it and practice it.

    Are you sure? Thirty percent of Dearborn, Michigan is Arab, and there are 70,000 Arabs in NYC, but we never see intifadas going on in those places.

  29. teresita,

    Covert concessions are being made to sharia, as both Daniel Pipes and Mark Steyn have pointed out, using Muslim Minneapolis taxi drivers as examples. You may have heard that the drivers have refused transport to folk carrying alcohol or immodestly dressed. If memory services, some 80% of the air port authority drivers are Muslim.

  30. Teresita, the operable word is "fully" integrate. As recently as the last year, I had occasion to be hosted at a dinner attended by mostly Pakistani businessmen in NYC. They were gracious hosts and to all appearances very Americanized, however, they were quite adamant in their opinion that 911 was a conspiracy against Islam.

    For business purposes, I had to host and entertain them in another country. I came away from the meetings with the feeling that their loyalties, if put to the test, would not be able to get over the hurdle that Islam puts in front of them. Can I be 100% sure, no, and I hope that I am wrong.