“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."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Adversity, Defeat and Creativity.

Be it good news or bad, change is always guaranteed. The BBC, wishing to be "helpful", reminds us how things were meant to be and how they have fallen short. All that is interesting, but mostly not useful. The present Administration and Republican leadership was not getting business done. They thought that they were on top and would stay that way. Like many before them and many more to come, the got their "come-uppance".

It is the most basic of life lessons, but people always seem surprised when it happens to them. The Democrats who have had plenty to say have now been handed the hammer. We shall soon see how good they are at driving the nail.

The American Century -BBC

"During his first term President Bush bestrode the world like a colossus.

He drew inspiration from the principles of the Project for the New American Century, drawn up in 1997. Among the signatories were Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

It asked: "Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests?"

The 9/11 attacks and the "war on terror" he declared in a speech soon afterwards allowed him to use the instruments of US power and diplomacy to topple the Taleban and gather support from around the world.

Then there was the "Forward Strategy of Freedom" announced in November 2003, for democracy in the Middle East. "Promoting democracy and freedom in the Middle East will be a massive and difficult undertaking, but it is worthy of America's effort and sacrifice, " he said.

Iraq and the disastrous course of events between Israel and its neighbours have lowered expectations for all that.

And now the mid-term elections, which the Republicans thought earlier this year they had in the bag have confirmed that criticism from fellow Americans has caught up with criticism from around the world."

Comment: There is going to be a lot of comments like these. I pose a question to you. How would you advise GWB to finish his term? What advice would you have for the Democrats and Republicans?


  1. Resign and let Cheney take over for two years.

  2. A lot of Partisans will be astounded at the paucity of change.

  3. What the hell does THAT mean?

  4. Unfortunately, the BBC is still mired in its own world view, skewed through the lefty prism, that the problems with Israel are Israel's alone, and that the problems in Iraq are America's doing completely. When all societies are equal, and no acts are to be condemned over any other, it is easy to see how one could selectively take those views, but civilized people can not afford them.

    As Churchill said of Atlee, "[they are] a sheep in sheep's clothing."

    Here we witnessed the rebuke of a party unable to answer questions it raised itself - Iraq, immigration and Soc. Sec. - and a party which could not avoid the temptation of self-aggrandizing a the political trough. Happily for all, they were rebuked.

    However, for the BBC to say that grand thoughts are a fool's errand, and that in effect some people are just not worthy of liberation, or of defending, is a premise that I reject. As TR said,
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

    But that is exactly where the BBC thinks we belong, because Europe lives there.

  5. A very good question and I've given it some thought:

    Bush should lawyer up big time and be prepared to fight the investigations hard. contest everything, use every trick in the book and take every opportunity to point out that the Democrats are doing this instead of dealing with the business at hand.

    The Republican leadership must lick its wounds and do some serious soul searching. they were sent a message. Blaming the media or dirty tricks won't work now. Time to overcome denial and face a hard fact: if you proclaim your standards, you will be judged by them. Its time for them to get back on message and find a vision that isn't a bridge to nowhere.

    The Democrats must now take some positions. the looming war in lebannon and Palestine will force a crisis on them very soon. since UNIFIL's expanded mission will have failed, the Democrats cherished notion of "international co operation" will not avail them.

    As for the BBC, I've reached the conclusion that it's an enclave of angry homosexuals who despise us yank rubes for resisting the inevitable acceptance of the anything goes life style.

    I still don't understand them, though. A failed America is tantamount to them cutting thier noses off to spite their faces. It seems to me that these guys, given the choice between grudging acceptance and a good old fashioned stoning at dawn, would rather the Muslims killed them.

    Go figger.

  6. It simply means, Doug, that nothing much is going to change, at least in the next year, or so.

    Remember all that talk about Medicare Plan D, and the government negotiating prices with the Drug Companies?

    Well, they're already backing away from that, saying they'll wait for the new administration (Democratic, of course) in 08'.

