“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."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fred Thompson Does Not Save the Day.

Fred Thompson is not going anywhere. McCain looks better. Romney seems to be waffeling and had a Dukakis moment about checking with lawyers to help him decide about war. He talks faster than he thinks. It still looks like Rudy to me.


  1. I may have been too hard on Chris Matthews. Maybe I am mellow tonight. I am finding the questions interesting and and all the Republicans better choices than the Democratic candidates.

  2. Thompson is a union man: "Screen Actors Guild counts, right?"

    Rudy is going to police the internet by expanding the role of existing police assets: "I'm not big on setting up new agencies, I'm big on improving agencies we already have." It will be good to know, next time a bomb goes off in Oklahoma City or a thug takes gramma's purse, that Rudy's gonna have whole battalions of FBI special agents posing as 14 year old girls to entrap pedos. He's also ready to make Iran the new Iraq: "We have to be willing to use the military option to stop Iran from being nuclear."

    Ron Paul said our greatest export today was paper dollars. $2.7 trillion of them and counting.

    Huckabee reinforced his hick image:"We need to approach [energy independence] the same way that a car does at the NASCAR pit stop. But instead of running it like NASCAR, we have been running at like a station wagon and letting goober take care of it under a shade tree."

  3. No online video feed of the full debate anywhere. Disgraceful.

  4. What's wrong with a hick image?

    My wife says Mitt Romney won every point in the debate.

  5. fred = old

    rudy = new yorker tough

    hunter = old cop boring

    brownback = be positive cheerleader

    tancredo - single issue illegal alien too squeaky

    mitt - kinda sharp, kinda glossy

    ron paul - wacko with some decent concepts but sounds like he's about to expode

  6. BOBAL: What's wrong with a hick image?

    After 16 years of Bubba-Dubya, Americans are ready for urban sophistication.

  7. Glad to hear you won't be voting for Billery, city girl :)

  8. poor fred has a tired sad face. reminds me of someone who would trap you at a cocktail party and would never take a breath.

  9. Mitt--ram rod straight, honest as a western oak tree, ancestors trekked the west, two advanced degrees from Ha--vard, touch of magic with money, can turn shit to gold, successful governor, honest to God best candidate in either party. Can't win. Prejudice doesn't stop with color or sex. Alas for uncomprehending America.

  10. I think Ron Paul has the best message, at least a message that intellectually would resonate best with right wing voters and probably the country as a whole. It’s too bad he’s such a terrible messenger for that message.

  11. Romney sure does look the role. The Republicans need to convince the American public that they represent the average American. McCain is clearly enjoying himself. Brownback can be quite amusing.

  12. Romney--Urban sophistication, western grit, Mormon righteousness.

  13. Chris Matthews just can't stand not being the center of attraction. It would be fun to have a go at him.

  14. BOBALHARB: Mitt...Can't win. Prejudice doesn't stop with color or sex. Alas for uncomprehending America.

    Ah, but the lawyers are all for him, since he says he will consult with them before making national security decisions. I guess the American Bar Association will be a sort of co-President in a Romney Administration.

  15. What did Giuliani actually do around 9/11 other than show up and sound resolute and tough that makes it such a big deal? Well, more than Billary, who didn't show until about 10 days after, now saying she was there second day.

    Showing up is something, but without 9/11 Rudy would be just another big city mayor with lots and lots of flaws.


  16. ...Ron Paul has the best message...

    Back in 1992 I wasn't a conservative, so I didn't vote for Poppy Bush, and I wasn't a liberal, so I didn't vote for Slick Willy. I wasn't a populist, so I didn't vote for Ross Perot. The best fit was Ron Paul, who ran under the Libertarian Party, and polled about 1% of the vote. Now 15 years later he's running as a Republican, and polling about 1% of the vote. Hugh Hewitt's rant today was about Liberatians who try to masquerade as Republicans, but are not.

  17. Mitt-flawless.

    That doesn’t worry you?