    You see, it's better to have the issue to run on than it is to fix the "Problem." You'll see a lot of this in the coming months.

    The only thing that will really take an immediate hit will be "Free Trade" initiatives. Those are off the board for several years, I'm afraid.

  7. Sometime in the next year, or so (probably 08') they'll renegotiate the tax rates; They'll probably hike the top rate to 37%, or so, and raise the dividend tax back into the twentyish range.

  8. Doug,

    There's not a whole helluva lot that Bush hasn't already done that the Dems would want to do.
    Bush is in the process of lowering Americas Armed Forces. He's spent more on social programs than any president in history.
    He's allowed open borders and flirted with amnesty.
    He's working night and day on merging Canada the US and mexico into a grand North American New World.
    What's left for the Dems to do?

  9. The thing is, look at Graf, and Hayworth; they ran on a Strong Border Security Plank, and got their heads handed to them.

    I'm not saying that's why they lost, but, on the other hand, it sure didn't save them.

  10. Habu,
    Yes, he has moved the Agenda forward well indeed.
    Global Socialism.

  11. ...and dhimitude, of course.

  12. right, doug, if we can't have perfection, let's have disaster.

  13. What habu outlines IS a disaster.
    Engineered by Bush.

  14. Let's call a spade, a spade, guys: the average American has had all the Iraqis on television they want.

    They ain't Romans, and don't want to be Romans. They're truck drivers, computer programmers, and nurses, and they have no interest in "long wars;" and they have even less interest in "Democracy-building" in the Middle East.

    They expect the government to protect them, but they don't consider refereeing a blood-feud between Sunnis and Shi'ites to be part of that Job Description. Short-sighted, maybe, but that's the way we are.

  15. No, I meant it. Disaster will come, and then we may get serious. As I offered over at BC just now, my sincere congradulations, and good luck, to everyone who wanted big policy changes. Now you'll get 'em.

  16. Better to have no loaf than a half-loaf, because now we will have to re-learn how to bake.

  17. Take a deep breath, guys; it'll be alright.

    "Power Corrupts; Absolute Power Corrupts, Absolutely." The people know this, and they change "Leaders" every now and then. Altogether, a pretty sensible strategy.

  18. This'll put Chavez back in--wonder when Publius will post on that?

  19. Time for a reversal of the "we'll stand down as they stand up" strategy. No timetables, but Bush can start bringing home two troops for every one that goes in. It's sink or swim time for the Iraqi Army. Americans just gave the Adminstration the message that they don't wanna be babysitters forever. Hopefully Rumsfeld was not the only one to receive it.

  20. Don't worry, Teresita--the war is over. The guys now should stay low and try not to be the last KIA, while we disengage.

  21. I think it's okay, Buddy; sometimes it's time to "consolidate" your gains.

    We've had a big run in opening up trade, lowering taxes, getting 21st Century Weapons Systems off the ground, and even getting a little border security/homeland security type activity going.

    A little "breather" might be in order. A couple of years to assess our position, and progress.

  22. Resign and let Cheney take over for two years

    You're right, Doug. Let's call a spade a spade.

  23. Buddy, I think that if Maliki, and gang, will do a few things that need doing, ie let some of the Ba'athists out of the dog-house, spread around a little oil wealth, help us out with the Militias, etc., he will find that things will still go pretty smoothly for him as he transitions.

    If he wants to be an ass-hole, it could get pretty hairy for him.

  24. BUT, he better understand that the fact of the matter is, "The American People don't "Give a Shit" what happens to him, or Iraq, or Iran!"

    They Just Don't.

  25. I think Rufus has more than a few great observations but the one that kinda "thunderstruck" me was his very keen insight into...why fix the problem now when it can be a campaign issue you can run on in '08.
    Now I admit I use to be a guy everyone came to for the skinny. I even hosted (guest) a radio talk show at a station that had 100k watts of power and carried Rush...but Rufus' point is so pure, so political I'm (vanity here) surprised "thunderstruck "me.