  18. I don't know Bob. Did you see rudy answer the question about london replacing new york.......not bad.

  19. I wish I had a transcript of the debate, to see in context exactly what Mitt the flawless said there.

    Rest assured Ms T, his team will have a flawless explanation for what you see as a lapse.

    If Billary gets in and overlooks a major issue, like getting bin Ladin, she'll just send in Burglar to steal the documents and stick em' in some dumpster somewhere.

    I'd love to see Mitt v Billary. What a contrast!

    And if we must have national health insurance I'd sure rather have Mitt put it together.

  20. deuce, I thought they were all good, with one or two exceptions. Any of the majors there are a light year away from the Clintons.

    Fred did look old, but at my age I don't hold that against a man....

    Rudy looks old too, but Mitt---

    Youth, vigor, no viagra.

  21. Mat, I'm just trying to get along with my wife. It means a lot to me ;)

    But, I like Romney.

  22. New Hampshire. Period.

  23. Bob,

    Well now, let's think about this. Which is more important: Cosmetics, or functionality? You're married guy, why not ask the wife about her shoes? :D

  24. The chaff is falling away from the wheat. It's clear, now; it's a two-man race. Rudy's likable, and benefitting, temporarily, from an anti-Dobson Asshole Backlash.

    Romney's got to winn'em over twice. First with his "impression," and then, again, after they find out he's a "Mormon."

    I think it's gonna be close. Rudy's tough as a hickory know, but man, oh man, does he have some baggage. Mitt's by far and away the "solidest," but he's a lousy debater (in this type of setting, anyway,) and he needs time, and money, to grow on you. Fortunately, he has both.

    If Rudy can stop him in NH, he'll take Michigan, too, and the "Dream" is done. However, Mitt IS going to win Iowa. If he can hold on in New Hampshire he will follow it up with a win in Michigan, and Nevada, and then, probably, SC. And that, as they say, "is that."

    New Hampshire is the "Pivot point." It's ALL about the Granite State.

  25. T, I missed your earlier comment about Huckabee and Nascar. I love Nascar but got a real chuckle at your comment.

  26. :):) Blast from the past, Sam.

  27. The most patriotic guy I've seen lately has been Vicente Fox. He loves America more than any of those candidates. His patriotism is a complex species - at least as worthy a study as Mr. Chris Matthews.

  28. Zombies Protest

    'they're more comfortable in a group, than alone'

  29. Ron Paul may be polling poorly, but he's the only one who will call NAFTA customer service and demand a termination of service contract.

    Americans will gladly eat the cost of a fee or the deposit on the figurative cable box because it'll mean every economic problem will be solved.

    Paul offers you a carefree life of breezy promenades along national federal footpaths that beautifully terminate at the moat dug around the contiguous 48. Americans just have to be smart enough to trust him.

  30. That psychologist was the hottest person on there I think.

  31. As I saw it (while writing a paper):

    Romney got beat around badly enough I felt bad for him.

    Thompson got in some witticisms, but didn't show the drive or anything that would put him above the pack.

    Liked Guiliani a lot on a personal level, pity he's the product of a lukewarm Republican Party (the way he said "that's how a strict constructionist would see it" was creepy). Add in the Iran and FCC comments and I think he's potentially dangerous...

    Liked McCain - until he and Romney went soft on 'global warming.' Besides, can never trust him on illegal immigration or any hot topics due to his media/bi-partisan-induced blindness.

    Huckaberry was too populist and once against showed his colors as a nanny-stater. Seems like a nice guy, though.

    Brownback just generally creeps me out. On the other hand, his comment about his mother not being an illegal alien was hilarious and the first time in how many debates that I actually felt he was an actual human being.

    Tancredo I normally like because he's so brutally honest, but he definitely risked turning illegal immigration into a gag-issue tonight. He's also painfully inarticulate.

    Ron Paul: Ugh. The one person who's message I'd most like to succeed, but who absolutely sucks at making his argument appealing to his potential audience (and it is there). Obviously spent too much time in the Libertarian Party with all the tin-eared ideologues.

    Duncan Hunter I liked a lot, except for the protectionism. Yet, still second or third tier.

    Don't know if I forgot anybody. If so it is obviously self-explanatory.

    Entire experienced ruined by the creeping feeling that losing control of the Southern border is the end of the Republican Party anyway.

  32. Well, end of the "Conservative"/libertarian movement, anyway. Both parties may have locked themselves into power for the duration.

  33. Huckleberry has great appeal to some of us northern Idaho types. A rare find, and something to tell no one else about.

  34. Like the analogy, Bob. But I know about them huckleberries. And also keep it closely guarded.

  35. Robert Novak says Senators all knew of Craig's habits. Clip

    Nick the Bartender, deceased, told me this maybe twenty years ago,didn't know what to think. Said he was weird.

  36. Did you ever happen to meet Nick the Bartender at the old Nobby Inn, Sam? And before that at the Corner Club.

    In the dictionary you'd find him listed under aardvark, had a Ph.D from WSU, got pissed off at them, divorced his wife, or she divorced him, bartended the rest of his life. Best bartender in America. A Welshman.

  37. Never met Nick. I'll ask mom about the Nobby Inn and Corner Club 'though. Would they be in Moscow?

  38. Yes, middle main street The Nobby and north main The Corner Club. Nobby's gone now.

  39. "Nobby" came from, or means what?

  40. Found out why Hillary decided to keep Bergler around:
    Makes her ankles look thiner.

    - Miller

  41. Miller says Jon Stewart tore Chris Matthews a new one so big he'll need two bags.
    - don't blame Miller for the bag "joke."

  42. Amazing description by J Willie:
    Did you know that's how they still farmed in 1960 down there AlBob?
    j willie said...
    "If the South had obtained victory, by the 1920s (era of Prohibition and gasoline-powered tractors) they would have been morally shamed and economically brow-beaten into ending slavery and tooling up factories."

    1. The South would never have had a "Prohibition".

    2. Gasoline powered tractors had little economic impact on Southern agriculture until the 1950's and 60's. My father farmed 2000 acres in 1960 with 100 mules, 300 workers and two 100 hp tractors using 4-row equipment, and he was a progressive farmer. By 1980, he farmed 6000 acres with no mules, a dozen 250 hp tractors using 8-12 row equipment, and 25 workers.

    3. Factories prior to the advent of air conditioning? I don't think so.

  43. The Nobby had a symbol of a top hat Doug so I think it comes from that, meaning neat or stylish but I'm not sure. I'd never been to the south until I met my wife which was way after the 60's--only been to Florida and along the Gulf Coast once, went through Tennessee too, so I didn't and still don't know anything about agriculture in the south. Her place is southern tip of Ohio. Nite. Damn I'm tired been reading most of the day. Who do you think 'won' the debate?

  44. The GOP is bereft of any dynamic ideas. They are stuck in a morass of statist-inspired policy that just tweaks the Leviathan structure of the fedgov.

    If any one of these guys had the balls and brains to take on something like the FairTax - or at least run heavily on totally abolishing the current tax code - he will win.

    If you listen to them, they are all trying to respond to Hillary's dumb ideas with their own versions of Hillary-Lite dumb ideas, and calling it small government.

    This is why nobody is excited about them.

    I love Ron Paul's domestic policies, I think he comes off as a moonbat on foreign policy.

    The rest of the guys are just business as usual.

    If these are the people I have to choose from at election time, I will vote for my local, state and legislative reps, and scrawl "NONE OF THE ABOVE" for president.

    I cannot squander my vote for the lesser of two evils any more.

  45. I didn't watch it, but here's a Video for Mat!
    ...and me if I get around to it.

    Republican Debate

    Watch an interactive video and analyze the transcript.

  46. Frick, I missed the debate.

    But here's the way I see it. There's something about Mitt that's too polished...sometimes he tries to hard to show his grasp of the issues. This sort of reminds me of Al Gore.

    Giuliani on the other hand seems to be trying to come across as a "tough guy". I like him but his NY background was way too liberal for me.

    Huckabee, the ordained minister, is a very nice man and was probably a fine governor for Arkansas but every now and then the "nanny stater" seems to come out in him.