    Don't be thunderstruck'in me too much my heart can't take no more.
    Semper Fi

  26. There's gotta be a C & W song there, somewhere.

  27. The thing that's changed on that, habu, is before yesterday, they had to badger from the outside, to avoid resolutions. Now they can control from the inside, for two more years, and will have even more to win the 08 with. So long as a Pub is in the WH, it'll be the same, but but much, much more. Solution: no more Pubs. Ever.

  28. Of course we still have the Iranian situation to deal new timetable is now 'sometime in the future". Both the month and day will contain vowels, and the exact time will involve numbers.

  29. Buddy,
    Good point, in fact with their proclivity toward having "hearings" and the MSM ruch to cover them live will give them lots of face time and of course they'll beat the shit out of the Republicans that are in the spotlight.
    The comity will last until, well it's already over. I'm surprised Rangel hasn't called for the VP to shoot himself.
    Hey maybe Cheney could take Rangel on a hunt..hmmm

  30. Buddy,
    When the Dems got away with lynching Ollie North on TV that's when I said, Ok, I'm finished following this shit like a fine piece of tail.
    Reagan was great, but that was the zenith.
    I just keep wait'n for the revolution. The shoot'in kind.

  31. Well, you saw the train a-coming, I guess. I've been thinking we were still laying tracks, but I guess not.

  32. So ..... if you're George Bush, do you pardon Scooter on Christmas Eve, since everybody knows Armitage leaked it, and Scooter is guilty of lying about something he didn't leak?

    Or do you put Nifong and Fitzgerald into a room, and tell them nobody gets out until they have an actual cause of action?

  33. Emanuel engineered the victory, not Harry and Nancy.
    ...Hillary is too smart to not follow his advice:
    Probably be more of the same, ie, nothing really outrageous, feign sanity for two years, get elected.
    ...course maybe she could just honorably protest as the moonbats rip the country apart.

  34. "New Defense Sec. co-chaired a task force that called for dialogue with Iran... "
    Ledeen Commits Suicide.

  35. So the two most powerful women in America both have extreme face jobs to try to look younger.
    (More immature)
    Just what the country needs.
    America can just pretend until we can't.

  36. Halliburton, the CIA and big tobacco companies are among the early targets identified by top Democratic staff to ABC News as likely targets for investigation once the Democrats take control of the House at the beginning of next year.
    Right, investigate the CIA to make sure Clinton's Traitors don't get blamed.

  37. War or Retreat.

    The future course has been decided by Mr Baker, Mr Hamilton and Mr Gates. Ratified by Mr Bush's choice for SecDef.

    Negotiate Iraqi stability with Iran and Syria.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a President with two years left who has had his Policy repudiated at the polls. Not Gallup or Rasmussen polls, either.

    War or Retreat, a new navigator's been hired and the course has been charted.

  38. Doug,

    They dig too deep and "Red Ted" is gonna get fried for treason. He's gonna have to defend the charges in this new book that he cahooted with Andropov ... I would hope he'd sue the guy but he won't cause he doesn't want any more exposure.
    Another topic..if we go full tilt socialist can we do it like Amsterdam, except without the muzzies?

  39. Actually, Rat, I think the American Voters had a say in that decision, too.

  40. Treason is no longer recognized as a Crime, Habu.
    Hell, you become known as a "Truthteller."
    And a "Patriotic" Hero to millions.

  41. great, NOW, we get Amsterdam, now that the girls are all my daughter's age.

  42. Hey, we had the Sixties, Larsen:
    Don't rewrite history so you can whine about it.

  43. DR,
    You're sure don't have to dig too deep to find out Gates' take on negotiating with Iran. He's on record. And he must have known as DCI that Iran was developing nuke power.
    Baker's in that mix, so it looks like "Atoms for Peace" even though crazy Amanjandanrxxx has vowed to rub out Israel.
    It's Israel Gates and Baker will have to sell...and in a hurray, or given the "spirit" of our foreign policy they could just write off Israel and let "Atoms for Peace" run it's course. Is it ally or all-lies ...hooked on phonics

  44. Buddy,
    That is the shits, and do they sell Viagra there?

  45. I don't know, I've never used the stuff. That disclaimer about "seeing your doctor if the *** lasts more than four days" put me in mind of Robert Duvall in "Lonesome Dove", when he was dying rather than having his leg sawed off, and explained "some things are just too hard on a man's vanity".