    I don't trust McCain.

    Brownback is a solid decent man but so boring...

    Ron Paul is not a Republican. He's something else :) What exactly, I don't know! I'm not saying he's all wrong but the man's got some loose screws if you know what I mean.

    Ditto Brother D-Day's comments about the party. The republican party seems to be absolutely pathetic.

    Where I live, they control both houses of the state legislature, most of the Cabinet seats and the Governor office. Yet most of them seem nothing more than party hacks. Career politicians. None of that real, conservative, Reagan ideology.

    They're Boners and hacks from top to bottom.

  47. Matthews Smackdown

    Jon Stewart: I'm not trashing your book, I'm trashing your philosophy of life.

    Chris Matthews: You are unbelievable! This is the worst! This is a book interview from Hell! This is the worst interview I have ever had in my life! This is the worst! You are the worst! I thought you were so big - I thought you were so big you weren't afraid of me. You're so big, and you're afraid of this book. This book scares you. There's something in here that you fear.

  48. "Giuliani on the other hand seems to be trying to come across as a "tough guy". "
    I guess he could fake it and pretend he didn't prosecute the Mafia, Save NY City from it's Crime Meltdown, and lead the way through 9-11 as the chimp looked like he was lost, then talked about those "fellows" that took out 3,000 citizens.
    Worked with Ted Olsen for Reagan Justice, and Ted is going to head his Judicial Selection team.
    Hard to improve on those credentials, the most important factor in saving the supremes from an ACLU Majority.

  49. I continue to be blown away by the Pass Bush gets by so many as the Globalist Bastard gives away the country under the cover of his phoney Christian Conservative Shtick.
    After six years of BS,
    don't mean Shit to me.
    ...and I don't think Rudy could do half the damage to the country in 12 years that phoney baloney's done in 6.

  50. Zell Miller?
    Chris Matthews: Okay. This is a book about good values, it’s a – it’s hopeless with you! You’re Zell Miller!

    Jon Stewart: No. No duels for me. I appreciate it that you tried to …. I’ll come on your show and you can yell at me.

  51. Two interesting takes on the candidates, first from Tony Blankley, who describes the GOP, today.

    But I believe that people of conscience -- very much including voters across the country -- have an obligation to struggle with the stress between principle and political pragmatism -- even at the risk of failing to make the right judgment.

    Politics is the zone where one's religious and ethical habits are not always the only and best guides. We can make a 100-percent commitment to, for example, obey our marital vows or adhere to the teachings of our churches -- and consciously strive never to fall short.

    But in the practicality of democratic elections, we cannot make such a similar commitment to every one of our governing ideals. Elections are very specific and limited choices between different outcomes. The decision not to vote or vote for a third-party candidate with no hope of winning is itself a moral choice for the outcome such a vote will effectuate. People of conscience will have to decide whether feeling pure by voting "none of the above" is the highest ethical act or not.

    While Dick Morris describes the Dems

    There is every reason why the Democrats should be more cautious. Desperate to win and bring eight years of Republican rule to a close, they realize that Hillary is a red flag to many voters and would be the most polarizing nominee they could select. While Obama or Edwards could likely reach out to independents and even Republicans, Hillary cannot. One either loves her or hates her. Her very candidacy elicits memories of all the Clinton scandals, from Whitewater and Marc Rich to the gifts to the Rose Law Firm, the Chinese campaign contributions, the New Square Hasidic pardons, the Lincoln Bedroom and Monica. Why do Democrats willingly take on that baggage when two relative virgins beckon as alternatives? Why take these risks? Indeed, why do they seem to almost insist on taking them?

    Democrats today are seeking a warrior, a gladiator, not a president when they cast their ballots in their primaries and caucuses. Angered by the so-called defeat of 2000 and scarred by the upset of 2004, there is an intensity to their desire to win that dwarfs all other emotions and considerations. They are not nominating a president. They are nominating a candidate. They are not interested in the credentials of a possible president in selecting their standard-bearer; they seek the characteristics of a fighter, a combatant, one who will win.
    This affection for Hillary the Gladiator makes the appeals of Obama and Edwards largely irrelevant. They might be good men. They might be good presidents. But can they win? Are Edwards's decency and civility barriers to being tough enough to beat the GOP machine? Is Obama's desire to rise above partisanship the right attitude to take into a food fight with the GOP? Democrats have their doubts. But about Hillary's zest for combat and her ruthlessness once in the ring, they have no concerns.

    So Hillary does not polarize her party ideologically. Instead, she compares with her opponents in a time warp. She is the candidate of the present. Edwards is the candidate of the past, the man who, like Rocky's brother-in-law Paulie, might have been a contender and would have been very good. Obama is the candidate of the future, the young man with promise and so much talent. But for today, for now -- it's Hillary.

    The Presidental vote, it's an either/ or choice.

  52. "Hugh Hewitt's rant today was about Liberatians who try to masquerade as Republicans, but are not."

    - Teresita

    This would be far more credible had "Republican" some kind of objective definition.

    Far easier to make the case that *every* Republican, regardless of philosophical bent, is a Republican in name only - given that all there is, is the name.

    Milton Friedman self-identified as a Libertarian and made a conscious choice early on to work through the Republican Party for Libertarian goals.

    But even among Libertarians, as among Conservatives - as among Democrats and Republicans - there are no agreed-upon first principles.

    Jonah Goldberg once remarked that GWB is a Conservative insofar as he chooses to call himself one. But again, so long as philosophical ambiguity and confusion reign, the charge falls flat. For no one really knows what exactly any of these descriptors describe.

    Let's say a group of passionate Republicans choose to go their own their way and form a third party with the intent of reviving or invigorating "true" Republicanism or Conservatism (as they often do): This could be Buchananites, Weekly Standard-National Greatness Conservative types, Rockwell/Rothbardists, or Gingriches. (In the summer of 2000, Goldberg enlisted, with much fanfare, Newt Gingrich to do a series of book reviews for NR. First up was an overview of the the Interstate Highway System, which Gingrich lauded as big government done right. He didn't do any more book reviews for NR.) Is there anyone who can claim the mantle of the Real, the Consistent Right?

    Everyone and no one.

  53. Doug,

    Thanks for that link. MSNBC finally uploaded the full debate video. I caught it last night and fell asleep. I really think Newt should get in the race to take the place Ron Paul cause Ron Paul just comes across as unstable. Though I do agree with his basic ideas.

  54. Newt knows he would not win the nomination and would have to divest himself of his 527, which he is not about to do, knowing he will not obtain the nomination.

    The "face time" not really worth it, to him.

    The question for the "center-right", how bad do they want to "win"?

    Incremental change got US to where we are, today.
    It'll take incremental change to move US, in any direction.

    Which increments of movement does one support? Those that move US towards an activist unified government, or one that keeps the status que of grid lock.

    Me, with my distrust of the people that are the Government, I will vote for grid lock.

    Go Rudy!

  55. Mother and Daughter DOA care of two "Hispanic" Street Racers in El Monte Calif.
    Legal immigrant status not yet determined.
    If deployments and 4k deaths stress the Military, how many civilian deaths at the hands of illegals should we regard as acceptable, Trish?
    40,000 and counting on Outlaw GWB's watch.
    SOB should be in prison, not the Border Agents.

  56. DR wrote:

    "Me, with my distrust of the people that are the Government, I will vote for grid lock."

    And all this time I thought you were complaining about our "half-stepping to the future".

  57. DR channels Blakely-

    "People of conscience will have to decide whether feeling pure by voting "none of the above" is the highest ethical act or not."

    Blakely is whining that when presented with a choice between a shit sandwich or a turd burger, "conscience voters" don't eat the turd burger, they leave the restaurant and find something else to eat that they like.

    So it's the "conscience voters'" fault if the socialist/statist/authoritarian party wins.

    But is defintiely NOT that his restaurant needs to start serving something different than a different flavor of the same shit.

    Thanks Tony. GFY.