    I mean, what do you at the doc's office, climb in thru a back window? Or sit in the waiting room wearing two hats (if you get my drift)?

  46. Why are Hewitt and Kyl talking about the next REPUBLICAN leader in the Senate?
    (McConell or Alexander)

  47. Tester leads Burns by about 2,800 votes -- less than 1 percentage point -- with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
    You should have taken a few planeloads up there to vote, Habu!

  48. Buddy,
    I'm glad. Now I won't have to worry anymore about you not having a good time.

    Buy the way any of you guys seen "Flags of Our Fathers?"

    How many stars?

  49. Hewitt points out that Bush campaigned on up or down votes for everyone in 2002.
    (Red Meat for Conservatives)
    But John McCain never makes mistakes, so who to blame?

  50. I need to verify this , but it looks to me that fellowpeacekeeper with
    Dems picking up 25 in the house and 7 in the senate may be the winner. Can anyone prove they posted a better?

  51. Maybe he'll donate it to the EB Mourning After Memorial "Celebration."

  52. Hewitt unleashed:
    Ragging on the House GOP for not asking the people about who should be the next leader.

  53. Doug,
    I wish I had taken a million man march to Montana..too damn late now.
    It's really kinda too bad for that state cause the only thing politically they have going for then is/was senority in the Senate.
    They only have One (1) U.S. Representative.
    Max baucus is getting frail and this new guy is just another Montana farmer. He'll end up cleaning the stables and Montana will continue to get bupkis in the way of power.
    But then that's ok ..people stay away from Montana it's a horrid place. Indians, single wides, not indoor water terrible terrible.

  54. Habu,

    About "Flags of our Fathers": I’m no military scholar and thought the storyline obvious about how our boys had to endure ridiculous (flag) politix in the war. But the portrayal of our guys and their guts (both senses) was almost like perfect haiku. Left me less with the sense of how pointless and horrible war is than how a part of the human condition and inherent to men it is. Eastwood shows the good warrior who takes care of his buddies and who faces his demons, sometimes winning.

    I rate it 48 stars for the flag back then.

    I rate this election several imploded stars.

  55. Typical ME telephone call today...

    " Hey Vlad, this Hosni, wuzz up dude? Listen I know Sadat threw you guys out years ago but he was a freak-a zoid, and the Brotherhood did him anyway. Listen, lets get together at you dacha on the Black Sea and hash out the purchase of some of your planes,tanks,Ak's, you know , like our mutual friend Hugo did. Of course we'll need advisers and more advisers. Ok ,good, see you next month.

  56. :-)
    Thanks for the great review, Catherine.

  57. I heard Montana was really nice, reasonable real-estate, great water and views, a real gem.

    Here, ht Taranto, is a sentence:

    "Michigan voted to ban affirmative action, 58 percent to 42 percent, with the majority of votes coming from white male conservatives, based on exit polls. Both men and women of color strongly opposed the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), but lacking representation in the electorate diluted the power of their votes."

    Lacking representation in the electorate--hell, that's bad, it can lead to "lacking votes".

  58. Catherine,

    Thank you for the response. I remember your first impression was that it was a movie that would make furniture cry. I thought that was very descriptive.
    I will see it tomorrow or Friday.

  59. Rufus, so this is where you have decamped to. I thought I'd check it out and see if you had OD'd on kool-aid or anything after the elections. But what do I find but a new mellow you, a philosopher. I went thru this and the previous blogstream looking for something to rag on you about and I couldn't find anything you said I disagreed with. (Of course, if I went far enough back I'm sure I would find something related to the FED).