  58. ...something BESIDES a different flavor...

  59. Dad's Life

    Luckily, his two kids were not killed by the impact:
    They got to burn to death,
    unlike his wife.

  60. ANOTHER mother reported killed in San Fernando Valley.

  61. Hey Doug,

    I never realized you had a burr in your bonnet over street racing. Maybe they should bring that up in the republican debates?

  62. That's "War" ash, where we should not be half-stepping.
    If a nation decides to go to War, it should be done and won as quickly as possible.

    Half-stepping at war is a good way to lose it.

    There is no internal war in the US. There is just Governemt expansion into the private lives of the citizens.

    In other aspects of life, the Federal Government should not lead, individuals, it should follow.
    The Federal Government should not be in the "health Care" delivery business

    Socilaized health care, that should be stymied at every turn.
    Thousand points of Federal largess, should be defunded, but will not be.

    In most things ineffective Government works out well, but not war.

    Pretty simple, ash.

  63. But the grid-lock that you espouse leads to the half-stepping you decry.

    It's kind of hard to have your cake AND eat it.

  64. An interesting take on Health Care and the ills that confront modern society

    Cherry Garcia and the End of Socialized Medicine
    Peter W. Huber

    The new pharmacopoeia offers people too much knowledge and control for one-size-fits-all health care to cope with.

    Most modern illness, according to Mr Huber, is self induced. Lifestyle choices made by the patient are the cause.

    If a person chooses to eat Cherry Garcia why should Society subsidize their Lipitor?

    On June 19, 1987, Ben & Jerry’s introduced Cherry Garcia, in honor of the man who played lead guitar for the Grateful Dead. The Food and Drug Administration struck back three months later, when it approved the first of a new family of statin drugs that curb cholesterol production in the human liver. A synthetic statin licensed a decade later would become the most lucrative drug in history. At its peak, Lipitor was streaming $14 billion a year into Pfizer’s coffers.

    Let’s not blame the victim: we don’t choose Cherry Garcia; it chooses us. Lipitor is a lifesaver for 600,000 genetically unlucky Americans who harbor a bad-cholesterol gene or two on chromosome 19, and for another 100 million victims of our supersize-me culture. Fourteen billion dollars is a bargain for problems as pernicious as these. Or is it? Let’s blame the victim. The human body is so comfortable with fat that it rarely complains about a cholesterol glut in the blood until seconds before things crash. Many who should be worried never even get their blood checked. Many who do check it fail to take their Lipitor. None of us really needs the pill anyway—just lose the ice cream, shed the pounds, stop smoking, and exercise regularly. Lipitor is a chemical version of the bulimic’s finger down the throat.

  65. I do not care, really, if the Feds half step on immigration, infrastructure, health care.
    Domestif policies.
    War is a different kettle of fish, or should be.
    But since the military has had its' Mission changed, from War fighting to Nation building, it has succumbed to the post modern Standard.

    One, the main, reason why instigating hostilities with Iran would be such an error. Especially if See-mor Hersh is right about the proposed target list.

    More incrementalism, which works in domestic politics, but is the worse possible course in War. Better to not begin one, than to not try to win as quickly as possible.

    The US leadership cannot even define "Vidtory" let alone achieve it, militarily.
    Mr Cheney was right, in 1992

  66. The interesting thing, about Iraq and the US Government, is just how out of control the beurocracies are.

    That so many of the civilian billets were empty for so long, that DoJ and State cannot get operatives on the ground, that the State Dept has to hire ot it's security to private mecenaries.

    That the US military has been culturally gelded, that is certainly evident.

  67. I sure do agree that many of our health problems are self induced, these days. From subsistence to plenty is a wide spectrum, and I'm not arguing subsistence is healthy, but there is a happy medium in there, and we are at the far end of the plenty these days. A good diet, a hobby(not sitting), contentment, restaint, go along way. The role model isn't me. Good genes help too, of course.

  68. It’s the car lifestyle. We're paying for it with our lives.

  69. I agree with that, Mat, 100%. Walk if you can, if it isn't too far.