    So give me the skinny. What's the deal? Into tai chi now, new meds, switched over to Canadian beer? Dang, I'm afraid if I go away and come cack in a couple of months, you'll be laying out the Toa of Rufus in Haiku or something.

    Glad to see you've mellowed out. I think it's going to be at least a couple months before our boy Sharp recovers :)

  60. Buddy,
    Yeah you're thinking about the nice end of Montana, around Miles City. Beautiful rolling hills, nice folks..that's where ya wanna be ....eastern Montana ..

    Western Montana harbors the Militia of Montana and was home of the Unibomber. Then a couple of years ago they had a guy making pies and stews out of little boys in Great Falls, true.
    Western Montana = BAD
    Eastern Montana = GOOD

  61. Montana was not always so ill regarded.

    Mike Mansfield (D-MT)
    Senate Majority Leader

  62. Frank Zappa was at one time contemplating moving there to raise dental floss.

  63. AaahOoooom




  64. Ineedamantra, ineedamantra, ineedamantra, ineedamantra.....

  65. Hi ya Q, how'ya doin?

    Well, Q, hell, we've been through it all before, haven't we.

    You know Q, I'm not really very religious (in fact I can get off on some really toxic rants when it comes to "Preachers;) but, I wouldn't want to live in a town, or state, without any churchs.

    I'm, also, not too crazy about "Liberals," but, I wouldn't want to live in a country that didn't have any.

    In short, they've got to get their shot every now and then, too. They gave us the "Civil Rights" Movement, Social Security, Medicare, the Food and Drug Administration, Sherman-Adams, Child Labor Laws, and a whole lot more.

    In other words, if we didn't have them, we'd just have to go out and invent them. We'll just have to keep a close eye on'em and not let'em screw up the economy too much, or weaken our defenses too much, and try to come back with some stronger conservatives next time around.

  66. BTW, no use continuing to rag on the FED. It seems everyone in the known universe has come to the realization that they've gone three or four hikes too far, just like I wrote when they were doing it. No use beating a Dead Horse, Eh?

  67. Doug and Habu,

    About the movie, to be honest, there is some bad acting and a little lame editing in “Flags.” To make up for my sentimental reviews, I thought I’d offer you, if you correctly identify those parts, free passes to the new blonde Bond who is scared of guns and boats in real life, but who’s pretty hot on screen.

    If you’ve seen “Casino Royale” already, there’s always the chick flick, “A Good Year,” with picturesque Crowe in the south of studly France. Which is to die for if you’re a girl or really secure in your manhood, and no doubt you qualify.

  68. Ruf, I was born on the other side of the state from you in Sparta but I too realize that a couple of old Vols like us need to "take it as it comes", unlax, and have another Glinfiddich (or brewski if you prefer). This too shall pass.

    I'll check back on you every now and then to make sure your not regressing. This blog is a little too nice for the likes of me. Most of the people here seem pretty reasonable. Makes it hard to throw any shit in the game. I gotta head back to where some of the guys take themselves waaay too seriously. Besides, I'm still trying to set up an intervention for Sharp.

    (PS I knew you couldn't let it drop without a comment on the FED).

  69. Well, drop in from time to time, Q; like you said the folks are mostly friendly (they have to be, this place can get rough in a hurry,) and the Beer is ALWAYS Cold. In short, My kinda place.

  70. In the winter Montana is just colder than an Islamic hell, take it from me, I almost live there. Cold comes down from the north on the east side of the Rockies. Not sure it's going to stay that way much longer. On the other hand global warming may tip us into an even deeper freeze. Read those ice cores, they are cold, clear reading, a little like Hemingway. Tell it like it was, etc.

    Montana has been losing population in the east, and gaining in the west where the recreation facilities are located. As for me, it would be fine if not one more out of state foot ever makes a print there again.

    One of the Dakotas has been losing population as well, but I can't remember which one. Low agricultural commodies prices have at least that benefit.

    If you think I hate humankind, you're wrong, just some parts of it.